News courtesy of Kevin Foster
(MP for Torbay)
Any views expressed in this news post are those of Kevin Foster, unless stated otherwise.
Palace Hotel (Torquay) Update
Last week it was reported that one of Torbay’s iconic hotels, the Palace Hotel in Torquay, had been sold to a Singaporean Investor.
This week came news that the Hotel has now confirmed it will close on 1st August 2017 ahead of a refurbishment. Whilst this has been inconvenient for those who had bookings after this date that will now be cancelled, the largest impact has been on the hotel staff, many of whom have worked there for some years, as they are set to be made redundant.
Whilst a major refurbishment of this hotel has been needed for some time, with the most recent plans set to create an iconic resort in our area, this will be little comfort for those jobs are affected. You can read more about this latest news on the Devon Live website by clicking here.
Minor Injuries Unit & X-Ray to Close At Paignton Hospital
There was further disappointing news this week as it was confirmed the Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) and X-Ray Service at Paignton Hospital will see their last patients on Friday 28th July 2017.
The closure follows the decisions taken earlier this year after a consultation despite widespread public criticism of the plans and a major campaign to oppose them which both Dr Sarah Wollaston and Kevin Foster supported. The Paignton Hospital site will continue to act as a “Health and Wellbeing Hub”.
The alternative MIUs will be at Totnes and Newton Abbot, from Monday 31st July these will be open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week. The concern about the closure is that some may decide that rather than drive to either of these they may instead head to Torbay Hospital’s A&E, putting further pressure on this service.
The most annoying part of the loss of X-Ray services from Paignton is that it is not driven by budget or a lack of demand, rather an inability to recruit. Despite a sustained recruitment drive, the Trust has been unable to fill all their vacancies for Radiographers. The lack of radiographers is a national problem, not just something being faced here in Devon.
These changes make it all the more important that plans are quickly brought forward to use the capital money allocated earlier this year to ease pressure on Torbay’s A&E.
The future for Oldway Mansion has again been centre stage as the media reported that the building may be sold “to the highest bidder” later this year if alternative plans do not come forward.
Whilst it is very unlikely this will happen, it has prompted members of the group that had been working to find solutions to this issue to express some concerns. Yesterday Kevin Foster was contacted by one of the members of the Paignton Town Community Partnership who sits on the Working Party about this. He will be meeting with them in early August to discuss the current situation and what their view of the current situation is.
We will include any further information received on Oldway in future posts.
ATOL Bill Debated
When the sun is shining across the bay it is hard to imagine that anyone would wish to holiday anywhere else, yet this week the House of Commons debated the protections available to those flying abroad.
The ATOL scheme started in the 1970’s as a way of ensuring that those booking a package holiday could have confidence that their money was safe and they would never be left stranded abroad. It operates by including a compulsory levy on all bookings of package holidays where the outbound flight is from a UK airport.
Yet with the way we book our holidays changing, plus a desire to make it easier for UK Travel Agents to trade across Europe, a reform of the scheme has been proposed to bring it up to date. Kevin Foster spoke in the debate on Monday about this, yet faced a rather unique position as he was following 9 back to back maiden speeches during the debate. You can watch what he said by clicking here.
Is Torquay Town Centre One Of The Worst In South West?
Earlier this week there was news that Torquay High Street had scooped a title that no town wants as it was branded the worst in the South West in a survey.
No-one would deny that our Town Centres have declined since their peak in the 1960’s when many of the top brands in the UK competed for space in Union St and on The Strand. In contrast Torquay Town Centre’s most recent fame came a couple of years ago as a result of a bizarre price war between a pound shop and a new 99p store.
Yet things might not be quite as this survey makes out as two new shops have opened, including Waterstones returning to the premises in Union Street that it left 7 years ago. You can judge for yourself what the future may hold by reading more information on the Devon Live website by clicking here.
As Torbay’s MP Kevin foster regularly meets with the Council and other partners to discuss what can be done to help push forward regeneration of our towns. It is not going to be easy to change a trend that has occurred for decades, yet given the recent flurry of hotel purchases it is clear investors are looking again at our bay.
Margaret Clitherow House
Following the announcement that Margaret Clitherow House in St Marychurch will close some residents have queried with me what support is being given to residents and what protections they have.
There are clear practice guidelines in place that have to be followed when a move is considered for someone living in a residential care home. The Council is working with the home’s management in relation to transition arrangements but confirmation is required of what this will mean.
Have Your Say on Music Hub
Children, young people and parents are being encouraged to give their views about music provision across Torbay as Torbay Music Hub launches two separate online surveys today.
Whether what motivates you is jamming in a band, singing with a choir, aspiring to be a virtuoso classical performer or just having fun, Torbay Music Hub want to hear you. This will include information about what music you like, what activities you like taking part in, and what you would like to be different.
Torbay Music Hub would also like to hear from parents and guardians. The Hub would like to know how they currently rate music provision, what are the barriers to their children and young people getting more involved, and what would improve music opportunities for their young people.
You can find the two surveys by clicking on the corresponding links below:
Both surveys close on Monday 31st July.
Road Investment Fund Announced
There was good news for investment in our road network this week as a new Road Investment Fund was announced.
This cash will aim to improve local roads that were “de-trunked” nearly two decades ago and is part of a fund totalling more than £61 billion to 2020/21 that will upgrade the road and rail network.
The Transport Investment Strategy sets out a new long-term approach for government infrastructure spending, meaning cash will be targeted at projects that help rebalance the economy. It also features the proposed creation of a new Major Road Network fund, which would see a share of the annual National Road Fund, funded by Vehicle Excise Duty (which restores the link between the amount that people pay in car tax and the amount spent on roads) to end the disparity between Britain’s motorways and local A roads.
Teenage Vandals At Paignton Zoo.
Earlier this week three teenage vandals caused thousands of pounds worth of damage at Paignton Zoo, yet the Police will not be investigating or taking any action.
The reason for the lack of Police action is because the three vandals Kiondo and Kivu (Both aged 15), plus N’Dowe (Aged 14) are all Western Lowland Gorillas! One gorilla who remained dignified during the monkey business was the zoo’s oldest gorilla, 35 year old Pertinax, who refused to join in the vandalism spree.
The three Gorillas managed to get into a secure corridor they cannot normally access and set off on a vandalism spree damaging wiring and ripping out water pipes. They spent the night in the corridor before being darted with tranquiliser darts.
This might sound dramatic but claims of a “rampage” in some of the national press are very wide of the mark. The naughty threesome were at all times behind two layers of security doing what appears to be natural behaviour for some humans as well!!! There was no prospect of them escaping into public areas.
You can read more on the Daily Express website by clicking here.
Torbay Gilbert & Sullivan Society present “PATIENCE” aka “BUNTHORNE’S BRIDE” at Torquay’s LITTLE THEATRE from 11th-15th July each evening at 7.30pm with a Matinee on Saturday 15th – well worth the £12/£13 ticket cost. Tickets to book or buy online at www.toadslittletheatre.co.uk
Torbay Children’s Centres
Saturday 22nd July 10.00am -2.30pm
Palace Avenue Gardens, Paignton
Come along and have some fun
Bouncy Castle, Cake and Refreshments Stall and Face Painting
Organ Recital by John Bryden
Saturday 22nd July – St Matthias Church, Wellswood, Torquay
Tickets £10 (Friends Members £9)
For tickets and information call – 01803 291033