News courtesy of Kevin Foster
(MP for Torbay)
Any views expressed in this news post are those of Kevin Foster, unless stated otherwise.
HMS Torbay On Parade
The crew of HMS Torbay put on a fine display as they marched through Torquay Town Centre before handing back their Freedom of the Borough.
After 32 years serving our nation the Trafalgar Class Nuclear Powered Submarine has been decommissioned, therefore the freedom has been returned. You can watch some wonderful footage of the parade on the Devon Live website by clicking here.
The recent HMS Torbay was the fifth Royal Navy vessel to bear the name and the second submarine to do so. You can read some of the history of HMS Torbay by clicking here.
Whilst the freedom has been returned to Torquay Town Hall, it is only resting there as at some point in the future a ship will once again bear our bay’s name with pride.
School Funding Announcement
For many years Torbay Schools have been disadvantaged by a funding formula that saw them receive one of the lowest amounts of funding per pupil in the country.
The reasons for this lower level of funding have been lost to history and last year the government announced it would implement a new formula. The initial draft saw many local schools gain, some significantly, yet saw a few (our bay’s three Grammar Schools and a small number of primaries) lose out.
Kevin Foster has been lobbying Ministers on this, along with local headteachers and this week a major announcement confirmed real progress is being made. The government has indicated all Secondary Schools will get funding of at least £4,800 per pupil in future, a significant rise on current funding levels for Torbay Schools.
That said the details of what exactly this means for each school in the bay need to be confirmed, a point Kevin raised during the debate on the announcement. You can hear the point he made and the Minster’s reply by clicking here.
Final Plea For Station Progress
The last debate before recess is a chance for MPs to raise any issue they wish before the adjournment.
Kevin Foster took the chance to make a plea for the Department of Transport to confirm when new Stations Funding would be made available in order to get the Edginswell Station project underway.
You can listen to this, plus a few other end of term remarks, by clicking here.
Bus Petition Update
Another issue raised in the end of term debate was the ongoing campaign to reinstate some of the services lost when Local Link Buses ceased operating in April.
The impact of this has been especially felt by those living in the Lyme View Road area and Lichfield Avenue. Hundreds have signed a petition and if you live on one of these routes and would like to join them please let us know.
Children’s Services Merger
Whilst there has been a lot of coverage of one debate held at Torbay’s Council meeting yesterday, another will see a major change to how vulnerable local children are protected here in the bay
For some years Torbay’s Children’s Services have struggled to maintain good quality services and have been rated inadequate by inspectors. A Government appointed Commissioner has recommended that one way of resolving this is for Torbay to work with another Council to deliver its Children’s Services, creating a larger organisation more able to cope with the pressures involved.
This was debated last night and it is likely a merger of services with Plymouth will be pursued.
25,000,000th Pudding Arrives
There was good news for Torquay dessert maker the Ministry of Pudding as it celebrated the arrival of its 25,000,000th pudding.
The factory in Barton has been busy producing tasty treats for caterers across the country and creating jobs for local people in the process. You can read more on the Devon Live site by clicking here.
Stonehenge Road Raised
The Strategic Road Network in the South West was the subject of a short debate in parliament this week.
Kevin Foster took the chance to again press for the case for completing the complete dualing of the A303, including at Stonehenge. The infamous bottlenecks on the route put off investors from investing in our region, whilst local companies can face severe delays when transporting goods to key markets in London and the South East due to them.
At a time when other regions are seeing significant investment in their network it is time this issue was solved. Kevin questioned the Minister on this and was pleased to receive confirmation the Government would shortly published detailed plans to finally solve the issue of Stonehenge. You can read our exchange by clicking here.
EPIC Planning Application Submitted
A planning application for the new proposed Electronics and Photonics Innovation Centre (EPIC) in Paignton has been submitted to Torbay Council bringing this exciting project a step closer.
The planning application comprises of a 3,834m² modern, purpose-built hi-tech innovation Centre, along with car parking, landscaping and accompanying estate road. The proposed Centre is four stories comprising of fifteen laboratories and clean rooms, up to 27 offices, along with reception and meetings rooms.
This facility will complement the £17m hi-tech skills centre being developed by South Devon College and is great news for the bay.
You can find out more about the project by clicking here.
Private Parking Bill Presented
Over the last year there has been campaigning for a change in the way Private Parking Enforcement Companies are regulated.
This campaign followed several examples of sharp practices being brought to my attention at local privately managed car parks.
MP, Sir Greg Knight, has now tabled a Private Members’ Bill on this subject that will look to improve regulation of this industry and to end many of the sharp practices discovered. The details of his proposals are yet to be published, but it is good to see that what started as complaints about poor practice here in the bay have now helped bring this proposal forward.
State Pension Age
Earlier this week the Government announced that following a review the State Pension Age for those born between 6th April 1970 and the 5th April 1978 would increase.
The increase in the State Pension Age to 68 is being brought forward. This will be a maximum increase of one year compared to their current State Pension Age of 67. There will be a sliding scale for the increase with those born on or after 6th March 1971 receiving their pension at 68. The increase in pension ages reflects increasing life expectancy and reflects changes happening in other countries.
Those born on or before the 5th April 1970 will see no change to their current State Pension Age. Those born on or after 6th April 1978 will also see no change following this announcement as they already have a State Pension Age of 68 following a review implemented by the previous Government in 2007, a point some commenting on this in the media have not made clear.
You can hear comments on the statement by clicking here.
Have You Seen Indy?
A regular reader has been in touch to appeal for help in finding Indy, her much loved Golden Retriever.
Indy, who is 13 years old, went missing from the Black Head area of the Bishops Walk coast path last Friday (14th July). Lots of people have been searching for him but if you have seen any sign of him you can contact 07771 570317 or 01803 615529
Watcombe Hall Hospital Inadequate
Earlier today the Care Quality Commission (CQC) informed me that they had published a report on Watcombe Hall Hospital in Torquay, which they rated as Inadequate and placed into special measures.
Watcombe Hall is an independent hospital, providing specialist mental health services for children and adolescents aged 13 to 18 years. You can read more about the report on the CQC website by clicking here.
Given the nature of the services provided and the report a maeeting has been requested with the inspection team to discuss their next steps.
Chapter Ends For Torbay Bookshop
A chapter will close for Paignton next month as the Torbay Bookshop is set to close.
Owners Sarah and Matthew Clarke put the shop up for sale in September after two decades, but have decided to close the shop after failing to find a buyer. Sir Patrick Moore officially opened the original shop on 22nd November 1993, while the current iteration of the shop was officially opened in 2002 by author Dick Francis. You can read more by clicking here.
Many residents will have memories of choosing some wonderful books there for loved ones, including my own of buying my Mother’s presents for her final Christmas in 2013. It will therefore be sad to see this business turn its last page.
Fire Regulations Prosecution
A Torquay landlady who put her tenants at risk by flouting fire regulations appeared before Torquay Magistrates Court.
She pleaded guilty to five offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and was fined £7,000, reduced from £10,500 for an early guilty plea. She was also ordered to pay £4,000 in costs to Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service and a victim surcharge of £140.
Following the Grenfell Tower Disaster there has been much debate about whether Fire Safety standards are being enforced. This case shows that in our area the authorities will take action to keep people safe and you can read more details of the case on the Devon Live website by clicking here.
This week showed blind courage here in the bay as he set his latest record.
On Wednesday blind legend Mike Newman completed his latest challenge, to become the first blind person to take an F1 Powerboat at over 100mph. Mike Newman is the fastest blind man on earth, and currently the holder of multiple Guinness world records for both land and sea.
Launching his boat from Torquay Harbour he easily broke the record, hitting 105 MPH. This achievement being added to his other records including taking a car to over 200 MPH and a Truck to 120 MPH. You can see some photos of the event and a video with Mike on the Devon Live website by clicking here.
Classic Car Show
Saturday 22nd July 11am till 4pm
St Martin’s Church Barton
In addition to cars there will be a model railway exhibition, book and cake stalls, plus refreshments in the church hall. If you would like to take your own vehicle along please contact Julia Rolls on firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Saturday 22nd July 10:00am – 1pm
Catholic Church of our Lady of Walsingham, Old Mill Road, Chelston (Former Chelston Methodist)
Tombola, Books, Refreshments and Games will be on offer.
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
Tuesday 25th July @ Paignton Green
Torbay Neighbourhood Watch – Working Together
Teams from D&S Fire & Rescue Service, Trading Standards, Guide Dogs for the Blind and lots of others will be on hand to give advice.