News courtesy of Kevin Foster
(MP for Torbay)
Any views expressed in this news post are those of Kevin Foster, unless stated otherwise.
Council Apologises for Final Demand Letter Error
Torbay Council has this week apologised after a mix up that saw many residents receive a Final Demand for Council Tax despite having paid their bill.
Concerned residents e-mailed Kevin Foster when they received a forceful letter, some despite having made all their regular payments.
The matter was raised with the Council on Monday morning and later in the day the Council published a statement confirming that in total 2,500 final notices were issued to households across Torbay. Just over 1,900 of these were for accounts where payments had been made late and who have previously received a first reminder. A second reminder should have been sent, not a final notice.
The Council has advised that they have written to all those residents affected apologising for this mix up, including an amended bill which resets their payment plan and cancels the final notice.
Any local resident who is concerned about this issue should call the Council on 01803 207201.
Update on Torwood Street
Over recent weeks a number of residents have enquired about what progress is being made with getting the development in Torwood Street underway.
Senior council officers were asked for an update and their response is below. Our understanding is that further news could be imminent.
“the Council continues to work with THAT Group to find out how the project can be brought forward. Subject to the developer being able to confirm their funding we expect that there will be works starting on site in September. Residents have also been in contact with ward councillors and we are advised that there has been some tidying up internally. THAT have also been reminded on the importance of the site and how visible it is as we enter the height of the summer.
Alan Denby – Director of Economic Strategy & Performance (TDA)”
£26m Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plant Opens
A £26million pharmaceutical manufacturing unit, which is the largest NHS manufacturer of sterile products in the UK, has been officially opened in Paignton.
Torbay Pharmaceuticals, part of Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, held an official opening ceremony to mark the completion of its new manufacturing unit in Wilkins Drive. The brand new, 78,000 sq ft manufacturing unit has all the latest technology and equipment required to provide a modern, class-leading pharmaceutical facility.
Proceeds of the income generated by the pharmaceuticals unit are ploughed back in to local health care in Torbay and South Devon. Each year this provides a multi-million pound cash injection for the local population’s health care needs.
It is great to see this investment going into Paignton and you can read more on the Devon Live website by clicking here.
Sadness as Paignton MIU Closes
Whilst the new manufacturing unit was good news for our NHS, there was sad news as Paignton Hospital’s Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) saw its last patients on Tuesday.
Paignton Hospital was due to stop providing MIU and X-ray facilities after today (Friday) but the closure was brought forward to Tuesday (July 25th) ‘owing to unforeseen circumstances’, according to Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust.
This is a sad and disappointing moment after such a strong campaign mounted by local residents that was supported by Sarah Wollaston and myself to keep an MIU service in Paignton. My key concern has always been that rather than head to Newton Abbot or Totnes more may instead go to Torbay Hospital’s A&E Department, putting further pressure on this service.
You can read more about the end of this service, plus details of where you can find the remaining MIU services in South Devon on the Devon Live website by clicking here.
Torbay Children’s Services
Over recent weeks there have been several items in the local media about the future for Children’s Services currently provided by Torbay Council.
A commissioner was appointed to oversee and advise on the Council’s work to improve these vital services. His appointment to this role in May 2016 followed an inspection that had rated Torbay’s Children’s Services as inadequate.
His views on the progress that has been made over the last year have been publicised, along with his thoughts on how Torbay’s services can be delivered in partnership with another Council in future. The partnership creating a larger service more able to cope with the pressures of delivering these services.
Given these services protect some of the most vulnerable people in our bay it is vital a secure long-term plan is put in place from them.
Microbeads Ban Announced
Concerns about the growing problem of plastic polluting our Oceans has resulted many Torbay residents demanding action.
Around eight million tonnes of plastic makes its way into oceans each year, posing a serious threat to our natural and marine environment. Experts estimate plastic is ingested by 31 species of marine mammals and over 100 species of sea birds.
As new figures published this week revealed more than nine billion fewer plastic bags were used since the government introduced a 5p charge, an 83 per cent reduction, the Environment Secretary (Michael Gove) set out further plans to prevent other sources of plastic finding their way into our oceans.
He confirmed that legislation will be introduced this year to ban the sale and manufacture of microbeads, tiny pieces of plastic that are easily swallowed by marine life, in cosmetics and personal care products such as toothpastes and shower gels. The proposed ban has been described as the strongest ban on microbeads in the world to date. You can read more on the Government website by clicking here
Nominate Your Historic Place In The Bay
Historic England is asking local residents to nominate a place, building or monument in Torquay or Paignton for their 100 places project?
During their year-long campaign, “Irreplaceable – A History of England in 100 Places”, they are calling on the public, history groups and experts to help them create a list of the 100 buildings and places which best tell England’s remarkable story and its impact on the world. You can nominate your favourite place, building or monument in the bay by clicking here
Please note that the Travel and Tourism category closes on 6th August but there are plenty of other categories over the next few months that places in our bay could be nominated for.
Want To Swim With Penguins?
Would you like to dive with penguins? Do you enjoy cleaning windows? If so Torquay’s Living Coasts would like to hear from you.
They are looking for qualified volunteer divers to help staff clean the huge underwater viewing windows. The tanks hold 1,650 cubic metres of water with the acrylic underwater viewing windows having a surface area of 64 square metres, nearly 700 square feet.
If you think you could dive into this role and make a success of it you can find more information on the Living Coasts website by clicking here.
Rare Dolphins Spotted Near Paignton
Passengers on a pleasure boat got a welcome treat this week as a pod of rare Risso’s Dolphins popped into the bay.
They are more commonly found in deep oceanic water meaning sightings like this are much rarer than for other Dolphins, it also means they have been studied less by scientists.
You can see photos and a video of the Dolphins on the Devon Live website by clicking here.
Dubs at the Beach –
30 Jul 2017 – Paignton Green, Paignton TQ4 6BN
On Sunday all the VW vans cruise down to Paignton Seafront for the usual ‘Show and Shine’ events in a wonderful setting right on the beach – click here for further information.
Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust – Tots Go Wild! – Occombe Farm
Preston Down Road, Paignton TQ3 1RN
Join us every Monday (09.30-11.00am) in the Summer holidays bring your tot for a morning of fun on the farm! Click here for more details.
Palace Theatre, Palace Avenue, Paignton TQ3 3HF
Dotty The Dragon – From Friday 4th August at 11am and 2pm
Click here for further details.
Paignton Regatta 2017 – Paignton Green, Paignton TQ4 6ED
5 Aug 2017 – 13 Aug 2017
Click here for full details.
Coffee and Croissants at the Legion – Paignton British Legion
12th August – Paignton Legion HQ, 39 Church Street, Paignton TQ3 3AJ
Time – 10:00 -12:00
Click here for more information
Children’s week 2017
15th – 19th August. – Paignton Green, Paignton TQ4 6BG
The UK’s longest running children’s festival, Torbay Children’s Week is now in its 71st year.
Click here for further details.