Some Local (and otherwise) News


News Courtesy of Kevin Foster

(MP for Torbay)

Any views expressed in this news post are those of Kevin Foster unless stated otherwise.

This week’s update is below and includes:  Castle Circus Update, Chance To Question Mayor on Paignton Town Centre Regeneration, GWR Community Fund Deadline Nears, What Do You Want From Local Commercial Radio?, Latest Unemployment Figures, Clarity on Velopark, Hospital Makes Mortuary Improvements, Kevin Nicholson Leaves TUFC, Children’s Services in Devon Survey, Get Vaccinated for Meningitis, And finally…..The Polar Express Needs A Santa.

Castle Circus Update, 

Problems with anti-social behaviour in Castle Circus are sadly not new, but in recent months have grown to become a serious nuisance.

I recently reported on a new crackdown being launched involving the Council, Police and other partners, but this week sought further clarity from the Council and Police on what exactly was being done to take this forward. This followed seeing two people collapsed on the street Wednesday lunchtime and hearing from those working in the area that there had been 4 previous cases that day, each one requiring an ambulance to visit.This following similar incidents on an almost daily basis.

One of the points I raised was that the presence of shoes hanging from a telephone wire (A sign drugs are being sold) over Factory Row for some weeks, despite being reported regularly, raised real concerns. The shoes were finally removed on Wednesday, but if something so simple had taken so long to achieve I inquired how long might other works take to be completed?

In a lengthy call with two senior Council officers yesterday afternoon I expressed these concerns and questioned when a range of actions would be completed. There was encouraging news on some of the physical changes proposed for Castle Circus and we also discussed how the law could be changed to make it easier to tackle these types of problems in the future.

This issue is not just about supporting our shopping centre, but dealing with a supply of drugs that could easily kill those using them. I have therefore asked that I receive regular updates on progress being made.

Chance To Question Mayor on Paignton Town Centre Regeneration, 

The Paignton Town Community Partnership have invited Torbay’s Elected Mayor, Gordon Oliver, to their next public meeting which will be held at Paignton Baptist Church (In Winner St) at 6.30pm on Wednesday 6th September.

The Mayor has agreed to attend and speak on “The Regeneration of Paignton where are we at”

I know the Partnership will be pleased to welcome anyone with an interest in Paignton’s Regeneration to the meeting. I believe the Mayor will also be taking questions on the subject of his talk.

GWR Community Fund Deadline Nears, 

A quick reminder that the GWR Customer Community Improvement Fund closes for bidding on Thursday 31st August.

The fund is making £750,000 available for community projects, linked to GWR rail services and stations. I am advised the application process is very easy, just a short online form, that can be found by clicking here.

What Do You Want From Local Commercial Radio?, 

A bidding process for the Commercial FM Radio Licence for Torbay & South Devon is underway and there is a chance for local residents to tell OFCOM what they want from it.

Two companies are bidding for the licence, current holders The Breeze and Radio Exe (An independently owned station) which broadcasts on FM in Exeter and East Devon with coverage in the bay and South Devon on DAB only. This competition will not affect any other radio stations you might listen to.

Ofcom has invited people to say what they would like out of commercial radio in Torbay, by writing to and marking the email ‘Torbay’. In my own comments I stressed the importance of a locally based broadcaster providing news and content from the bay, not just relaying national\regional content with the odd local reference included.

Latest Unemployment Figures, 

The latest unemployment figures were released this week and there was good news nationally, but mixed news locally.

Across the UK the figures showed that the employment rate is the highest since records began in 1971, with Youth Unemployment falling by 394,000 over the last seven years. 7 out of 10 jobs created are on a full-time basis.

Locally the figures showed that Unemployment has effectively flat-lined here in the bay over the last year. There are currently 1,425 people on out of work benefits, compared to 1,670 in April, yet up 10 from 1,415 last year.

You can read more on the Devon Live website by clicking here.

Clarity on Velopark, 

Following formal notices about a proposed lease appearing around the Velopark in Clennon Valley reports appeared on Social Media that made various claims about what this could mean.

Torbay Council has now issued a statement to clarify the position which I copy below:

“On Monday 7 August 2017, Torbay Council agreed to lease Torbay Leisure Centre and the adjacent Velopark to Parkwood Leisure until 2029.

The new lease between Torbay Council and Parkwood Leisure will see the current operator maintain and improve the leisure facilities at Clennon Valley over the next 12 years. Renegotiating the current lease terms and incorporating the adjacent Velopark has safeguarded the future provision of leisure facilities whilst providing additional funding for improvements. Parkwood Leisure’s current management agreement for Torbay Leisure Centre will now end two years ahead of schedule. 

As part of the new lease Parkwood Leisure will no longer be paid a management fee.In addition, Torbay Council will lend Parkwood Leisure £1.7m at market rates with the objective of improving customer satisfaction. This loan, which must be invested in improvements to the building and improved facilities, will be fully repaid by Parkwood Leisure over the duration of lease.”

Hospital Makes Mortuary Improvements, 

There has been coverage in the media this week of a report by the Human Tissue Authority into the storage of bodies at Torbay Hospital.

An inspection earlier this year raised a number of concerns about the facilities being used, although a follow up inspection this week confirmed a number of urgent improvements have been made. You can read more about this on the Devon Live website by clicking here.

I am reassured to read of the improvements made, but this is an area that will rightly be monitored for further improvement.

Kevin Nicholson Leaves TUFC, 

Just over two weeks ago I attended the monthly Torbay Business Forum Networking Breakfast to hear Torquay United Manager Kevin Nicholson talk about his work.

During his talk he remarked on how in his job there is no security and once the season started the results from games would determine how long he stayed in post. Little did I, or anyone else there, realise it would be only a matter of weeks before he would be leaving his job.

I know update readers will want to wish Kevin all the best for his future. You can read the club statement on his departure and the next steps, including how to apply for the Manager’s Job, by clicking here.

I am continuing in attempts to arrange a meeting with the Club’s Owner Clarke Osbourn to discuss his vision for the club, especially in relation to Plainmoor Stadium. I will keep residents updated.

Finally on a positive note one member of the team at Plainmoor picked up some silverware this week. Chris Ralph was awarded National League Groundsman of the Year 2016/17.

Children’s Services in Devon Survey, 

If you have experience of, or a view on, Children’s Services provided by the NHS in Devon you can now have your say on their future.

A new contract for children’s services will go out to tender at the end of this year.  The new contract relates to services across Devon, Torbay and Plymouth and includes school nursing, mental health and additional needs.

Before tender specifications are finalised in the autumn, a short survey tailored to different groups who use, interact with or work in children’s services is now available as part of a final push to get people with experience of these services to give their views. You can fill in the survey by clicking here

Further details on the consultation can be found on the New Devon CCG website by clicking here.

Get Vaccinated for Meningitis, 

A reminder is being issued about the ACWY vaccination, which protects young people from four different strains of meningitis.

School leavers who will be 18 on 31st August are being offered the vaccine at their GP surgery for the final year of the ‘catch up’ vaccination programme. First year university students up to the age of 25 are also eligible to receive the vaccine, which will continue to be offered routinely to year 9 students in schools.

You can read more information on the Torbay Council website by clicking here. If you or a member of your family is eligible for the vaccine but has not received it, the best option is to contact your GP Surgery.

And finally…..The Polar Express Needs A Santa.

If red is your favourite colour, you have a big white beard and are partial to the odd Mince Pie then your dream job is now available.

It might be August but the Devon Polar Express is already looking for a star for its main event this Christmas. The train runs along the Dartmoor Railway and the lucky passengers board in their pyjamas ready for a night of excitement as they meet characters from the famous film on their way to the North Pole.

You can find out more about the job and what it entails on the Devon Live website by clicking here. Sadly the package for the job does not include a company flying sleigh or reindeer allowance.

Best Wishes,




Devon Art Society Summer Exhibition – St Anne’s Hall, Babbacombe Road, Torquay, TQ1 3SN
Saturday 19th till Monday 28th August.
A wonderful exhibition of art painted by talented local artists, with the opportunity to purchase some of the pieces on display. Entry is free (Donations appreciated) from 10am till 6pm daily, including Sunday.

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.

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.

Torbay Royal Regatta 2017
Saturday 19th August to Wednesday 24th August  2016
The Regatta’s mix of fun, sailing and events returns for 2017, with the fireworks display commencing at 09.30pm (weather permitting) on Monday 21st August from Corbyn Head. Good viewpoints include the Princess Pier and Torquay Seafront.

Medway Messy Play Event
Friday 1st September  at Medway Children’s Centre, Medway Road, Torquay TQ2 8SA.
From 1.00pm – 2.30pm
Come along and have some fun at our messy play afternoon.
Phone 01803 210200 to book a place.

There are too many individual events to list them all in this update, but you can find details of them on the Regatta’s dedicated website by clicking here.

Are you running an event in the Bay? I am always looking to promote local events, big or small. If you have an event coming up, please email so it can be included.


Advice Surgeries

26th August 2017 – 11am – 1pm @ Torquay Library, Lymington Road, Torquay TQ1 3DT

2nd September 2017 – 10am – 12pm @ St Martins Church, Barton Hill Road, Torquay TQ2 8JA

16th September 2017 – 11am – 1pm @ Paignton Library, 22 Station Lane, Paignton TQ4 5AR

22nd September 2017 – 11am – 1pm @ 5-7 East Street, Torquay TQ2 5SD

It’s always best to book a slot to guarantee being able to see me. Full details of how to do this are on my website or call my office on  01803 214989, Monday – Fridays, 9am – 5pm

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