After a sunny day here in the bay it is time for my latest update.
Parliament has been in recess this week, meaning I have had chance to get out and about across the bay meeting residents and visiting local events. One of the best parts about recess is I do not need to be in London, although the weekly commute is back as I will be catching the train on Monday evening ahead of parliament returning on Tuesday 4th September.
My week began last Saturday at the Torbay Royal Regatta after Torquay Rowing Club invited me to join them for the day’s events, followed by presenting the prizes. As the pictures above show there was a lot of silverware to be presented with many of the trophies dating back decades. The Club itself was founded in 1869, with our bay providing the ideal spot for tournaments and individual contests. The best aspect of the day was seeing how many, including “veterans” crews, were just enjoying being able to take part.
Bank Holiday Monday saw a range of events across our bay. I dropped in on two: The Hog Roast at All Saints, Babbacombe and the Open Day event at Sanders Court in St Marychurch. Both had a range of entertainment on offer, with the planters at Sanders Court being used to grow some very impressive red cabbages. These events were followed by the spectacular Riviera Fireworks display from Corbyn Head later in the day which I hope many residents got to see.
Tuesday started with a meeting to discuss the impact of Diabetes in our community with local resident and Diabetes UK Campaigner, Carol Greechan. Medical advances in recent years have made it easier to support those with this condition, yet a worrying increase in obesity means many more people may develop it. I agreed to write to the Secretary of Health raising some specific ways the government could help.
Later in the day Cllr Dave Thomas and I headed to Plainmoor Stadium for a meeting with Clarke Osborne and his senior team. This followed an invitation from Mr Osborne for a discussion on the plans recently put forward for a new stadium, more on this below.
Being in the bay during the week allows me to get out on the doorsteps and ask residents what issues they are concerned about or if there is anything my team can assist with. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights saw me out knocking doors in Shiphay, Torre, Barton and St Marychurch.
Earlier this evening I headed down to the Bowling Alley in Torwood Street having been invited to see their new Remote Control Racing Track and meet those who enjoy using it on a regular basis.
This week’s update is below and includes: Legionella Discovery Closes Paignton Health Centre, Crime Commissioners Launch Spice Campaign, Park Hotel Application Submitted, UC Rollout, Scallop Battle, A New Post Office?, Torre Marine Update, Stoodley Knowle Visit, Special Constable Applications, “Energy” Drinks, and finally…..Parliament for Sale?
Legionella Discovery Closes Paignton Health Centre,
Outpatient clinics due to take place in Paignton Health and Wellbeing Centre from today (Friday 31st August) until Tuesday 4 September inclusive have been cancelled, following the discovery of Legionella bacteria in some taps in the former Paignton Hospital building.
I am advised it is normal for Legionella bacteria to be present in older buildings and any risk to people in outpatient settings is minimal, but the Trust has decided to cancel clinics at Paignton Health and Wellbeing Centre as a precaution while they carry out further testing and remedial works.
If you have recently visited the Centre or have any concerns further information can be found on the Trust’s website by clicking here.
Crime Commissioners Launch Spice Campaign,
The problems with “Spice” are all too evident on our streets, yet despite the impact of the drug on users it is consider a “Class B” drug, the same as Cannabis.
I have already raised this in parliament and met with the relevant minister to discuss the problems created by the current classification, not least in the sentencing dealers and suppliers of Spice receive if convicted. They can deal in a drug which has a Class A effect, expect when they are held to account in Court. This means they can be back out on the street much more quickly, unless caught with significant quantities.
This week Police and Crime Commissioners, including our own Alison Hernandez, have joined the calls for this drug to be reclassified. St Marychurch Cllr Ray Hill, local businessman John Doherty and Myself met Alison outside Torquay Town Hall on Wednesday to show our support.
You can read more on her website by clicking here.
Park Hotel Application Submitted,
Plans for the first major new built hotel on Paignton Seafront for a generation took a step forward this week as the Fragrance Group submitted its planning application for the Park Hotel site.
Since the former hotel closed last year it has become derelict which, together with long running eyesore the Lighthouse next door, has given a shabby look to one of our bay’s key seafront locations. The plan submitted to Torbay Council would see the existing hotel building demolished and a 160-bedroom, 3-star hotel erected in its place. I am advised the project will see the Fragrance group invest over £10m in the project and create over 100 jobs.
Whilst I appreciate many will be sad to see the current Park Hotel demolished it had been in decline for some time, with poor reviews from customers seeing it rated as one of the worst places to stay in Paignton on Tripadvisor prior to closure. No-one else has come forward with a plan to either run or regenerate the existing Park Hotel, not least because its original use as a row of terraced houses limits the potential for modernisation.
It will be for Councillors who sit on the Development Management Committee to take the final decision on this plan. You can see the full plans they will consider and let them know your view, for or against, on the Council’s website by clicking here.
I am prepared to support this plan. The alternative of yet another prominent derelict site in our area, based on waiting in the unrealistic hope of a perfect plan to materialise, is the worst option of all.
Full Service Universal Credit will roll out to Torquay Job Centre Plus on Wednesday 5th September, bringing with it one of the biggest changes to our benefits system in some decades.
Universal Credit sees different benefits (JSA, ESA, IS, WTC, CTC and housing benefit) converted into a single system. It also ends the situation where those in need must claim JSA\ESA from the DWP, but then separately apply for Housing Benefit from Torbay Council.
All UC claims must be made on line and The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have a contract with Torbay Council to deliver Assisted Digital Support for customers needing help with making a claim on line. This will be delivered in Brixham, Paignton and Torquay Libraries.
In addition, DWP have contracted with Torbay Council to deliver Personal Budgeting Support for customers needing help to manage UCFS monthly payments. This will be delivered via Torbay Citizens Advice Bureau – contact number 01803 297803.
I also have a specialist caseworker who can help advise, signpost and liaise directly with the DWP should constituents have problems in making a UC claim or with an ongoing UC claim. She can be contacted at my office on 01803 214 989 or via emailing me at Kevin@kevinjfoster.com Please note I cannot deal with casework via Twitter or Facebook.
The sight of Fishing Boats from our bay being attacked whilst lawfully fishing on the open sea was as shocking as it was unacceptable.
A dispute over Scallop Fishing rights turned violent when British Boats headed into the Baie-De-Seine earlier this week following the collapse of a previous agreement. Whilst French Law bans their vessels from fishing for Scallops before 1st October British Boats are not subject to this restriction. Whatever point the French Fishermen were hoping to make should be done peacefully, not via piracy.
The British Ambassador in Paris has raised this issue with the French Government and UK Ministers are in talks with their French counterparts. This issue is almost certain to be a hot topic for debate in parliament next week.
A New Post Office?,
News of a proposal to close Torre Post Office caused anger in the local community when it was announced last year.
The Post Office claimed the branch was not being closed but only “moved” to a convenience store in Lymington Road. The location suggested was strange given the closure of a previous Post Office in that location 10 years ago as part of a large program of Post Office closures which saw thousands disappear nationally.
The campaign to save Torre Post Office saw hundreds respond to the consultation opposing it, along with a debate in parliament. The campaign achieved significant success after the closure was delayed for discussions with a potential new operator who wished to keep the service in the heart of Torre. The last news given to the local Community Partnership and Myself was the talks were progressing well.
Surprisingly an advert has now appeared on the Post Office website asking for expressions of interest in a new Post Office in Lymington Road due to them identifying “additional untapped demand”. You can read the advert by clicking here.
Whilst additional services in our area are useful this advert does conflict with previous comments and Torre Post Office’s role at the heart of the local district centre is what makes it so valuable to residents. I will therefore be contacting the Post Office for clarity on what is happening.
Torre Marine Update,
Earlier this year the long-awaited Play Park at Torre Marine opened, yet this achievement is in danger of being soured due to an ongoing delay in getting a bin and lighting sorted.
The site is yet to be adopted by Torbay Council which means the building company Barratts are still responsible for its maintenance, hence the lack of a bin. The approach of darker nights also makes it urgent the street lighting is turned on, so the Play Park is not in darkness most of the day.
Torre and Upton Community Partnership (CP) have been chasing this issue and earlier today I sent a further request to Barratts for an update on why this is taking so long. I have had a reply indicating they are discussing bin locations and looking to do maintenance work. They have also sought confirmation from the CP about which lights are not working.
I will include any further progress in a future update.
Stoodley Knowle Visit,
On Wednesday I joined residents, members of the Torbay Civic Society and members of the Wellswood & Torwood Community Partnership for a tour of the former Stoodley Knowle School site, which is now derelict.
The purpose of the visit was to discuss the development being suggested for the former school with the architect working for the Diocese of Plymouth who has drawn them up. The site is not only sensitive in terms of the bay’s Undeveloped Coastal Area, but also contains what is believed to be the bay’s oldest building, a small Oratory built of stone.
The scheme would see the larger modern buildings (which are visible at the top of the hill) demolished, a new Nursing Home created and 100 homes, including apartments, created on the site. 25 acres of green space would be retained, along with the Cemetery. All listed buildings are preserved, with conversions into residential accommodation, access to the site would be from Ilsham Marine Drive and Anstey’s Cove Road.
Any scheme progressing on the site will be subject to a planning application being made to Torbay Council. There will be formal consultation on any application with residents.
Special Constable Applications,
Special Constables work as part of the Policing team keeping our community safe and applications to join their ranks have just opened.
You must be over 18 and meet the eligibility criteria (Which contrary to popular belief does not include a height requirement). Full details are available on the Devon and Cornwall Police website by clicking here.
The closing date for registering your interest is Friday 7th September.
The Government has announced it is considering banning the sale of energy drinks to children.
Energy drinks are soft drinks containing higher levels of caffeine than other soft drinks and may also contain a lot of sugar. Evidence suggests excessive consumption of energy drinks by children is linked to negative health outcomes such as headaches, sleeping problems, irritation and tiredness. As a result, there have been calls from health professionals, teachers and some industry bodies for an end to sales of high-caffeine energy drinks to children. The Consultation can be found by clicking here.
The manufacturers of these drinks make clear they are not suitable for children and do not market them as such. Many retailers have already introduced a voluntary ban on Energy Drink sales to under 16’s, yet others have not and where sold from vending machines children can still easily access them.
and finally…….Parliament for Sale?
A rather unique chance to buy a building it is said parliament once met in has become available.
Many reading this will assume I must be talking about a building in London, however the most momentous moment in Torbay’s history means “Parliament House” is only 8 miles from our bay in Longcombe.
In November 1688 William of Orange landed in Brixham with about 20,000 troops and started making his way inland. Parliament House marks where he met up with Sir Edward Seymour, an influential Privy Counsellor and opponent of James II, along with some unnamed ‘Gentlemen of the West’. This meeting was dubbed his first parliament on English soil. This unique house is now up for sale. You can read more on the Mail Online by clicking here.
That is all for this week and enjoy your weekend.
TUFC Stadium Plan Talks
On Tuesday Cllr David Thomas and I meet with Clarke Osborne, the owner of Torquay United Football Club, for a discussion with him and his team about the recent announcements relating to a new stadium.
The meeting was the result of an invitation to meet from Mr Osborne, after I raised a number of queries and expressing concerns about the plans put forward, not least the lack of details to back them up.
Whilst the meeting was a constructive one, with some useful comments around the new stadium being “the Club’s Stadium”, both Cllr Thomas and I were clear there was a lot more work which needed to be done before it could be seriously considered. This included demonstrating three core areas had been satisfied. These were:
1. Whether the site as a former landfill could physically take the development concerned.
2. A detailed transport assessment, especially in relation to the suggested events arena.
3. An ecology assessment of whether the site was suitable for such a development.
This is not an exhaustive list of issues to be considered, not least the impact on the residents living around the site of such a facility, but if these three are not satisfied there would be little point wasting time considering it any further.
At the end of the meeting we made clear an endorsement of the plans would not be offered by ourselves, although we would be happy to continue a constructive engagement with the Club about how it secures its future. Cllr Thomas and I also made clear the future for Plainmoor Stadium would need to part of the discussions.
There is more about this issue on my website and you can read the article by clicking here.
Every Saturday – Torquay’s U13 Rugby Team – fund-raising car wash to raise money for their World Cup Japan Tour 2019 – at Torquay Rugby Club. Click here for further information.
Saturday 1st September – Christians Together in Torquay Prayer Breakfast 8am at Central Church. A gathering of Christians from across the denominations for Breakfast,Prayer and a talk. This month Kevin is talking about his work as Torbay’s MP. Donations requested.
Saturday 1st September – Fun in Brewery Park, Ellacombe. Lots of free fun on offer for families between 11am and 2pm arranged by Captain Ade of the Church Army.
Saturday 1st September – Torbay Police and Community Choir in concert with Beaufort Male Voice Choir at Central Church, Torquay – admission £5 – Concert starts at 7:30pm Click here for poster.
Thursday 6th September – Torbay Film Club 2018/19 season begins with ‘On a Clear Day’ – Venue is St. Matthias Church Hall, Babbacombe Road, Torquay. Doors open at 7pm for film start at 7.30pm. Non Members are very welcome and tickets are £5.50 on the door. visit http://www.torbayfilmclub.co.uk/ for more information.
Saturday 8th September Charity Open Day at Preston Conservative Club. The club will be open from 12noon till 3pm with a range of stalls and a BBQ available. Funds raised will go to tackling Bowel Cancer.
Friday 14th September Michael Card In Concert – Christchurch, Paignton.
The Christian songwriter and musician is playing at one of Paignton’s Beautiful Victorian Churches. I am advised his style is quite gentle and will appeal to all age groups. Concert Starts at 7:30pm. Tickets £12.50 in advance, £15 on the door. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Every Monday and Friday – from 8pm. Torbay Brass Band are seeking players, they rehearse in The Salvation Army Hall, Torquay. Contact number for further information is 07901 647927 – Click here for more info.
Every Tuesday from 0930 till 1230. The Royal British Legion Office, 39 Church Street, Paignton is open. It is where ex members of the armed forces can receive help and advice. Information is also available about volunteering to help with the Poppy Appeal in November. appointments can be made by phoning 01803 555838, or email email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org so it can be included.
Saturday 1st September, 10am – 12pm @ St Martin’s Church, Barton Hill Road, TQ2 8HU.
Friday 7th September, 3pm – 5pm @ The Windmill Centre, Pendennis Road, Torquay TQ2 7QB
Saturday 15th September, 11am – 1pm @ Preston Baptist Church, Old Torquay Road, Paignton TQ3 2RB
Friday 21st September, 3pm – 5pm @ 5-7 East Street, Torquay TQ2 5SD
Friday 28th September, 3pm – 5pm @ Paignton Baptist Church, Winner Street, Paignton TQ3 3BY
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 you can call my office on 01803 214989, Monday – Fridays, 9am – 5pm.
You can either email me at email@example.com or leave a message on 01803 214989 and we will get back to you as quickly as possible.