After a sunny day here in the bay it is time for my latest update.
My week started last Saturday with two sessions getting out on the doorsteps to speak with residents. The first was in Babbacombe with local Councillors Ray Hill and Anne Brooks, then later in the day I headed out in Shiphay with Cllr Mark Kingscote.
The perfect antidote to a week in Westminster is to get out and about hearing what local people think on the issues which matter to them. Light evenings and good weather have meant the last two months have given me several opportunities to do this. One big theme emerging from the hundreds of conversations my team and I have been having is the need to regenerate our Town Centres and deal with anti-social behaviour\crime taking place in them.
At lunchtime I popped into Preston Conservative Club for their open day and table top sale. The event was aimed at raising money for Bowel Cancer Research, a cause close to my heart given my Mother was affected by this illness. It was good to see many residents there and I even picked up a couple of Christmas Decorations from a craft stall.
I followed this with a visit to the Heritage Open Day being held at St Mary Magdalene, Torquay. Many update readers will pass this historic gem every day, yet not realise some of the history it has. The church has a memorial dedicated to a victim of the Titanic disaster, a small carved wooden mouse which was the “signature” of a Victorian church designer, some of the best decorative stonework of the era (Which is listed) and a full set of church bells. It was great to see some of the best bits of its history as it prepares for a new Vicar to arrive.
On Sunday I headed over to Paignton Rugby Club for their family day and to hear about further expansion plans for their youth provision. Our tour included a visit to the Home Changing Room (Pictured above) and seeing what work the club is doing to bring more local children into the game. Last year they expanded to two new pitches in Torbay Park and are now looking to provide for some youth games in Victoria Park.
At a time when there is so much talk about needing to get more children exercising it is great to see the Cherries expanding like this. Subject to sensible restrictions, which are in place at other pitches, I see no reason why further expansion should not be welcomed.
The perfect weather of Sunday afternoon provided a superb backdrop for the St Martin’s Barton Cream Tea, held at a parishioner’s home in Watcombe. This was followed by the Patronal Festival at St Marychurch, before a late-night trip to London ahead of the House of Commons sitting for four days this week.
Today I have been back in the bay discussing the potential merger of Devon’s two CCGS and to visit a Care Agency which has just opened in our bay. There is more on these below, along with this week’s update which includes: Storm Warning, Riviera Centre Redevelopment, Thousands More Saving For Pensions, Offensive Weapons Bill Committee, Cornish Visitor, Organ Donor Bill, Scallop Fishing, Beat The Street, Great British Beach Clean Up The Lucky For Some Bus and finally……What Do Ali, Bronagh, Violet & Wyn all have in Common?
If planning to head out on the water or near the coast this week do check the latest weather forecast before doing so as the Met Office today issued a Yellow Warning for Mon\Tues night.
The best place to check the latest weather news is the Met Office website where detailed forecasts can be found for the week ahead.
Just click here to be taken to it.
Riviera Centre Redevelopment,
Plans for a redevelopment of the Riviera Centre hit the headlines this week.
Since it opened the Centre has been controversial, with a large taxpayer subsidy required each year despite promises when built it “would not costs a penny”. Whilst this subsidy has been significantly reduced in recent years, the annual sum still stands at over £300,000.
The Centre is located on one of the most significant sites in our bay, with a commanding view over Torre Abbey Sands. It is the location for a range of conferences and events, although as it ages a debate is starting about what to do with it in future as facilities in other Towns\Cities have been developed in recent years, whilst venues like the Bournemouth International Centre have undergone major refurbishment.
In the long term the Riviera Centre does need to balance its books and operate without a subsidy, therefore it is right Councillors are considering a plan for its future. Major investment to modernise the conference halls and supporting facilities, supported by providing a new hotel, offices and some homes on the site could be an option. Yet suggestions this development would include building on the Bowling Greens in front of the Riviera Centre and the land in front of Torre Abbey (Which is prone to coastal flooding) are, I am advised, wide of the mark. The site plan does not include these areas (Page 10 of the Market Brief confirms this), although any major development of the RIC site could have an impact on them in terms of access and setting.
Councillors will be discussing the proposals at 5:30pm on Thursday (appropriately) in the Rosetor Suite of the Riviera Centre. You can read the papers they will be considering by clicking here and the proposed Market Brief here.
The meeting will be held in public if you would like to attend and listen to the debate.
Thousands More Saving For Pensions,
New figures were released this week showing 7,000 more people in Torquay and Paignton have enrolled in a workplace pension.
Auto-enrolment was introduced so more workers can save for retirement, giving people greater financial security and independence in their retirement. National figures released this week show, due to changes in workplace pensions, over 9 million more people are now enrolled.
News of the impact of auto-enrolment followed figures released last week showing the number of workplace pension schemes has reached a record high of 41.1 million in 2017, up nearly 50 per cent in the last six years.
Offensive Weapons Bill Committee,
Over the last two weeks I have been part of a small group of MPs examining line by line the offensive weapons bill.
This week we considered in detail provisions around firearms legislation and banning bump stocks. Bump Stocks became notorious after the massacre in Las Vegas where one was used to make a rifle automatic. Whilst the weapons used in the attack are already banned in the UK, bump stocks are a more recent invention with only an importation ban preventing them being available. This new law will make possessing one a criminal offence.
The bill committee finished its work on Tuesday and the bill will return to the floor of the House next month before heading to the Lords.
Earlier today a regular visitor from Cornwall was out and about in Torquay Town Centre making some new friends.
PD Jet might not know the correct way to do a scone (cream first), but she can certainly sniff out those her friends from Torquay Police might wish to stop for a chat and a search for drugs. She not only made some new “friends” but helped identify a vehicle which was seized.
Jet’s visit was well timed as the new Basic Command Unit for South Devon came into being this week, ensuring the Police will be able to more effectively target resources to our area than when we were part of a unit covering Devon (Excluding Plymouth) as a whole.
This week I also challenged the Policing Minister about his awareness of the pressures our police face from drug usage in the House of Commons. You can read my question and his response by clicking here.
Organ Donor Bill,
A new law intended to increase the number of Organs available for transplant passed its key committee stage this week.
The bill is being sponsored by Labour MP Geoffrey Robinson, who asked me to serve on the Committee considering it. Its main purpose is to switch the position in England and Northern Ireland to one of “deemed consent”, which means organs can be used for transplant unless the person has opted out or there is clear evidence they would have done if they knew of the provision to do so. There are also provisions which cover those who would not have been capable of making an informed choice to do so.
Currently Doctors approach relatives of those who have very recently died or whose life support system is about to be switched off to obtain consent for Organ Donation. This can be distressing for all involved, with occasions where the wishes of the deceased can be overridden. The new law is expected to make many more organs available for transplant, helping save lives here in the bay.
The most important part of this issue is letting your closest relatives know your wishes. You can also register your wish to be an Organ Donor online with the NHS quickly and easily by clicking here.
Over recent weeks the rights of British Fisherman to fish for Scallops in the Baie De Seine have been in the spotlight following violent attacks on boats exercising them.
Earlier this week negotiations aimed at finding an agreement between the French and British Governments broke down without agreement. Following this the Fisheries Minister gave a statement to MPs outlining the steps being taken by the Government to prevent a repeat of the violence.
I took the chance to emphasise our crews were acting lawfully and those involved in attacks on our vessels are committing a crime for which they should be prosecuted. You can read my comments and the Minister’s response by clicking here.
Beat The Street,
Torquay, Paignton and Brixham are set to be transformed into a giant game this Autumn as thousands of residents compete to see if their school, community or business can walk, run or cycle the furthest.
Running from 19th September to 31st October, Beat the Street is a free, fun challenge where people are rewarded with points and prizes for exploring their town on foot or bicycle.
More than 80 special sensors called ‘Beat Boxes’ will appear across Torbay. Players tap the Beat Boxes will cards and fobs to track their journey and earn points for themselves and their team – the more Beat Boxes people swipe the more points they earn.
Want to find out more about Beat the Street? You can find all the info you need by clicking here.
Great British Beach Clean Up,
This weekend will see the Great British Beach Clean Up, with several events taking place in our bay.
Tomorrow’s activities are part of a national volunteer effort to tidy up our beaches at the end of a busy summer. There are events in Torquay and Paignton, with details easy to find online by clicking here.
Those wishing to take part in an event are asked to register beforehand, which is free to do.
The Lucky For Some Bus,
The number 13 bus, which serves Kingsteignton, Newton Abbot, The Willows, Torbay Hospital, Paignton, South Devon College and Brixham provides a link throughout South Devon.
Residents have campaigned and worked with Stagecoach to keep or maintain this vital route, but the public need to use these routes otherwise they may be “at risk” again in the future. As local campaigner, Mr Jean Potter says, “the watchword must continue to be; ‘Use it or lose it’.
You can find a copy of the timetable for the 13 by clicking here.
and finally……What Do Ali, Bronagh, Violet & Wyn all have in Common?
Whilst it may sound like the line up for a band, these names could soon be across the media for a very different reason, they are some of the official storm names for 2018/19.
This is the fourth year the Met Office and Met Éireann (the meteorological service in the Irish Republic) have jointly run the ‘Name our Storms’ scheme, aimed at raising awareness of severe weather before it hits.
The first storm will be ‘male’ and named Ali, while the second storm will be ‘female’ and named Bronagh, following the alternating male/female pattern established by the US National Hurricane Center in the 1970’s. Q, U, X, Y and Z will not be used to comply with the international storm naming conventions.
Storms are named to make it easier to describe them in media coverage and raise public awareness of imminent severe weather. You can read more on the Met Office website by clicking here.
That is all for this week and enjoy your weekend.
Fri 14 to Sun 30 Sep 2018 (2 weeks) – Torbay Art Collective/Open Studios @TorreAbbey click here for full details.
Until 22nd September – Artizan Gallery 7 Lucius Street ‘Distraction’ A group exhibtion feat: Chantal Ashwell, Roger Lissenden and Sandra Lissenden. Click here for full details
Until 23rd September – Artizan Gallery 7 Lucius Street ‘Potters’ at Artizan/Devon Open Studios. click
for full details
Saturday 15th September Friends of St. Matthias Church – Blackberry & Apple Fayre,10.30am. – 2.30 p.m.at the Church and Centre. Many stalls and competitions. Live band between 11.00 a.m. and 1.00 p.m. and organ recital 1.00 p.m. – 1.30 p.m. Refreshments with a delicious lunch followed by Raffle. Everyone welcome.
Saturday 15th September Torbay Brass Band – Last Night of the Proms. Raising funds for Life Care Radio. 7:30pm till 10:30pm, Salvation Army Hall, Market Street, Torquay, TQ1 3AF Tickets £5 on the door.
Saturday 3rd November – Brainwave Charity – Jumble Sale – 11am to 3pm at Palace Avenue Methodist Church Hall – click here for more details.
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 – Clickhere 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 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
Saturday 6th October, 11am – 1pm @ The Acorn Centre, Lummaton Cross, Torquay TQ2 8ET
Friday 12th October, 3pm – 5pm @ Paignton Baptist Church, 43 Winner Street, Paignton TQ3 3BJ
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.