After a sunny day here in the bay it is time for my latest update.
I started my week speaking at the MS SW Regional Conference (Top Left) at the Grand Hotel. I was asked to cover how those affected by Multiple Sclerosis could get their voices heard at Westminster and ensure local decision makers understood the issues they face accessing services. A particularly inspirational part of the conference was hearing Prof Giovannoni talk about research into how MS could be a preventable condition in future.
Saturday afternoon saw me in Mead Road, Torquay (Top right) attending the unveiling of a plaque by Torbay Civic Society commemorating Harry Brearley, a renowned metallurgist who lived there in retirement until his death in 1948. His monumental achievement was the invention of Stainless Steel, a material which revolutionised a range of equipment including the cutlery we use every day.
This week saw the Conservative Party Conference take place in Birmingham from Sunday till Wednesday. I do not use these updates to make or promote party political points so will not go into details about those, but a major party conference is a unique event to experience which has lots of similarities to the music festivals which take place in our bay.
The main acts take place on the Conference Stage, with the final day seeing the Prime Minister speak. These are relayed live on BBC Parliament and widely trailed. Yet many other debates, media interviews, stalls and events take place around these. My week at conference included: meeting IFAW to discuss Elephant Conservation, discussions with the Rail Industry about future reform, talks with James Brokenshire about Torbay Council and, rather bizarrely, playing a “Whack-A-Mole” game Guide Dogs had organised to highlight issues with pavement parking.
Some question the necessity for traditional Party Conferences in an era when digital communications mean much more information is available about what a party thinks than just listening to an annual conference on the TV or Radio. Yet they are a unique time when leading figures in charities, politics, the media, business and members of a political party come together to reflect on the year ahead, hence they will continue.
Last night I joined a large audience at St John’s Church Hall in Shiphay for SADS latest show “Hi-De-Hi” (Bottom left). Those who were fans of the show will love this version of it, with excellent performances from those cast in iconic roles including Peggy, Ted and Gladys. There is still one more chance to catch it at 7:30pm tomorrow night (Saturday 6th October). Tickets are only £7.50 for adults and it is well worth it!!! Best of all resurfacing work has finished on the stretch of Cadewell Lane outside the hall so you can easily park but must approach it from the Torbay Hospital End to avoid the closure still in place outside the Co-op.
Finally earlier today I popped into the South Devon Jobs Fair at Torquay Town Hall (Bottom Right) where 70 employers with 600 jobs available, including Midas a construction company working on the Torwood Street Regeneration, were speaking to local job seekers. It was great to see the range of work on offer, from apprenticeships and entry level jobs for those starting out on their career to highly technical and skilled roles.
This week’s update is below: Airshow Appeal Launched, Torbay is Blooming, Police Merger Blocked, Dawlish Train Line, Torwood Mural Relocated, TUFC Stadium Survey Result, Trunk in Charge, Council Housing Cap Lifted, Roselands Primary Playing Fields, Torbay Lottery, Dog Ban Lifted, Kev’s Column: More Councillors Needed? And finally……I’ve Got the Perfect Angle.
Airshow Appeal Launched,
Torbay Airshow looked like it might be grounded after Torbay’s Elected Mayor announced sponsors and the public would have to come up with the money needed to fund it.
Yet hopes are now soaring as businesses have emerged to back it according to the team tasked with raising the £90,000 needed to replace the subsidy from Council Taxpayers. Hence a public appeal for donations is also being launched. If you would like to support it you can find full details by clicking here.
Unlike similar events across the country held at Airfields Torbay Airshow is free to attend, with many low-cost\free activities on the ground ensuring it is great fun for the family no matter what your budget. If you can afford to contribute it will ensure this continues. If the Airshow Team is not successful in reaching their fundraising target, your donation will be used to support other Arts, Culture or Events in Torbay.
Torbay is Blooming,
The South West in Bloom award ceremony took place in Crediton yesterday, and Torbay was triumphant!
Torquay won Gold in the Champion of Champions, while Brixham, Paignton, and Babbacombe with St Marychurch all won Gold for the second year running. There were also many high-level awards in the It’s Your Neighbourhood competition for groups right across the Bay.
SW in Bloom is one of eighteen regional and national competitions that make up Britain in Bloom, the biggest horticultural campaign in Europe. The full details of the awards are due to be published soon by South West in Bloom.
Margaret Forbes-Hamilton, chair of Torbay Greenspace Forum as well as several voluntary groups gave me this quote for tonight’s update:
“It was my pleasure to escort the judges round the gardens in Abbey Park. Jon Wheatley, who has won 14 gold medals at Chelsea Flower Show, stated that he had never seen these gardens is such superb condition. He congratulated the gardeners personally on their excellent work, but was also complimentary about the offer of all facilities in the park for the tourists: cafes, sports and floral displays.”
Police Merger Blocked,
Earlier today Councillors on the Police and Crime Panel for Devon & Cornwall voted to support the “minded to” decision by our local Police and Crime Commissioner to block a potential merger with Dorset Police.
As reported in last week’s update Alison Hernandez had expressed a range of doubts about the merger plans but decided the issue should be discussed by the panel made up of Councillors before issuing her final decision. After a range of questions and significant debate they voted 12 to 4, with one abstention, to support Alison’s decision. You can read more about this by clicking here.
Cornwall, Plymouth and Torbay Councils had expressed concerns about the proposed merger, not least the lack of clarity about what it might mean for front line policing in their areas.
Dawlish Train Line,
The need to secure the Dawlish Coastal Rail Line for the future was top of the Agenda when Sir John Armitt, Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, visited Exeter.
Sir John made clear during his visit the region must come together to address the long running rail issue once and for all, something MPs of all parties have been calling on the Government to do since 2014 when a storm left the rail tracks at Dawlish hanging in the air.
Network Rail is currently conducting detailed survey work on plans to re-route the rail line around 30 yards out to sea from Smugglers to Teignmouth. This causeway option would see the line rebuild from the tunnel at Smugglers’ Lane, out on to the beach past Spray Point, and then curve back in land towards Teignmouth. This plan is based on the threat to the route’s survival posed by the potential for major cliff falls which could close it for months at a time.
At the Conservative Party Conference this week I again caught up with Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, to discuss progress with this project. His indication was very clear work on the scheme, which could cost up to £500m, would progress if the survey works are positive.
Torwood Mural Relocated,
A poignant mural painted on hoardings around the Torwood Street site have found a new home at Torquay Museum.
Four of the original 15 panels were carefully removed to be repositioned on the Museum Forecourt, where they will be displayed for the next month.
TUFC Stadium Survey Result,
I recently sent out a survey to local residents living around Nightingale Park asking them for their views on the proposal from Torquay United Football Club for a new stadium to be built on it.
In the responses received so far, the majority of residents expressed the view Torquay United should stay at the ground in Plainmoor.
Only 18% of respondents said they would support the move to Nightingale Park.
I will use the findings from this survey in my continuing discussions with Torquay United Club owners, Torquay United Supporters Trust (Who I met at an event during the Conservative Party Conference this week) and Torbay’s Councillors who will decide whether this scheme should progress any further.
If you live near the park and have not returned my survey there is still time to do so using the Freepost envelope supplied with it.
Trunk in Charge,
A local charity beer has raised an elephantine sum for wildlife conservation.
Paignton Zoo supports environmental education in the Omo Forest of south-western Nigeria, where the elusive forest elephant still survives. The Zoo has been funding work there since 2008. Bays Brewery helped generate £3,282 by selling a special beer, Trunk Ale, on behalf of wildlife charity Paignton Zoo Environmental Park.
Bays donated 10 pence from every pint sold to the conservation charity. So, with 32,282 pints sold if you saw a Pink Elephant after a night at the Pub you might have enjoyed making a donation to this worthy cause a little bit too much!!
Council Housing Cap Lifted,
For several decades the ability of Councils to borrow money against their assets to build new homes has been strictly limited, yet on Wednesday the Prime Minister announced this cap will be removed.
This technical change could pave the way for a major programme of house building by Councils across England. The ability to borrow capital to build homes, backed by the certainty of income streams from renting (or selling them under right to buy later) is how the building of major estates was funded in the past.
It has been several decades since a major Council Estate was built in Torbay, with this type of approach unlikely to return here or across the country. Yet it could allow Council’s the ability to invest in particular schemes to regenerate Town Centres or deliver specific social housing needs on sites they own.
Roselands Primary Playing Fields,
Earlier today Cllr Jane Barnby and I visited Roselands Primary School to speak with the Headteacher about plans for the school to expand its playing fields into a neighbouring field.
The field is to the rear of the school and has not been developed previously for any purpose, with hay collected from it by cutting the grass. It is mostly used for dog walking and is owned by Torbay Council. The School wishes to expand its grounds to create a football pitch and build new facilities on an existing playground. The field would be surrounded by a green metal fence, similar to one around a nearby playground.
A decision will be made by Councillors later this month and the school has written to nearby homes asking for views on its plan.
The Torbay Lottery is empowering local groups to generate vital funds in a fun and effective way, while enabling players to support the causes they care about the most.
109 local good causes have now signed up and the Torbay Lottery has raised £51,500 from them since it was launched in April 2017.
It is now easier than ever to choose the good cause you wish to support through the new category search. Categories include: animals, carers, children and family, community groups, disability, education and learning, heritage, parks and open spaces.
You can find out more and sign up to play by clicking here.
Dog Ban Lifted,
The arrival of Autumn always sets a few tails wagging in the bay as the seasonal Dog bans are lifted on several beaches.
Beaches where you can take you dog for a paddle in the winter include Paignton Sands, Preston Sands and Torre Abbey Sands. You can read the full list on Torbay Council’s website by clicking here.
Kev’s Column: More Councillors Needed?
Every fortnight I write a “Kev’s Column” for the Herald Express and you can read the latest edition by following the link below:
And finally…..I’ve Got the Perfect Angle.
Ending on a lighter note one local train enthusiast thought he had the perfect spot to see one of the icons of the Golden Age of Steam, Flying Scotsman, passing through Dawlish.
Everything was ready and as the world’s most famous train approached Dawlish in full steam hauling a special excursion train to Plymouth he had the perfect angle. The video started to record the glorious sight as Flying Scotsman headed through towards his carefully selected spot, yet a short horn blast indicates something slightly more modern is about to come into view. You can click here to see the magic moment for yourself.
If you would like to get a clear view of this magnificent train you can find the details of times she will be travelling back through Devon on Devon Live by clicking here.
That is all for this week and enjoy your weekend.
Thursday 4th Oct to Saturday 6th October 7:30pm “Hi De HI” – Shiphay Amateur Drama Society’s latest production promises to be a good night out as they give their take on the classic comedy series. St John’s Church Hall, Cadewell Lane, Shiphay. Tickets are £7.50 for adults, £5.00 for under 16. More details by clicking here.
Saturday 6th October – Fund raising for the Special Care Baby Unit, Torbay Hospital
The event will be at The Medway Centre Watcombe. 10.30 – 3.30. Many bargains to be had. Children’s clothes. Toys, cuddly toys. Shoes, books adults and children’s. Bric a brac. A PRIZE DRAW. – Tea and coffee with cake.
New Season of Public Lectures at Torquay Museum:
Tuesday 9th October 10.45am – 12 noon,– Pearls Before Poppies: The story of the red cross Pearls, by Rachel Trethewy
Wednesday 10th October 10.45am – 12 noon, – A Brief Insight Into Seahorses & Their Ecology, by Neil Garrick-Maidment
Open to the general public, only £5 per lecture. Further details of the complete season of lectures can be found on Torquay Museum’s website, www.torquaymuseum.org,
Friday 12th October – 7:30pm St Matthias Church, Torquay. Torbay Police Choir & Riviera Brass Concert. Tickets available on the door.
Saturday 13th October Torre and Upton Community Action Day from 10am till 4pm. A day of action is planned to improve local greenspaces. To get involved go and see the Community Partnership team at Brunswick Square, next to the Bowls Club in Upton Park or at their base for the day Upton Vale Church Hall
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
Saturday 20th October, 9.30am – 11am @ 5-7 East Street, Torquay TQ2 5SD
Saturday 27th October, 11am – 1pm @ Preston Baptist Church, 62 Old Torquay Road, Paignton TQ3 2RB
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.
Saturday 13 Oct at 10am and Sunday 14 Oct at 5pm @ Torquay Boys’ Grammar School. We welcome artists, families, friends and the general public to enjoy this brand new exhibition and the opportunity to buy some unique artworks to raise funds for the refurbishment of the Student Sixth Form Centre.
Saturday 20th October – The Ageing Well Festival all day event at Paignton Community College Borough Road. Taster sessions on fitness,music,arts, advice stands,talks, and all day entertainment, click here for more details.
Saturday 3rd November – Brainwave Charity – Jumble Sale – 11am to 3pm at Palace Avenue Methodist Church Hall – click here for more details.
Saturday 17th November – 12.00pm to 2.30pm. Inner Wheel Club of Torquay. Pasty and Puds Lunch @ St Matthias Church Hall, Babbacombe Road, Torquay. Call 01803 21142 for tickets or email firstname.lastname@example.org – proceeds to Children’s hospice South West. Click here for info.
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.