After a turbulent and momentous week in Parliament it is time for my latest update.
My week started with a visit to the Torbay Veterans Breakfast Club held at the home of the Cherries (Paignton RFC). Cllr Dave Thomas and I attended to talk with its members about ensuring our bay will mark Armed Forces Day in June. There was good news to share and more about this below.
Afterwards I headed to Torquay Museum for the launch of a new Exhibition containing finds from the dig at Ipplepen, along with items loaned by the British Museum from their collection of Roman Artefacts. Seeing items which had been handled by Roman Soldiers and Civilians 2000 years ago is quite something, especially the detail on some of the coinage.
Following meeting a Roman Solider it was time to head for my Weekly Surgery, this time at the Acorn Centre in Barton. After meeting several residents who needed help on an issue affecting them, I headed to my office in East St for a catch up with Barney Carter about the progress and challenges he is facing with the revitalised Torre Post Office.
The best part of last weekend though was heading to Laburnum Row in Torre to see the scaffolding up on the old B&Q building. Work has been progressing on the site for some months but is now very visibly making progress. This is especially good news for the residents opposite who have had to put up with looking at a derelict building for too many years.
The House of Commons sat for five days this week with a range of debates on subject, some of which I cover below. Yet on Wednesday I headed for an event where the craic was bound to be good as the Irish in Britain Group visited Westminster.. My maternal family, the Griffins, have strong Irish Roots and given the current Brexit debates it was useful to discuss the contribution of the Irish Community.
It was welcome to catch the train back to the bay this afternoon ahead of a weekend of meetings and events.
Finally I have had a resident get in touch about a leaflet delivered by a political party claiming “others only turn up at election time” and contrasting the irony of this sudden arrival (just before an election) with my regular weekly updates. As the Torbay Council Local Elections approach on Thursday 2nd May these updates will continue to be non-party political, although I would urge all readers to have their say in them by voting.
This week’s update is below and includes: Torbay Armed Forces Day Marches On, Brexit, Torquay Waitrose, Dawlish Rail Works, Big Tribute For Big Issue Seller, Autism Debate, £23K Clean Up Funding Boost, Away on Thursday 2nd May?, Referendum Date Set, Tormohun Hustings, CSE Victims, Knife Crime, Torbay Music Hub, Kev’s Column: Brexit Decision and finally………The Big Heist.
Torbay Armed Forces Day Marches On,
In last week’s update I mentioned there was due to be some positive news about ensuring Torbay Armed Forces Day went ahead.
As mentioned above Cllr Dave Thomas and I attended the Veteran’s Breakfast Club to discuss the work being done to ensure the event goes ahead. This group of veterans has between them given many decades of service to our nation, so they quickly sprang into action again to ensure the annual celebration of all those who serve and have served will go ahead.
Local businesses have offered support, plus Cllr Thomas worked with the club to secure the support they needed from the council and other partners. I am therefore delighted to announce Torbay Armed Forces Day 2019 will take place on Saturday 22nd June at Babbacombe Downs.
I will include more details in this update as I receive them, but I hope many readers will note this date in their diary to show support for those who protect our freedoms.
Given how the TV, Radio and Newspapers are full of debates about Brexit I am slightly loathe to raise it here, yet a report of my week cannot avoid talking about it!!
There were no significant votes on Brexit in the House of Commons this week, although there was plenty of discussion of it both in the main chamber and outside of it.
The Speaker granted an Emergency Debate on Wednesday in relation to Article 50 so I spoke about the choice MPs would face next week. You can listen to my speech by clicking here.
Today an Urgent Question was granted following the EU Council last night. You can listen to my question and the Minister’s response by clicking here.
There is now a need for a decision to be made by Parliament and for Brexit to move forward, we cannot go on without one.
Earlier this week I met with Krys Jantzen, Waitrose South West Director, to discuss the future of their Torquay Store.
The disappointing news is the chain has signed binding contracts for the sale of the site in Plainmoor to a discount supermarket chain. Due to this there is no prospect of them reconsidering their decision to close the store, although Torbay residents will be able to shop with Waitrose online.
In relation to their 96 partners on the site all are being offered relocation to other stores in the John Lewis Partnership, with Exeter being a popular destination. Support for travel costs will be provided During our discussion he outlined some staff nearing retirement may decide to take redundancy as a way of retiring early.
It is disappointing not to be able to report more positive news, but the signing of legal contrast for sale of the land before the announcement made it a foregone conclusion.
Dawlish Rail Works,
Yesterday I asked Chris Grayling MP about the Department for Transport’s plans to improve rail resilience for Devon, Somerset and Cornwall, especially when work would start on the £80m new sea wall project at Dawlish.
The future of this vital rail link is a key part of ensuring our bay remains connected to key markets for both tourism and local businesses. If the Dawlish line is out of action every destination west of Exeter St David’s is cut off from the national rail network. Since the collapse of the line in 2014 I have campaigned with colleagues across the region for investment to strengthen the line and ensure the resilience of our rail network.
Chris Grayling confirmed the start of work on the new sea wall was expected “within a matter of weeks”. He further outlined how works at Exeter and on the Cliffs at Teignmouth, which also threaten the key coastal line, were in the pipeline.
This is welcome news and you can read my question, plus the Minister’s response, by clicking here.
Big Tribute For Big Issue Seller,
More than 200 people lined the streets of Paignton to pay their respects to much-loved Big Issue vendor Tony Lucas at his funeral earlier this week.
The 52-year-old died on February 25 after experiencing a series of health issues following an epileptic fit on his pitch outside Tesco in Paignton Town Centre. The hearse taking him to Torquay Crematorium went past the place where he sold the magazine for the last 11 years. Tony survived the 2005 London 7/7 bombings before he began working on his Paignton pitch.
You can read more on the Big Issue website by clicking here.
One of the most common, but least understood, conditions is Autism with many children suffering from it simply branded as “naughty” or “unsociable”.
Yesterday a cross-party group of MPs secured a debate on services for those with Autism. I took the chance to talk about the perceptions of the condition which must be challenged and how support to get more into employment can unlock some unique talents.
You can read my speech and the comments made by other members by clicking here.
£23K Clean Up Funding Boost,
Earlier this week I was pleased to welcome £23,708.59 of extra funding to clean up our bay’s high streets, as the Government spent almost £10 million across England to improve local high streets.
The funding will improve the quality of high streets across the country, helping to attract more residents and visitors so that local businesses can continue to thrive. It will be used to buy tools such as litter pickers and brushes, as well as providing training for residents on how to remove graffiti or tackle fly-tipping.
Away on Thursday 2nd May?,
On Thursday 2nd May the 36 seats on Torbay Council will be up for election.
The Elected Mayor’s Post and Administration will be abolished following the Referendum held in May 2016. After Thursday 2nd May the Council will again be led by a Leader of the Council, elected by the 36 Councillors, and a Cabinet appointed by the Leader of the Council. This is similar in principle to the UK Government where the Government must retain the confidence of the House of Commons.
The Councillors elected on 2nd May will serve until May 2023.
Local Elections are important and the results of them can make a big difference to our bay. If you are going to be away on the day you can still mark your mark by arranging a Postal or Proxy vote. It only takes a couple of minutes and ensures you can have your say. Just click here to find all the details on Torbay Council’s website and the application forms.
Please note the deadline for Postal Vote applications for the elections on Thursday 2 May 2019 is 5pm on Monday 15 April 2019.
Referendum Date Set,
The Elections on 2nd May will also see two Referendums take place on the Paignton and Torquay Neighbourhood Plans.
These plans have been developed by representatives of the local community and need approval in a Referendum to take full effect. They balance the need for job creating development, with protecting local green spaces.
You can find more details about the Plans online by clicking on the links below:
Residents of Tormohun Ward will get the chance to put their questions to those looking for election as Councillors in their area at a Hustings arranged by their local Community Partnerships.
If you want to hear the debate it will take place at Central Church on Monday 8th April, doors open 6pm for 6-30pm start.
All candidates standing for election in Tormohun have been invited to attend, set out their aims, and then answer questions from the audience. If you wish to ask a question, please email it in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are arranging a hustings for the local elections I am happy to promote it in one of my updates. The only restrictions are it must not be arranged by a political party or political campaign group and all candidates for the ward concerned should be invited to attend.
Those who suffer from sexual exploitation in childhood or as a young adult can not only be left with mental and physical scars, but a criminal record.
Gangs who dominate teenagers will not only seek to exploit their bodies for gratification or to prostitute them, but for other criminal purposes. The level of intimidation used will be extreme, with their victims targeted due to their vulnerability or lack of family to support them. Their choices about their life are taken away, including whether to engage in criminal behaviour such as being a drug courier.
Once rescued from this situation survivors can hit a major problem with moving on in life, the criminal record they acquired preventing them getting into employment. It is possible to get this reviewed, but there is a concern the current system is not delivering what is needed.
MPs questioned the Minister responsible on Tuesday and you can listen to my question by clicking here.
The shattering impact of Knife Crime has been the focus of attention over recent months, with the House of Commons again questioning the Minister responsible today.
I highlighted the recent knife amnesty undertaken by Devon & Cornwall Police, along with questioning the Minister about ensuring new powers due to be created by the Offensive Weapons Bill will be brought into effect.
You can listen to my question and her response by clicking here.
Kev’s Column: Brexit Decision
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………The Big Heist.
Ending on a lighter note Police Officers found themselves investigating a crime which really had a whiff of foul play about it.
Sometime on Tuesday or Wednesday last week a crafty thief saw their chance to make off with a……..Dog Poo Bin. Yes in Fisherman’s Cove in East Portlemouth the bright red bin was unscrewed and stolen. The incident has been shared by Kingsbridge Police on its Facebook page as they look to sniff out a lead.
You can read more on Devon Live by clicking here. Whilst the Council concerned would like their bin back, I am advised the thief is welcome to keep its contents!!!
That is all for this week and enjoy your weekend.
On until 23 March – Tuesday 11:00 – 19:00, Wednesday to Friday 11:00 – 18:00 and Saturday 10:00 – 18:00. Natural Affinity at Artizan Gallery Cafe Torquay, 7 Lucius Street, Torquay, Devon, TQ2 5UW. Click here for full details.
Every Thursday until 18th April – Lent Lunches at the Parish Hall of St Mary The Virgin, St Marychurch. Lunch only £4.50 – All proceeds to Charity of the week. Click here for full details.
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. Appointments can be made by phoning 01803 555838, or email email@example.com.
Every Tuesday & Wednesday (10:45 – 12 noon) – Lectures at Torquay Museum
529 Babbacombe Road, Torquay, Devon, TQ1 1HG – Lectures are free to TMSM,& cost £5 to Non-Members on the door! For more details click here.
PARKFIELD Youth services have a range of activities throughout the week for young people – click hereto see what’s on and when.
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.
Friday 29th March, 3pm – 5pm @ The Windmill Centre, Pendennis Road, Torquay TQ2 7QB
Saturday 6th April, 11am – 1pm @ The Acorn Centre, Lummaton Cross, Torquay TQ2 8ET
Friday 12th April, 3pm – 5pm @ Paignton Baptist Church, 43 Winner Street, Paignton TQ3 3BJ
Saturday 27th April, 11am – 1pm @ Torquay Library, Lymington Road, Torquay TQ1 3DT
Friday 3rd May, 3pm – 5pm @ AGE U.K., 12 Dendy Road, Paignton TQ4 5DB
Saturday 11th May, 11am – 1pm @ The Acorn Centre, Lummaton Cross, Torquay TQ2 8ET
Friday 17th May, 3pm – 5pm @ The Windmill Centre, Pendennis Road, Torquay TQ2 7QB
Saturday 25th May, 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.