Kevin Foster MP, Residents’ Update – 12th July 2019


News courtesy of Kevin Foster.

My week started with a chance to go behind the scenes at one of our bay’s most loved attractions, the Babbacombe Cliff Railway. Whilst most update readers will have enjoyed a ride up and down the cliffs, with a fantastic view of Lyme Bay, few get to see the actual workings of it tucked away below the ticket hall.

The Railway is marking 10 years of community ownership this year,
which has safeguarded its future and ensured it is in good condition for
the future.

After my tour I headed to Torre Abbey Meadows for the “Into the Mix”
Festival, sponsored by our Police & Crime Commissioner, Alison
Hernandez. I spoke with several of those attending, including local
churches and South Devon’s Islamic Society. There were a range of
activities organised and some fantastic food on offer as well.

The weather last Saturday was glorious and what could be better than an Afternoon Tea in the shade of the St Marychurch Tower to enjoy it?
Cllr Foster joined me for it to check the quality of the cakes on offer!!! It
was good to catch up with some friends and to meet some newer
residents of the area.

Saturday evening brought a chance to relax and enjoy the Paignton Royal British Legion Summer Ball at Churston Golf Club. As a regular at Branch events it is always good to spend an evening in the company of those
who have served their country, plus the whole team which supports the work of the RBL in Paignton.

I headed up to London on Sunday evening ahead of a week which saw
me have two trips to the Despatch Box and time spent working on a range of local issues, including the future of our Fire Services. You can read
more on these below.

Last night I caught the late train from Paddington ahead of a busy day out and about here in the bay. My first stop was at Oldway Primary School
where I spoke to Pupils about my job and answered a range of questions about it, more on this below. The next was a visit to Torquay Girls
Grammar School for a talk with their environment group, then off to
Bishop Fleming to open their new Torquay office.

Finally Hazel and I had an evening out at the Little Theatre to see “The
Sorcerer”, the latest production by the Torbay Branch of the Gilbert and
Sullivan Society. It is great to see so much local talent on the stage.

This week’s update is below and includes: Fire Cover Campaign, Torbay Airshow 2020, Facing Questions, 20 Years of Devolution, Pharmacy Poster, Progress on Dawlish Sea Wall Works, England Word Cup Final Will Be Free To View, Radar Sweep For RAF Family, Planning Decision On Dairy Site, Honorary Degree As Inspirational Principal Retires, Play Torbay Summer Schedule, Kev’s Column: Fire Cover and finally……….The Pony Express.

Fire Cover Campaign, 

The campaign against proposals to downgrade Torbay’s Fire Cover has
picked up some pace this week.

Proposals published by the Devon & Somerset Fire Service would see
Paignton Fire Station converted into a part-time station, with only an ‘on-call’ crew overnight, rather than full time cover 24/7. They also include
the removal of one of the ‘on-call’ fire engines at Torquay Fire Station.
The proposals would leave only one Fire Engine in our Bay manned 24/7 by full time Firefighters, despite Torbay being the second largest
conurbation in the area served by the Devon & Somerset Fire Brigade.

A consultation on these proposals is already underway online and you
can find full details of it, plus leave your own comments, by clicking here.  I would encourage all update readers to respond to it.

A series of public exhibitions on the plans is taking place and in last
eek’s update I mentioned how despite these proposals having the biggest
impact in Paignton, the service had decided to only arrange a public
exhibition in Torquay (Torquay Library, Monday 5th August 2019
from 11am-3pm).

I challenged the Chief Fire Officer over this and am pleased to say an
extra drop in session has been arranged for Paignton. This will be held at Paignton Library, Great Western Rd, Paignton TQ4 5AG on Tuesday
3rd September from 2-6pm.

I will be inviting residents to show their support for my work to retain
ur Firecover, but have decided not to arrange a petition. This is because
the Fire Brigades Union is organising one on a non-political basis. I understand local Firefighters will be out this weekend collecting signatures for it. It is best residents support one large petition from Firefighter’s, rather than one run by a political party or individual politician.

Finally the skills of our local Firefighters were on display again this week as a large fire broke out in Shirburn Road, Torquay. Thankfully I have
not heard reports of anyone being injured, but it is a reminder of how
important it is a quick initial response can be made.

Torbay Airshow 2020, 

The Torbay Airshow 2020 is set for take-off, although under a new name.

This week Torbay Council indicated it would contribute £25,000 for the
flagship event next year, supported by partnership and sponsorship
funding. I am advised the local economic benefit from this year’s airshow is estimated to exceed £7million and this is set to increase over the next
few years. A range of options is also being explored to offset the carbon
footprint produced by the event.

The English Riviera BID has also expressed it is prepared to make a
further commitment to supporting the airshow in 2020. The event will
therefore be re-branded the ‘English Riviera Airshow’ to align with the
English Riviera BID’s brand.

Torbay’s 36 Councillors will be asked to vote on this package next week,
but it is widely expected to be approved. The dates for your diary are
Saturday 6th June 2020 and Sunday 7th June 2020.

Facing Questions, 

One of the most exciting, but daunting, moments of my parliamentary
calendar is facing questions from other MPs at the Despatch Box.

Wednesday saw the regular session of Cabinet Office questions with the
questions ranging from how the Government is working with local
Councils in Scotland to whether the 2021 Census will include a Cornish
Tick box, along with a few from the Scottish National Party on

The session lasts just over 30 minutes and you can watch it by clicking
 here. You can see the chamber fills up near the end as Prime Minister’s
Question Time approaches.

20 Years of Devolution, 

Yesterday the Chairmen of the Scottish and Welsh Affairs Select
Committees secured a debate in the House of Commons to reflect on 20
years of devolution.

The Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly met for the first time in
1999, with both bodies having changed the political debate and
expanded their remit since then. Whilst the debate inevitably focused on the experiences in Scotland and Wales, plus references to Northern
Ireland’s current situation, as the Cabinet Office Minister responding I
took the chance to highlight some of the changes in England, especially
the creation of Mayors elected over a wider authority area.

Whilst those taking part have very different views on where the
ultimate destination of devolution should be it was a generally
constructive debate. I also got the chance to congratulate Labour’s new
Shadow Scottish Office Minister on his first speech at the Despatch Box.
ou can listen to my remarks by clicking here.

Pharmacy Poster, 

I have been alerted to a poster being displayed at a local Pharmacy
encouraging customers to contact me about NHS medicine shortages.

As I had received no contact from the Pharmacy or patients highlighting an issue with medical supplies, I asked one of my team to pay a visit to
investigate as it was concerning to hear of a potential issue like this. 

The explanation given to my team, was it had been sent as a “round
robin” mailing from a national body and they put it up to let their clients know. There appeared to be no shortages they could cite and when
offered a meeting with me to discuss the issue this was declined, despite
the poster giving the impression this was something they wanted
residents to do.

Having also been in touch with Torbay Healthwatch they similarly do not appear to have had feedback about this being an issue or any matter they are aware of. I can therefore only invite update readers to draw their
own conclusions as to exactly why this poster featuring my name and
phone number was displayed.

Progress on Dawlish Sea Wall Works, 

As the sun is shining across our bay it is hard to imagine in 6 months’
time winter storms will be back, threatening our vital coastal rail link at Dawlish.

Yet the good news is work continues constructing the foundations for the new Dawlish sea wall and excavations are now well under way.

A series of ‘bays’ are being created in front of the existing sea wall.
Concrete is poured into these temporary moulds to form the foundations, ready for the sections of the new sea wall panels to be positioned into
place in the autumn/winter.

Work continues up until 14th July, after which it will break for the peak
tourist season. Network Rail’s team will then return in September.

You can see the latest pictures of the works on their Facebook Page by
clicking here.

England Word Cup Final Will Be Free To View, 

This summer is turning into a successful one for English sport, with our
cricketers through to the World Cup Final on Sunday (14th July)!!!

Whilst previous matches have only been available on subscription TV
channels Sunday’s Final will be shown live on Channel 4 after the
holders of the rights, Sky, agreed to release it for free to air broadcast.

The match will be held at the iconic Lords Cricket Ground and starts at

Radar Sweep For RAF Family, 

The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, the RAF’s leading welfare charity,
is marking their centenary with a campaign titled: “Join The Search.
Change A Life.”

Yet the campaign is not about raising money. It is about finding hard to
reach beneficiaries and spending money on them. The charity estimates up to 300,000 members of the RAF Family could need support and for 100,000 the need is urgent. The charity wants to get them back on the radar and help them before it’s too late.

If you know an RAF veteran or their family who may benefit you can get
in touch with RAFA by clicking here.

Planning Decision On Dairy Site, 

Torbay Council’s Planning Committee approved a block of flats on the former Dairy Crest milk delivery depot in Torquay despite concerns over its height and queries raised by the Torre & Upton Community Partnership.

The old depot between Parkfield Road and Lymington Road is currently
derelict. The application was for an L-shaped block with flats on up to
four floors above parking on the ground floor. The plans indicate a pond and landscaping on open land facing Lymington Road.

You can read more and see images of the proposed development on
Devon Live by clicking here.

Honorary Degree As Inspirational Principal Retires, 

An inspirational figure in our bay Stephen Criddle, Principal of South
Devon College, has this week received an honorary Master of Education
degree from Plymouth Marjon University for his contribution to

The award celebrates his leadership in expanding South Devon College to become a leading Further & Higher Education College. During his period leading the college it has set its sights high and will shortly open a major
new Hi-Tech Skills Centre.

Stephen will shortly retire from his role, but future generations in the
bay will continue to benefit greatly from his work and vision.

You can read more on Marjon’s website by clicking here.

Play Torbay Summer Schedule, 

As the Summer Holidays near many parents and grandparents will be
making plans and looking for some low cost, but high on fun things to do.

As always Play Torbay are ready with lots of activities for children and
young people of all ages. Best of all Playground activities are FREE to
anyone who would like to join in!

You can find all the details for a fun packed summer on their website by
clicking here.

Kev’s Column: Fire Cover 

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 Pony Express.

Ending on a lighter note “The Pony Express” is a staple feature of many
old westerns, with a rider galloping along to deliver the urgent mail.

Yet this bygone age of mail delivery on horseback was given a revival this week for a special Birthday message to a Cornish lady who can
remember a horse-riding postman delivering to her farm.

Anne Tape from Bude in Cornwall turned 100 on Thursday. Her grandson Luke Francis is the head postmaster in the town and rode “Bobby” to a
party she was having at a hotel, to make the special delivery of her
Telegram from the Queen.

You can see a video of this very special delivery arriving on the BBC
website by clicking here.

That is all for this week and enjoy your weekend.

Best wishes,



Now Until 23rd July Coastal Resonance and On the Edge of Infinity, an art exhibtion featuring the works of Andrea and Jerry Shearing at Artizan Gallery 7 Lucius Street Tuesday – Friday 11am – 6 pm Saturday 10 am to 6 pm

Now until 31 August  – Green Heart Project. As the Green Heart Project reaches completion in June visit this exhibition showcasing the projects’ fantastic achievements from the very start in 2015. Meeting point: Cockington Visitor Centre, Cockington Village TQ2 6XA – Price: FREE – Suitable for: All Ages – Exhibition open 10.00am – 4.00pm daily.

Thursday 18 July – 
The Blue Walnut Film Club (Walnut Road, Chelston) are showing “Wildlife”. Doors open at 1930 for a film start at 2000. Non members are very welcome for £6, but please ring 01803-392522 to reserve your place. For more information click here.

Saturday 27th July Classic Car show – St Martin’s, Barton from 11am in the Church Grounds. Free entry with a range of classic cars on show and a model railway exhibition in the Church Hall. The Church will be open for visits with floral displays inspired by the song “My Favourite Things”. Cream Teas, BBQ and Raffle on offer.

Saturday 3rd August from 10am – 4pm, Harry Potter birthday celebration at the Torquay Museum. They  anticipate there being high demand for this event so visitors can pre-book their tickets for the Harry Potter Birthday Celebration Day on Eventbrite to avoid disappointment or buy your tickets on the day at Torquay Museum for £5 each. Click here for more details. 

Every Wednesday night through to 25th September, BMAD, Paignton Esplanade, gates open 6pm. Raising funds for sick, disabled and under privileged children in the TQ area.  (Not 31st July but Thursday 1st Aug due to Paignton Carnival.)

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

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.

2nd Wednesday of each month at the Quaker Meeting House in Torquay – Torbay Interfaith Forum meet. 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 so it can be included.

Advice Surgeries

Friday 19th July, 3pm – 5pm @ Paignton Library, Gt. Western Road, Paignton TQ4 5AG

Friday 2nd August, 3pm – 5pm @ Paignton Baptist Church, Winner Street, Paignton TQ3 3BJ

Saturday 10th August, 11am – 1pm @ Torquay Library, Lymington Road, Torquay TQ1 3DT.

Saturday 17th August, 11am – 1pm @ Preston Baptist Church, Old Torquay Road, Preston TQ3 2RB.

Friday 30th August, 3pm – 5pm @ Age UK, 12c Dendy Road, Paignton TQ4 5DB.

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 or leave a message on 01803 214989 and we will get back to you as quickly as possible.

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