Friday 9th August 2019
|After a rather wet day here in the bay it is time for my latest update.|
This week has been a little bit quieter for me as I have had family visiting, yet I still found some time to do a few things here in the bay as
parliament is in recess.
I started my week last Saturday with some great family fun at Torquay
Museum as they held a Harry Potter Day. It was great to see the museum packed with so many young wizards enjoying themselves and also
learning not just about the famous series, but also how a museum is not
just about dusty books and artefacts. The museum hosts regular family
fun days and its exhibition on the Romans at Ipplepen is well worth
seeing if you have not visited already.
On Monday I headed to Torquay Library for the Public Exhibition being
held by Devon and Somerset Fire Service on proposed changes to our fire cover. Whilst the conversation I had with the representatives of the Fire
Service present was interesting and informative, these proposed changes are not acceptable, more info below on how you can have your say on
There was an early start Tuesday morning as I headed to the Riviera
Centre for the Torbay Business Forum monthly breakfast. It was great to hear presentations from the TDA and Torbay Culture on the many
positive opportunities for our bay, plus the partnership work being done
to bring them about.
Cockington Fayre was the highlight of Wednesday, with its mix of fun,
stalls and great refreshments. Healthwatch Torbay were there taking the chance to engage with the many families present about what their
priorities are for improvements to our local NHS services. The Fayre also provided a great chance to top up on some homemade jam and
In the evening I took the whole family to see the latest TOADS Theatre
Production, Vicar of Dibley, at the Little Theatre. Fans of the hit comedy
series are in for a treat and the lead actors are superb in their roles. The
only “amateur” part of the production is the performers are not being
paid. If you have not seen it already do book your tickets quickly as some performances are nearly sold out. You can do so by clicking here.
Whilst Parliament is not sitting Ministerial business continues, so on
Wednesday morning and today I had the joy of spending several hours
dealing with papers and submissions (Formal requests for a decision)
emailed to me by my team of Civil Servants. Afterwards I headed down to Torquay Indoor Market to pick up a treat for Mrs Foster from Smiths
Soaps, a new small business just setting up ahead of their official launch
tomorrow. The historic market is becoming a home for some unique retail offers provided by local start-up and small businesses, including a Vegan Bakery and a Gluten Free Bakery.
Finally if heading out on the bay or to our coastline this weekend do bear in mind the weather warnings which have been issued. As always the
best place to head for the most accurate forecast for our area is the Met
Office website which you can find by clicking here.
This week’s update is below and includes: Community Champion Mourned, Fire Consultation, NHS Funding, Oldway Gardens, New Cinema
Planning Application, Paignton Monastery For Sale?, Dirty Takeway
Prosecuted, Devon Metro 8 Years On, Breeze Searches For Local Heroes,
Remembering Home Guard Sacrifice, Kev’s Column: Police Recruitment
and Palace Hotel and finally……..Staring at Seagulls Keeps Chips Safe.
Community Champion Mourned,
I was deeply saddened to hear the news Gordon Jennings had passed
away earlier this week.
Gordon devoted his life to the community. He served with distinction as a Councillor, becoming Leader of Torbay Council. Gordon was also a
committed Trade Unionist campaigning for the rights of local workers.
Yet it is Gordon’s decades of involvement with the community in Hele
Barton for which he will be best remembered. He worked alongside the much-missed Marilyn Martin at the Acorn Centre and supported the
Medway Centre as well.
Gordon and I would not agree on every issue politically, but he was always a great person to talk with about local issues and how he saw the needs of our area.
He will be greatly missed by the many friends he had in the community,
the Trades Union movement and across the political spectrum.
I know the thoughts and prayers of all update readers will be with
Gordon’s family at this sad time.
As mentioned above on Monday Devon & Somerset Fire Service held a
public exhibition at Torquay Library on their plans to change Fire Cover
in our area.
Coming only a few days after the major fire at the Lime Tree Pub in
Paignton it was an apt time to be discussing this issue. These changes
would leave only 1 Fire Engine in our bay crewed by full-time firefighters 24/7, despite Torbay being the second largest conurbation in the area
served by Devon and Somerset Fire Service. It would also remove the
third engine at Torquay Fire Station which is manned by on-call
Whilst the conversation I had with the representatives of the Fire Service present was interesting and informative, these proposed changes are not acceptable.
I would urge all residents to make their views know by taking part in the consultation and signing the petition opposing these changes organised
by the Fire Brigades Union.
You can find and comment on the consultation by clicking here and sign
the FBU petition by clicking here.
There will be a further Public Exhibition at Paignton Library, Great
Western Rd, Paignton TQ4 5AG on Tuesday 3rd September from 2-6pm.
Do pop this in your diary as it is vital a good number of residents attend (Sadly I will be stuck in London as parliament is sitting that day).
Earlier this week a large amount of NHS Capital funding was announced nationally.
A couple of residents queried with me why schemes recently announced
for Torbay were not mentioned.
The £13m to improve South Devon’s Urgent Care Services (Including a
rebuild of the Emergency Department at Torbay Hospital) and an £8m
plan to expand Mental Health Services at Torbay Hospital have already
been announced. This means the £21m was not mentioned as it has already been allocated so would not count as “new” spending.
Yet a couple of announcements this week will have an impact on the NHS in our bay. The first is the confirmation the Government wishes to
review pension rules for top doctors, surgeons and other high-earning
clinicians to allow them to take on extra shifts and treat more patients
without losing out financially.
The Government will shortly open a new consultation asking people what they think about the set of proposals, which includes giving senior
clinicians full flexibility over the amount they put into their pension pots. This is an issue which affects some of most experienced GPs and Doctors here in the bay. If affected or know someone who is they can find full
details on the Government website by clicking here.
The second is the announcement £250m will be spent on a new National Artificial Intelligence Lab. Whilst this may conjur up images of Sci-Fi films, the AI Lab will bring together the industry’s best academics, specialists and technology companies to work on some of the biggest challenges in health and care, including earlier cancer detection, new dementia
treatments and more personalised care. You can read more on the
Government website by clicking here.
Several residents got in touch this week about Oldway Mansion’s Gardens after the team managing them ceased their work.
From some brief enquiries I confirmed the gardens at Oldway have been funded for the last few years by the monies left by the failed developer and sadly this has now run out. I am advised work is being done on a solution to resume maintenance of the gardens. The Friends of Oldway are
looking to work with Torbay Council and voluntary organisations to get
the gardens looking great again very soon.
Tor2 promised they would empty overflowing bins at Oldway Mansion
yesterday and 2 new bin locations will be installed next week. These bins will be for litter & dog waste. 1 will be in the car park & the other at the
Torquay Road entrance. Until then the current bins will remain in situ & operational.
I am advised work is continuing on trying to secure more long-term investment for the mansion, with a charitable trust looking to take this forward. I have offered whatever assistance I can given as Torbay’s MP.
New Cinema Planning Application,
Not one, but 13 silver screens could be heading to Union St as Councillors are set to decide on an application to build the first new Cinema in
Torquay for decades.
The report being considered by Councillors recommends approving the
cinema with 13 screens ranging from 23 to 120 seats over three levels as a regeneration of the old BHS Department store. The main entrance would be on the ground floor level in Union Street, with three screens, a
restaurant and ice cream bar.
There would be four screens and a party room in the basement, and six
screens and a private bar on the first floor. The cinema is being proposed by Merlin Cinemas who currently operate Central Cinema in Abbey Road and would move their Torquay operation to the new building. You can
read more on Devon Live by clicking here and see the documents which will be considered by Councillors on the Planning Committee by clicking here.
Many residents will, like me, have some fond memories of the current
Central Cinema, perhaps of the famous “back row”, yet it is past its best
internally with only limited disabled access. The grand auditorium of the 1930’s was sub-divided many years ago and the opportunity does not
exist to provide the type of facilities modern movie lovers demand.
Whilst it is vital Torbay Council’s planners work to preserve the grand old building and find a new use for it saying no to the plan on Monday could spell the end for cinema provision in Torquay, rather than preserve the
existing one. I therefore hope there will be a positive decision to help
kickstart the much-needed regeneration of Union Street by approving
this multi-million pound investment.
Paignton Monastery For Sale?,
Since ANODE closed in 2017 there has been uncertainty over the future of the old Monastery in Berry Drive, Paignton, but now it could be put up
for sale by Torbay Council.
Prayerful contemplation is not the only use this building has been put to as some update readers will remember its rather short-lived time as a
night club. Yet this type of use is highly unlikely to return.
Torbay Council’s ruling executive this week decided to put the building
up for auction to the highest bidder, although the community would be invited to submit a business case for community use of the building over
the next four weeks. If a plan for community use is put forward during
this timeframe I am advised the Council’s Interim Director of Place, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration, Tourism and Housing, will determine the viability of it.
If a viable plan is put forward the Council will then decide whether to
accept it or proceed with the sale. You can read the details on Torbay
Council’s website by clicking here.
Dirty Takeway Prosecuted,
Magistrates hit a dirty takeaway with £24,000 of fines after Torbay
Council successfully prosecuted the company which owns it for food
Mill Spice Ltd (Owners of Spice Cellar, Old Mill Road, Torquay) pleaded
guilty to seven breaches of Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations. The
offences dated back to inspections in September 2018, October 2018 and March 2019. At the initial inspection in September, the premises was given a Food Hygiene Rating of 0 (urgent improvement required), in March
2019 the premises achieved a rating of 2 (some improvement necessary).
The court also ordered the defendant to pay a further £1,179.96 in costs
and the victim surcharge of £170.
Devon Metro 8 Years On,
Eight years ago the Devon Metro was a proposal from Devon County
Council to develop the existing railway network based around Exeter into a County Wide Metro ‘turn up and go’ service.
Although predominantly focusing on the Exeter area, Torbay was also set to benefit from a new station at Edginswell in addition to more regular
services heading west from Newton Abbot. There were also plans to
reconnect Tavistock to the rail network. Eight years later progress has
been limited, yet this may partly be explained by the 2014 collapse of the Dawlish Coastal line putting the region’s focus on securing the hundreds of millions needed to prevent this happening again, rather than some of
the ideas included in the metro scheme.
Since being elected I have regularly raised the case for the new
Edginswell Station in the House of Commons and continue to push it with Ministers for when New Stations funding is next made available. Next
month GWR is holding an event at Westminster for stakeholders to
discuss improvements we wish to see in local rail services and I will
again be raising this one.
Breeze Searches For Local Heroes,
The Breeze FM is looking for those who make a special contribution to
life in our bay to be part of their Local Heroes Awards, taking place at
The Victoria Hotel, Torquay on Saturday 5th October 2019.
The Breeze Local Heroes recognises inspirational and influential people who make South Devon great. They are asking residents to nominate someone they think deserves recognition as a Breeze Local Hero. There are ten categories to choose from and two finalists will be chosen from each category to attend the glittering awards later this year where they can
celebrate in style.
For more details on each category and how to nominate someone please
click here. Please note nominations close Monday 12th August 2019.
Remembering Home Guard Sacrifice,
Torquay Branch, Royal British Legion will be holding an Act of
Remembrance at the Home Guard Memorial Stone on Corbyn Head,
Torquay on Sunday 11th August 2019 at 11am.
This is an annual event, but particularly poignant this year as it will be
the 75th Anniversary of the breach explosion which caused several deaths and serious injuries to the Home Guard Unit tasked with defending this part of our coast.
Please try and support this event by gathering at Corbyn Head from 10.30am for the service at 11.00am.
Kev’s Column: Police Recruitment and Palace Hotel
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……..Staring at Seagulls Keeps Chips Safe.
As the summer is here many of us will be looking forward to eating some Fish & Chips outside, but conscious some of Torbay’s most ingenious and swift moving thieves will be watching our every move.
Love them or loathe them Gulls are a fixture of life in the bay, albeit a
rather annoying one at times given their staple diet appears to consist of
stolen ice creams, chips and whatever they found by emptying the bin
and spreading its contents across the street.
Thankfully scientists at Exeter University have conducted detailed
research to answer the summer’s big question, how do I keep my chips
safe? The answer? Stare at the Gull. You can read all the details on Devon Live by clicking here.
That is all for this week and enjoy your weekend!!!
Starting Monday 12th August – Snack & Natter – Coverdale Centre, Church Path, Paignton.
10am till 2pm. All welcome. If you are a care giver, being cared for, need a meeting place, or just a place to sit with your own thoughts. old young and anyone in between. Tea, Coffee, Cake & Soup. £1 suggested donation.
From now until 17th August – Love, Loneliness and Connection – Rowan Day Exhibits New Series “Searc”
The exhibition will be hosted at Artizan Gallery from 6th -17th August with an artist preview event on 10th August, 18:00-20:00. For more information on Artizan Gallery visit www.artizangallery.co.uk. More details on Searc can be found at www.art-hub.co.uk/aug19.
Now until 17th August at 7.30 pm, each evening except Sunday, with a matinée performance on the final Saturday (17th) at 2.30 p.m Toads Theatre Company at The Little Theatre, Torquay, TQ1 2EL bring you a fortnight’s run of performances of “The Vicar of Dibley” from . Large, free car park, coffee lounge and bar available. Further details and online booking:- www.toadslittletheatre.co.uk
From 20th – 31st August – As the Seasons Turn, Simon Fowler Captures “The Changing Colours of Dartmoor” – The exhibition will be hosted at Artizan Gallery from 20th – 31st August with an artist preview event on 23rd August, 18:00-20:00. For more information on Artizan Gallery visit www.artizangallery.co.uk. More details on “The Changing Colours of Dartmoor” can be found at www.art-hub.co.uk/sf19.
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.
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.)
From October 2019 – an exciting new series of daytime talks on the Palace Theatre stage.
The talks will be on a range of fascinating subjects and will take place once a month on a Thursday morning. Please see the attached leaflet for dates and details. Click here to see leaflet.
There will be lots of opportunities to socialise in the Theatre Bar before and after the talks, to meet new people, learn interesting facts and to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee (which is included in the ticket price!)
Tickets can be bought online via the Palace Theatre website or by calling the Box Office on 01803 665800 (between 11am and 3pm on weekdays).
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.
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.
Saturday 7th September, 10am – 12pm @ St Martins Church, Barton Hill Road, Torquay TQ2 8JA
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.