Kevin Foster MP, Residents Update 16th August


Thanks to Kevin for his latest update:

After a disappointingly wet week in our bay it is time for my latest update.

My week started last Saturday with my regular advice surgery, this week at Torquay Library. Once finished I headed down to the Walnut Road Street Party in Chelston where lots of fun was on offer for the whole community. I had a go at a range of games, but the winner for most fun had to be “Flip A Frog” on the Chelston Action Group stall.

Sunday saw me head over to Corbyn Head for a special service to mark the 75thAnniversary of an incident which cost 6 men their lives, more on this below in the inset story.

Monday was a chance to catch up on some casework, emails and undertake a home visit to a resident not able to make my regular surgeries or call into the office. This was followed in the evening by a session out on the doorsteps in The Willows asking residents what their priorities were for the government and our area. It was great to meet several regular update readers and glad to hear you find them useful!!!

Tuesday started with a visit to Park House in Paignton, a sheltered housing scheme run by The Abbeyfield Society. The visit was a chance to meet with residents and staff from both Park House and Sanders Court, Abbeyfield’s property in St Marychurch. Whilst visiting I also presented the team with an award confirming they had reached the national standard required by the charity.

Later in the day I joined residents, members of Central Church and PATH representatives for a discussion about the Charity’s future accommodation. I then finished the day out on the doorsteps again, this time in Wellswood, hearing resident’s views and meeting a few more update readers.

Wednesday marked the 50th Anniversary of Operation Banner, the deployment of our Armed Forces in Northern Ireland during the troubles. Op Banner lasted nearly 38 years, one of the longest continuous deployments of UK Forces, with 1,411 service personnel being killed as a result of operations in Ireland or paramilitary actions in other countries. Paignton Royal British Legion arranged a service at the War Memorial to mark the anniversary, thank those who served and to remember those who fell.

Later in the day I met with Katie Louise to discuss an exciting new community project called Re4orm she is looking to take forward. It is always interesting to hear of people coming up with innovative ideas to tackle some of the issues we face here in the bay.

Whilst parliament is in recess the work of the government continues, especially in relation to Brexit. Yesterday saw me head to Wales for a visit to the Airbus Factory at Broughton to discuss their training programmes and future developments. Given my need to be away Cllr Foster laid my wreath at the Burma Star Memorial Service.

Today I was in the Cabinet Office for one of the Government’s regular No Deal Planning Meetings chaired by Michael Gove.

Finally I got back to the bay this evening just in time for an event in Paignton. The Speaker, Stanley Johnson, was booked some months ago, little did those booking him realise how timely his visit would be……

This week’s update is below and includes: Three Town Centre Schemes Given the Green Light, Paignton Regatta Fireworks Postponed, Gateway Signs To Celebrate Agatha Christie, Two Fires in Hele As Campaign Continues, Lidl Confirm Plainmoor Store Plan, Local Police To Star in “Call the Cops”, Paignton Woman Sentenced For Murder, Ilsham Valley Green Protected, 16-17 Rail Saver Launched, Torquay Library Improvement, Homes Plan For Torbay Motel, Want to Help Deliver “Housing First”? and finally…….Trunk Call For Lasting Memorial.

Three Town Centre Schemes Given the Green Light,

Councillors on Torbay Council’s Planning Committee had a busy meeting on Monday, including approving three new schemes for neglected parts of Torquay Town Centre.

The most significant decision taken was to approve the first new Cinema to be built in Torquay for decades. As mentioned in last week’s update Merlin, the owners of Central Cinema in Abbey Road, want to create a new 13 screen multiplex, over three levels, in the former BHS Building on Union Street. The largest screen will have 120 seats.

Councillors on the Planning Committee agreed to seek a legal agreement to cover the costs of work to open more of Union Lane Car Park later into the evening to support the cinema’s customers. Other conditions include improving the pedestrian link from Union Street to the car park and better CCTV and lighting in the area. You can read more details on Devon Live by clicking here.

Yet this was not the only major scheme decided at the meeting as Councillors also gave the go ahead to a new £11m hotel to be built on the western end of The Terrace Car Park, directly behind the multi-million-pound redevelopment of Torwood Street. The hotel will be allocated 100 spaces at the multi-storey car park with 60 for the nearby Torwood Street development, leaving 335 for general use. You can read more on Devon Live by clicking here.

Finally a plan to convert the former Torwood Conservative Club into 2 houses and a flat was also approved.

This one meeting stands in rather stark contrast to the coverage Sky News gave our bay when it decided to feature Torquay and Paignton in a piece about seaside resorts having problems and needing to attract investment.

Whilst no-one, including myself, will deny we have challenges in our bay the piece featured heavily the comments of an MP from the North East, yet ignored the examples of incoming investment it had been given and made no attempt to analyse if these would make a difference once completed. The journalist when challenged about this claimed there was no space to mention them……

Paignton Regatta Fireworks Postponed, 

If you are reading this thinking you might have missed a chance to watch one of the best fireworks displays of the year due to bad weather, I have some good news for you.

The Paignton Regatta Fireworks have been postponed till today (Saturday 17th August 2019) at 9:30pm. Just head down to Paignton Green to enjoy them.

Gateway Signs To Celebrate Agatha Christie, 

Agatha Christie, is being celebrated with new gateway signage and a revamped blue plaque at Barton Road in Torquay.

The English Riviera BID Company is sponsoring the new signage and Torbay Civic Society is replacing the blue plaque which is now mounted in Devon Stone, funded by Torbay Council through Section 106 grant funded money.  The signage, which will be placed at key gateway sites, welcomes visitors to Torquay with ‘The birthplace of Agatha Christie’ written below.

The new additions will also coincide with the International Agatha Christie Festival which marks Agatha’s birthday and is taking place from Thursday 12-15 September. You can find out more about the festival on its website by clicking here.

Two Fires in Hele As Campaign Continues,

Local fire crews were called to Hele Road twice this week to help tackle housefires, reminding us all of the importance of ensuring this service is available in our bay when needed.

A consultation by Devon and Somerset Fire Service is ongoing about proposed changes to our fire cover and it is vital residents have their say. The changes could see overnight whole-time cover removed at Paignton Fire Station, leaving only 1 Engine covered by whole time crews in our bay at night. The third Engine at Torquay (Manned by “on-call” firefighters”) would also be removed.

You can find and comment on the consultation by clicking here and sign the FBU petition opposing the changes by clicking here.

There will be a Public Exhibition of the proposals 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).

Lidl Confirm Plainmoor Store Plan, 

Supermarket chain Lidl has publicly confirmed it was the retailer who bought the former Waitrose Store in Plainmoor earlier this year.

Regular update readers may recall Waitrose agreed to sell the building, signed a contract to do so, then announced its plans for closure to staff. A planning application has now been submitted seeking permission to alter the building to reflect Lidl taking it over. The store will be the chain’s second in Torquay.

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

Local Police To Star in “Call the Cops”, 

Our local Police Force will be the focus of a major new Channel 4 documentary series entitled, ‘Call the Cops’, starting at 9pm Monday 19th August.

I am advised the documentary will show every aspect of Police work and the challenges officers face daily. The pressures facing our Police are clear, as is the bravery of officers who face some of the most dangerous situations imaginable. These risks sadly being demonstrated this week by the murder, in the line of his duty, of PC Andrew Harper when responding to a burglary in Berkshire.

An expansion of officer numbers in Devon & Cornwall was already planned by our Police and crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez. This will be added to by the Prime Minister’s recent announcement of an extra 20,000 officers to be recruited, although the exact numbers coming to our area are yet to be confirmed.

Paignton Woman Sentenced For Murder, 

A Paignton woman was this week sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum tariff of 21 years and one month before parole may be considered, for the murder of a neighbour.

You can read more about the case on Devon Live by clicking here.

I know the thoughts of all update readers will be with the family and friends of Peter Flux.  

Ilsham Valley Green Protected, 

Following illegal encampments earlier this year measures are being put in place to protect Ilsham Valley Green.

This week you should see a new gate and reinforced earthworks being installed to deter further illegal access to the green-space. Whilst this may not prevent any determined assault on the area it will safeguard the space and leave it less vulnerable to future encampments.

As with the protections put in place at Churston Common, this work has been organised and funded by residents.

16-17 Rail Saver Launched, 

A new railcard offering half-price fares for 16 and 17-year-olds is due to go on sale next week (20th August) and be valid for travel from 2nd September.

The 16-17 Saver card will cost £30 a year. It can be used on standard class journeys originating in England & Wales and is valid for season tickets. You can find more info on a dedicated website by clicking here.

It is good to see this railcard being introduced by the Government and is in addition to the existing 16-25 Young Persons Railcard many update readers may be familiar with.

Torquay Library Improvement, 

Torquay Library recently secured grant funding to improve their area for young people.

They wanted to ensure those who would use the service were at the core of their design of the improvements. A video has now been produced showing the process and this can be seen on Youtube by clicking here.

Homes Plan For Torbay Motel, 

Those heading into Paignton from the west will sadly be all too familiar with the derelict mess which is the former Torbay Motel.

Acting as an unwelcome “gateway” view to our bay the site has been in poor condition for some time and urgently in need of regeneration. Plans have now been submitted to build up to 70 homes on the site.

The latest plan would demolish the motel buildings and Beechdown Court apartments. The proposals include 10 affordable homes and an area of public green open space on the site next to the Beechdown Park mobile home site.

You can read more on Devon Live by clicking here.

Want to Help Deliver “Housing First”? 

The move to a “Housing First” system in our bay is aimed at ensuring those who come off the streets move quickly into a new home, with the support they need to stay under one roof.

The results of pilots elsewhere in the country show this system can be twice as successful as traditional models based no spending a long period in a hostel before moving on to permanent accommodation.

An opportunity to work on delivering this in Torbay has arisen and details of the vacancy can be found on the Shekinah website by clicking here.

and finally…….Trunk Call For Lasting Memorial. 

Ending on a different note many across the bay were saddened when the great matriarch of Paignton Zoo, Duchess the Elephant, died.

Having lived at the Zoo for 42 years Duchess forms part of happy childhood memories for many of us living in the bay, especially of trips to the Zoo with relatives who are sadly no longer with us.

This week Paignton Zoo put out a call for ideas on a permanent memorial to her. The Zoo is inviting artists to submit their ideas for any possible designs they may have for the memorial sculpture, based on guidance they have issued which can be found by clicking here.

The Zoo is also asking for donations to fund the memorial from those who enjoyed seeing Duchess. You can find all the details on Paignton Zoo’s website by clicking here.

That is all for this week and enjoy your weekend.

Best Wishes,



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.  

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  For more information on Artizan Gallery visit More details on Searc can be found at

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:-

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 More details on “The Changing Colours of Dartmoor” can be found at

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

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 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 

Friday 13th September, 3pm – 5pm @ Paignton Library, Great Western Road, Paignton TQ4 5AG

Saturday 21st September, 11am – 1pm @ The Acorn Centre, Lummaton Cross, Torquay TQ2 8ET

Saturday 5th October, 11am – 1pm @ Preston Baptist Church, Old Torquay Road, Paignton TQ3 2RB

Friday 11th October, 3pm – 5pm @ Windmill Centre, Pendennis Road, Torquay TQ2 7QR

Saturday 19th October, 11am – 1pm @ Torquay Library, Lymington Road, Torquay TQ1 3DT

Friday 25th October, 3pm – 5pm @ Paignton Baptist Church, 62 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 or leave a message on 01803 214989 and we will get back to you as quickly as possible.

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