25th February 2019
by stlukesranews
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Kevin Foster, MP for Torbay Residents’ Update – Friday 22nd February 2019

Dear All,

After a momentous and unpredictable week at Westminster it is time for my latest update.

My week started with my regular Surgery, this time at the St Peter’s Centre. I believe it is important to give residents who may need my help on a personal issue the chance to meet with my team and I face to face. The issues raised during this surgery included PIP Assessments and Tax Recovery.

After this I headed out with Mrs Foster as, having missed Valentine’s Day due to Parliament sitting, we did something which reminded us of how we first meet by joining a campaign session for the local elections.

Later in the evening I headed up to the Babbacombe Hotel for a reunion with some old friends from Coventry. The Bob Brolly and Friends “Reunion” Weekends happen twice a year and see over one hundred “Brolly Fans” head to our bay. After a bit of fun and enjoyment I was asked to join former Para Lonnie Downes on stageas he launched an appeal for funds to improve the setting of the Sutton Stop Canal Junction.

On Sunday evening I headed up to London as Parliament sat for what was originally planned as a “Recess Week”. Given the large amount of legislation needing to be passed ahead of Brexit the recess was cancelled. This was the right choice as getting our statute book Brexit ready is vital, whatever the outcome of the current debates.

For some MPs this did mean potentially having to decide between family commitments (Based on half term) and being present for debates. In these instances the Government and Opposition Whips agreed for “Pairs” where two MPs agree to be absent to cancel the effect of each other’s vote out. Given this those who do not have such commitments may be asked to cover for a colleague’s role. This week in addition to being the PPS to the Minister for the Cabinet Office, I was providing duty PPS cover for the Leader of the House of Commons.

Many more technical items of legislation are considered in detail by a small Committee of MPs, then submitted to the full house purely for a Aye\No vote. These Committees are referred to as “DL Committees”, with a big push this week as the maximum number were held each day. I got to sit on three considering issues ranging from pre-packaged Insurance products to Horse Movement and Chipping.

I returned home late on Wednesday night after a significant day in parliament ahead of a busy couple of days here in the bay, with an early start today as I joined the Torbay Business Forum Networking Breakfast at PierPoint Café). I spoke on the current issues with Brexit and how the current efforts to find a deal acceptable to the House of Commons were going.

Later in the day I headed to Torquay Fire Station for a briefing with Chief Fire Officer Glenn Askew and Cllr Sara Randall Johnson, the Chair of our local Fire Authority).

This week’s update is below and includes: Dr Sarah Wollaston, Palace Hotel Plans Exhibition, Want to Know More About Dawlish Sea Wall Works?, PATH Evicted, New Paignton Primary, NHS Debate, Armed Forces Debate, Council Budget Debate, Town Councils Consultation, DAESH Fighters, Holy Trinity Church, Kev’s Column: Dawlish Funding and finally……..Watch Out Emu About!

Dr Sarah Wollaston, 

The news at Westminster was dominated this week by 11 MPs leaving their existing political parties to form a new Independent Group, one of them was my constituency neighbour Dr Sarah Wollaston.

I disagree with her decision and deeply regret it. Yet politics is not made any better by personal attacks or acrimony.

Sarah was one of three MPs who left my party and shortly before Prime Minister’s Questions they came into the Chamber to take their seats for the first time on the opposition benches. I was called to ask a question a couple of minutes later and made clear my thoughts:

“I must say that, although my hon. Friend the Member for Totnes (Dr Wollaston) no longer sits on the Conservative Benches, she remains my hon. Friend.”

You can watch a video of my remarks by clicking here.

Palace Hotel Plans Exhibition, 

The now empty Palace Hotel in Torquay was once one of the great hotels of our region, with many residents having memories of special occasions or events there.

The Hotel was acquired by the Fragrance Group 18 months with promises of a major redevelopment, potentially as a 5 Star Hotel. I have been advised an exhibition of their proposals for the site of the Palace Hotel, Babbacombe Road will be held on the following dates:

THURSDAY 7th MARCH  1pm – 7pm  and FRIDAY 8th MARCH 10am – 7pm at the Pengelly Hall, Torquay Museum, Babbacombe Road,

From Thursday 7th MARCH you will also be able to obtain more information at: www.palacehotelexhibition.co.uk

Want to Know More About Dawlish Sea Wall Works?, 

Network Rail is holding engagement sessions in Devon this month to update on its ongoing work to improve resilience of the stretch of railway connecting the South West with the rest of the country.

Two drop-in events will be held in Exeter and Torquay on the following dates:

•             Wednesday 27 February – Mercure Rougemont Hotel, Exeter, EX4 3SP from 11:30-14:30

•             Thursday 28 February – The Grand Hotel, Torquay, TQ2 6NT from 11:30-14:30

At the events representatives from Network Rail will provide an update on the ongoing work to repair to the breakwaters at Dawlish, as well as details of the recently submitted plans for an improved sea wall also at Dawlish.

Each event will start with a 30min presentation followed by the opportunity to speak to representatives individually.

PATH Evicted, 

There was frustration and heartbreak for the volunteers at PATH as they were evicted from their temporary home in Abbey Road, Torquay.

The building was provided by Torbay Council whilst they sought a more permanent location for their work after being evicted from their previous premises. I argued the Council should postpone the eviction until another building could be secured, rather than just seek to throw them into the street. The Elected Mayor of Torbay decided not to do so and proceeded with the eviction, despite appeals from other Councillors.

I appeared on BBC Spotlight News making clear my views on this behaviour and condemning the decision of the Mayoral Administration to evict them without a replacement property being secured.

I am though pleased to report I have been advised PATH have now secured a new home at the Central Church Contact Centre. If you would like to get involved in a new PATH steering group which will be forming soon to ensure they never find themselves in this position again you can email them on pathtorbay@outlook.com

New Paignton Primary, 

A brand-new Primary School, St Michael’s Church of England Academy, will open in the heart of Paignton in September 2020.

It will initially open to nursery and reception children as a one form entry school. The school will then continue growing by year group annually until Year 6. St Michael’s will build on the success of the Learning Academy Partnership’s current academies, achieving academic excellence within a caring and inspirational curriculum.

The formal application process for places at the new school will open in November 2019, but you can register an expression of interest for your child on their website by clicking here.

NHS Debate, 

On Tuesday evening MPs held a debate on the NHS 10-year plan.

I put in to speak about the opportunities and challenges facing our local NHS, plus highlight a specific issue about Operating Theatre Capacity at Torbay Hospital.

Sadly an overrun on a previous debate and a large number of speakers meant I did not get called to speak, despite “bobbing” for nearly two hours.

I will try again the next time a relevant debate is scheduled.

Armed Forces Debate, 

A quirk of our constitution dating back to the 1688 Bill of Rights means Parliament must pass a motion on a regular basis confirming our permission for the Army to exist.

In the aftermath of the Civil War Parliament wished to assert its control over the Army, with a requirement it could only exist “in this Kingdom” with Parliament’s consent. This was to prevent the King being able to raise a large Army which might allow him to challenge the position of Parliament.

On Monday MPs debated the modern version of this permission, which also allows military discipline to exist. Unsurprisingly the motion was approved, but it gives MPs a chance to reflect on the role our military plays today.

I spoke in the debate and you can read my speech by clicking here.

Council Budget Debate, 

Last night Torbay’s Councillors discussed the Council’s Budget for the next financial year, agreeing to a 2.99% rise in Torbay Council’s part of the Council Tax.

Councillors also voted to take back control of waste and recycling in 2020 by setting up a new company. The Council is also going to spend £4.5m on new recycling and waste collection vehicles, which will be leased back to Tor2 to start with. This is aimed at dealing with the problems which emerged with recycling collections over the last year.

Town Councils Consultation, 

Just a reminder of a consultation on a “Community Governance Review”, which includes the potential to set up new town or parish councils, will close on Friday 15thMarch.

Any new town or parish councils would not replace Torbay Council but would exist alongside it, just like Brixham Town Council does now. The amount they will charge through an additional Council Tax payment (precept) would depend on decisions made by those elected to it, but it has been suggested within the consultation paper this could be as high as £300 extra for each Band D Property in their area.

The initial suggestion is two new town councils could be set up to represent Torquay and Paignton respectively. However, alternative options are possible, for example, there could be a larger number of small town or parish councils representing individual areas, parts of Torbay could remain unparished, or our bay could simply retain the status quo. You can find the Council’s consultation and leave your comments by clicking here.

Whilst a new Town Council may sound good, much of the money raised in tax by it would need to be spent maintaining the structure of the Town Council itself. I also meet few people in the bay who think the ideal solution to local problems would be to employ some more Councillors.

A genuine community demand for Town Councils would be one worth listening to, yet the current proposals strike me as little more than an expensive and inefficient way to raise additional tax revenue dreamt up in the Town Hall.

DAESH Fighters, 

As their so called “caliphate” collapses and the military forces opposing them close in on the final area of territory controlled by DAESH in Syria many who joined or supported their murderous regime are being captured.

The situation is similar in principle, if not in scale, to the position in May 1945 as Allied Forces captured many who had been involved in the crimes committed by Nazi Germany. The Allies decided it was vital those involved in genocide and crimes against humanity faced justice, most famously delivered at the Nuremburg Trials. UK Citizens who supported the Nazis, like William Joyce (aka “Lord Haw Haw”), faced the criminal law on their return.

On Monday MPs questioned the Home Secretary on this issue, especially what should happen with those UK Nationals who headed out to Syria in order to be part of this regime. I highlighted the need for those involved in DAESH to face justice either here or in an International Tribunal.

You can read my comments and the Home Secretary’s reply by clicking here.

Holy Trinity Church, 

One of Torquay’s most significant and iconic buildings is now a sad sight after a recent fire which badly damaged its roof.

Holy Trinity Church was last used for worship in the 1970’s and is now known to many as the “Rainbow Fun House”. It is listed, but over the last year its heritage has come under threat as its magnificent stained windows are starting to be vandalised.

Kev’s Column: Dawlish Funding 

Every fortnight I write a “Kev’s Column” for the Herald Express and you can read this week’s edition by following the link below:

https://www.kevinjfoster.com/news/kevs-column-dawlish-funding

and finally……..Watch Out Emu About!

Ending on a lighter note an escaped EMU had his owners in a flap after he escaped from a South Devon Farm.

Keen to spread his wings he fled a farm in Churchstow, near Kingsbridge and headed into the distance. After 24 hours on the run he was finally spotted at a farm 1.5 miles away and recaptured with the help of a tarpaulin.

You can read the full story on Devon Live by clicking here.

That is all for this week and enjoy your weekend.

Best Wishes,

Kevin

 

Events

Tuesday 26th February – 10:45 – 12 noon – Torquay Museum Society Lectures – Bush Master: Raymond Ditmars & The Hunt For The World’s Largest Viper. For more details click here.

Wednesday 27th February – 10:45 – 12 noon – Torquay Museum Society Lectures – BRUNEL’S HIDDEN KINGDOM. For more details click here.

Wednesday 6th March from 1:30pm to 2:30pm and the session on Thursday 7th from 10:30am to 11:30am.  World Book Day is on 7th March 2019 and Paignton Zoo have teamed up with Torbay Libraries to bring you some storytelling and mask-making fun!

In collaboration with Torbay Libraries, the zoo will be running FREE* storytelling and animal mask making sessions on the 6th and 7th March 2019.  Also for both days, children can come to the Zoo dressed as their favourite book character to be in with the chance to win a standard animal adoption of their choice! Click here for more details.

What’s Going On In Wellswood? – click here to see a full list of the many social events taking place in Wellswood throughout February.

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 paignton.bcs@rbl.community.

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 kevin.foster.mp@parliament.uk so it can be included.

 

Advice Surgeries

Saturday 2nd March, 10pm – 12pm @ St Martins Church, Barton Hill Road, Torquay TQ2 8JA

Saturday 9th March, 11am – 1pm @ Preston Baptist Church, Old Torquay Road, TQ3 2RB

Saturday 16th March, 11am – 1pm @ The Acorn Centre, Lummaton Cross, Torquay TQ2 8ET

Saturday 23rd March, 11am – 1pm @ Paignton Library, Great Western Road, Paignton TQ4 5AG

Friday 29th March, 3pm – 5pm @ The Windmill Centre, Pendennis Road, Torquay TQ2 7QB

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

16th February 2019
by stlukesranews
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MP for Torbay, Kevin Fosters Residents’ Update: Friday 15th February 2019

Please note that we will now be posting an abridged version of Kevin’s update covering local news items. To receive his full update please sign up via his office contact details.

 

Torquay Magistrates Court, 

Since its closure Torquay Magistrates Court has laid empty, with few potential purchasers showing much interest in a building designed for a unique purpose and whose basement was built as a Civil Defence Bunker.

St Mary Mag’s Church next door is looking to expand its youth, community and worship in a way not possible solely within its magnificent Victorian Building. It is therefore looking into whether it could acquire the former court building.

On Monday I arranged for representatives of the Church to meet with Justice Minister Lucy Frazer for a discussion about their plans. The meeting was positive, with more work to be done.

PATH, 

The future for local charity PATH looks bleak with Torbay Council set to evict them from their temporary home this week.

Whilst the Abbey Road premises is not a place for them to stay in long term, throwing them onto the street at a time of year when their services are most needed is not appropriate. It appears the main purpose of the eviction is so the building can be put up for sale with vacant possession, rather than it needing to be handed over to a new purchaser.

My attempts to persuade the Council to grant a reprieve for the Charity whilst they find a new premises have not been successful so far, with the Council’s Chief Executive sending an email confirming the decision of the Mayoral Executive to back this course of action. I have had a positive conversation with Cllr Dave Thomas, Leader of the Conservative Group, but due to the Mayoral system running the council (until its abolition on 2nd May) it is not a decision he can take.

I have advised the Chief Executive of Torbay Council I will be consulting Mr Speaker to identify if there is an opportunity to raise this matter and comment on the actions of those involved in the House of Commons, with the benefit of parliamentary privilege whilst doing so.

Shedden Hall Hotel, 

Following my comments in last week’s update about the apparent lack of progress with this hotel I am pleased to report Torbay Council responded by getting in touch with the owner to chase progress.

Torbay Council are currently reviewing the matter with a view to taking enforcement action under the provisions of Sec 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Enforcement action under the provisions of the above legislation could include works in default to improve the appearance of the building, or prosecution for non-compliance.

It is hoped the owner will work with the council to either expedite the redevelopment of the site, or to undertake the necessary works to improve the appearance of the building for the benefit of the local community. Yet given the lengthy time the site has been derelict it is clear action is needed to ensure work gets underway.

Events

Now until 28th February Artizan Gallery Re-Launch feat: works of Martin Dutton, FG Davis, Kirsteen Titchener,Susan Cavaliere, and Jo West

https://www.art-hub.co.uk/feb19

Now until 24th February Rivieera Art Fair feat: works from Devon Art Society, Torbay Guild of Artists and Brixham Art Society. Spanish Barn,Torre Abbey

Saturday 16th February Free Drop’n’shop – Drop Your Children Aged 5-11 With Us While You Shop Or Chill In A Local Coffee Shop It’s Up To You. Reserve Your Place By Phone 07504990613 – 10am To 12pm. Lead By Qualified Teachers All Helpers Are DBS Checked
And Safeguarding Trained. Engage Torbay Church, 8a Lower Union Lane, Torquay TQ2 5PN.
www.Facebook.Com/Engage Torbay Church

Saturday, 16th February, 12 Noon – 2.00 p.m  – “Soup & Pud At St. Matthias’Church Hall, Babbacombe Road, Torquay, TQ1 1HW. Admission £5. Delicious homemade soup with puddings and coffee/tea. Raffle, Bring & Buy stall. Proceeds in aid of Rowcroft Hospice.  Do come and bring a friend to support this worthwhile cause.”

Saturday 16th February – YOUNG ARCHAEOLOGISTS CLUB – ARCHAEOLOGY ON FILM: A PRACTICAL WORKSHOP. 10 – 4pm at Torquay Museum; Cost: £15 per child member
SPACES LIMITED TO 10 CHILDREN – SO MUST BE PRE-BOOKED. Click here for more details.

Thursday 21 February – The Blue Walnut cinema are showing “The Boat That Rocked”.
Doors open at 1930 for a film start at 2000. Non members very welcome £6, but please ring 01803-392522 to reserve your place.

Friday 22nd February – Torbay Hospital League of Friends host The Torbay Police and Community Choir and The Morriston Ladies Choir at Central Church, Torquay. Tickets are £10 – contact Roy Tuttle on 01803 369617 – Click here to download the advert.

What’s Going On In Wellswood? – click here to see a full list of the many social events taking place in Wellswood throughout February.

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 paignton.bcs@rbl.community.

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 kevin.foster.mp@parliament.uk so it can be included.

Advice Surgeries

Friday 22nd February, 3pm – 5pm @ Paignton Baptist Church, 43 Winner Street, Paignton TQ3 3BJ

Saturday 2nd March, 10pm – 12pm @ St Martins Church, Barton Hill Road, Torquay TQ2 8JA

Saturday 9th March, 11am – 1pm @ Preston Baptist Church, Old Torquay Road, TQ3 2RB

Saturday 16th March, 11am – 1pm @ The Acorn Centre, Lummaton Cross, Torquay TQ2 8ET

Saturday 23rd March, 11am – 1pm @ Paignton Library, Great Western Road, Paignton TQ4 5AG

Friday 29th March, 3pm – 5pm @ The Windmill Centre, Pendennis Road, Torquay TQ2 7QB

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

11th February 2019
by stlukesranews
0 comments

Kevin Foster, MP for Torbay Residents’ Update: Friday 8th February 2019

After an interesting week at Westminster and here in the bay it is time for my latest update.

My week started quietly with a Saturday at home catching up on emails and paperwork after a busy time in parliament. This was followed by a session out on the doorsteps in Babbacombe with Hazel and Cllr Anne Brooks. I always find knocking doors is a great way of hearing from a range of people who may not get in touch with me regularly, but who have a view on their area or national events.

Sunday was very different as I headed to Upton Vale Baptist Church for the Induction of Pastor Rev. Andy Hickford. It was great to be part of a large congregation of all ages for a celebration of the new ministry about to start. The church plays a large part in supporting the local community and hosts the CAP Money Advice Service which has helped many residents escape the clutches of unaffordable debts.

Sunday evening saw me head up to London ahead of a busy week in Parliament with the House of Commons sitting from Monday till Friday this week. I cover below some of the debates I was involved in, plus some significant announcements made this week in relation to issues which affect our bay directly.

The highlight of my week was one which some eagle-eyed residents may have noticed on Wednesday. As the Prime Minister was away meeting European Leaders David Lidington responded to Prime Minister’s Questions on her behalf. When he stands in for her I am asked to substitute for the Prime Minister’s Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) who would normally support her, including sitting behind David during the live session. More on what this involves below.

Later in the afternoon I headed to a Parliamentary event  ahead of the national launch of the Adult Social Care Recruitment Campaign which is starting on Monday. The national recruitment campaign aims to boost recruitment into the adult social care sector where there are approximately 110,000 vacancies across England and a high turnover rate of around 31%.

Today I was in parliament to support two Private Member’s Bills. One which seeks to ensure cultural objects looted during the Holocaust can be returned to their rightful owners. The second a bill dubbed “Finn’s Law” ensuring those who attack Service Animals, including Police Dogs like Finn, get dealt with more appropriately by the courts. I even got to meet Finn in person, or should it be in dog, after the bill completed all its stages and headed to the Lords.

Sadly today in Parliament was also notable for the use of arcane procedure by one MP to block a bill aimed at tackling Female Genital Mutilation. I was present in the chamber for a moment which embarrassed the whole house. Thankfully the Government Chief Whip has this evening indicated time will be found, using more modern procedures in Government Time, to ensure the change progresses

This week’s update is below and includes:  PMQs, Sport Debate, Rough Sleeping Debate, PATH, Unauthorised Traveller Camps, Legal Aid, Fireman Sam?, Shedden Hall Hotel, Paignton Beach Slipway, Housing Standards Crackdown, Dawlish Rail Plan Submitted, Kev’s Column: Recess Cancelled and finally……..I Just Missed An Octopus!!

PMQs, 

Love it or loathe it Prime Minister’s Questions is the most high-profile event of the Parliamentary Week, but what is not visible to those watching is what happens to prepare for it.

Whilst some MPs scheduled to ask questions will let the Prime Minister’s team known their chosen subject many, including the Opposition Leader who has 6, will not. This means the Prime Minister or David in her absence, must read up on a range of subjects and prepare lines on literally any issue which could be thrown at them.

There are three preparation sessions. The first on Monday lunchtime is a quick half hour to discuss likely subjects and what research is needed. The second on Tuesday Afternoon for an hour to look through the first versions of the briefing packs. Then on Wednesday morning 90 minutes of practice and reading beforehand.

During the session as PPS I have three packs. One a small pack with each questioner and a list of useful stats, plus briefing notes on “hot topics” it is believed are very likely to come up or with questions MPs have indicated they will ask if called by the Speaker. The Second is a larger document with points made on issues by the Prime Minister (or David) at previous sessions for reference. The final one is a large lever arch file which contains briefings on virtually any subject likely to come up.

As a question is asked I listen to them and once I realise the subject I pass a note forward (if we have) one on the subject, especially if a detailed question being asked. I also keep count on the Opposition Leader Questions as it is easy to lose track when answering of whether they are on number 4 or number 5.

Finally ahead of the session I will as PPS for the session encourage other colleagues to take part and highlight some issues they might wish to ask about.

Sport Debate, 

Our bay’s vibrant sport scene and the army of volunteers who support it was highlighted in parliament on Monday as MPs debated Sport in the UK.

Due to the number of MPs wanting to take part in the debate I could only make a short contribution, but still found time to mention Barton Cricket Club, Cary Park Tennis Club, Paignton RFC, Sea Rowing and Torquay United. I also expressed some views on the idea of a new stadium for TUFC and issues being raised around “safe standing”.

You can read my remarks and the Minister’s response by clicking here.

Rough Sleeping Debate, 

The site of anyone being forced to sleep rough is one which will concern any update reader, hence I was keen to take part in a debate on this subject.

Over the last year significant work has been done to stem the increase in the numbers of those sleeping rough, with projects such as TESH and the implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act. I have also worked with colleagues on Torbay Council and in local charities to see if a “Housing First” approach could be brought to the bay. This would see rough sleepers more quickly moved into permanent accommodation, with support services to help keep them off the streets.

It is welcome to note the fall in the latest official numbers of those Sleeping Rough in our bay, yet there is still plenty of work to be done both locally and at Westminster.

You can read my remarks by clicking here.

PATH, 

Several update readers have been in contact with me about the future for PATH, a local charity working with those affected by Homelessness in our bay.

They face being evicted later this month from their temporary base in Abbey Road after Torbay Council received a possession order. Whilst the property was never intended to be permanent base it is a bitter irony this Charity could soon end up homeless itself.

I have been in touch with the Council and raised the issue in parliament yesterday. I am also arranging to speak with the Conservative Group Leader Cllr Dave Thomas, about what they can do to force the Mayoral Administration to intervene and prevent this eviction whilst a permanent home is found.

I will include further news in future updates.

Unauthorised Traveller Camps, 

The Government has unveiled plans to crack down on a nuisance which regularly affects our bay, unauthorised traveller camps.

Many groups seek to exploit the current law which requires landowners to get a possession order, then evict the travellers concerned. In many cases turning up just before a Bank Holiday, pitch on a high-profile site like Paignton Green, then disappearing just before the eviction notice would come into force. Given the law currently makes it an issue of “Civil Law” the Police can intervene to keep the peace during an eviction, rather than deal with the problem itself.

The most major change proposed is a review which will consider whether to criminalise the act of trespassing when setting up an encampment. This will consider the financial and operational impacts new legislation would have, investigate the effectiveness of similar legislation in Ireland and consider how such a power could work in practice. This could act as a real deterrent to such activity in the future, and it is therefore right this option is explored fully.

You can read more on the Government website by clicking here.

Legal Aid, 

The Lord Chancellor made a statement to MPs yesterday on the Post Implementation Review of Legal Aid.

I was keen to explore how a suggested evaluation of Criminal Legal Advice would take into account the challenges of providing such services in a county like ours, as opposed to just basing the work on larger urban areas like London.

You can read my comments and the Minister’s response by clicking here.

Fireman Sam?, 

The famous children’s character Fireman Sam is a popular one with many boys in the bay, yet there are efforts being made to ensure girls also see the Fire Service as a career for them.

Yesterday Ministers were being questioned on work to improve facilities at Fire Stations for female firefighters, so I reflected on the work being done to promote this career to women.

You can read my comments and the Minister’s reply by clicking here.

Shedden Hall Hotel, 

Despite some signs of demolition work last year the eyesore which is the Shedden Hall Hotel is still standing in a prominent location in our bay.

Over the last year I have regularly chased Torbay Council for action, including the use of legal powers to force improvements to be made. Despite previous indications this appears not to have happened.

I have chased the Council again this week and will include any further news in a future update.

Paignton Beach Slipway, 

A seafront slipway which was damaged in last year’s storms will now be repaired after a campaign by Cllr Barbara Lewis.

The slipway leads directly from the promenade to Paignton Beach. It is not only a route used by those heading for a paddle in the sea, but by sailing, rowing and other water sports clubs.

Barbara has secured a pledge of £35,000 to get the work completed.

Housing Standards Crackdown, 

Over 1,350 residents in the Bay have had their living conditions improved since the start of the Rogue Landlords programme.

The Rogue Landlord programme, which started in 2012, targets landlords providing poor standards of accommodation, not effectively managing their properties or acting outside the law. The programme also takes positive action to support good landlords and promote good practice.
Checks and operations are carried out by a range of organisations including Torbay Council, Police, Fire and Rescue Service and the Home Office Immigration Service.

Since the Rogue Landlords programme started:

  • 231 enforcement notices have been served
  • 2,095 hazards were identified in 590 properties, which belong to 366 Landlords
  • 1,357 Torbay residents have been protected from a range of hazards, including damp, excess cold, possible falls and fire
  • 82 prohibition orders were served, which prohibited the use of 106 dwellings until standards improved
  • 8 prosecutions have taken place

And 1 landlord has been ordered to pay £6,570 through a civil penalty

Most Landlords in the bay provide a good standard property for a reasonable rent, but the small minority who let the whole sector down must be tackled.  I therefore welcome the action taken by the Council in this area.

Dawlish Rail Plan Submitted, 

Network Rail has made a planning submission to Teignbridge District Council to improve the long-term resilience of the railway linking Devon and Cornwall to the rest of the UK.

Plans, developed in partnership with world leading engineering contractors Arup, for a new, higher sea wall at Dawlish will be submitted to the council, targeted at providing greater resilience for generations to come.

The design will prevent stormy conditions from damaging the railway at Dawlish in Devon. Owing to high waves and strong winds, the tracks and station are regularly being damaged by flooding, as seen in 2014 when the line washed away.

You can read more and see artists impressions of the proposed new Sea Wall on Network Rail’s website by clicking here.

Kev’s Column: Recess Cancelled 

Every fortnight I write a “Kev’s Column” for the Herald Express and you can read the latest edition by following the link below:

https://www.kevinjfoster.com/news/kevs-column-recess-cancelled

and finally……..I Just Missed An Octopus!!

Ending on a different note Tuesday night saw the Emergency Services called to a crash on the A381 between Salcombe and Kingsbridge where a car had overturned.

Given no other vehicle was involved the Police were keen to establish what had happened by speaking to the driver. His reply? He he had swerved to avoid an Octopus!!!

Unsurprisingly the Police, like most reading this update, did not find this a convincing explanation and quickly arranged a lift for him to the Custody Suite at Torquay Police Station on suspicion of Drug Driving. You can read more here.

That is all for this week and enjoy your weekend.

Best wishes,

Kevin

Events

Wednesday 13th February  Artizan Gallery Re-Launch. Join the team and exhibiting artists for a preview on the first exhibition for 2019. 6 – 8 PM 7 Lucius Street TQ2 5UW https://www.art-hub.co.uk/feb19

Wednesday 13th February at 7.30pm –  the next meeting of the Torbay Interfaith Forum in the Events section of this week’s Residents Update, Quaker Meeting House
48 Tor Hill Road, Torquay TQ2 5RT.  The talk will be entitled ‘Druidry Today’, The speaker will be Sandy Buckle. Contact is William(Bill) Becher (Chair, Torbay Interfaith Forum).

Wednesday 13th February in Paignton, ‘Hidden Crime Awareness Events’ across Devon. The aim is to raise awareness around some of the important, current, key safeguarding messages which are impacting on our communities, including those with learning disabilities and or autism. events start at 9.15am until 1.00pm with tea / coffee and are FREE. Click here for full details.

Thursday 14th February – Big poetry returns to the Blue Walnut Cafe, 14 Walnut Road, Torquay TQ2 6HS – Show starts at 8pm, tickets £6, contact robertdgarnham@gmail.com for reservations – click here for more information.

Tuesday, 12th February – Free Social Event  – 2pm to 4pm. Come Along And Meet People.
Free Tea/Coffee & Cake And Showing Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (No.2) The Movie.
For More Information & To Book Telephone 07504 990613 – Engage Torbay Church
8a Lower Union Lane, Torquay, TQ2 5PN – www.Facebook.Com/Engagetorbaychurch.

Saturday 16th February Free Drop’n’shop – Drop Your Children Aged 5-11 With Us While You Shop Or Chill In A Local Coffee Shop It’s Up To You. Reserve Your Place By Phone 07504990613 – 10am To 12pm. Lead By Qualified Teachers All Helpers Are DBS Checked
And Safeguarding Trained. Engage Torbay Church, 8a Lower Union Lane, Torquay TQ2 5PN.
www.Facebook.Com/Engage Torbay Church

Saturday, 16th February, 12 Noon – 2.00 p.m  – “Soup & Pud At St. Matthias’Church Hall, Babbacombe Road, Torquay, TQ1 1HW. Admission £5. Delicious homemade soup with puddings and coffee/tea. Raffle, Bring & Buy stall. Proceeds in aid of Rowcroft Hospice.  Do come and bring a friend to support this worthwhile cause.”

Saturday 16th February – YOUNG ARCHAEOLOGISTS CLUB – ARCHAEOLOGY ON FILM: A PRACTICAL WORKSHOP. 10 – 4pm at Torquay Museum; Cost: £15 per child member
SPACES LIMITED TO 10 CHILDREN – SO MUST BE PRE-BOOKED. Click here for more details.

Friday 22nd February – Torbay Hospital League of Friends host The Torbay Police and Community Choir and The Morriston Ladies Choir at Central Church, Torquay. Tickets are £10 – contact Roy Tuttle on 01803 369617 – Click here to download the advert.

What’s Going On In Wellswood? – click here to see a full list of the many social events taking place in Wellswood throughout February.

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 paignton.bcs@rbl.community.

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 kevin.foster.mp@parliament.uk so it can be included.

Advice Surgeries

Saturday 16th February, 11am – 1pm @ St Peters Church, Queensway, Torquay TQ2 6BP

Friday 22nd February, 3pm – 5pm @ Paignton Baptist Church, 43 Winner Street, Paignton TQ3 3BJ

Saturday 2nd March, 10pm – 12pm @ St Martins Church, Barton Hill Road, Torquay TQ2 8JA

Saturday 9th March, 11am – 1pm @ Preston Baptist Church, Old Torquay Road, TQ3 2RB

Saturday 16th March, 11am – 1pm @ The Acorn Centre, Lummaton Cross, Torquay TQ2 8ET

Saturday 23rd March, 11am – 1pm @ Paignton Library, Great Western Road, Paignton TQ4 5AG

Friday 29th March, 3pm – 5pm @ The Windmill Centre, Pendennis Road, Torquay TQ2 7QB

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

4th February 2019
by stlukesranews
0 comments

Public Meeting

The Community Partnerships (Torquay Town Center :-Torre and Upton  and Hele with Barton will be holding a public Hustings on the 8th April at the Central Church Hall, Morgan Avenue, at 6.30 p.m.All candidates in the May Local Government Elections are invited to attend.

4th February 2019
by stlukesranews
0 comments

MP for Torbay Kevin Foster Residents’ Update: Friday 1st February 2019

Dear All,

As much of Devon is covered in a layer of snow, but our bay remains clear, it is time for my latest update.

My week started with a visit to Argos in Union St, Torquay where one of their employees who is famous for his flowing looks was about to get a whole new style, in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society. I was present as Dave Shute braved the shave, raising hundreds of pounds for research into this condition which affects so many in our bay.

After this I headed up to the Acorn Centre for my weekly surgery. My surgeries see residents come to discuss a range of personal issues where my assistance may be able to help. The most common items are housing, benefits or immigration problems, with Government Departments having teams assigned to help respond to queries residents raise with their local MP through them.

Following my Surgery I was due to head out on the doorsteps for a session listening to local residents’ views, but sadly rain stopped play. It was though dry and warm at the Babbacombe and St Marychurch Conservative Club for their Burns Night celebration, complete with the Haggis being piped in.

Sunday was Holocaust Memorial Day as the UK marked the 74th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz. I joined a large congregation at St Pauls, Preston for a service of remembrance, reflection and commitment. I spoke during the service, reflecting on how we must not just think of the Holocaust as something which happened 80 years ago, but also the genocides since like the ones in Rwanda and Bosnia.

During the service there was a moment’s silence in memory of those who died in the Holocaust. If we stood for one minute in memory of each victim, we would have been standing in silence for 11 and a half years.

After the service I headed to the station just in time for the last train from Devon to London ahead of a busy week of debates in parliament, with Tuesday being a highlight as major votes on Brexit took place in the House of Commons. More on some of these below.

Wednesday morning saw me in the Locarno Room at the Foreign Office for the launch of the Review into the support the UK can offer Persecuted Christians. The work is being led by the Bishop of Truro and will help give an insight into how our diplomatic network across the globe can make a difference. I was invited due to my regular speaking on this subject and membership of the All-Party Group on Freedom of Religious Belief.

Yesterday I headed back to the bay, with my train thankfully being unaffected by the weather. It was though strange to see snow on the ground at Newton Abbot Station, yet then find our bay clear of any.

Today I visited Cockington Primary School to talk with Year 5 about my work and answer their questions. The subjects raised included everything from how long I have been doing my job to what would the answer be to Brexit.

Later in the afternoon I headed to Paignton for my latest advice surgery, with residents again bringing a range of issues to me.

Finally Friday also saw the Funeral of 14 year old Alice Sloman take place at the church of St Mary the Virgin, more on this below, along with this week’s update which includes: Brexit, Equitable Life Debate, “Holidays” Cancelled?, Snow, Torquay Police Street Surgery, Licence Fee Question, £70k to Combat Youth Isolation, Torre Abbey Shortlisted, Boost Your Broadband and finally…….The King of Chelston?

Brexit, 

The major talking point of this week has been the votes held in Parliament on Tuesday night where MPs voted on a series of amendments to a Government motion.

The motion was set in neutral terms, effectively noting the statement given by the Prime Minister following the Government’s defeat on the Meaningful Vote. Yet as an amendable motion it was open to MPs from across the House to propose amendments which would give it a specific purpose.

There is not space in this update to go into the detail of the arguments around each amendment, although I will do a more detailed update for those who are on my Brexit mailing list this weekend. Yet the headlines are the House of Commons rejected amendments which would have seen backbench bills to delay Brexit given priority over Government Business, along with another one seeking to delay it by two years.

Two amendments were approved. One which indicated the House of Commons was minded to support the deal if alternative measures were put in the place of the Northern Ireland backstop. The second added a statement to the end of the motion indicating the House rejected the concept of leaving without a withdrawal agreement (No Deal).

These votes were not a re-run of the “Meaningful Vote” and if the Government motion had passed unamended it would not have approved a specific outcome.

The Government is now seeking to renegotiate the proposed deal with the EU based on the House of Commons having indicated it would back it with changes to the backstop. Yet if no progress is made the Government has indicated there be a further debate on Thursday 14th February where MPs will again be able to put forward alternatives to be voted on.

Equitable Life Debate, 

19 years ago Equitable Life collapsed following a total failure of the then system of financial regulation.

The collapse of Equitable Life saw many savers lose money they thought had been totally secure in Pension Pots or seemingly secure investments. The total loss to customers of what had once been a highly respected institution was estimated to be in the region of £4bn, with many finding their pension would be at a much lower level on a short time before retirement.

A Parliamentary Ombudsman report in 2008 slammed the regulator and concluded maladministration had directly led to the collapse. Yet the Government of the time did not act on these findings, although in 2010 the new Government moved to establish a compensation scheme. Whilst this saw £1.5bn of Compensation allocated to those affected it still left many thousands of pounds out of pocket.

On Thursday a cross-party group of MPs again sought to put pressure on the Government to make some more funds available to those affected by the Equitable Life Scandal. I spoke in the debate and highlighted several local cases (With the express permission of those concerned) where savers had been left significantly out of pocket.

You can read my speech and the other contributions in the debate by clicking here.

“Holidays” Cancelled?, 

If you have read some national newspapers you might have seen reference to MPs having their February “Skiing Holiday” cancelled and their being a “revolt” over this.

The cancellation of the February Recess (confirmed this week) came as no surprise to me and is the right move in the current circumstances. Whilst I had planned to spend the recess week in Torbay, not the Alps, and visiting constituents not the Ski Shop, the situation with Brexit makes it vital parliament is sitting and able to consider immediately any further deal reached, plus the necessary legislation to implement it.

This view is shared by most MPs, despite the media headlines, although I accept some with caring, medical or family commitments may have an issue with changing their plans in a way I do not.

Snow, 

Whilst we have not seen too much here in the bay, much of our county has a good covering of the white stuff.

For many Devon school children this has meant a great deal of fun and an unexpected day off school, yet it has also seen hundreds of motorists stranded in the bad weather. 140 of them spent last night at the famous Jamaica Inn after the A30 in Cornwall became blocked.

If planning a journey this weekend, especially if heading towards Dartmoor, do check the weather and travel conditions before setting out. Whilst Torbay’s roads are clear this is not the case across other nearby areas.

The best place to head for the latest weather news is the Met Office website. Just click here to be taken to it.

Torquay Police Street Surgery, 

It is not just me holding surgeries as Torquay Police will be available for a discussion with residents about their concerns at a forthcoming Street Surgery.

The Surgery will take place between 10.00 and 11.00 on Friday 1st March in Nicholson Road, The Willows. Click here for details.

You can also contact the team via email on torquay@devonandcornwall.pnn.police.uk however please report all crime in the usual way to 999 (Emergency) or 101.

Licence Fee Question, 

The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport was questioned on the future of free TV Licences for the over 75s this week.

Funding this concession will in future pass to the BBC, although I am advised overall Licence Fee income is still expected to rise. Services such as BBC Radio Devon and BBC Spotlight News are much valued by residents in Torbay, yet other aspects of expenditure should be carefully examined rather than looking at the cost of this concession.

You can read my question and the Minister’s response by clicking here.

£70k to Combat Youth Isolation, 

A grant of £70,000 will allow a consortium led by the Torbay Community Development Trust to launch a new initiative aimed at reducing social isolation in young people.

The project is expected to support 500 young people between the ages of 11 and 18 over the next two years. It will engage those involved in social action which tackles loneliness for them and their peers.

When the issue of loneliness is discussed many would assume it was referring to the elderly, yet in a world where many seem more connected than ever before some teenagers can feel very isolated. This project is therefore very welcome.

Torre Abbey Shortlisted, 

Torre Abbey Museum has been shortlisted for the National Campaign for the Arts’ (NCA) Hearts For The Arts Awards 2019.

Torre Abbey Museum has been nominated for Best Local Authority Arts Initiative for its project Torbay Tattoo Tales. The team at Torre Abbey Museum worked with local tattoo studios and members of the body art community to collect photographs of tattoos and the stories behind them.

The winners of the Hearts for The Arts Awards 2019 will be announced on Thursday 14th February.

Boost Your Broadband 

Half of South West households could switch to faster broadband today, according to new figures revealed by Ofcom.

Official data from Ofcom shows 86% of homes and offices in the South West can now get superfast broadband, but only around half of those have taken it up.

And many people are paying more than they need to. Around four million UK households with old-style, basic broadband have passed their initial deal and could switch to superfast for the same or less, money than they currently pay.

Ofcom has launched Boost Your Broadband, a major information campaign to help people find out how they could get more, for less from their broadband.

A new website allows people to easily check what type of broadband they can get in their area and offers impartial advice on how to find the best deal. You can find it by clicking  here.

and finally…….The King of Chelston?

Ending on a lighter note one Chelston couple have launched their own, rather wacky way of helping those who want to resolve or just avoid the latest Brexit debates.

June Fendick and Alex Foreman have launched their own Brexit free “Kingdom” centred on June’s home in Chelston. The new state is called Eu-phoria and it has already set about introducing some new “policies” in its programme for Government including:

  • Observing the right of people to drink with both hands.
  • Honesty boxes for Parking charges.
  • Anyone using Dog Poo bags as tree decoration will be made to watch Eurovision Song Contest re-runs on a 24hour loop, without ear plugs.

You can read more about this new state on the Daily Mail website by clicking here.

That is all for this week and enjoy your weekend.

Best Wishes,

Kevin

Events

Thursday 7 February  – Torbay Film Club (St Matthias Church Hall, Babbacombe Road) are showing “Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool”. Doors open at 1900 for a film start at 1930. All welcome, non members £5.50. For full details click here, to be taken to their website.

Wednesday 13th February in Paignton, ‘Hidden Crime Awareness Events’ across Devon. The aim is to raise awareness around some of the important, current, key safeguarding messages which are impacting on our communities, including those with learning disabilities and or autism. events start at 9.15am until 1.00pm with tea / coffee and are FREE. Click here for full details.

Thursday 14th February – Big poetry returns to the Blue Walnut Cafe, 14 Walnut Road, Torquay TQ2 6HS – Show starts at 8pm, tickets £6, contact robertdgarnham@gmail.com for reservations – click here for more information.

Saturday 16th February – YOUNG ARCHAEOLOGISTS CLUB – ARCHAEOLOGY ON FILM: A PRACTICAL WORKSHOP. 10 – 4pm at Torquay Museum; Cost: £15 per child member
SPACES LIMITED TO 10 CHILDREN – SO MUST BE PRE-BOOKED. Click here for more details.

What’s Going On In Wellswood? – click here to see a full list of the many social events taking place in Wellswood throughout February.

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 paignton.bcs@rbl.community.

2nd Wednesday of each month at the Quaker Meeting House in Torquay – Torbay Interfaith Forum meet. For more details click here.

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 kevin.foster.mp@parliament.uk so it can be included.

Advice Surgeries

Saturday 16th February, 11am – 1pm @ St Peters Church, Queensway, Torquay TQ2 6BP

Friday 22nd February, 3pm – 5pm @ Paignton Baptist Church, 43 Winner Street, Paignton TQ3 3BJ

Saturday 2nd March, 10pm – 12pm @ St Martins Church, Barton Hill Road, Torquay TQ2 8JA

Saturday 9th March, 11am – 1pm @ Preston Baptist Church, Old Torquay Road, TQ3 2RB

Saturday 16th March, 11am – 1pm @ The Acorn Centre, Lummaton Cross, Torquay TQ2 8ET

Saturday 23rd March, 11am – 1pm @ Paignton Library, Great Western Road, Paignton TQ4 5AG

Friday 29th March, 3pm – 5pm @ The Windmill Centre, Pendennis Road, Torquay TQ2 7QB

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