Some local (and otherwise) news

News and Information

Normal service will be resumed next week.

English Riviera links with China

An agreement of friendly exchange and cooperation has been signed between the English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark and Tianzhushan UNESCO Global Geopark, China, during a visit of a delegation of senior officials for the territory.

Senior officials included Chief of Tourism, Deputy Director of the County Foreign and Overseas Chinese Affairs Office and the County Party Secretary.

Torbay’s Elected Mayor, Gordon Oliver, said: “This is the third agreement the English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark has signed with Geoparks in China and it shows the importance of having a UNESCO designation for Torbay, giving us international reach and exposure for our own exceptional natural environment.”

Melanie Border, English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark Coordinator, said: “The visit and signing of the agreement came about as a result of Torbay hosting the 7th International Conference on UNESCO Global Geopark at the Riviera International Conference Centre in September 2016.

“Representatives from Tianzhushan attended the conference with a display stand at the GeoFair. The delegates were impressed with the English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark and returned to China determined for our two areas to form a relationship. One of the benefits of being a UNESCO Global Geoparks is to establish exchanges and learn best practise from other Geoparks around the World. This agreement provides opportunities for Torbay to develop this.

“The delegation was welcomed to Torbay by Mayor Gordon Oliver and Councillor Nicole Amil at Kents Cavern. They presented their area which is incredibly beautiful with rich geology, cultural heritage, and community engagement which they use to create sustainable economic development.”

Situated in Qianshan County, Anhui Province, in the eastern part of China, the Tianzhushan Geopark territory has an impressive list of designations including National Scenic Area, National Forest Park and National AAAAA Tourist Attraction in addition to its UNESCO Global Geopark status.

During their visit the delegation from Tianzhushan were given a private tour of Kents Cavern. Following discussions and the signing of the agreement, the Mayor hosted a visit to Torre Abbey, Cockington and Brixham, before having dinner at the Yum Sing restaurant in Torquay.

The other two agreements are with the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark (2010) and with Zhangjiajie UNESCO Global Geopark, Hunan Province, China (2016) a territory used for filming the blockbuster movie Avatar.

For more information visit the English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark and Global Geoparks Network websites.

Consumers urged to follow safety advice when shopping for soft toys

Consumers buying soft toys for young children are urged to follow advice from The Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service (DSTTSS) after some failed safety tests.

The advice includes checking the toy for small parts, sharp edges and accessories like jewellery and checking the age range of the toy before giving to small children.

If you are concerned safety advice can be found at

The warning comes after 40 per cent of toys tested by trading standards failed seam tension tests. Tension tests ensure that a soft toy is strong enough to endure regular use by a child without coming apart.

In total samples of 15 soft toys, selected at random from a mixture of high street, online and market retailers were seam tension tested under laboratory conditions. Six of the 15 failed indicating that they may not be safe for use by young children.

The retailers and manufacturers have withdrawn them from sale. The test purchasing was part of the service’s routine market surveillance.

Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service recommends that when buying a soft toy, consumers should check the age warning on the packaging. Toys not suitable for children under 36 months must display a warning because they may contain parts which could cause significant harm.

Always ensure a CE mark is on the toy or packaging before you buy. All toys, including ‘free’ toys that come with magazines or food purchases must display this and it shows that the toy meets legal requirements.

‘Homemade’ toys available online or from market stalls must conform to the same safety regulations. Even if a product is marked ‘this is not a toy’ it may still have to satisfy the safety tests if it is ‘child appealing.’

Be wary of bargains, as some popular branded toys are counterfeited. While they might look the same, they are unlikely to have undergone the same rigorous safety tests a genuine toy will have been subjected to. Take extra care when buying second hand toys that no longer have the packaging or instructions.

Attachments like hair, eyes and noses should be securely fastened, and seams tightly stitched. Give these a quick test by pulling on them yourself before giving them to a child and check all toys regularly to ensure they remain safe for play.

Diamanté decorations and personalised gems or ‘bling’ can look pretty, but are subject to strict controls. Filling materials and hair on toys can be potential choking hazards; check for any long cords, ribbons or ties and be wary of sharp edges, points or loose components which can appear over time or if the toy is broken or damaged. If in doubt, stop using it.

Make sure the toy is suitable for the child and check the label or box for the age range, particularly with toys for children under three.
Remove any and all packaging and plastic bags before you give a child the toy and always supervise young children at play.

Paul Thomas, the Head of The Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service, said:

“Ensuring the safety of consumers is one of our key priorities and we use intelligence led projects like test purchasing to cultivate safer, stronger and well informed communities.

“Safety requirements for toys are strict for good reason, but this shouldn’t deter those who make and sell their own toys from being innovative and creating new products.

“We work with businesses from the start of their invention to ensure that only safe products are put on the market.”

Child safety information and tips can also be found at, a website brought to you in partnership with Trading Standards South West.




Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust – Tots Go Wild! – Occombe Farm
Preston Down Road, Paignton TQ3 1RN
Join us every Monday (09.30-11.00am) in the Summer holidays bring your tot for a morning of fun on the farm! Click here for more details.

Paignton Regatta 2017 – Paignton Green, Paignton TQ4 6ED
5 Aug 2017 – 13 Aug 2017

Click here for full details.

Coffee and Croissants at the Legion – Paignton British Legion
12th August – Paignton Legion HQ, 39 Church Street, Paignton TQ3 3AJ
Time – 10:00 -12:00
Click here for more information

Paignton Harbour Festival
Saturday 12th August
For full details click here.

Children’s week 2017
15th – 19th August. – Paignton Green, Paignton  TQ4 6BG
The UK’s longest running children’s festival, Torbay Children’s Week is now in its 71st year.
Click here for further details.

Boundary review meeting

Click here for information about this evening’s Council meeting that will discuss the Boundary review.

In the appendix of the Public reports pack there is a suggestion that St Luke’s becomes part of Torwood. although it does not look like this suggestion has been put forward in the final recommendation.

Some local (and otherwise) news

News courtesy of Kevin Foster

(MP for Torbay)
Any views expressed in this news post are those of Kevin Foster, unless stated otherwise.


New Paignton Primary School Makes Progress

Plans for a new Church of England Primary School in Paignton took a step forward this week as it was announced a site is being lined up for the school.

The increasing numbers of primary age children in Paignton has led to pressure on school places. This has resulted in some children being offered places at a school some distance from their home and families moving into Paignton not being able to get siblings into the same school. The new Church of England School will take children from across Paignton.

Given these issues and growing demand a new school is desperately needed, although the aspect of this story that has grabbed the most attention this week is that Parkfield will now not be used as a school site. This news leaving open the question of what the future for the centre now is, after it was mothballed earlier this year as part of a plan to relocate Torbay School there. You can read the full story on the Devon Live website by clicking here.

At least one group could provide an option for the future of it as a community building.

Edginswell Station Disappointment, 

There has been disappointing news on the project to build the first new Rail Station in the bay for decades after it failed in the latest round of new stations funding.

Whilst this is a set-back, all is not lost as the letter confirming the outcome of the recent bid made clear that it had proceeded beyond the initial stage of consideration. Further it invited those working on the project to meet with Network Rail and the Department of Transport to discuss how it could be further developed. One issue is the significant cost added to the scheme for track alignment work that needs to be undertaken before a station can be built at the selected site.

Kevin Foster will be seeking a meeting with the Rail Minister to further push the case for a project that would not just benefit those living nearby, but also make the Hospital and Edginswell Business Park easily accessible by train.

Crosscountry Trains Update

We have had a brief update in relation to the ongoing issue relating to Crosscountry’s direct services to and from our bay.

Earlier this year plans to cut their services to just one early morning departure were shelved after the rail minister indicating to me he was minded to block them. This followed a determined campaign supported by thousands of local residents, businesses and the Herald Express. It was initially thought revised plans could be published later this year as part of a consultation on changes to Crosscountry’s timetable across the UK.

There is now some speculation that no changes will be brought forward to timetables in the near future. This is welcome news, but we will be keeping an eye out for any changes in this position.

Crackdown Launched On Anti-Social Behaviour In Torquay Town Centre

The Police, Council and other agencies have this week announced a new crackdown on drug, alcohol and related anti-social behaviour in Torquay Town Centre.

Residents of Torquay Town Centre and a regular visitors to the Harbourside will see first-hand some of the issues that the new initiative will be targeting. It is also timely as a number of residents and traders have been in touch with me this week expressing concerns about those drinking, begging and taking drugs in three different locations across the Town Centre, including Castle Circus.

You can read more about the new “crackdown” on the Devon Live website by clicking here.

Finally if concerned about someone sleeping rough in the Town Centre do let the Torbay End Street Homelessness Campaign known about them. The number is 01803 217890 or you can email

Could You Join the Thin Blue Line?

If you have the skills to deal with issues like the ones mentioned in the previous article then registration has opened to express interest in becoming a Police Officer in Devon & Cornwall.

You can find all the details, plus the requirements you must meet to be successful in any application, on the Devon & Cornwall Police website by clicking here.

You will need to be quick though as the deadline to register is Midday on Monday 7thAugust 2017.

Health Secretary In Torbay

The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, visited Torbay Hospital yesterday as part of a series of visits to Hospitals in Devon.

The visit was a good opportunity to highlight successes such as work to provide integrated care services, but also to hear first-hand from NHS staff about the problems our local health services face.

During a two hour visit the Secretary of State met with Torbay hospital staff for a Q&A session as well as discussing current local health issues with the Senior Management Team and taking part in a Multi-Disciplinary Team Meeting that works with some of our most vulnerable residents. The questions asked by staff during the Q&A session covered a range of subjects including Junior Doctor’s Contracts, the Future for Midwifery and Staff Retention.

You can read more about his visit on the Devon Live website by clicking here.

Diesel Car Scrappage Scheme

Many diesel car drivers in the bay have been wondering what the future is for their vehicles.

A decade ago the then Government encouraged drivers to make the switch to diesel, yet the latest research indicates they make a larger contribution to air pollution levels than their petrol equivalents. This means that a switch back to petrol or a move to electric needs to be encouraged.

This week the government indicated it would consult on further measures, including a potential diesel scrappage scheme, in the autumn. I will include any further news in a future update and it is vital that motorists who bought in good faith do not find themselves facing a financial penalty for doing so.

£750k Expansion For Torquay Sea Front Restaurant

One of Torquay’s most prominent seafront restaurants, Pier Point, has submitted a planning application for a major redevelopment.

The plans, which could cost £750,000, include adding an addition floor creating an extra 60 covers internally and 60 outside covers that will taking in elevated views of the coastline and the marina. You can read more on the Devon Live website by clicking here.

Subject to planning permission being gained it is hoped work could start in late 2018.

Torbay Culture Hosts

Torbay’s Great Place Scheme programme is building momentum and a series of adventurous arts events is helping to put Torbay firmly on the cultural map.

Two events will be creating a peak of cultural activity in September, which can only successfully run with the support of volunteers as stewards, helpers and even story-tellers. THE TALE (an exciting new event for explorers of all ages) and The INTERNATIONAL AGATHA CHRISTIE FESTIVAL.

The energy and enthusiasm that volunteer hosts can share with visitors was very evident at the Global Geopark Conference in September 2016, when over 80 volunteers signed up to help.  This year’s events will be the next step towards establishing a friendly army of Culture Hosts that can help to make Torbay a truly ‘great place’.

Potential Hosts, with a few hours to spare this autumn, can find more details by clicking here or by popping in to meet the team at one of the Culture Host drop in information sessions:

PAIGNTON: Palace Theatre bar, 1400-1700, Wednesday 9th August
TORQUAY: Torre Abbey Education Room, 1000-1200, Saturday 19th August

£25m Housing Plan Launched

A new housing company has been set up to help tackle some of Torbay’s most pressing housing issues.

The new company, Rentco, is Council owned and will tackle issues such as the lack of affordable housing, and will raise standards in the private rented sector.

Whilst it is expected to result in a £25m investment in delivering housing, RentCo may provide revenue for the council in the future. I am advised any decisions will be cost-neutral to the council over the lifetime of any home or group of homes, over a maximum period of 25 years.

The Sweet Smell of Success?

Normally a gardener would be sensing the sweet smell of success when a rare plant bloomed, yet the opposite has been the case in Paignton this week.

Gardeners at Paignton Zoo as the second of two huge flowers has bloomed at Paignton Zoo. Titan arum flowers can be up to three metres high and three metres around, with a smell like rotting meat!

Five years ago Paignton Zoo was the first zoological collection in the UK to have a Titan arum bloom. The gardens team succeeded again in 2015, but 2017 has been their best year ever for these smelly giants, with two Titans blooming. So whilst successful it is safe to say the smell has been anything but sweet!!!

You can see a picture of the flower and read more on the Devon Live website by clicking here.


Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust – Tots Go Wild! – Occombe Farm
Preston Down Road, Paignton TQ3 1RN
Join us every Monday (09.30-11.00am) in the Summer holidays bring your tot for a morning of fun on the farm! Click here for more details.

Palace Theatre, Palace Avenue, Paignton TQ3 3HF
Dotty The Dragon – From Friday 4th August at 11am and 2pm
Click here for further details.

Paignton Regatta 2017 – Paignton Green, Paignton TQ4 6ED
5 Aug 2017 – 13 Aug 2017

Click here for full details.

Coffee and Croissants at the Legion – Paignton British Legion
12th August – Paignton Legion HQ, 39 Church Street, Paignton TQ3 3AJ
Time – 10:00 -12:00
Click here for more information

Paignton Harbour Festival
Saturday 12th August
For full details click here.

Children’s week 2017
15th – 19th August. – Paignton Green, Paignton  TQ4 6BG
The UK’s longest running children’s festival, Torbay Children’s Week is now in its 71st year.
Click here for further details.