15 more bus services to be withdrawn in Torbay

Liberal Democrat Group (Torbay Council) spokesperson for transport, Ian Doggett, has been informed that 15 Torbay Bus Services operated by the Local Link firm are now under threat , as a result of the Company giving notice to the Department for Transport to cancel all their Services from various dates in April and May 2017. The decision to end the services follows Torbay Council imposing lower rates of payment for concessionary bus fares across Torbay.  Paignton Liberal Democrat Councillor Ian Doggett said, "These Services often reach places in the Bay that others do not! If these Services are not replaced, many residents will be left isolated! This is a disaster for local transport provision, and would see, for example, the end of Services 60/61, which last year was threatened with withdrawal, and got a reprieve. The Service 67 is another one that would finish. This runs between Brixham and Torbay Hospital and the Willows, via Paignton and Marldon, and offers a quick direct Service. I will be in contact with the Elected Mayor, Gordon Oliver and the Executive Lead for Transport, Mark King, over the situation to see if they can expedite a solution?"


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Success for KGV Playing Fields Campaign

Torbay Council voted unanimously to transfer the ownership of the  King George V Playing Fields from Torbay Council to Fields in Trust at the Full Council meeting on the 2nd of  February.  The decision follows a campaign by Torquay Liberal Democrats to put right an 80 year old wrong, in that the fields were never registered  as memorial playing fields for King George V.  Fields in Trust is an organisation established to protect and improve public open spaces in the interests of the local community. 
 St Marychurch campaigner David Ward said: “I and local residents are delighted that there was a unanimous vote in favour of our campaign to transfer the King George V Playing Fields to the Fields in Trust organisation. It is also helpful that the Council set a time limit of one year for the transfer to this organisation.” 

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"Care leavers" should not have to pay council tax

The Liberal Democrats on Torbay Council are set to champion the needs of care leavers at this evening's Full Council meeting by putting a motion forward to exempt them from Council tax for the first few years of their adult lives. 
Paignton Liberal Democrat councillor Ian Doggett, who is proposing the motion, said: “There are approximately 200 care leavers in Torbay at present. By promoting this motion, I would like to give these vulnerable young people a better start into adulthood and protect these and future leavers from debt charges, especially council tax. The Children's Society's " Wolf At The Door" 2016 report into such debt showed that the pace of growth of debt to local authorities could be frightening to care leavers, and can escalate very quickly into a court summons and enforcement action being taken.  Once they turn eighteen, young people leave care and become responsible for the challenges of independent living, running a home, managing personal finances and paying bills. Some former care leavers told the Children's Society that they had no idea what council tax was, or indeed that they had to pay it.
A number of councils have already adopted the scheme − Labour-controlled Islington in January 2017, and both Conservative-led Cheshire East and Conservative-led North Somerset in April 2016."                                                                
The motion to be put this evening is as follows:  

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Lib Dem Challenge on lack of progress at Crossways and Oldway

Paignton Liberal Democrat councillor Chris Carter is set to challenge the Conservative elected Mayor, Gordon Oliver, over the lack of progress on the Crossways centre in Paignton town centre and Oldway Mansion, which both remain being left to rot.  There is no clear game plan to tackle either of  these quietly decaying buildings.The Crossways centre was recently the victim of an arson attack. 
The Liberal Democrat  councillor for Roundham and Hyde said: ”Local independent traders need clarity about the future of this shopping centre.This uncertainty has dragged on far too long and we need firm action, such as compulsory purchase, for this site.” 

Turning to Oldway Mansion, she went on to say: “After the Conservative-controlled council's unsuccessful backing of a private developer, we in the Paignton Liberal Democrats feel that the council needs to trust the people of Torbay and put some momentum behind a community-led solution as the best way of ensuring the  long term viability of this much loved Paignton jewel."

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Risk share agreement collapses - LibDems demand answers

Torbay Liberal Democrats are demanding answers following the collapse of the risk share arrangement between Torbay Council and Torbay and South Devon Health and Care Foundation Trust. They have held a meeting with officers to explore why such decisions are being made "on the hoof" rather than in a considered manner.

Cllr Steve Darling, leader of the Liberal Democrats on Torbay Council, said: “We warned about this months ago, but it was suggested by senior Conservatives on the council that we were scaremongering.  This is the latest example of our Conservative Government failing to understand the challenges that our NHS and health service face.   
This is a health and social care crisis created by our Conservative government and backed by our two Torbay MPs as a result of voting for the inadequate budget for our Council and the NHS.“

Cllr Steve Darling went on to say: “The risk share arrangement was vaunted nationally as a way of rewarding preventative spending so as  to ensure that resources were moved to help people in the community. This failure has national implications and we have sought assurances that representations have been made to the government about the barriers that stopped the continuation of this innovative model of funding.”  

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Concern over future of the "Gulls"

With concerns continuing to grow over the future of Torquay United Football Club, the Liberal Democrat group on Torbay Council has met this past week and discussed the situation. However, with no more information available other than that already available in the public domain, I now, as secretary of the group, propose to make a statement on its behalf.

It seems clear that the Elected Mayor, Gordon Oliver, has been meeting and discussing options for some time, but the moment has arrived for him to show us the deal, and councillors will have to judge what is in the best interests of the Bay and indeed Torquay United Football Club.

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We want our Bench back

Bench Petition Presented to Councillors



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Save our Wildlife

On the day when the World Wildlife Trust has issued a report highlighting a 60% decrease in the world population of  invertebrates, Liberal Democrats on Torbay Council, at the Full Council meeting on the 27 October 2016, are set to champion the need for a protected area in the south west of Lyme Bay for dolphins, whales and seabirds. 
The leader of the Liberal Democrats on Torbay Council, Steve Darling, said: “This shocking report names human activities such as degradation of our environment and over-fishing as some of the reasons for this massive slump in our wildlife. This report reinforces the desperate need for such an area of protection off our shoreline.” 
Fellow Liberal Democrat councillor Nick Pentney, who is seconding the motion, said:  “Societies should be judged by the way they treat their environment. I am sorry to say that we have little to be proud of. I fear for what we will be leaving future generations to inherit.”   

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Council Failing to manage the TOR2 contract

Liberal Democrats on Torbay Council have been raising concerns with the Conservative/UKIP-controlled Torbay Council regarding poor management of the TOR2 Contract. 

•       Late collection of bins
•       Filthy public Toilets
•       £250,000 back log of road lining contract.

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King George V Playing Fields to be registered "in Trust"

The two Liberal Democrat Watcombe ward councillors, Steve Darling and Roger Stringer, are planning to put right an 80 year old mistake when the King George V playing fields failed to be registered in trust as a memorial to his majesty. 
Liberal Democrat group leader Steve Darling said: “Over the summer there has been interest in these fields in light of the golf course considering an expansion.  I was shocked when I investigated this matter and found the they had never been registered as a group of fields in trust.  I feel that it is a moral duty for the Council to put this right by starting the process to register these fields to ensure they are protected public open space for ever.”

Fellow Liberal Democrat Watcombe ward councillor Roger Stringer, who is seconding the motion, said: “I have had a number of residents in touch with me concerned about the future of these playing fields.  I hope the Council will back the local community this Thursday and start the process to register these fields.” 
In a separate question at the Full Council meeting, Cllr Steve Darling is also demanding that the bronze plaque that was stolen, from the gates earlier this summer is replaced.  
The motion is as follows:
Notice of Motion – Council 27 October 2016

King George V Memorial Playing Fields – Fields in Trust (Mayoral)
This Council notes the following extract taken from Torquay Council minutes and extracts from the local press of the time - from 1936-7.  At that time land was purchased with funds from the Department of Health amounting to £19,000.  At the time that the King George V (KGV) Foundation was set up, the Council decided to set aside 2 of the purchased acres specifically as part of the memorial.
Extract from Council meeting 6 October 1936:
6.  Subject to Minute no 2580 (King George Memorial Fund Playing Fields, Watcombe) being amended to read as follows:-
The Mayor stated that out of the sum subscribed locally to the National Memorial to His Late Majesty King George V Fund, an amount of £500 is available for a Torquay National Memorial which he desired should take the form of Playing Fields for young children as well as for organised games.  His Worship, therefore, suggested the setting aside of the two fields adjoining Easterfield Lane, numbered 162 and 163 on the Ordnance Map (consisting of about 12 ½  acres and forming part of the land at Watcombe now being acquired by the Corporation) in addition to the erection of a pair of ornamental iron gates at the entrance to such playing fields as per design now submitted.
Resolved  – (1)  That the proposal of the Mayor be adopted and that the two fields in question be allocated and dedicated for ever as playing fields for young children and organised games, as a Torquay National Memorial to his late Majesty King George V., it being understood that the sum above referred to will be expended in purchasing and erecting the gates and in laying out the grounds as playing fields.
                   (2)  That the design of the gates is approved.

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