Torbay’s Liberal Democrats are calling on the Oldway Working Group, the Mayor and Council Officers to hurry up and get on with re-opening Oldway Mansion to secure the gardens, sports and leisure facilities for the public.
“There is no time to lose,” claims Paignton Councillor Adrian Sanders. “Many members of the public are keen to get involved and help protect and shape the future of the Oldway Estate and while we have some ideas we have put forward for consideration, there are many others out there.”
Fellow Liberal Democrat Councillor Christine Carter commented: “With the Mayor now threatening to sell off the estate to the highest bidder for development, we need a plan to keep the estate in community ownership and open to the public.”
Cllr Ian Doggett added: “It’s time to get on with it. We have shared our 20-point plan with the Oldway Working Group, but every idea for income regeneration appears to get shot down by Councillors who have no alternative to offer. Decisions need to be taken as time is running out.”
At 11am on Monday 4th September Liberal Democrat Councillors will be leading a protest outside Oldway Mansion for action.
Note to Editors:
In January Paignton Liberal Democrats shared a 20-point plan for Oldway with members of the Working Group.
Twenty Point Plan for a Community Trust
1. Use what’s left of the £2 million from the sale of the Fernham Day Care Centre and its grounds to fund a Community Trust for Oldway that can access grants not available to the Council.
2. Invite people to put themselves forward to run the Trust, volunteer to help with the running of the trust, maintenance of the estate and mansion.
3. Call for public and corporate subscriptions to support the Trust.
4. Transfer the rest of the Oldway Estate to the Trust.
5. Invite the existing tenants and neighbours to get involved and nominate members to serve on any management or overseeing committee under the authority of the Trust: Richmond House, Singer Court, Pegasus Court, Oldway Primary School, Country Bowling Club and Paignton Indoor Bowling Club.
6. Ensure the Council and Torbay Development Agency work closely with the Trust to identify and access grant funding for upkeep and improvements.
7. Offer use of the grounds and mansion for cultural events and as a venue for musical, dance and social activities.
8. Let out limited office space where fixtures and fittings are fit for purpose.
9. Let out rooms to clubs, societies and community groups where fit for purpose.
10. Utilise the space in the outbuildings for storage to release public and third sector office space elsewhere.
11. Work with existing businesses, sporting clubs and the many organisations who have used the estate in the past to reopen and grow their activities to increase footfall.
12. Develop the potential of the gardens as an attraction in their own right.
13. Modernise the catering facilities to fully exploit the wedding reception (and other event) potential of the building – perhaps by leasing this activity to an existing local hotel or catering provider.
14. Consult the leisure industry to develop - on an under-utilized site within the grounds - an attraction in keeping with the status of the estate.
15. Tender the possibility of utilising the top floor as convertible to apartments.
16. Invite coaching companies to visit the mansion and grounds in conjunction with the businesses on site.
17. Assist the Country Bowling Club and Indoor Bowling Club to expand their visiting team fixtures linked to short break holiday packages for sporting teams.
18. Recruit volunteer guides to take visitors round the mansion and grounds for a small fee during holiday periods, promoted via coaching and other hotels
19. Explore with South Devon College and other educational establishments how the Mansion and grounds could be used for education purposes.
20. Allow the Trust to realise assets so long as the receipts are reinvested in the improvement of the Mansion, the estate, and that there is an absolute guarantee of future public access.
Contact: Cllr Adrian Sanders 07712 633476