King George The 5th Playing Fields Get £5000 Grant

The King George the 5th  playing fields, off the Teignmouth Road Torquay,  are set to benefit from a £5000 grant to promote physical activity.  The grant will provide facilities for football, golf and frisbee golf.  Local Liberal Democrat campaigner, Deborah Brewer said: “The opportunity for this grant is only possible because the playing fields are due to be transferred to Fields in Trust.  This follows a successful Liberal Democrat petition that persuaded Torbay Council to put right an 80 year old wrong and place these fields in trust in memory of King George the 5th .”


A  fellow Liberal Democrat campaigner, David Ward, said: “This is great news as I understand that Torquay United in the Community will be reaching out to the public to encourage them to use these facilities.  However, I am concerned that there is some uncertainty over the grant as the final formal transfer of the land has not yet occurred.  I have challenged Torbay Council to speed up the transfer to protect the grant and these fields.” 

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Bus Boost Thanks to Liberal Democrat Campaigning

Three bus services across Torbay have been given a boost following campaigning by Liberal Democrats and the community.  The 60 bus service, which serves residential areas between Torquay Harbour and Paignton bus station, has had a more reliable bus provided to ensure greater reliability.  The 65 bus service has made a welcome return. It serves the town centre  and Torbay Hospital, connecting communities such as the Lyme View estate, the Willows and Hele to these locations. 


The 67 bus service, which mostly serves Brixham, has been replaced with a dial-a-bus service from Brixham to Torbay Hospital. The Torbay Community Developent Trust will be running the service using volunteer drivers. If you have a PSV licence and would like to volunteer to help you can contact the Torbay Community  Development Trust on 212638 and ask for Richard Bray. 


Ellacombe Councillor Cindy Stocks said “Last year the Liberal Democrats on Torbay Council amended the council’s transport capital programme to allow money from the programme to help fund these services.  We also proposed a further amendment that transferred £60,000 to a section of this plan that particularly supports buses.” 


She went on to say “Our bus services continue to be under threat. Torbay Council is the only authority in the South West that chooses not to fund any bus subsidies from local tax payers. As part of this year’s budget the Liberal Democrat group proposed that there should be a £150,000 bus subsidy fund. Sadly, this was rejected by Torbay’s Conservative-run council.”


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Torbay To Go Plastic Free Thanks To Lib Dem Initiative

Many people in Torbay and across the UK were moved by the recent ‘Blue Planet’ programme which highlighted how single use plastics are blighting the UK’s seas, beaches and marine life. This in turn affects people as the plastic can end up in the food we eat.

In 2016 the Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimated that by weight there could be more plastic than fish in our seas.

Given the importance of fishing to Torbay’s economy, and the attraction of the sea to tourists who visit year after year, Liberal Democrat councillors Swithin Long and Christine Carter tabled a motion to a recent Full Council meeting calling on the council to go plastic free, and to join a campaign run by Surfers Against Sewage (SAS)  and a local newspaper so that Torbay becomes part of 125 other communities in Devon going plastic free. The motion called for the council to:

  • Phase out the use of single use plastics (such as cups) in all council buildings and events;
  • Increase the amount of plastic that can be recycled through doorstep recycling;
  • Work with businesses and the tourism sector to participate in the scheme;
  • Sign up to the SAS Plastic Free campaign;
  • Install a free drinking water fountain in Paignton Library;
  • Create a Plastic Free Taskforce.

In response, the  Mayor agreed with the motion, and in particular agreed to:

  • Join the South West Marine Plastics Initiative with the Groundwork Trust to focus on tackling marine plastics;
  • Replace single use plastics in all council and partner’s buildings;
  • Join the Refill Devon scheme which is a tap water campaign seeking to introduce water refill points and  install a refill point in Paignton Library;

The council will also look for new markets that can accept more difficult to recycle plastics and the Mayor also agreed to join the SAS campaign.

Commenting on the successful motion, Councillor Swithin Long said:  “The Blue Planet Programme was a wake-up call to people across the country about the damage that plastic is doing to our sea, the animals who live in it and ultimately to ourselves because the plastic ends up in the food chain. I am pleased that the council has agreed to play its part.” 

Councillor Christine Carter said:  “Under a previous Liberal Democrat administration Torbay Council played a pivotal part in Torbay achieving Fair Trade status. We are pleased that the council has agreed to play its part in Torbay becoming plastic free.”

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Totnes and Brixham Prospective Parliamentary Candidate - Caroline Voaden

Caroline Voaden is the newly selected Lib Dem Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Totnes constituency.

Caroline is a former correspondent and editor with Reuters news agency and more recently owned and ran the Social Fabric craft business in Totnes which closed last year. She currently works in marketing for a local business and lives in Totnes with her husband Stuart and younger daughter Laura.

“I joined the Lib Dems because of its united stance on Brexit and I will continue to campaign for a meaningful vote on the deal once we know what it is. I don't belive it is undemocratic for people to be given the chance to change their minds once the full facts are clear.

“However the Lib Dems aren’t a one policy party and I fully support our initiative to raise taxes by 1p in the pound to support the NHS and social care. I also want to see an increase in funding to the police to make sure that effective community policing isn’t lost forever, fair funding for all of Devon’s schools and I want to push for truly affordable housing in our communities and the provision of social housing for rent.

“I hope to meet lots of you as we campaign for local elections next May in Torbay and for the next general election – whenever that happens! If you would like to contact me about any issues or would like to help my campaign to unseat Sarah Wollaston, then please get in touch with me at or on Facebook at There’s lots to do and every hour or two helps!”

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Tories Cut Policing Numbers as Crime is on the Up


Tories have been short changing the public by cutting police numbers in Devon & Cornwall.  Home Office figures demonstrate that there are now 162 fewer uniformed crime fighters in the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary.  The official statistics show that in 2015 there were 1,727 uniformed crime fighters compared to the 1,559 today.   (Source: the Mirror newspaper)

Nick Pentney, a Torquay town centre Councillor, said: “We have massive problems with crime and anti-social behaviour in our town centre.  More and more people are telling me that they don’t do their shopping in the town centre any more.  There was a time when Torquay had sufficient levels of PCSOs who could deter criminals and give shoppers and residents peace of mind. We desperately need those PCSOs back on our streets.”  

Steve Darling, leader of the Liberal Democrats on Torbay Council, said :“Torbay is a hot spot for crime compared to many other areas of Devon and Cornwall.  It is a busy posting for serving officers and this has resulted in a massive drop by 80% in the numbers of PCSOs  in Torquay.  Torbay Liberal Democrats have now launched a petition demanding that the Police and Crime Commissioner funds more officers than her plans currently recommend”.  You can sign this petition at

Open letter to Alison Hernandez

Dear Alison,

Earlier this week the Liberal Democrat group on Torbay Council received a very useful update from Simon Jenkins of Devon and Cornwall Police.  We were impressed with the work he and his colleagues are undertaking to serve communities in Torquay.  However, we were not impressed with the new form of delivery of community policing in Torquay.  Whilst we were aware that in the last few years the number of PCSOs has gone down from 25 to effectively 5 (one is off on long term sickness leave) we were not aware that Torquay is an outlier in the rapid reduction of these posts .We accept that officers have to work with the financial hand you and the Chief Constable have dealt them, but we are very concerned that the police service has chosen not to recruit more PCSOs in Torquay in the light of this massive drop in numbers. The new model of delivery will effectively see an end to community policing in Torquay as we know it. 


You will no doubt recall the former Chief Constable, John Alderson, who in the late 70s trailblazed the use of community policing which resulted in Devon & Cornwall benefiting from some of the lowest crime rates in the country.  As Liberal Democrats, we strongly support community policing and object to its continuing destruction on your watch.  At a community meeting last night in Hele, people were concerned about the lack of policing in one of our most deprived communities in Torbay.  The shortage of officers to tackle crime in Torquay will result in the concentration of resources in our town centre and some of our more deprived communities facing a collapse in community policing involvement. 


I am particularly shocked that you, as Police and Crime Commissioner, have chosen not to demand that the Chief Constable recruit more PCSOs for Torquay to fill this gap.  Are you happy that your legacy as PCC will be that of the postholder who gave the last rites to community policing as we know it? I look forward to receiving your comments. 


Best wishes   

Steve Darling

Liberal Democrat Group Leader

Torbay Council

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65 bus makes a welcome return

Local residents have been delighted to learn that that the 65 bus service has returned. The Torbay Community Development Trust (TCDT) have registered the service with the Traffic Commission and recently commenced running it using volunteer drivers.

Last year the Liberal Democrats on Torbay Council amended the council’s transport capital program to allow money from the program to purchase a bus for this route. We also proposed a further amendment that transferred £60,000 to a section of this plan that particularly funds busses.

Torbay Council is the only authority in the South West that chooses not to fund any bus subsidies from local tax payers. As part of this year’s budget the Liberal Democrat group proposed that there should be a £150,000 bus subsidy fund, sadly this was rejected by Torbay’s Conservative run council.

The 65 bus runs according to the timetable below:




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'Fake Homeless' campaign is cruel and heartless and needs to stop now


The Torbay Liberal Democrats have slammed a campaign that seeks to ‘name and shame’ so-called fake homeless people in Torquay.

The campaign – spearheaded by local businessman Ashley Sims – involves taking pictures of those who are begging and claim to be homeless.

The controversial campaign was launched with the backing of the Torbay Chamber of Commerce chair Susie Colley and Ellie Waugh of Humanity Torbay.

The police and local homeless charities have condemned the campaign, which has already mistakenly named a genuine homeless person as ‘fake’. There are also fears that the campaign could stoke vigilantism in the area.

Cllr Nick Pentney – who represents the Torbay Council ward of Tormohun that includes the town centre – slammed the campaign. He said: “This is a cruel and callous campaign that absolutely needs to stop now.

“Have its proponents thought for one second what the consequences of this campaign could be? In these freezing conditions, what happens when a genuinely homeless person is driven from public view into a discreet alley where no one can see or indeed help them?

“When you start hounding people away into hidden corners then the consequences are always going to be bad.”

His ward colleague, Cllr Mandy Darling, added: “I am disgusted that – at a  time of severe ice and snow – people can think it’s a good idea to harass beggars on the street in the hope that they’ll simply go away.

“Torbay Council cut the ‘supporting people’ budget which used to help people back into accommodation.

“People should be campaigning for properly funding public services rather than targeting unfortunate individuals!”

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Scandal of Torbay's Empty Homes

Over 500 homes in Torbay have been sitting empty for 2 years or more, research by the Liberal Democrats has revealed. 40 Homes have sat empty for over 10 years.

Scandal of Torbay's Empty Homes
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Torbay Liberal Democrat Candidates 2019

What to make a difference for your community?




Stand as a local candidate with the Lib Dems in 2019


In May 2019, Torbay will elect 36 people to the new Council. The current elected Mayor model was rejected in a referendum so the new Council will consist of 36 members who will elect a Council Leader and a Cabinet. In reality the Leader will come from the Party with the most seats and he or she will largely choose the Cabinet members. Both will have to be formally endorsed by the Council.

If the Liberal Democrats have the most seats or are the largest Party we will propose a move towards a Leader and Committee system at the earliest opportunity where every Councillor gets to have a say in the decisions of the Council.

The challenge facing Torbay is acute. For 24 of the past 30 years the Conservatives have had policy control of Torbay Council. Theirs’s have been years of failure to change the economic direction of the bay and the spending priorities that have worsened the finances of the Council, not helped by inadequate funding from central government.

This has limited the ability of the Council to meet community needs, but we can and will do better than this.

We can do better!

We want to run a team of local champions that can show residents in our towns and communities how Torbay can be different. A team that represents all sections of our communities, who work hard, listen and deliver results. Could you be part of that team?

Who can win?

An important question anyone considering standing for election needs to ask is can they win?

At the last local elections in May 2015 the following Councillors were elected.

Torquay: 12 Conservative, 4 Liberal Democrat, 0 Labour, 1 UKIP.

Paignton: 9 Conservative 3 Liberal Democrat, 0 Labour.

Brixham: 4 Conservative, 3 Independent, 0 Labour.

Since then there have been 3 local council by-elections - real votes in ballot boxes from Torbay residents.

Liberal Democrats 2,877 (56%)
Conservatives 1,123 (22%)
Ukip 473 (9%)*
Labour 518 (10%)
Green 126 (2.5%)
Ind Socialist 27 (0.5%)**
*Only stood in two of the three contests
**Only stood in one of the three contests

When residents want to defeat Conservative candidates in Torbay they back the Liberal Democrats to do it.

This is not to put off anyone from standing, just a reality check that only the Liberal Democrats can beat the Conservatives in Torbay and form a more caring, environmentally conscious resident driven administration.

Who can be a Lib Dem local candidate?




If you want to run for the Liberal Democrats in the 2019 local elections you must:

  • Be a member of the Liberal Democrats at the time you apply for approval – if you're not currently a party member, you can join now and apply in time for the application process that begins on February 1st 2018.
  • Be a British citizen, a citizen of a Commonwealth Country or an EU citizen
  • Be registered to vote in the area or have lived, worked or owned property there for at least 12 months before the election date

You cannot stand for us if:

  • You work for Torbay Council, or for another local authority in a political restricted post
  • Are the subject of a bankruptcy restrictions order or interim order
  • Have been sentenced to prison for three months or more (including suspended sentences) during the 5 years before election day
  • Have been convicted of a corrupt or illegal practice by an election court

What kind of candidates do we want?

We are looking for people:

  • of all backgrounds, ages, beliefs, genders and experience who reflect our fantastic area
  • who are motivated to fight and deliver change for their local area
  • with community links and experience that they can draw on
  • with an open and tolerant outlook who believe in communities working together, not turning inward
  • who are team players that will support other candidates and aren't only in it for themselves
  • In short people who want to do something, not be someone.

If you want to know more about what Liberal Democrats stand for, you can read about our values here.

Campaigning activity



  • All selected candidates will be asked to put aside time to campaign from the date of their selection up to polling day
  • Campaigning takes many forms from collecting petitions, knocking on doors, making phone calls, producing literature, delivering leaflets, writing letters, lobbying decision makers.
  • The earlier you start and the more you do, the better your chances of winning

Resources and support


If you're interested in running as a candidate but would like support there are lots of resources available to help you decide whether to run and to help you with your application, selection, campaigning and in your role once elected.

  • Read this guide on standing as a Liberal Democrat Councillor, prepared by the Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors and the Local Government Association.
  • See the Be a Councillorwebsite for a wide range of general information on what's involved in being a councillor
  • Watch a videowith Lib Dem Councillors and activists talking about why they got involved in local community politics
  • The Liberal Democrats offer lots of training opportunities for council candidates and elected councillors at our two Party Conferences, regional away days and local events: local champions and party groups offer additional support and guidance for women and BME members.
  • Once elected, Councillors are entitled to an allowance to cover their time preparing for and attending meetings and other duties of around £8,100 a year. If you are asked to take on additional responsibilities this is recognised in a special responsibility allowance and these are currently around £4,000 or £8,000 depending on the responsibility.

Your next steps

If you need guidance on your application, please email the Chair of our Local Government Committee, Cllr Steve Darling: or phone him on 01803 328778

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Sad news of Cllr. Roger Stringer

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