Following enquiries from Liberal Democrat councillors, Torbay Council have provided an update on the recent late recycling collections.
TOR2 have advised the council that, due to unexpected circumstances that have led to a lower number of drivers, there are approximately 3 or 4 collection rounds that are running late this week. TOR2 are expecting to have caught up with collections by Monday 10th June.
Torbay Council are continuing to liaise with TOR2 regarding delays and are monitoring the situation this week.
New recycling collection vehicles have been ordered and the council are hoping to be able to start using the first of the new vehicles within the next month, which will help TOR2 to provide more reliable collections.
It was a fantastic night for the Liberal Democrats in Torbay, last night on Thursday 2nd May, along with our colleagues from across Devon and the rest of England.
In Torbay, we defended all of our existing seats and gained 6 more, taking us to 13 seats in total. The Conservatives remain the largest party overall with 15 seats, along with 8 independents, in a 36 seat council.
In Torquay, new Councillor John Dudley joins our Group Leader Steve Darling and Swithin Long in Barton-with-Watcombe, with Cordelia Law being elected for the first time alongside sitting Councillors Mandy Darling and Nick Pentney in Tormohun ward.
In Ellacombe, we made two fantastic gains, with Jermaine Atiya-Alla and Jack Dart taking both available seats.
In Paignton, Liberal Democrats comfortably held both seats in Clifton-with-Maidenway, with Ian Doggett retaining his seat and Maggi Douglas-Dunbar successfully taking over from the retiring Adrian Sanders, whilst Chris Carter successfully defended her seat in Roundham-with-Hyde.
The big Paignton success in terms of gains on the night came in Goodrington-with-Roselands, where Rick Heyse and our Parliamentary Spokesperson for Torbay, Lee Howgate, were both elected, unseating the Conservative Deputy Group Leader, Alan Tyerman, in the process.
Elsewhere our Election Agent, Nigel Penny, gave the Conservatives a tough fight for the second seat in Roundham-with-Hyde, and we narrowly missed gaining a seat from the Conservatives in St Marychurch, with Deborah Brewer missing out by just 52 votes. Commiserations to all of our candidates who were unsuccessful in these elections - we will get them next time!
For a full rundown of the action and results from the count, and an interview with our Group Leader, Steve Darling, you can see the Devon Live article here: https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/torbay-council-ends-up-no-2827436
Elsewhere in Devon
Elsewhere in Devon, our colleagues have also had tremendous success, not least in neighbouring Teignbridge Council where the Liberal Democrats have gained the Council from No Overall Control, gaining 10 seats on the night.
Liberal Democrats also took control - at least temporarily - of North Devon Councilwith 21 out of 41 seats, pending the outcome of a by-election for the Council's 42nd seat next month. The Conservatives have also lost control of both Torridge and Mid Devon Councils to No Overall Control.
In the South Hams, the Liberal Democrats also made 6 terrific gains, with the Conservatives only narrowly holding on to control of the Council with 16 of the 31 available seats. Congratulations to all of our colleagues across Devon.
Nationally, the Liberal Democrats have successfully held every Council we were defending across the country, have gained control of 10 local authorities and increased our number of Councillors by over 700 - our best set of local election results in the party's history.
We would like to thank you for all your efforts, kind messages of support and donations during the election campaign. We now turn our attention to the elections for the European Parliament on 23rd May, and preparation for a potential general election later in the year.
Torbay Liberal Democrats have selected 19 year old Lily James to contest the Cockington-with-Chelston ward in this May’s local elections, alongside fellow Torquay resident Alistair Brierley.
Lily is the youngest candidate standing for the Liberal Democrats in the local elections in Torbay, having joined the party following the 2017 general election. She has lived in Torquay all her life and attended Torquay Girls’ Grammar School and Sherwell Valley Primary School.
She says: “It is an honour to be standing for the Liberal Democrats in Cockington-with-Chelston alongside Alistair. I am part of a fantastic, driven and motivated team in Torbay who are ready to get real change for our area.
“I joined the Lib Dems because I believe in giving everyone a fair chance at getting on in life, creating a more just society and promoting an economy that works for all. I am absolutely convinced that a Liberal Democrat council can deliver this for Torbay.
“Our Bay faces serious social and economic challenges, with some of the highest deprivation levels in the country. The Liberal Democrats demand better for our area and we are positive that we can deliver a better deal for local people.
“In particular, I hope, as a young person, to bring a fresh perspective to Torbay’s politics, whilst providing Cockington, Chelston and Livermead with a strong voice on Torbay Council.”
Steve Darling, Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Torbay Council, added: “I am delighted that we have a truly diverse set of candidates, ranging in age from 19 to retirees, people with disabilities and people from different ethnic backgrounds. It is really important that those who represent our communities truly reflect our communities.”
Torbay Liberal Democrats were delighted to welcome the Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Vince Cable, to speak at a members’ event in Paignton on Sunday 14th April.
Sir Vince addressed a packed hall at the Palace Theatre, where he spoke about the collapse of the Conservative Party both nationally and locally, the need for regeneration of our town centres and the positive difference that having a Liberal Democrat council would make for Torbay, before taking questions from the floor.
The event marked the launch of the Liberal Democrats’ local election campaign in Torbay.
Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for Torbay, Lee Howgate, said: "Having Vince visit Paignton shows the importance the Lib Dems put on regenerating Torbay and other coastal areas. We can change from Conservative chaos to opportunity only by bringing investment and a wider range of quality jobs to the Bay."
Steve Darling, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Torbay Council, added: "This set of elections is a great opportunity to get Torbay the change it desperately needs. Torbay needs a new, Liberal Democrat, council that will put residents’ needs first, instead of one that wastes time on personal squabbles and taxpayers’ money on pet projects, like palm trees and luxury beach huts."
Nominations have been announced for this year’s Torbay unitary elections and it has been confirmed that only the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have a full slate of candidates set to contest the elections for Torbay Council on Thursday 2nd May.
Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Torbay Council Chris Carter said “Over the last 20 years the Conservatives have run Torbay Council for all but two of those years. It is always a two horse race in Torbay and this set of elections will be no different. We have a strong, diverse team of community champions who range in age from 19 to retirees. Torbay deserves better and we plan to deliver this on 2nd May.”
Ellacombe Liberal Democrats have selected former Labour Parliamentary candidate Jermaine Atiya-Alla to stand alongside fellow Torquay resident Jack Dart for the two seats in the ward.
Jermaine was chosen by Labour to fight the 2010 General Election in Newton Abbot but he has switched to the Liberal Democrats, who he says have the local community’s best interests at heart.
He says: “Elections in Ellacombe and across the Bay are always close contests between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives. Jack Dart and I want to see big changes in the town hall but this will only happen if people vote for the two Liberal Democrat candidates in Ellacombe, who are best placed to beat the Tories.
“Having grown up with the Labour Party it was not an easy decision to leave but with the poor national leadership and squabbling in the local party, it's an organisation that many others and I no longer recognise.
“I am delighted to be able to promote the Liberal Democrat agenda to tackle poverty and deprivation locally, involve the community in decisions that affect their lives, and be part of a strong and united team with a clear vision for Torbay’s future."
The news broke this weekend of the shock death of the secretary of the Torbay GMB Union branch, Paul Raybould. Paul was also secretary to the South West and Torbay Trades Union Congress.
The Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Torbay Council, Steve Darling, said: "I had a chat on a bus with Paul only a few hours before his death. I asked him how he was getting on with the local elections campaign and as usual, with Paul, he told me he was busy supporting people over their employment rights. Paul and I had similar concerns about the problems that Torbay faces and we worked together over the years to tackle them."
The Torquay councillor went on to say: "Paul spent a lot of his time selflessly helping people with their issues concerning employment rights. He was one of life’s givers and there is one less good guy on the planet today."
Dennis Brewer, Chair of Torbay Liberal Democrats, added: "Paul has been a great servant to the Bay and particularly in his work with Tor2 and NHS staff. Our thoughts are particularly with his son Richard and daughter Vanessa. Richard is very much in the mould of his father and hopes to carry on the family tradition of helping and supporting those in need."
In a shock email today, councillors on Torbay Council have been informed that the street lighting service is in crisis and that residents in the bay can expect a poor street lighting service for months to come.
The leader of the opposition Liberal Democrats on Torbay Council, Steve Darling, slammed this latest public service failure as "just the latest example of how the Conservative-run council is letting down the people of Torbay. We have suffered the omnishambles of failed bin collections for a couple of years and now another basic service is set to fail."
He went on to say: “Street lighting is a public safety matter. I am demanding an urgent meeting with officers to ensure we get this public service back on track as a matter of urgency. We must also hold the contractors, Keir, to account if they are failing in their duties. This is the latest example of how outsourcing public services to the private sector can go wrong."
The email from the officer is as follows:
I am contacting you all to make you aware of some issues that the Highways team are experiencing with their provision of a street lighting maintenance service.
The current street lighting contractor, Kier Lighting, has experienced a number of recent resignations from their key operational staff within a very short period of time and after today we have been advised that their resources in terms of staff will be depleted to a level where they may only be able to provide a minimum emergency response to our street lighting issues. The effect of these staff resignations have followed Kier’s loss of the Plymouth City Council Contract last year, leaving Torbay as their only Street Lighting Service in the South West. This has also left them without any other local resources, with the relevant skills, to backfill the staff departures.
We are of course working with Kier to try and find a potential solution in the short term and Kier are looking at whether there are options with other contractors operating in the South West, however I consider that the options will be very limited due to the specialist nature of this service.
With this in mind we have decided to commence an urgent procurement exercise to appoint a new contractor. As this situation was not anticipated we have to commence the procurement exercise immediately and this may take a few months to complete. In the meantime I regret that the authority’s ability to undertake a full street lighting service is likely to be severely compromised. As stated we are working hard to maintain as much of a service as possible, but it is more than likely that complaints from the public about street lighting issues may begin to increase during this procurement period.
The current situation is not of the authority’s making and we could not have foreseen this situation arising with 1 year remaining of the current contract period. I realise that this type of work is very much in the public eye and affects the reputation of the Council and as such I wanted to ensure that you are all aware of this situation and would request your assistance in managing the expectations of the public at his time. I will of course keep you updated on this situation once we have some more positive news.
I apologise for any inconvenience this will cause.
Torbay Conservatives perform double u-turn and decides to buy Amazon warehouse near Exeter
Local residents have been outraged by the news that the Conservative-dominated Torbay Council have gone ahead with an investment of £15 million in a new warehouse for an online retail giant located outside of Torbay.
Staggeringly, local Conservatives decided to make the investment despite the fact that Torbay’s Tory leader openly acknowledged the harm being caused to our high streets in Torbay.
Torbay’s Lib Dems had lead the opposition to the investment for many months and it seemed they had convinced the dominant Conservative group against the investment. But in what appears to be a double u-turn, local Conservatives went ahead to back the
Lib Dem parliamentary spokesperson Lee Howgate said: "Torbay's Conservatives have betrayed our town centres, local businesses and residents in Torbay. At a time when our high streets are crying out for investment, local people are rightly outraged that our council is using taxpayers' money to help out the big online retailers. It really makes you wonder: do they care about the plight of our town centres at all?"