Proposals for full restoration of Torquay Pavilion

Torbay Council, through its economic development company TDA, is working with lease-holder Marina Developments Ltd (MDL) to develop a scheme to fully restore the Pavilion.

The first stage of delivering this ambition is agreement by both Torbay Council and MDL, together with MDL’s sister development company YG Developments Ltd, on the scope of works and a survey to assess the repairs required. This will ensure steps are taken as quickly as possible to work towards the restoration of the Pavilion and provide certainty, and commitment from both parties.

Ultimately a full restoration will include the repair of the inherent defects of this strategically important building and a programme of refurbishment that will see the building bought back into use in a way which supports the regeneration of the Harbour area. However the first steps see the joint appointment of a specialist surveyor to fully survey the building and identify the cost of the works required.

Leader of Torbay Council, Cllr Steve Darling, said: “We are having serious talks with MDL now, and everyone is looking to make positive progress. It’s all about making sure we look after the fabric of the building, and see the extent of the work that needs doing. We are optimistic that there is a clear way forward for the Pavilion, and that we will be able to get it into a fit state for a long-term solution to be found. We had all hoped to be able to make progress on it much sooner, but it has been another casualty of the pandemic. Putting this ‘road map’ in place will be a real step forward for the Pavilion.”

Councillor Swithin Long, Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration, Tourism and Housing, said: “The Council has been working with MDL over many years to find a solution which will see the restoration of the Pavilion and ultimately bring it back into use. The aim is to get it back into a condition where it can once again be developed into a harbourside attraction.”

The Council expects to seek proposals for the future use of the building when the repairs are underway and that the use will be sympathetic to the historic building, which was opened in 1912 and hosted theatre shows until the mid-1970s and its harbour setting.

Kristi Roger, Director of MDL Developments Limited & YG Developments Limited, said: “MDL are optimistic that the tide has turned on the future of the Pavilion. With the support of our sister company, YG Developments, we are looking to bring about a comprehensive proposals for our corner of Torquay’s waterside, and to improve and enhance the location for the benefit of future generations to come.”

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Lib Dems on Torbay Council Win Funding to Reduce Torbay Leisure Centre Carbon Emissions by 60%

Lib Dem and Independent run Torbay Council has secured £1.9m in grant funding via the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) for Torbay Leisure Centre to upgrade the heating plant, improve energy efficiency, and reduce the centre's carbon emissions by 60%.

This project will play a major part in accelerating progress towards Torbay Council's ambitions of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2030. Torbay Leisure Centre is managed by Parkwood Leisure who have supported the grant application, and will oversee the delivery of the project.

Central to the proposed project will be the replacement of the existing gas boiler system at Torbay Leisure Centre with an air source heat pump. Air source heat pumps are identified as the most favourable decarbonisation heat technology in the market at present, however they are comparatively expensive to run.

In order to mitigate against the increased running costs, the proposal also includes the installation of secondary technologies within the Leisure Centre, to either generate renewable electricity or improve the efficiency of other plant operations.

Lee Howgate, Lib Dem Councillor for Goodrington with Roselands on Torbay Council, said:

"I am delighted that Lib Dem work on Torbay Council is tackling climate change and making our area greener. Improving the energy efficiency of Torbay Leisure Centre will help us meet our ambition of making Torbay carbon neutral by 2030."

Christine Carter, Lib Dem Cabinet Member for Corporate and Community Services on Torbay Council, said:

"Climate change is an issue that connects everyone on the planet from world leaders to every local resident. It is an issue of our own making and unless tackled it will have serious and long-lasting effect on the quality of lives of our children and grandchildren. Lib Dems in Torbay and across Devon are making our area greener, cleaner, and a better place to live."

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Not out of the woods, but we’ve found the right path

The need to give all our children the best chance in life so they can reach their full potential is of paramount importance and one of our key priorities. They may make up 25% of our communities in Torbay and are our future.

Mark Twain said “Success is a journey, not a destination. It requires constant effort, vigilance and re-evaluation” and that is just how I’d describe the journey that Torbay’s Children’s Services has been on since its second inadequate rating in 2018. The effort and commitment by Torbay’s political and leadership team to transform the service has been formally recognised by a Government-appointed commissioner, who has now described the service as ‘unrecognisable’ and stepped back from his intensive scrutiny role.

Most importantly, the changes made to the service have been welcomed and supported by the children, young people and families whom we work with. In just twelve months there has been a reduction in the number of children being placed into care from 352 to 326, 63% of children that require foster care are now placed with Torbay families, the number of children needing residential care is down to 22  from 46 and, to support our vision of ensuring all care leavers thrive, 68% are in education, employment or training.

This has been possible through an array of initiatives, but there are two key programmes which stand out. Firstly, there is an in-house Learning Academy which offers a three-year programme for newly qualified social workers as well as advanced and skills-based courses for the wider workforce. Secondly, there is an Edge of Care Service to support vulnerable young people in their communities rather than rely on unsustainably high-cost care resources.

Torbay’s Children’s Services may not be out of the woods just yet, but we’ve found the right path and as long as we remain focused, vigilant and committed  to evaluating the outcomes that best serve children and young people our search for sustained improvement will continue.

This week, on the 18th of  March, we unite with the rest of the UK to highlight the issues surrounding child exploitation, which is abundant in a variety of forms in Torbay. That is worrying, but the Council’s new dedicated Exploitation Team is responding and helping more children who are vulnerable to sexual or criminal exploitation.

This isn’t just a statutory responsibility, it is also our moral duty. I recently attended a Sport Torbay meeting where a presentation was given by a member of the Exploitation Team. The underlying message was that exploitation is everyone’s responsibility and we should all report anything we don’t think is right. I am also pledging during National Child Exploitation Awareness Day to ‘use the full commonwealth of Torbay to help tackle child exploitation.’ What will your NCEAD 21 pledge be?

I have also recently signed up to the Torbay Age Friendly Charter on behalf of Torbay Council. The charter has been developed by the Torbay Over Fifties Assembly (TOFA) and supported through the Ageing Well Torbay programme. It outlines a set of guiding principles and commitments towards progressively improving our ways of working and engaging with our older residents here in the Bay.


Signing the Torbay Age Friendly Charter not only demonstrates our commitment to our residents, but will also form part of our application to join the World Health Organisation’s Global Age Friendly Network in 2021.


We all want Torbay to thrive and  be the best  it can be and the Census 2021 will help us do this. This nationwide survey of housing and the population has been carried out every decade since 1801, with the exception of 1941. The information will help decide how services are planned and funded in Torbay, such as healthcare, housing or new bus routes.

Census day is Sunday March 21st, so please get involved. You can find more information at

 - Steve Darling - Liberal Democrat leader of Torbay Council

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Torbay Council confirms financial support for Country Bus

A firmer grip on the management of Children’s Services has resulted in a £4m underspend in this current financial year. This has enabled Torbay Council to invest £150,000 in subsidies for local bus services.

This firmer grip on the management of Children’s Services as led to savings being to the Council’s budget in 2020/21 have meant that for the 2021/22 financial year investments can be made into initiatives that improve partnership working that have longer-term benefits for local communities.

In March 2020, Torbay Council gave support to Country Bus to enable them to operate their bus routes 15 and 16 until 31 March 2021. At the Cabinet meeting on 11 February, Members confirmed a £150k investment into subsidising local bus services, with support again being confirmed for Country Buses, allowing them to maintain key services until 31 March 2022.

Torbay Council are also currently in discussions regarding Torquay route 61 (operated by Torbay Community Development Trust), and the former route 65 with a view to supporting these routes for a period of six months, until the results of a Bay wide passenger needs assessment is known and can be acted upon.

Cllr Mike Morey, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Environment and Culture, Torbay Council, said; “We know that the future of Brixham bus routes 15 and 16 has been a source of concerns for many local residents, and that’s why we are delighted to be able to guarantee the service for another 12-months to ensure that no resident is left feeling cut off or isolated”.

Cllr David Giles, Brixham Town Council, said; “A lot of Brixham residents rely on these bus services and use them on a regular basis, especially in the more hilly areas of the town. It’s important no one feels cut off and we’re extremely pleased Torbay Council have given their commitment to keeping these services going. Brixham Town Council and its partners will continue to work together to deliver a sustainable solution beyond March 2022”.

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Torbay Foster Carers Awarded Freedom of the Borough

The Liberal Democrats and Independent run Torbay Council have granted a foster carer couple Freedom of the Borough for their contribution towards improving the lives of Children.

Torbay Council are delighted to confirm The Civic Committee's recommendation to award Honorary Freedom of the Borough to Mr Dave and Mrs Dawn Barnett who have provided foster carer placements for children and young people for approximately 43 years.

On Thursday 25 February, Mr and Mrs Barnett were granted the honour at a virtual Special Council meeting, which was also witnessed by members of their own family.

The Freedom of the Borough is a high honour only awarded in exceptional circumstances, whereby an organisation or individual have demonstrated outstanding achievements in the Borough and / or on the international stage which have brought pride and satisfaction to the Borough.

Dave and Dawn have been approved foster carers since 1978 and have provided an exceptionally high standard of care for more than 70 children, sometimes for up to three children at once. They have welcomed children into their home at very short notice, with every child being provided with a stable, loving and safe home. Many children they have cared for, remain in contact with the couple leaving no doubt that the positive effect they have had on the many children and their families in Torbay is worthy of recognition.

In addition, they have greatly helped the Torbay Fostering Team by working hard to accommodate certain requests and providing advice and support for newly approved foster carers, thus shaping the next generation of carers within the Bay.

Cllr Maggi Douglas-Dunbar, Liberal Democrats Mayor of Torbay, said:

"It was an honour to bestow Mr and Mrs Barnett with this very special award in recognition for their invaluable contribution towards making a difference to the lives of many of our children looked after. The short and long-term positive impact this remarkable couple have made cannot be truly measured, but we hope that by granting them Freedom of the Borough it goes some way in showing our appreciation for the time they have dedicated to helping children and their families".

Cordelia Law Liberal Democrat Cabinet member for Children on Torbay Council said:

"Fostering is one of the most important roles is society and at Torbay Council we are very pleased to have worked with Mr and Mrs Barnett to help children who have had a difficult start in life. They have made a real difference to the children of Torbay."

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New Community Ward Fund to improve your local area

A new fund of £54,000 to help spruce up local areas across the Bay has been made available by Torbay Council.

After years of austerity and hard decisions being made on not replacing or fixing the small things in local communities the new Community Ward Fund could be used to:

  • Freshen up and/or fix play equipment and seating in local parks
  • Replace or freshen up signage, for example road signs
  • Fix and/or re-paint fences and gates on council land

The fund will be allocated on the basis of £1,500 for each Councillor within the wards, so a ward with two councillors will be allocated £3,000.

Ward Councillors and Community Partnerships will work together with their local communities to gather ideas of grass roots projects and proposals that this fund could be used on.

Liberal Democrat Leader of Torbay Council, Cllr Steve Darling, said: “The Partnership are fully aware of the challenges our local communities experience. We also know that just fixing the smallest of things can really make the biggest of differences to our resident’s local areas which is why this fund has been made available. I encourage you to take a look around your local ward area and make contact with your local Councillor and Community Partnership with your ideas.”

Cllr Darren Cowell, Deputy Leader of Torbay Council, said: “Austerity hit us hard and the council had to make difficult decisions on what our allocation from Government and your council tax was spent on. We hope that this fund will go to some way in improving your local area for you, your families and your neighbours.”

Residents are encouraged to make contact with their Ward Councillors and their Community Partnership by Sunday 28 March 2021 to make suggestions for what the fund could be spent on. Details on how to contact your local Councillor can be found on Torbay Council’s website. Contact details for the Community Partnerships are available on the Torbay Community Development Trust website.

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Daughter of late Torbay Councillor in bid to follow in late mother’s footsteps.

The Torbay Liberal Democrats have announced their candidate for the forthcoming Torbay Council by-election to the Clifton with Maidenway ward in Paignton.

The by-election has been caused by the sad passing of Ian Doggett who passed away late last year.

After a selection process by local members, the Liberal Democrats have selected Cat Johns (née Pentney) as their candidate for the election that takes place on Thursday 6th May.

Cat is the daughter of the late Ruth Pentney who served as Torbay Councillor for the Clifton with Maidenway ward from 2003 – 2015 until she sadly lost her battle with Motor Neurone Disease.

Cat Johns was born in Clifton with Maidenway and is now raising her young family there. Cat works as an administrative assistant in a nearby doctor’s surgery.

Cat said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to have been selected as the Lib Dem candidate to succeed Ian. Cllr Doggett was a close friend of the family and it would be an honour to succeed him.”

Leader of Torbay Council Steve Darling added: “I have known Cat for over 20 years. She certainly shares her late mother’s passion and commitment to help local people. If she is elected, I am sure she will be an excellent councillor for the people of Clifton with Maidenway.”

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Torbay based project that brings old and young together wins national Nursery World award


A Torbay based intergenerational programme which brings together Childminders, young children and residential adults on a daily basis has won a national award despite currently being on hold due to the pandemic.


The ‘Inclusive Practice’ category of the annual Nursery World awards was won by a collaborative local project in the Bay. The judge of the awards said “This submission is exactly what inclusion is about.”


Over the past few years, Torbay Council’s Early Years Advisory Team has been working with Warberries Care Home in Torquay to enable childminders and early years children to befriend older residents as part on an intergenerational co-located programme.


The project started off as a daily engagement programme where childminders and their children shared an intergenerational learning space with older people in the care home, but this has had to move to a largely virtual model via Skype, ipads and laptops due to the pandemic.


Lib Dem Councillor Cordelia Law, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services for Torbay Council, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Torbay has received this national recognition for the ground-breaking intergenerational project.


“We are committed to working with all our partners to improve the wellbeing of both children and older people in the area and this ground-breaking scheme that’s been up and running for a little while has made a real difference.


“Though sadly a lot of this work has had to take place remotely due to the pandemic, we are pleased that children and older people such as young Noah and care home resident George – have continued to keep in touch through Skype video calls.


“Helping care home residents to interact with children is evidence based and shown to improve confidence, wellbeing and self-esteem for both the children and the care home residents and I hope that we are not only able to resume the work we were doing once the lockdown is over, but also continue to expand the scheme with more care homes and childminders in the area.”


Graham Greenaway, Managing Director of Warberries Care Home, said; “It has been a privilege during this dreadful period, to maintain something that is as positive as the Intergenerational Project. It has been a great boost to be involved in something that has an emotionally uplifting effect on residents, staff and the fabulous children involved in this programme”.

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£57m Grants Paid Out – All Torbay Businesses Urged to Apply

Torbay businesses are encouraged to find out if they are eligible for additional financial support available to help mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on their business.


Since the start of the pandemic over £57m in grants have been paid out by the Council, but we think there may be still some more who are eligible who have not yet made an application.


When the financial support was announced last spring, additional staff were deployed to process the payments.


There are still lots of potentially eligible business that still haven’t registered, and we urge these businesses to go online and review what financial support is available.


Additionally, a Government portal for all business support can be found on their website, which signposts additional support.


Grants are available for businesses across Torbay that have been closed, or affected by local or national COVID-19 restrictions and support is available for rate-paying and non-rate paying businesses as well as smaller businesses which have fixed ongoing costs.


As well as the above, there is an additional “closed business support payment” for January which is a grant worth up to £9,000 for rate-paying businesses operating within the retail, hospitality and leisure sector that had to close in the January lockdown.


Businesses that have applied for these grants since November do not need to re-apply as further grant payments will be made as and when the new criteria becomes available; however those who have not applied are encouraged to do so as soon as possible.


The deadline for these grants is currently 31 March, except for the Wet-led Pubs grant which has a deadline of 28 February.


Torbay Council Leader, Steve Darling said:


“It’s vital that the business community survive this extremely challenging period as we cautiously look towards economic recovery this spring and summer as restrictions ease. I urge any business that hasn’t already applied for these support packages to do so now before the deadlines.


“Torbay has suffered the effects of “three winters” which has had a disproportionate effect on our area due to our heavy dependence on the hospitality trade’ so we need to make sure that financial support gets to all those who are eligible for it.”


Torbay Council Deputy Leader, Darren Cowell said:


“I urge all Torbay businesses to apply for these grants if they haven’t already done so; and to share this message with their contacts in the business community.


“We know that this has been and continues to be a very difficult time as businesses struggle to keep going during the pandemic with increased safety measures. And we applaud those who have persevered through the difficulties of stopping and starting through the various tier levels and lockdowns.”



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Lib Dems call on Chancellor to give carers in Torbay a break

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to “give carers a break”, by giving councils immediate emergency funding so they can provide the support services unpaid carers need to take a weekly break.


Approximately 11,000 people in Torbay are looking after elderly, disabled or vulnerable people during the Covid pandemic.


In a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, Ed Davey highlights research from Carers UK showing that nationally:

  • 64% of carers have not been able to take any breaks from their caring role during the pandemic,
  • 74% feel exhausted and worn out as a result of caring during Covid, and
  • 44% say they are reaching breaking point.


The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Chancellor to provide local authorities with emergency funding in his Budget on 3rd March at the latest.


Launching the campaign, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:


“Our wonderful carers deserve more support, but they are too often forgotten and ignored by people in power.


“The Chancellor mustn’t ignore carers any longer. He must provide local councils with emergency funding now, to finally give carers a break.


“Liberal Democrats are working to build a more caring society as we emerge from this pandemic.”


Lee Howgate, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for Torbay added:


“People in Torbay looking after their loved ones are doing a remarkable and important job in very difficult circumstances.


Torbay’s unpaid carers have taken on dramatically increased caring responsibilities during this pandemic. Most haven’t been able to take a single break since the pandemic started. Many are simply exhausted.


“Liberal Democrats are standing up for carers and calling on the Government to give them a break.”

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