A Liberal Democrat councillor who trades in Torquay town centre is set to demand an explanation as to why the local authority has sat on £100,000 this summer that could have been used to support businesses in our town centres across the Bay.
Councillor Ras Virdee, who runs a retail business in Torquay town centre said, “We have seen uncertainty with more stores closing and others questioning their long term future in the town centre. The deployment of a town centre manager with a budget to start to tackle some of the ingrained issues in the town centre would have been a vote of confidence that our high street needs.”
Steve Darling, leader of the Liberal Democrats on Torbay Council, said “many local residents that I speak to, their top priority is seeing a step change of improvement in the town centre. It is a pity that the Conservatives have dithered and delayed over improving our town centres.”
The question from Councillor Virdee that is set to be put on 20th September full council meeting is as follows:
In a recent Guardian article dated 25 August 2023, I was not surprised, as a Torquay town trader myself, to see concerns being raised by businesses in Torquay town centre. One business owner described this summer as the “worst in 14 years”, with the town looking “deserted”. Another estimated that “without support from the government, within the next 12 months, at least another third of the remaining businesses will close”. In light of this, over six months ago, Torbay Council agreed in the 2023-24 budget for £100,000 to be allocated to introduce a new role within the Council to act as a force for positive change in our town centres. Can you please explain why no appointment has been made?