Torbay Liberal Democrats have welcomed former Torbay Conservative Councillor Eric Abercrombie and leading local Labour and Trade Union activist Paul Raybould into the local Party.
Left to Right: Adrian Sanders MP, Paul Raybould; Eric Abercrombie and Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Torbay Council Councillor Steve Darling
Paignton resident Eric Abercrombie was elected in 2000 and represented the Blatchcombe Ward for seven years. He will be contesting the Preston Ward for the Liberal Democrats next May alongside John and Linda Turner.
Torquay resident Paul Raybould is secretary of the local Trades Union Council and was a Labour Party member for 25 years. He stood as a council candidate for Labour in the Ellacombe Ward in 2011 and hopes to be selected shortly to contest one of the Torquay wards as a Liberal Democrat Candidate next year.
Eric said: “The Liberal Democrats have proven nationally that they can help build a stronger economy and a fairer society enabling everyone to get on in life. Locally we need to do more to help businesses grow while looking after the most vulnerable in our community, something the Conservatives have failed to do.
Paul said: “Locally the Liberal Democrats have fought for better paid jobs, affordable housing and the protection of our natural environment. Nationally they have stopped the Tories introducing regional pay and sackings for no reason. I have been made to feel very welcome in the Liberal Democrats who are the only party in Torbay that can beat the Tories in elections.”
Torbay Council Liberal Democrat Group Leader Steve Darling welcomed Eric and Paul saying: “The elections for 36 Councillors, an elected Mayor and two MPs next May will be close contests between the Liberal Democrat candidates and the Conservatives. As the recent Ashcroft Poll showed we are heading for a tie, with Labour in fourth place and out of the race.”
Torbay MP Adrian Sanders said a warm welcome extends to anyone from other parties or none who wants to put the interests of Torbay’s people, economy and environment first: “We need to all work together to build a stronger economy with better paid jobs and services that meet peoples’ needs. The opportunity to maximise the benefits of the Kingskerswell by-pass must not be wasted but with the Tories at war with one another locally I hope people can unite behind those who are best placed to defeat them in the elections.”
Torbay Liberal Democrats have launched a campaign to retain the Oldway Estate and Oldway Mansion in community ownership for the benefit of residents and visitors alike.
The Party is calling on the Mayor to allow a Community Trust to take over responsibility for the estate using funds from the sale of Fernham House and woods in the grounds that could be used to fund or match-fund grants from external sources.
Local party Chairman Swithin Long said:
“In the beginning the public were not consulted over whether the estate should remain in public ownership, just which of two developers should turn the mansion into a luxury hotel and build houses in the grounds. Neither of those companies are the current developer and there has been no further consultation.
“It’s time the Mayor put his trust in the people of Torbay rather than private developers and let the local community manage the future of one of the Bay’s Jewels.”
Liberal Democrat Council group leader Steve Darling said:
“Local taxpayers have been liable for all the costs of maintaining the buildings and grounds of the estate even though responsibility should have passed over to a developer in January 2013.
“In the meantime income generation from meetings, weddings and events has stopped while new costs have fallen on the taxpayer finding new accommodation for council services previously accommodated in the mansion. It’s a fiscal disaster and enough is enough.”
Torbay MP Adrian Sanders, whose Grandfather worked for the Singer Sewing Machine Company and whose home borders the estate said:
“The ratepayers of Paignton Urban District Council paid a handsome sum for the estate back in 1946 and local taxpayers have invested in the former home and grounds of the Singer Sewing Machine family since.
“Thanks to the various designations I’ve helped lobby for, from EU convergence funding to the recently awarded Assisted Area Status, our ability to obtain lottery and other funding is enhanced, so now is the time for a Plan A for Oldway.”
Liberal Democrat motion to be submitted to the Torbay Full Council Meeting on 6th February 2014
Council Motion – Disastrous Badger Cull
This council notes the appalling consequences of TB in cattle for farmers and farming communities and that the scientific evidence for a pilot cull of badgers to control TB is split and further notes that the pilot culls have failed to kill their target of badgers within the cull period.
This Council notes that the cost of £4121 per animal with a total cost of more than £7 million according to Care for the Wild, is an unsustainable drain on the treasury.
This Council calls on our Members of Parliament to oppose any extension of the cull to other areas and resolves not to allow any pilot culls to take place within the boundaries of Torbay and instructs the Executive Director of Operations and Finance to notify the Secretary of State for Environment Fisheries and Food as well as our MPs accordingly.
Proposer Councillor Doggett
Seconder Councillor Darling
Statement from Cllr Steve Darling – Lib Dem Group Leader Torbay Council
There are three key messages at this stage from the emerging council budget set to be published on 21 November 2013.
1. During October and most of November the Conservative group have held a series of Private meetings to decide the budget proposals before going out to public consultation. This has resulted in a done deal being proposed, with the mayor engaging in very limited public consultation as the dye is already cast for the Budget proposals.
2. In a budget briefing with the Mayor Opposition group leader Steve Darling was told that any opposition proposals would have to be subject to rigorous consultation and that there was no officer resource for this. Hence the Mayor is trying to stop any alternative proposals from the opposition Liberal Democrats.
3. The Supporting People budget is set to be cut by a shocking 75 percent (£2.5M) This budget line includes: the homeless hostel in Torquay, support for people with mental health issues and sheltered housing to name but a few of the service cuts.
Torbay Liberal Democrats have reselected Adrian Sanders to be their candidate at the next General Election.
Adrian Sanders overlooking Torquay’s Living Coasts aquarium
In a secret ballot at a selection meeting on Friday 9th August at St Matthias’ Church Hall members unanimously voted yes to a motion to reselect Adrian.
Paignton born Mr Sanders was first elected as Torbay’s Member of Parliament in 1997 with a majority of just 12 votes over Conservative Rupert Allason. It was the first time in 71 years that the Conservatives had been beaten in Torbay.
Adrian has successfully defended his seat on three occasions since, doubling his majority at the last election to just over 4,000.
Speaking after the meeting Adrian said:
“If I had been able to claim credit at the last election for the by-pass, the broadband investment ahead of the rest of the country and the South West Water rebate I imagine my majority would have been even higher.
“Successive majority Government’s failed to deliver a proper link road for Torbay, failed to give us anything technological ahead of the rest of the country, and failed to recognise the injustice of high water charges in Devon and Cornwall. I am proud to have helped put this right since the last election.
“I am really looking forward to the next election that will be a tight contest as always between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats with the added interest this time of a strong UKIP challenge, probably forcing Labour into 4th, rather than their usual 3rd place.”
Hamish Renton, Chairman of Torbay Liberal Democrats, said he was not at all surprised at the unanimous vote.
“Adrian has always put his constituents’ first demonstrating uncompromising integrity, for example when standing up to the press barons during the phone hacking enquiry or voting for a referendum on our membership of the EU.
“Many people comment that Adrian is the best MP Torbay has ever had. He has achieved great things for our area and helped thousands of local people with their concerns. He has a national reputation as a champion on animal welfare issues, and a growing international standing as a campaigner for the prevention of diabetes and better treatment for those with the condition
“The simple truth is that the first-past-the-post voting system will dictate the contest in Torbay next time will be between Adrian and David Cameron’s Conservative Party Candidate. I would urge anyone who values having a strong local independent voice for the bay in Parliament to come and join Adrian’s campaign team.”