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.”

Council Motion – Disastrous Badger Cull

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

Torbay Lib Dems Budget Statement

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.

It’s Adrian Again!

Torbay Liberal Democrats have reselected Adrian Sanders to be their candidate at the next General Election.

Adrian Sanders overlooking Torquay's Living Coasts aquarium

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.”

Torbay Lib Dem questions to Full Council, Thursday 18th July

We have submitted a number of questions to be asked at next week’s Torbay Full Council meeting. A list is below.

Question (1) by Councillor Stringer to the Executive Lead for Highways, Transport and Environment The problem of dog fouling in Hele and Barton.  How many people have had prosecutions, or fixed penalty notices served.  How many dog bins do we have in Barton, Hele and Watcombe area?
Question (3) by Councillor J Faulkner to the Executive Lead for Employment and Regeneration, Finance and Audit. Has the Council made any progress on retrieving the £50000 outstanding in rent from the Balloon on Torre Abbey meadows and has the Council started to make provision for this bad debt?  If provision is being made, from which budget is it coming from?
Question (4) by Councillor Darling to the Executive Lead for Employment and Regeneration, Finance and Audit On 17 April 2013 Torbay Council hosted the Local Government Association officers to conduct a work shop in which Councillors and Senior officers considered what financial pressures would be facing Torbay Council beyond 2015and how cross party solutions could be developed in the interests of protecting our community from Government cuts.  At the meeting there was an assurance that there would be a follow up meeting to develop such a way forward.  At the time of submitting this question three months have passed and no meeting has been arranged.  I would welcome an explanation?
Question (6) by Councillor Darling to the Executive Lead for Highways, Transport and Environment The removal of 160 dog and litter bins across the bay have left many residents outraged.  This exercise has been very poorly executed.  Why no notice on the effected bins of immanent removal and where the next nearest bin is?  Why do some dog walking areas have no bins and yet a nearby coach station has a dog bin?  Is the remaining bin network more designed for the convenience of collection, rather than to tackle litter and dog fowling problems?
Question (7) by Councillor J Faulkner to the Executive Lead for Employment and Regeneration, Finance and Audit Please can you let us know how much finance has been spent on agency staff especially where schools are concerned since the moratorium was set on permanent staff?
Question (8) by Councillor A Faulkner to the Executive Lead for Children’, Schools and Families Changing Places.  I have been given to understand that in the past money was allocated to provide Changing Places facilities in Torquay.  This has not happened could you please advise when this will take place, as it is of great concern.
Question (9) by Councillor Pentney to the Executive Lead for Strategic Planning, Housing and Energy Please can you explain why due process was not carried out with regard to Torre Valley North where land was taken over by Cockington Primary School and turned into hard standing?
Question (10) by Councillor Stocks to the Executive Lead for Highways, Transport and Environment Could you please explain the reasoning behind the removal of two litter bins from Ellacombe Road during the recent cull?  The council gave assurances that no bin would be removed unless there was another one close by but this is not the case in this area.There are no doggy bins in the immediate vicinity for dog users to dispose of the pets waste so these bins have been used for that purpose as well as the disposal of general waste.  The residents of Ellacombe Road planned to have these bins included in the street scene when Ellacombe Road was a pilot scheme for DIY streets in 2008 to combat the amount of take away litter dropped by people walking up from the town and to support the dog walkers.The closest bin is in Ellacombe Park but cannot be seen from the road nor will people divert into the park to use it, Ellacombe Park is a no dog park therefore dog users cannot go in there to use the bin anyway.  Residents have shown a social responsibility and picked up rubbish from the street and the planters and disposed of it in the bins.  The bins were emptied daily and I know through experience that they were full everyday, where are two bin full’s of rubbish going now?

The road has already taken on an aura of shabbiness and decline as the general rubbish and small bags of doggy poo piles up.

By contrast when I visited Coronation Park (located in front of All saints Church, Babbacombe) on the afternoon of Saturday 29th June, I noted that there were two doggy bins, each by a separate entrance and a double litter bin within 12 strides of a doggy bin,.  On inspection the litter bin was not even a quarter full despite it being a hot afternoon with a play park full of children and parents and a higher than average footfall due to the Flower Festival that was running in All Saints Church next to the park.  Please explain the reasoning of such a contrast of support to these two communities when both have residents and both have dog walkers.

Question (11) by Councillor Davies to the Executive Lead for Highways, Transport and Environment I understand that contractors from North Somerset are currently undertaking maintenance works of lamp posts in Paignton town centre.  Can you please explain why, when commissioning these works a clause was not included to promote local employment?
Question (12) by Councillor Pountney to the Executive Lead for Employment and Regeneration, Finance and Audit With the effects of the recent reduction to departmental budgets only now being to impact on the general public, has the Executive lead for Finance considered reviewing the £170,000 paid to 20 members of the Council over and above their basic allowance?Does he consider this value for money?

Position Amount (£) Councillor
Elected Mayor 52,747 Gordon Oliver
Deputy Mayor 19,596 David Thomas
Executive Members 6,532 Chris LewisDave ButtRay Hill

Christine Scouler

Ken Pritchard

Dave Thomas

Jeanette Richards

Robert Excell

Derek Mills

Overview and Scrutiny Co-ordinator 9,798 John Thomas
Scrutiny Lead Members 2,265 Neil BentMark KingscoteRuth Pentney

Bobbie Davies

Chairman Development Management Committee 6,534 Beryl McPhail
Chairman Licensing Committee 3,265 Pete Addis
Chairman of Council 3,265 Julien Parrott
Chairman of Harbour Committee 3,265 Nicole Amil
Chairman of Audit Committee 3,265 Alan Tyerman
Chairman of Health and Wellbeing Board 3,265 Chris Lewis
Leaders of Political Groups 317 per member Gordon OliverSteve DarlingMike Morey
Police Councillor Excell
Fire 2,500 basic (link to allowance scheme:Fire Allowances Councillor Brooksbank andEllery