New partners will help transform town centres
A list of ‘big-ticket’ schemes to be tackled by Torbay Council’s new regeneration partners will be announced before Christmas.
They are expected to include major town centre projects in Torquay and Paignton, as the council works out how to spend more than £35 million in government cash.
The new public and private sector partnership with construction company Willmott Dixon and developers Milligan was unveiled this week, with the aim of accelerating economic growth and regeneration.
Willmott Dixon is already working on the Harbour View Hotel at The Terrace in Torquay and the new four-star Corbyn Head Hotel.
Key new sites for development will be announced at the next meeting of the council’s cabinet in December.
Council leader David Thomas (Con, Preston) told this month’s cabinet meeting that the projects would reshape the town centres, improve the public realm and increase the number of people living in what were once busy shopping areas..
Among its aims, he said, was to reduce the number of empty shops and improve town centres.
He said: “At the moment we are still working with some commercially-sensitive data, but once we have that all resolved we will be able to announce the schemes in phase one.”
The cabinet also approved a 20-year community and corporate plan, setting out the council’s priorities for the next two decades.
Cllr Thomas said it was important to have a plan which stretched beyond the four-year lifespan of a council, and allowed for different political ‘colours’ in future administrations.
He explained: “If we have a united goal and a place we want to get to in 20 years it will allow future administrations to have a business plan.
“It demonstrates what we can do by having a vision for a longer period of time than a single administration. Whatever political colours come forward, we are able to take our bay forward.
“Those colours will inevitable change, but this means we know where we want to get to.”
Liberal Democrat leader Steve Darling (Barton with Watcombe) welcomed the strategy, but said he was concerned at a ‘lack of focus’ on desperately-needed affordable homes and social rented accommodation in Torbay.