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Council strategy blasted for 'ignoring Paignton'

Paignton pothole (Image courtesy: Guy Henderson)

'It does not appear the council has a clue, or worse does not care'

A much-heralded 20-year plan for the future of Torbay has been criticised for ignoring some of the bay’s basic problems.

Torbay Council’s Conservative administration started work on priorities and strategies shortly after being elected in May last year. Council leader David Thomas (Con, Preston) said it was important to have a plan stretching beyond the four-year lifespan of a council, and that allowed for different political ‘colours’ in future administrations.

It was, he said, a ‘united goal’ to take the bay forward.

But critics said it glosses over ’wicked issues’ in favour of a ‘motherhood and apple pie’ approach.

Liberal Democrat leader Steve Darling (Barton with Watcombe) is concerned at a lack of focus on desperately needed affordable homes and social rented accommodation.

Cllr Katya Maddison (Prosper Torbay, Shiphay) told a recent meeting: “This document is really thin on detail. What is the point of it?”

Cllr Thomas said details would be discussed in business plans during the 20-year life of the document, and the first of those passed through the overview and scrutiny committee last week.

Now the pressure group Action for Paignton says the ‘broad brush’ plan overlooks basic problems and ignores Paignton.

Spokesman Richard Kaskow said: “Surely the council should have been getting the basics right without having to set it out in a new 20-year plan. It might be better for officers to go and physically do the jobs needed, instead of sitting behind their desks writing yet another plan to gather the dust.

“It does not appear the council has a clue, or worse does not care about Paignton.”

For instance, he said, the run-down buildings opposite Paignton railway station continue to deteriorate and there are dead trees in Victoria Park despite offers by the local community partnership to plant replacements.

The skatepark in Victoria Park remains closed, and the town’s streets are riddled with potholes.

“Everything just looks extremely tired from years of failing to do the basics,” said Mr Kaskow. “And they expect us to believe them when it comes to Oldway’s future with millions and millions needed.”


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