Investment provides home for new local multi-national manufacturing company

Torbay Weekly

Despite the restrictions imposed during the pandemic, work continues across the Bay to create a thriving economy and economic growth.

These are key priorities for the partnership of Independents and Liberal Democrats that run the council, even more so as we look to recover from the devastating financial impact of Covid-19.

Through investing in our businesses, infrastructure, and more homes we are creating a Torbay that is fit for the future.

Long-term future prosperity requires investment and our capital plan totals £301 million for the four-year programme to March 31, 2024.

In 2020/21, £42 million was invested in projects, including the development of the Claylands site in Paignton to support the growth of high-value manufacturing jobs and boost the local economy.

Our new chief executive, Anne-Marie Bond, and I hosted the chief executive and chairman of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership on a visit to Paignton recently where we visited two sites they had helped facilitate funding for.

We saw first-hand the fruits of this investment on a visit to Claylands during half-term in the shape of a 5,500m2 building.

The transformation of the old waste facility will provide a home for a new local multinational manufacturing company which is set to significantly increase its employees and employ more than 100 staff.

The building should be ready for hand over to the tenant by August.

This investment project, being led by TDA, will provide valuable business space and help support local growth.

The development is funded by £2 million of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership’s Unlocking Growth Funding and an £8 million investment by Torbay Council.

We also visited nearby EPIC, which is a purpose-built innovation centre dedicated to electronics and photonics companies.

It is already home to several multi-national, global leaders in the tech field and up-and-coming businesses that are creating high-profile jobs and opportunities for the local area.

EPIC is now 70 per cent full, which is a huge achievement during a global pandemic.

Many of the tenants are collaborating in the development of products by having like-minded innovators in the same building.

Several have created new jobs and more positions are being advertised.

My travels this month took me to the launch of the Business & IP Centre (BIPC) at Paignton Library.

There are currently 15 BIPCs across the UK that support business owners, entrepreneurs and inventors.

Access to the right information is vital when you start up and run your own business.

The BIPC offers a wealth of free resources, including guidance on starting up, what funding is available and information on emerging trends or technologies.

I hope our local business community will make use of this valuable resource.

Torbay, sadly, has less than half the amount of regulated rented properties than the average local authority area in the UK.

This results in a larger than normal privately rented sector which can lead to problems with unaffordable rents for people and some absentee landlords.

This is why we’ve established a housing company to help drive more affordable homes for local people.

Last Monday, the chairman of TorVista, the Cabinet member with responsibly for housing, and myself met with four new tenants of Bishops Place, TorVista’s first affordable housing project in Torbay.

We have secured funding and have purchased 13 properties.

The new accommodation is made up of one- and two-bedroom properties and the new residents were selected from more than 100 applicants.

Feedback from them is incredibly positive and they are very happy with the services provided by TorVista Homes.

Housing is a key priority for us, and TorVista Homes will help to deliver our housing strategy by creating around 350 new homes to let in the Bay over the next four to five years.

These will include a range of different affordable housing units.

This is a significant step in boosting the number of affordable homes for local people.