Torquay Town Hall, civic hub of the Bay but also on the doorstep of troublesome Castle Circus Pic Alamy

Just what we need to make our Bay safe as well as beautiful

Jim Parker

A ‘present’ from the Home Office, and worth more than £1 million, has given the Bay just the lift it needed.

It has been announced that Torbay Council and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have secured more than £1.1 million to tackle antisocial behaviour and violence against women and girls.

The Home Office will provide £749,137 from the fourth round of its Safer Streets fund for a raft of projects in the council area, with £382,020 of match funding from the PCC and the local authority

One of the prime areas to benefit will be the Castle Circus area of Torquay town centre – a notorious hot spot for anti-social  behaviour and crime, including drink and drugs.

One important element of the Building a Greater Torbay was making sure the Bay was also a safe place for locals and visitors alike.

That is why Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez joined our campaign with other key partners. She has always pledged to play her part in providing a brighter and more prosperous future for our beautiful English Riviera and she has remained true to her word.

This will also contribute massively to the Torbay Story where we are bottling up all that is good in the Bay to sell the resort to potential investors as well as providing a safe haven for our residents.

Work is continuing behind the scenes to progress and deliver £40 million worth of regeneration projects which will transform Torquay and Paignton town centres with government funding.

Progress may not be as rapid as we would have holped for a variety of reasons including ever increasing construction costs. This latest boost from the government is a timely reminder that we are still moving in the right direction.

Torbay residents can expect to see graffiti removed, more police on the beat, mobile CCTV cameras operating and many other improvements after the successful bid which was supported by the strategic Torbay Together Partnership/Place Leadership Board.

Op Hundred, the South Devon policing team’s project to get more officers on patrol in the community, is already in action, supported significantly by the uplift in police numbers.

A ‘safe night out’ programme will work with the Bay’s vibrant bar and restaurant scene through things like the relaunch of the Best Bar None programme, which sees responsible licensed premises working together to keep those who threaten their customers out of their businesses.

Next summer residents and visitors to the Bay will be reassured by extra street marshals to support the extra policing effort.

A community innovation fund will make £30,000 available to reclaim public spaces like parks and seating areas.

Council leader Steve Darling said: “We’re delighted that our bid was successful in drawing down the money that we need to improve Torquay. We know that safety in Torquay town centre is a massive priority for people who live, work and visit here. This funding will help us tackle the anti-social behaviour that can blight our community, in particular women and girls.”

Deputy leader Darren Cowell added: “We know traders and residents have had concerns about criminal activity in the town centre and we hope this money can be put towards a range of measures to address these anxieties. The money will complement partnership work we’re already doing, and will continue to do, to make our streets safer for all.”

Commissioner Hernandez, a former local councillor who lives in Torquay, said: “This represents the most significant investment in crime prevention in Torbay that I have been involved in.

“Antisocial behaviour is one of our communities’ top priorities. It blights lives, reduces the appeal of our town centres, and can escalate to the point where serious crimes occur. In partnership with our business community a great deal of work will take place to make these towns safer and more appealing to people who want to enjoy them without feeling threatened. The Violence Against Women and Girls agenda has started a national conversation about this issue and it is right that we put in place resources to tackle those legitimate fears.

“I am pleased to be working with police and councils on this issue and delighted the Government has listened to our arguments to provide substantial funding for these projects.”

She added: “Our bids were focused on reducing violence against women and girls and antisocial behaviour. If we get the delivery of these projects right I also expect them to have a positive impact on crimes like shoplifting, public order and criminal damage.

The bid area covers Torquay town centre, the harbour, Torre, Lower Ellacombe, Belgrave and Torre Abbey.

“I am delighted that we’ve been successful in these applications, and I’d like to thank all of those who worked with my office on these complex projects so far. However, the real work to ensure it makes a difference starts now,” said Alison.

Agree 100 per cent.

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