There was some great news in the post on Friday from Royal Mail confirming it has formally withdrawn its objection to the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) for Crossways in Paignton.
Following the owner also agreeing the terms of the CPO, the path is clear for Torbay Council to acquire the site, paving the way for both demolition of the existing eyesore and the construction of a new project aimed at providing housing, with retail/leisure uses on the road front.
The sorting office and telephone exchange next door are not affected by this plan and will remain.
With £13.36m of capital funding from the Government for regenerating Paignton Town Centre via the Future High Streets Fund already confirmed, which includes supporting regeneration of the Crossways site, there is now nothing to stop a much-needed regeneration getting started.
At the end of August, Devon and Cornwall had some of the highest Covid infection rates in the UK, prompting the Government to put in place 'enhanced area' status for a five-week period.
This was not a new lockdown, but it did see additional work done to bring infection rates down.
Five weeks later, the situation has improved significantly and in many parts of our two counties rates are now below average, therefore this status expired last week.
Combined with the booster jabs programme now well underway in our Bay this is very welcome progress as we look towards the winter.
Yet while Covid is being beaten back our NHS remains extremely busy as it tackles the backlogs of treatment which built up during the lockdown and patients present themselves with other issues.
One thing everyone can do to help ease the pressure over coming months is to not only get a Covid booster jab if eligible, but remember to have the seasonal flu one as well.
The Furlough Scheme provided vital support for millions of people over the last 18 months, saving thousands of jobs here in the bay, especially in our hospitality industry.
When it ended last week most who had once been supported by it had already gone back to work, yet there were some people still receiving support who may now be facing redundancy.
Thankfully, the labour market is in a very different place to where it was 18 months ago or where many experts predicted it would be after the pandemic.
Local employers have roles available for an immediate start, with many offering the opportunity to train for skilled roles such as chef.
Furlough could not last forever, but it has ensured we are not dealing with a legacy of mass unemployment due to the pandemic.
My next surgeries are Saturday, October16, from 11am to 1pm at Preston Baptist Church, Old Torquay Road TQ3 2RB and Saturday, October 30, 11am to 1pm at Paignton Library and Information Centre, Great Western Road TQ4 5AG.
Sadly, my surgeries must remain appointment only at this stage given the prevailing public health guidance.
For an appointment you can either email me at email@example.com or leave a message on 01803 214989.
You can also drop into my office at 5-7 East Street, Torquay TQ2 5SD between 10am and 1pm Monday to Friday. Please note you may have to wait outside if others attend at the same time.
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