An ambitious action plan which puts local wealth building at the heart of the response to Covid-19 has been created by partners across Torbay’s community, and public and private sectors, who have come together to set out a new way of working.
As attention moves from the public health impact of the coronavirus pandemic to the economic legacy, the plan encourages a quick recovery and repositioning of the local economy.
The plan reflects on Torbay’s opportunities and assets with a further focus on town centres, cultural development, visitor economy, wealth building, growth, and skills and employment.
The Wealth Building Programme works towards encouraging Torbay’s larger companies and anchor institutions to invest more in the local economy.
This will build on the community cohesion evident during lockdown and amplify the Keep It Local initiative.
With 16,500 people on furlough and a visitor economy exposed at the sharp end, Torbay has been identified as being one of the places most at risk of a prolonged economic slowdown.
The plan sets out the commitments that Torbay Council will undertake directly or through its economic development company, TDA.
The business community is being asked to give a shared commitment to the programme.
There are more than 40 proposed projects and activities to be delivered by a range of partners which will include Torbay Community Development Trust, South Devon College and others.
Leader of Torbay Council, Cllr Steve Darling, said: “We are determined that Torbay’s medium-term economic future will not be defined by the impact of the crisis.
“Our response demonstrates how we have worked together to determine the way forward and support our community.
“Through this plan we are setting out how we intend to increase opportunities for local people, how we will support growth in our key sectors and reaffirming the commitment to make sure our town centres work for everybody who uses them.
“This will not be an easy task and it will require investment.
“The council is committed to using its resources to support delivery of the plan and I am calling on the Government to work with us and recognise Torbay’s plans and support us, especially through the Town Deal and Future High Streets Fund. We are also challenging our local communities to support this effort.”
Vince Flower, chairman of TDA, said: “This ambitious plan sets out the actions we need from leaders across the community to set about recovering and repositioning the local economy.
“Action now will help to sustain jobs and businesses and revive economic performance.
“The impacts of Covid-19 crisis will be felt more deeply in coastal areas like Torbay, and the pace of recovery will be longer and slower compared to other areas.
“This is why this plan is so important, so that we all work together in driving the recovery. We are looking at the best ways to encourage investment and maximise the opportunities in Torbay.”
Matt Crabtree, chairman of Brixham Chamber, said: “For the recovery plan to be successful, we all need to work together to make it a success.
“I am pleased to see that a commitment to better communication with businesses, and business groups, is a key part of the plan.
“I am also pleased there is a commitment to finalise a Brixham town centre scheme and I am looking forward to confirmation of the proposals soon.”