Looking after our green open spaces and parkland

Victoria Park, Chelston - one of Torbay's green open spaces

Victoria Park, Chelston - one of Torbay's green open spaces - Credit: Groundwork South

Torbay’s 'founders' had great insight. To protect our scenery from development they bought up great tracts of land, from Maidencombe to Berry Head, as well as inland from Cockington to Occombe.

Little would they know how important green open spaces and parkland would be in the 21st century as Torbay 'locked down' and people were restricted to walks or short drives from their doorstep.

They would have had no inkling either that bio-diversity would be in crisis and that publicly-owned land would be vital to sympathetic management.

The members of the partnership between the Lib Dems and Independents that runs Torbay Council feel passionately that our open spaces should not just be for recreation but for wildlife diversity too and we are playing our part in the global effort to counter climate change and species decline.

New trees are being planted at a range of sites across the Bay, with plans for 350  over the next three years.

Current tree planting projects include 150 new Giant Redwoods on Riviera Way  - to complement existing Giant Redwoods there from the early 1990s, 37 new Sweetgum trees on Shiphay Avenue, and new trees at Upton Park as part of the Towns Fund work.

Trees have been chosen for their long-term sustainability and ability to store carbon. 

Most Read

A tree warden scheme will also be launched very soon.

Tree planting is just one of the ways we’re working to tackle climate change.

Better walking and cycling routes, solar power and electric charging points are among the measures included in the carbon neutral ten-point action plan to be delivered this year.

Residents can play their part. If you want to reduce your carbon emissions and save money on energy bills, you can make your home more energy efficient with loft and cavity wall insulation.

Help is at hand through expert advice offered by local partners Exeter Community Energy.

It was announced in October 2020 that Torbay Council had succeeded in its bid and Torquay would receive a significant investment of £21.9 million from the Towns Fund.

And £750,000 is being spent on three projects in the first phase.

The projects at Upton Park, Princess Gardens and Royal Terrace Gardens will help to revitalise the town centre and surrounding areas and are expected to be completed soon.

Throughout 2021, we are continuing our popular urban flower-planting scheme, following the success at the Italian Gardens in Torquay in 2020.

Wild flowers are very beneficial for the natural environment – providing pollinators such as bees with food sources across the seasons, enhancing the natural beauty of Torbay and providing a talking point for local people and visitors.

So next time you see of clump of 'weeds', think again.

What may be an overgrown patch to you will be a source of nectar, shelter, food and breeding sites or an entire food chain.

Many of our favourite fruits, vegetables and nuts rely on insect pollinators. For example, strawberries, raspberries and cherries need to be visited by them to get a good crop.

We hope to be able to share the urban flower-planting schedules for Torbay with you very soon.

We know many people want to play their part in making Torbay a greener, environment-friendly place to live and showcase to visitors.

Our partners, Groundwork South, run a regular Green Café which is open to all residents and provides a chance to chat with local people about green spaces, getting outdoors and involved.

Each week there is a guest speaker talking about a different subject relating to parks and green spaces.

Now that lockdown restrictions are being eased there is an opportunity for residents to get 'hands on' and make a practical contribution.

Thanks to our partnership with Groundwork South, we are able to offer a range of volunteering opportunities in parks and open spaces.

You can find out more by contacting Davina Luther at Groundwork South -  email davina.luther@groundwork.org.uk