MP Kevin Foster: Businesses and attractions need residents’ support
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It has been great to see our Bay full of visitors again.
Many hotels, campsites and restaurants have been busy, a much-needed boost following the enforced closures earlier this year.
There has also been no sign of any impact on coronavirus rates, with the only small cluster during August believed to be linked to residents returning from foreign holidays.
As the peak season comes to an end and the number of visitors drops, it is even more important as residents we support local businesses and attractions. This ranges from large attractions like Paignton Zoo to small cafes and bars.
The future of them all will depend more than ever on trade during the 'shoulder months' to be here next year.
Since first being elected in 2015, I have supported calls for a change in the law to deal with the problems caused by pavement parking.
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The current law is confusing for drivers with a ban on pavement parking in London, unless it is indicated you can park, while outside the capital only the parking of lorries on a pavement is illegal, unless it is specifically indicated you cannot park there.
While a vehicle obstructing a pavement can be dealt with by the police, most parking matters are now enforced by local councils, including Torbay Council.
Too often those reliant on mobility scooters or wheelchairs find themselves struggling to use a pavement due to the actions of a minority of selfish drivers.
Changing the law to reflect the situation in London across the country cannot come soon enough.
Over recent months many council workers have worked hard to support their local communities, with credit due to Torbay Council's teams for their work dealing with some of the most challenging circumstances to face our Bay since the end of World War Two.
Recent events have brought into sharp focus the mixed structure of local government across England and restarted the debate about reforming the two-tier system of district and county councils, which still covers many areas including Devon, despite Torbay and Plymouth becoming unitary councils in 1998.
The two-tier system does not have a long-term future and at some point Devon will need to decide how a unitary system would cover the traditional Devonshire county, including Torbay.
This is a debate our Bay should be a proactive part of, rather than looking to remain solely based on the boundaries drawn up back in 1998.
Following recent changes in public health guidance I have restarted my regular advice surgeries, although they must be by appointment only.
My next surgeries are from 11am to 1pm on Saturday, September 12, and from 3pm to 5pm on Friday, September 18. Both will be held at 5-7 East Street, Torquay TQ2 5SD.
Social distancing measures will be in place and please bring a face covering with you unless you have a medical condition which means you cannot wear one.
To book an appointment you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01803 214989. Daily drop-in sessions from 10am to 1pm weekdays are also available at my office at 5-7 East Street, Torquay TQ2 5SD for residents with urgent queries. Please be prepared to wait outside if more than 1 person attends at the same time.