Regeneration plans see Paignton getting most attention

Crossways shopping centre in Paignton.

Crossways shopping centre in Paignton. - Credit: Ed Oldfield

The Liberal Democrat/Independent partnership that runs Torbay Council is determined that no part of our Bay shall be left behind in terms of projects and investment decisions that can be determined in the town hall, and certainly for the moment it is Paignton that is getting the most attention.

You may already be familiar with our success in securing £13.36 million Future High Streets Funding for Paignton.

The plans for using this grant funding have been community led and they focus on the heart of the town centre, including Station Square and regeneration opportunities at Crossways and Victoria Square. 

Furthermore improvements to Torbay Road and breathing new life into Paignton’s historic picture house are also set to benefit from the council securing this funding.

Only a matter of weeks after taking control of Torbay Council, the leading Lib Dem/Independent partnership put in motion the compulsory purchase order (CPO) on the Crossways site in Paignton town centre.

This could have been done years before but, sadly, the former Conservative mayor chose not to use this power.

Following Councillor Swithin Long’s meetings with the Post Office regarding the vital Crossways renewal proposals, they are now dropping their objection to the CPO. Not that this would have delayed the development any more than was already likely given the objection of the owners.

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We continue to press as hard as we can to ensure the swift redevelopment of the Crossways site however we are now subject to a legal framework.

The Future High Streets Funding that we have secured will enable infrastructure improvements, new homes at strategic locations in the town and an enhanced cultural offer, all with the view to bringing life and trade back into the heart of Paignton.

The fund will also enable work to take place on improved flood defences and bringing Paignton Picture House back into use.

This is separate from the similarly sounding £25m Town Deal Fund that has been continuously publicised since its launch in 2019. Here, our bid for Torquay has successfully secured around £22m.

We have also secured £1.9m in grant funding via the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme for the Torbay Leisure Centre at Goodrington to upgrade the heating plant, improve energy efficiency, and reduce the centre’s carbon emissions by 60 per cent.

This project will play a major part in accelerating progress towards our ambitions of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

Torbay Leisure Centre is managed by Parkwood Leisure, who have supported the grant application and will oversee the delivery of the project.

If you have travelled on the Brixham Road of late you may have noticed the construction of a new home for a local multinational manufacturing company opposite the junction with Borough Road.

The development is funded by £2m of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership’s Unlocking Growth Funding and an £8m investment in the site by the council.

The works by Midas to construct offsite drainage near the sites border with Paignton Zoo were successfully completed with no disruption to the zoo and importantly maintaining the wellbeing of the wild animals.

Despite Covid, the building is on target for completion this summer and will provide much-needed new employment.

The council is also investing in improving a site it owns at Waterside, Goodrington. The leaseholder is the Waterside Holiday Park and in return for investment of £2.5m in new and upgraded facilities, the company that owns the site off Dartmouth Road will pay an additional £120,000 a year in rent, index linked after ten years.

It’s a good deal for both parties, securing jobs and tourist accommodation while providing a steady and generous return on our investment.

The support from the various pots of Government funding is welcome, although it is dwarfed by the £500,000,000 Torbay has lost over the past decade.

Now, if the council had that funding, we could do all the above and more in all parts of the bay while giving every household a Council Tax refund.