The council needs to act now!

Sally Allen's fashion boutique in Torwood Street, Torquay

Sally Allen's fashion boutique in Torwood Street, Torquay - Credit: Archant

I read in so many publications and on social media about Torbay being ‘naturally inspiring’ and certainly our natural coastline is beautiful.

I have no argument with that.

However, the council, our Member of Parliament and anyone else who could make a difference and help to improve the quality of the actual town are sitting on their hands – or maybe they have plans of action that they are not telling us about?? Who knows? I certainly don’t. 

The coastline, as I say, is stunningly beautiful but our town is an embarrassment.

As I have mentioned before in this column, it is all very well building new hotels but the infrastructure of the town, which includes all the businesses, maintenance of all the facilities and, of course, parking is not addressed when it should be the priority.

I really don’t understand the logic – largely because there isn’t any.

As a business owner, my frustration, despair, and loss of patience are at boiling point.

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The business next to me in Torwood Street is now closing because of the constant problem of not being able to load and unload outside their business.

I am aware that parking attendants probably haven’t run a business and therefore have no sympathy for those of us struggling under very heavy boxes, or in the case of the art galleries in our street, expensive paintings, but even one brain cell should surely alert anyone watching to realise that it is an impossible task to do with the current five minutes allotted to us in the loading bay.

However, the parking attendants seem to have great respect for massive lorries and builders’ trucks, in fact the larger they are the longer they can stay outside our properties, blocking our windows, without fear of a reprimand let alone a ticket.

All the businesses have given extremely generously to the pot of money the council must hoard from parking tickets.

I realise that the easiest action is always to turn a blind eye and just carry on regardless – but we are now at a tipping point and we now demand some action to deal with this easily dealt with problem. 

Please listen: 

  • as a business owner I would happily pay for a business permit to park outside my shop as would other business owners in the street 

  • echelon parking would work and create more financial gain for the council. It is critical for shops and restaurants to have parking for customers to survive and this system would be a win win for us and the council as it would provide many more parking spaces. You can also put in parking meters which would generate far more cash than the relentless tickets. The area could soon be booming and not dying as it will inevitably do if this problem is not addressed. 

To date, we have been bled dry through the lack of action and it has all been exacerbated by the year-long pandemic.

Now is the time to act before more businesses close for good. 

And while I am having a moan, we constantly receive comments from visitors about how dirty our streets and pavements are. So, please take a pride in our streets as well as our coastline.

The basics need to be addressed otherwise all these hoped for tourists will only come once and not return. 

I am personally willing to help paint the lines up Torwood Street for echelon parking, as are other traders in the street.

You supply the paint and brushes out of the pot of gold from all our parking tickets, and we will get cracking. 

This all needs to happen before the much-talked-about boom this summer otherwise we will be shooting ourselves in the foot big time.

Steve Darling, Darren Cowell, Swithin Long, Kevin Foster we want to - we need to - discuss the options as a matter of urgency. The time to act is NOW.

Call me – all the businesses in Torwood Street want action and no doubt in Fleet Street and Union Street too.