Could this actually be a winter to look forward to as we build a Greater Torbay?

Busy Torquay harbour

Torquay harbour - bustling in the summer sun. But what will the winter bring for the Bay? - Credit: English Riviera BID Company

So that's it for another year. Almost time to put away the shorts and sun tan lotion as the summer ends and we have autumn and winter to look forward to.

I almost included hanging up the cricket whites as well but they haven't been needed for several weeks now after dislocating and fracturing my shoulder and tearing the tendons and muscle. The lesson here? Don't go diving after a cricket ball (which I stopped) at the age of 64.

When I was playing football I used to love the winter  months and there was no better feeling than sliding around in the drizzle. But those days have long gone and now I must admit I am no fan of the dark mornings and nights and cold and wet weather.  What makes it even harder is the inability to skip abroad for a quick break thanks to our friend Covid.

But this winter could be special for the Bay. There are so man good things on the go which should really come to the fore in the coming  months to totally transform our fortunes.

I know that in reality this is not the case, but is does seem that in the summer and holiday time the pace of progress slows down and it all goes quiet especially with meetings   

But now my diary is beginning to fill up, the Torbay Business Forum met face-to-face for a breakfast event for the first time in 18 months and the focus is firmly back on the future.

Plans for the regeneration of Torquay and Paignton town centres with £40 million government funding between them should be moving forward.

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We should have a clearer idea of what the future looks like for the likes of the Pavilion, Oldway and, dare I say, Living Coasts. We will see new hotels on Paignton seafront and at the Terrace car park in Torquay. Current hotels are in line for refurbishment and improvement schemes running into millions, a new rail station should  be taking shape at Edginswell and last but very not least we will have the massive regeneration of the Torbay Hospital site. Who knows, we may have actually sorted  Crossways as well! 

As you can see a massive amount of stuff is going on. But one question is how do we, the locals benefit from all this. One of the answers lies in an initiative just announced by Torbay Council.

It is trialling a system which aims to see more council contracts going to businesses within the English Rivera.

The pilot scheme which will be rolled out during this month and will run until next March will help to increase spend locally, ensure equitable inclusion of suppliers and reduce carbon emissions through local sourcing. 
A 'SupplyDevon' hub will be used as a route to market for external spend of between £5,000 and £50,000. 
SupplyDevon is a free online platform that uses Artificial Intelligence to identify suppliers from within the local authority boundary (or wider Devon if no Torbay based supplier available) who are invited to bid for the work. 
Last year,  out of 77 contracts awarded with a value below £50,000, only 16 were awarded to local suppliers. By making use of SupplyDevon the council can ensure more of it spend remains in the local supply chain, helping to generate economic growth, particularly as businesses seek to recover from the pandemic. 
All registered suppliers will have access to their own procurement platform, allowing them to view and respond to quotation requests, as well as having direct communication with the buyer. As soon as businesses register as a supplier, SupplyDevon will begin sending relevant quotation requests from local buyers – all completely free of charge. 
Cllr Darren Cowell, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, said; “We want Torbay’s residents and businesses to thrive. The use of SupplyDevon will not only ensure that more of our spend remains within Torbay, but we also feed into the wider Community Wealth Building agenda. Through local sourcing, we are not only boosting the local economy we are also reducing carbon emissions which supports our commitment to tackling climate change.” 
Suppliers from Torbay, Devon and Plymouth can register for free at www.supplydevon.org

There is massive potential here  We just need to get on with it and brighten up my winter! 

#nowisthetime2  #onlyintorbay