Torquay bags £21.9million passport to new future

Torbay MP Kevin Foster and Torquay town centre campaigners Roger Heath (left) and John Doherty outsi

Torbay MP Kevin Foster and Torquay town centre campaigners Roger Heath (left) and John Doherty outside the Pavilion - Credit: Archant

Torbay bags £21.9million boost from the government’s Town Deal initiative which will breathe new life into Torquay

Torquay has received a massive £21.9 million funding lifeline to boost its fortunes for the future.

The Town Deal cash will be used to transform the town centre, improve the local economy, build homes and support local businesses.

Torquay is one of the first seven towns across the country to have a funding offer made as part of a landmark £3.6 billion Government scheme aimed at levelling up local economies and creating jobs by investing in transport, infrastructure and skills.

The funding announced for Torquay will be used to make huge improvements to the town centre, by revitalising and refreshing unloved and underused retail space.

This will include the creation of more office space in town and increasing the number of homes for people to live in, by converting existing properties.

The projects within the investment plan will provide a better mix of uses, creating an improved experience and greater footfall in the town centre, support growth in public transport and are expected to attract additional private sector investment into the town.

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One of the projects to benefit from investment is Torquay Pavilion, where the Council will work with MDL to bring about repairs to the building.

There will also be improvements to Torquay Harbour public realm, with investment into the paving, seating and lighting.

Other projects include a new rail station at Edginswell, and mixed use regeneration at key locations in the town centre.

Investment is also planned for Upton Park, Rock Walk and Princess Gardens to improve the environment in those areas through better lighting, seating and at Upton Park improving the facilities within the park.

Transport links will also be improved with a new focus on walking and cycling routes, to help people reduce their carbon footprint and improving the environment.

Taken together these changes will make the town centre a better place to work, live and visit and ensure local businesses are more ready and better equipped to deal with changing habits

The £3.6billion Towns Fund is a flagship initiative to drive forward the regeneration of historically left behind towns across England, unlocking their potential and stimulating local growth to aid the economic recovery from coronavirus.

The £21.9million offer is a response to the proposal put forward by local leaders on the Town Deal Board, which is represented by business leaders, the local community and the public sector.

Torquay now has the chance to implement the innovative and forward-thinking proposals submitted to the Towns Fund, which was set up last year to tap into the economic potential of 101 shortlisted towns across England and drive future growth and prosperity across the country.

Kevin Foster, Torbay MP and deputy chairman of the Torquay Town Deal Board, said: “This is fantastic news and just what Torquay needs to help build back better after the impact of the coronavirus.

“The Town Deal is not just about regenerating empty shops in the town centre but setting out a vision for our town which includes turning back the tide on poverty and delivering improved opportunities for the next generation.

“This deal is not just about delivering a set of projects but pointing towards where we want to be as a bay in 2030.”

Torquay’s funding is set to be used to modernise the town centre, transforming it into a retail and leisure destination for people visiting, working and living in the town.

Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Luke Hall said:“ Our high streets are changing and Torquay is no different.

“For our town centres to continue to be attractive places to live, work and play we need to keep up with changes in the way people shop.

“That’s why I’m delighted to announce a Town Deal worth up to £21.9m for Torquay which will allow the council to revitalise the town centre and address some of these challenges head on.”