Visitors will be able to see the progress made in their absence

The Fragrance hotel rises from the ground on Paignton seafront

The Fragrance hotel rises from the ground on Paignton seafront - Credit: Submitted

The bank holiday weekend saw tourists flock to our region as the combination of lockdown rules easing, falling Covid case rates, advancing vaccination campaign and glorious weather meant many wanted to take a long-delayed holiday. 

On Friday, the promenade at Paignton was busy with many visitors enjoying the good weather, with those who have not been to Paignton in a while able to see the progress over the last two years.

Gone is the derelict Lighthouse Pub, with two large new hotels are being built and the Harbour Lights has been revitalised. 

In Torquay, visitors will see the progress in Torwood Street, with a new hotel and offices standing where only three years ago a row of derelict buildings stood.  

Yet alongside these signs of progress are the challenges which now face our Bay as we exit lockdown and build back after the pandemic - the empty Debenhams store on The Strand and more empty stores in Union Street. In Paignton, the semi-derelict Crossways and parts of the wider town centre in need of attention.

The support on offer from Government is significant: £13.36m for Paignton’s Future High Streets Project. And £21.9m for the Torquay Town Deal.

This will need to be matched by a clear vision of what we want our Bay to look like in 2030.

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Change is a constant, these major projects will make a positive one here in our Bay. 

Double jabbed  

Having been invited by my GP, last week I headed to the English Riviera International Conference Centre for my second jab. 

It was great to see the large numbers of people being speedily processed thanks not only to the staff from our local NHS and GPs surgeries, but a great team of volunteers.  

As with my first jab, it was less than ten minutes from arriving to the jab going in my arm and, like my first jab, I have felt no side effects.

Paignton Green 

I have been supporting calls for measures to be put in place on Paignton Green to prevent repeated incursions by those setting up unauthorised encampments, so it was good to see action finally taken by Torbay Council last week. 

The temporary measures installed are not the prettiest, looking like large Lego bricks, but I am advised these will be replaced by more suitable measures in future.

I understand other sites which regularly see such encampments will also see measures put in place.  

This action comes as parliament is considering a Government proposal to change the law to make it easier for the police to remove unauthorised encampments from public land.

There is not one solution to dealing with this issue, but the combination will make a difference. 

Surgery times 

I have restarted face to face advice surgeries, but telephone appointments can still be arranged if preferred. Sadly, my surgeries must remain by appointment only at this stage. 

Surgeries are for urgent personal matters, such as welfare, immigration, housing, problems accessing support and benefits. 

For an appointment you can either email me at kevin@kevinjfoster.com or leave a message on 01803 214989.

You can also drop into my office at 5-7 East Street, Torquay TQ2 5SD between 10am and 1pm weekdays. Please note you may have to wait outside if others attend at the same time.