Work set to start at Torquay seafront gardens

View of Torquay Marina and the Princess Theatre from Royal Terrace Gardens, also known as Rock Walk

View of Torquay Marina and the Princess Theatre from Royal Terrace Gardens, also known as Rock Walk - Credit: Ed Oldfield

Work is set to start on improvements to improve seafront gardens at Torquay including the dramatic Rock Walk.

Advance work will begin at Upton Park, and on the seafront at Princess Gardens and Royal Terrace Gardens, also known as Rock Walk, which date back more than a century to the Victorian era. 

The projects are part of the first phase of the Town Investment Plan, which attracted total regeneration funding of £22million for a series of projects from the Government’s Town Deal scheme.

The £750,000 investment in the parks and gardens was accelerated from the projects put forward in the package, and work is due to start soon.

The overall programme including other grants and investment is said to be worth £135million to the resort, to help drive the economic recovery after a recession caused by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A statement from Torbay Council said: “Enabling and development works will begin at Upton Park, Princess Gardens and Royal Terrace Gardens ahead of the full works starting as the £750,000 first phase of Town Investment Plan gets underway. 

“These projects will help to revitalise and regenerate the town centre and surrounding areas.
“The projects will create an improved experience for people using these spaces and are intended to encourage footfall to these locations. 

“The wider investment plan sets out how the town will use the funds to support long term economic and productivity growth.”

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The project in Upton Park will see tree works to increase light levels, sight-lines and enhance the sense of space. The netball court will be brought back into use, alongside other improvements to sports facilities, a lighting upgrade, and improvements to footpaths and fencing.

Improvements to Princess Gardens and the Sunken Gardens on the seafront near the Princess Theatre will provide better access, an event space, enhanced landscaping for the gardens and war memorial, and a lighting upgrade.

 Investment in Royal Terrace Gardens will include improving the illuminations along the sea front with more creative lighting year-round. 

The council said: “By linking Royal Terrace Gardens with Abbey Gardens and Princess Gardens the project will encourage more people to connect with the seafront, visit different locations and offer a boost to the night-time economy.”

Darren Cowell, deputy leader of Torbay Council, said: “These projects are just the start of the exciting transformation of Torquay. 

“By working with our community we now have an opportunity to achieve the major regeneration of Torquay we wanted and to build a prosperous future for the town. 

“The accelerated projects give us an opportunity to make an immediate impact, and Torbay Council and its partners are working hard to deliver this.”

Swithin Long, Cabinet member for economic regeneration, tourism and housing, said: “Upton Park, Princess Gardens and Royal Terrace Gardens are three key spaces that can be developed and improved for Torbay’s residents and visitors. Investment in parks and open spaces create thriving communities and provide the opportunity for economic regeneration and growth.”

Other regeneration projects in the Town Deal package include changes for the use of the Town Hall, Pavilion, Pavilion car park, the Haldon Centre, Union Street, and a new train station planned for Edginswell, near Torbay Hospital.