The partnership between the Liberal Democrats and Independents is now at the half-way stage since it took control of Torbay Council two years ago. How has the first part of its term gone? The partnership gives its verdict:
Torbay Council’s Cabinet met last week to agree our Business Plan for the next year. This was our opportunity to reflect on the “half-time” position of the Partnership which runs the Council – a time to reflect on what we have achieved so far, as well as focus on the things that we need to make happen next.
Our ambition continues to be a thriving Torbay - a place where we have turned the tide on poverty. Despite the challenges of a global pandemic, we are delivering investment in our economy, our climate, and our people.
In April 2020, across the country, people were told to stay at home and, for most of our staff, that is what they did.
As an organisation, however, we continued to provide existing and new services to our communities.
Voluntary organisations, businesses, communities, and neighbourhoods stepped up and together we responded to the Covid-19 pandemic – providing information, practical assistance, and financial support.
Our day-to-day work has also continued with our improvement programme in Children’s Services making a difference in the lives of our children and young people.
We have set up a Strategic Housing Board with an independent Chair to drive delivery of our Housing Strategy.
We have established TorVista Homes to maximise our supply of social and affordable housing. TorVista has recently achieved Registered Provider status which means it is able to access additional funding to help us meet our targets.
We have been allocated funding from both the Towns Fund and the Future High Street Fund which will see us revitalise Torquay and Paignton. As part of our plans, we purchased the Debenhams building in Torquay and served a Notice of Compulsory Purchase on Crossways in Paignton.
A new wholly-owned Council company – SWISCo – was established in summer 2020 which is providing a range of frontline services as part of our vision of improving Torbay.
The work of the grounds maintenance teams was enjoyed by residents and visitors alike when we were able to meet again in our parks and gardens.
We have ambitious plans for the coming year and into 2023. Our Children’s Early Help Model will provide better integration between services, promoting more joined up support for families at an early stage. Fostering a community-led approach to Early Help will provide a sense of a child-friendly Torbay where communities are provided with the support they need to help each other.
We will build on the success of the Torbay Help Line as we develop a single route of referral for all adult social care support.
Our plans for regenerating our town centres and seafront areas are being put into place with projects such as redevelopment of The Strand in Torquay and replacement of the festoon lighting in Paignton and Torquay.
At the same time, we are working to increase the levels of skills within our community, supporting people into employment as we recover from the pandemic.
We will be working with partners and our communities to develop a new carbon neutral action plan for Torbay.
We want to set out how our tourism offer can be shaped to make the most of the natural beauty of Torbay – developing the eco-tourism offer. This will go together with our work to enhance the biodiversity in Torbay.
Our work to continue to strengthen links with the community, enabling and empowering us to all act together will be an ongoing theme over the coming year.
This will be through both community-led projects, encouraging the use of local suppliers and using the skills across our workforce to provide support to projects and initiatives within the community.
We’ll be sharing more details of our plans and progress (including how you can get involved) in One Torbay, our weekly e-newsletter – if you haven’t already signed up you can at: www.torbay.gov.uk/OneTorbay
We want to do things differently, working with individuals, communities, and partners. Together we can create One Torbay: Working for all Torbay.
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