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LIVE BLOG: Big Wheel coming back, but cuts could cost Torbay Blue Flags

By GuyHenderson  |  Posted: January 16, 2013

  • Torquay seafront wheel

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BUDGET cuts would jeopardise Torbay's Blue Flag beaches, councillors heard this morning.

At the same meeting Torbay Mayor Gordon Oliver confirmed that, subject to contract, the Big Wheel will be returning to Torquay in the summer.

Members of Torbay Council were considering ways of saving £10million from the coming year's budget in the latest of a series of meetings.

Proposals include cutting back on beach staff across Torbay, leaving some beaches without management or first aid cover.

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Solutions suggested including setting up "Friends" organisations to care for Bay beaches in the same way similar groups work in local parks.

Council executive head Sue Cheriton told the meeting the council would not be able to apply for Blue Flag status for beaches if the cuts were severe.

Cllr Darren Cowell warned that cuts could mean no first aid cover on the beaches, no policing of the dog ban, no 'lost children' service and no support for beach hut users.

However, Torbay Mayor Gordon Oliver did confirm that there were no plans to close public toilets.

Summing up, he said adult and children's services were a moral and statutory priority, while residents' and visitor services were discretionary.

He also confirmed that the Torquay seafront Big Wheel would be returning for the summer of 2013, subject to contracts.

Later in the meeting the prospect of cuts to Citizens Advice Bureaux in Torbay was also discussed. The meeting was told that CABs had dealt with 1,400 inquiries from local people in the last year.

Cllr Mike Morey said on Twitter: "£30,000 cuts to CAB. With austerity kicking in, where do the people go for help?"

Liberal Democrat councillors said it was a cut too far and must be reversed. They Tweeted: "It will hurt the poor and disadvantaged the most."

Follow the debate as it happens in the panel below. Use the Twitter hashtag #tcbudget to be part of the story yourself

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  • clevedonrob  |  January 16 2013, 9:53PM

    Do the idiots on the Council not realise that you have to attract people to the area. Reduce the services further, and you have to say the beaches are one of the reasons people come, and people won't come - result, businesses will fail, less income, so either increased taxes or services reduce further and the cycle goes on. Unfortunately I see the Bay sinking. Regarding Bournemouth, I too have reduced number of breaks to the Bay and defected to Bournemouth. They actually have real lifeguards on large stretches of the beach, not just attendants!

  • howardd1  |  January 16 2013, 8:16PM

    torquay is fast becomming the pits sad run down

    |   -1
  • lhasa27  |  January 16 2013, 3:41PM

    agree spindleshanks, my recollection of Bournemouth/Poole/Sandbanks beaches just a few years ago. were absolutely pristine with workers out long before 6AM. Really impressed and have since gone on many holdidays there as a result. Love Torbay, but always saddened to see at the height of summer, overspilling dog and rubbish bins everywhere and (what is wrong with people?) litter everywhere too. NOT A GOOD ADVERT. Always sad to see the tourists amongst it all.

    |   2
  • nicold  |  January 16 2013, 3:06PM

    Sack Gordon Oliver and bring in Mark Jenkins....he'll sort everything out!

    |   5
  • spindleshanks  |  January 16 2013, 10:22AM

    Bournemouth will be laughing all the way to the bank - last year on the first bank holiday weekend of the year, it "advertised" miles of pristine beaches at 6.00 a.m. on breakfast TV. I say "advertised" as the advert was actually a news item featuring a larger than life deckchair. Great PR for little cost. What did Torbay offer the same weekend? Filthy family beaches strewn with rubbish, seaweed, dog mess, etc., etc. We have lost the right to call ourselves a tourist destination in the same way Tesco has lost the right to sell 100% beef burgers that apparently contain 29% horse meat.

    |   11
  • nickthompson  |  January 16 2013, 9:13AM

    If it means saving 6 pence a week on our Council Tax,I say sack all Devon's lifeguards,lives cost us nothing,money and profits are all that matter??????????????????

    |   -4