Local residents and businesses are being encouraged to have their say on improvement plans for Babbacombe Downs, Torquay at a consultation event being held next week (Monday 17 December).
The Babbacombe Downs area, with its stunning views, is one of the jewels in Torbay's crown. Torbay Council has been working in partnership with contractors Glendale Managed Services, who have a grounds maintenance contract for the Downs, to come up with some initial ideas for upgrading the landscaping and are now keen to hear from residents and businesses.
The overall plan is to improve the existing longstanding features of the Downs over the next three to five years and to provide a much needed visual boost for all to enjoy.
Due to their location on the slope, the flower beds are less visible than previous years and the hedging borders are becoming sparse. The council’s initial proposals are to improve the beds so they are more visible and to replace the hedging.
The sea view has become obstructed in certain areas and therefore some vegetation may be cut back and/or removed to reveal the existing shrubbery planting and to provide additional planting. The signage is to be improved at entrance points, the tourist boards are to be moved to more appropriate locations as are the bins which will be improved to help with the high levels of use.
The introduction of softwood timber edging to the path in some areas would replace the existing rocks which are often climbed over. Finally the repair and repainting of railings, bollards and lampposts will lend to the overall enhancement of this stunning location.
Executive Lead for Tourism and Environment, Cllr Jeanette Richards, said: "There are very few areas across the country that have the view and ambience of Babbacombe Downs and we want to ensure that they look their best and meet the needs of those visiting the area.
"Many of the ideas are based on investing to save and will not only provide improvements for the area but will make future management easier and in turn reduce costs. The improvement of flower beds should mean that additional costs for reinstating these would not be required every year however we are not looking to reduce the overall planting within this scheme. The replacement of the existing bins will also ensure that litter on busy days and event days does not become an issue in the future."
The consultation event will be held at the The Downs Hotel, Babbacombe on Monday 17 December. Officers will be on hand to discuss the plans from 10am until 12pm and 4pm until 7pm.
Kate and Ed Woods, of The Downs Hotel, said: "We are delighted that after several years of liaising with the council regarding the maintenance of the Downs and surrounding area that we can be a part of the consultation process for regeneration and look forward to a comprehensive regeneration project.
"As the local business community have invested heavily in their properties it is fantastic news that the Downs have been recognised as an area of importance and we are very encouraged with the initial suggestions that the council has provided so far. We look forward to an ongoing programme of improvements and maintenance, which will benefit not only the local community, but make the area more attractive to holiday makers and day visitors which will bring much needed income into the Bay."