Sunday, 23 December 2001

Rock Walk. Stories from the Herald Express (1)


From the Herald Express

20 December 2007

Torquay seafront will be shut off to traffic for up to six weeks while £100,000 safety works are carried out at closed-off Rock Walk.A 65-tonne crane is being brought in to remove 35 trees, some weighing 10 tonnes, which have become unstable.It means that all lanes will be closed to traffic from January 28.Work is expected to take three weeks but could take up to six, depending on the weather.

Torbay Council decided to close the road after rejecting other options including flying in a helicopter to take out the trees.The council's senior tree man, Neil Coish, said: "We went to the RAF to lift the trees and fly them out but we would have had to close roads, footpaths and inner seafront up to half a mile out into the Bay and all of Torre Abbey Meadows and it was too expensive."

And despite efforts to shut just one lane, the 10ft base on the crane meant it was impossible, said Mr Coish.But councillors say that good will come out of the disruption with plans to restore the overgrown walk to the original Royal Terrace Gardens, a Victorian tropical garden since lost under the towering Monterey Pines and evergreen oak trees.Torbay councillor for transport and planning, Chris Lewis, said: "Out of bad comes good. It is a shame the trees are going but what we are going to have instead is tropical gardens that will be a highlight of the Bay."When the trees come down and work is done to stabilise the rock, consultants will be coming down to look at how the gardens should be restored. Then plans will be put forward and out to consultation," he said.

Ward member Cllr Jenny Faulkner remembers the former gardens as a child evacuee."I could not be more pleased. It has been a long time coming."Cllr Faulkner said that since the early 1990s, there had been trouble with anti-social behaviour and drug taking shielded from view by the large trees."The top part of Rock Walk was blocked off years ago because of vandalism and because it was not safe."These plans will make a vast improvement to the area. It will open it up and make it safe," she said.Cllr Robert Horne said that this was not a 'repair job but a complete restoration to bring back the gardens to the standard when they were first opened'.

Torbay Chamber of Commerce chairman, Cllr Robert Excell, said that all businesses will be made aware of the diversions during the works, scheduled after the panto season at the Princess Theatre.He said: "They will be informed of the new routes and when the best times are to have deliveries."I believe the benefits of this will far outweigh the disruption," he said.

A public meeting will be held at the Pier Point Cafe on January 16.

Sunday, 22 April 2001

From Herald Express 22 April 2008


11:00 - 22 April 2008
Congestion on the notoriously busy Newton Road has forced Stagecoach to re-think the bus routes and services it provides in and around Torbay.Managing director Chris Hilditch has hailed the road a 'disgrace' and blamed constant traffic jams between Penn Inn and Riviera Way for an unreliable bus network.So from May 19, Stagecoach will reduce the amount of number 12 buses running between Newton Abbot and Torquay.
Instead it will increase the number of journeys between Torquay and Paignton.And it is ending the existing number 85 service from Torquay to Teignmouth and on to Exeter.Other changes in the South Devon network are to follow as a result, including the withdrawal of the 12b service from St Marychurch to Castle Circus, Torquay Seafront, Preston and Paignton bus station.It will be replaced by a new 12C service which will run every 20 minutes from South Devon College to St Marychurch via Goodrington, Paignton and Torquay.
On May 19, Stagecoach will also withdraw its number 85 bus which serves Torquay Harbour, Teignmouth, Dawlish, Dawlish Warren, Starcross, Exminster and Exeter. Instead, this route will be met by the 12A and the new 12C service.Mr Hilditch said a new Kingskerswell Bypass is needed if Torbay is to continue to be a viable place to live and work.

He said: "The Newton Road is unreliable. It has a huge volume of traffic on it that would not disgrace a motorway."It's constantly subjected to accidents, road closures and digging up, for hours at a time."Just last week a piece of road near the Penn Inn Roundabout was dug up and the queue went all the way back to Torquay."You cannot run a bus service on a road like that. It's hard for people waiting for a bus in Preston to appreciate the bus is late because of roadworks 10 miles away."We needed to make the network more reliable."He continued: "At the end of the day, the Newton Road is a disgrace in terms of living in a country like this. It's just hopeless."That corridor is absolutely vital to Torbay. You either take people's cars away by force or you do something to deal with the congestion there. You have to do something, you can't just grind to a halt."Newton Road is not going to get any better. I can't see how else it can be dealt with other than to build a bypass."I'm not a supporter of building roads particularly, but I don't see how it can be avoided if Torbay is to continue to be a viable place to live and work, because the congestion is going to kill it."

Other major changes to Stagecoach's bus routes include removing Newton Abbot and Brixham as destinations from the 12A service, and replacing the South Devon College and Brixham link in the 12A service with an extended 66 service.A new 12C service from South Devon College to St Marychurch via Goodrington, Paignton and Torquay will be introduced.The withdrawn 85 service from Torquay Harbour to Teignmouth, Dawlish, Dawlish Warren, Starcross, Exminster and Exeter will be replaced by the 12A and the 12C, both of which will run hourly services to Teignmouth.The 85A service linking Teignmouth and Exeter will remain, but will be renumbered 2.

Mr Hilditch said there will be more buses between Paignton and Brixham, and more linking South Devon College, Paignton and Torquay.He said: "Generally speaking the loop from St Marychurch through to Torquay and Paignton and then around Waterside, Roselands, the college and Paignton, is usually reasonably reliable."Therefore, we have made what will be the 12A and 12C very reliable and the number 12 will just have to take its chances as usual, because of the Newton Road."

We have kept the same overall number of buses and crews, but we are putting more buses where we are busy and fewer where we are not so busy. It's about adjusting the volume to the requirements."We think the system will flow better for people. There will be buses when they need them and a more reliable service."

For more information about the new timetable phone Stagecoach on 0871 200 22 33 or log on to Stagecoach Devon

Friday, 16 March 2001

Tuesday, 20 February 2001

Paul Sadler

Paul Sadler was known to many for his encyclopedic knowledge of bus timetables and he would often impart information to anyone who looked like they were lost.He was so loved by Stagecoach staff, the company said it hopes to include a special bus for his funeral procession.

This week many friends have left floral tributes at the Paignton station.

Despite his considerable physical disabilities, friends said that Paul never let it hamper him in daily life.

He was on the committee of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes Club in Paignton, raising thousands of pounds for good causes.

But it was his love of buses that many people will know him for and he was a regular member of the Busmans' Social Clubs in Torquay and Paignton.

Appreciative bus staff even presented Paul with his own uniform and gave him free travel around Torbay.

Steve Crane, 52, and his wife Pauline, 46, are both bus drivers at Paignton bus depot on Station Lane, and they described Paul as a real character.

Paul added: "He was bus crazy, and he was very well thought of by all the people involved with the bus company."

Peter Foreman, a fellow Buffalo, said: "Paul Sadler, although severely disabled, lived a full life and was respected by those who knew him and loved by many.

"He was born in Coventry, and later moved with his mother to Dartmouth. He was very close to his mother, who was his full-time carer until her death.

"Paul was very intellectual, with a good knowledge of most subjects, and he loved music. Over the years he built a wide collection of classic popular records.

"He enjoyed socialising, was a real comedian and became an ardent brother of the St Michael's Lodge Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes Club in Paignton.

"His fellow brothers held him in high esteem, and we all enjoyed his wicked sense of humour.

"For many years he was an accepted and appreciated part of the bus station scene.

"He learned the bus timetables by heart, and he virtually became the information centre for anyone inquiring about the service and schedules.

"Among the tributes that have been left at the station, one card reads, 'You've gone to a place where the buses are on time and there's plenty of beer.' That's perfect for Paul."

Chris Hilditch, managing director of Stagecoach Devon, said Paul would be missed by all who knew him.

He added: "It's always sad when someone you know passes on. He'd become such a fixture at the station, you thought he'd be around forever.

"He was a genuinely nice chap and we enjoyed his presence. He knew generations of people at the station. I hope we can provide a special bus for his service. I'd certainly be supportive of that."

Colin Bianco, manager at the Isaac Merritt pub, Paignton, where Paul was a regular, said: "He was a lovely chap. He lived just round the corner from us and he used to come in on a Sunday.

"He was a lovely person and he would come in the evenings and chat with a few people. He was very nice and all my staff loved him. He used to get on well with the girls behind the bar."

Bob Hill, former Herald Express sports editor, said Paul's disability was caused by a stroke he had when three years old.

Paul's father was a bus driver for Devon General Bus Company, but his disability meant he was unable to follow this career.

Bob added: "As he grew up, his fascination with buses drew him more regularly down to the bus station, where he became friendly with staff and passengers."

Wednesday, 3 January 2001


From the Herald Express
07 May 2007

A former Torquay school head has warned colleagues that bad parents are turning their children into bullies who abuse their teachers.David Gray, who retired last year as head of Babbacombe Primary School but is a life member of the National Association of Head Teachers, was speaking at the union's annual conference in Bournemouth.Mr Gray retired at Christmas after 22 years, saying he hoped to find part-time work as a lorry driver instead.He said at the time that the dramatic job swap would be a welcome change from the daily stresses he faced.At the conference he said that by failing to instil discipline at home, parents are giving their children the green light to target teachers with abuse. Youngsters who are allowed to stay up late watching television in their rooms come into school too tired to work or behave properly.Delegates passed a series of motions warning of a rising tide of violence and disruption in the classroom.Mr Gray said: "More and more parents, rather than punishing pupils for swearing at staff, are colluding with them."Teachers have come to expect that parents will constantly refer to their "rights" and their children's rights when schools discipline pupils for bad behaviour, he said.And they fail to discipline their own children or set traditional rules at home."This lack of discipline at home is leading to a growing number of pupils, and especially girls, intimidating their teachers with sexist taunts."Boys don't just try to peer down young women teachers' fronts, they make comments on what they see," he said.If a young male teacher is single, he is labelled as having "something wrong with him".Mr Gray added: "This is a horrible form of bullying. This is the meltdown of society's civilised values."He said increasing numbers of children were turning up to school too tired to concentrate because they had been up watching television late at night.Some were hungry because they had not had any breakfast - or occasionally any dinner the night before - because no-one thought to make them any food."Many children live in their bedrooms and are allowed to stay up as late as they like as long as they do not disturb the rest of the family," he said.Schools are trying to pick up the pieces of a "dysfunctional upbringing" for many children, he said.Rona Tutt, former NAHT president, said the number of attacks on pupils and staff was "increasing substantially"."The extreme end of behaviour has not had the attention it deserves," she said.The union passed a motion which called for more specialist facilities for teaching the children with serious behavioural disorders.

Tuesday, 2 January 2001

From Herald Express re Bus Passes

Angry Bay pensioners have again lambasted the council's new bus pass scheme after hundreds faced a second day of queuing - this time in the rain.
Torbay pass holders have been given two weeks to change their Devonwide card to a new 'Around Torbay' scheme.The big queues began on Wednesday - when 4,000 people turned up - and continued yesterday, with many frail and elderly residents again joining the lines waiting outside Connections and other offices.Pensioners say the swap has been badly executed and have called mayor Nick Bye to account, saying he should have made contingency plans because the Bay has a high population of retired people.One 70-year-old Torquay pensioner said: "All over the country people have the free bus pass. You only have to go up to Exeter where pensioners are being given the full free pass. Mr Bye should have asked central government for more money. There should not be this inequality for residents in Torbay."The Devonwide bus pass expires on April 1, leaving pensioners little time left to collect the new card.Torbay MP, Adrian Sanders, said: "I think the decision to restrict the concession was taken in haste. It was not thought through. My constituents have had problems getting the new card and it has caused confusion and inconvenience to older people."The council panicked and were trying to reduce costs, but they were aware of the costs involved at the beginning of the year."Torbay Council changed to a partly concessionary travel scheme after fears of mounting costs because holidaymakers were accommodated under the free scheme.Peter Carroll, from Paignton, said: "My wife waited in a long queue at Paignton Bus station. She is asthmatic and had to suffer fumes from several smokers. When she eventually got the pass the picture was so dark it was beyond recognition."Another Torquay pensioner, who did not want to be named, said: "I have been into two places and the queues are enormous. They have a machine which takes the photographs and this is holding everything up. I think it's appalling that elderly people are being treated like that, it's disgusting."According to Torbay Council around five per cent of pensioners who went to collect their new pass did not bring the required identification.They say information was communicated through local media coverage, various leaflets and posters detailing the new scheme.Geoff Coleman, senior transport planning co-ordinator said: "We have endeavoured to make it as easy as possible for people to collect their new Around Torbay passes."We could not envisage that over 4,000 residents would choose to collect their new passes on the first day and inevitably this did cause some delays, however, most people were good humoured and very reasonable."We did reiterate to those in the queues the passes were being issued for the next two weeks and not just for one day. But the majority of people chose to continue waiting."Following the initial rush, yesterday was much quieter with the majority of locations issuing passes experiencing no complications or long queues. We have also extended the opening times of the Connections offices and libraries."Under the scheme nearly 30,000 Torbay residents can travel for free on 30 bus services around the Bay. Passengers can also take advantage of a £1 'bolt-on' fee for journeys to Exeter and Plymouth.

Monday, 1 January 2001


From the Herald Express
11 April 2007

Police riding 'shotgun' on a Paignton bus - re-instated more than a month after being suspended in the wake of vandal attacks - sprang into action on its first day.
Officers were ready for trouble when the No 2 Stagecoach service in the resort's Maidenway Road returned on Sunday night.Bus chiefs had withdrawn the town centre to Foxhole service early last month after repeated attacks on their vehicles in the Marldon Road and Colley End Road areas of the town.But after five weeks off the road the bus returned for business over the Easter weekend, taking in an amended route in the hope of by-passing bother.Instead it ran into a group of 10 youths who had congregated in Maidenway Road near its junction with Lammas Lane.But this time the bus company was prepared, as an officer in uniform was one of six passengers on board the vehicle when two youths broke away from the gang to allegedly kick the side of the vehicle.And reinforcements were close by in the form of a trailing police patrol car.The No 2 service had only been back in business for four hours when the bus was attacked just after 10pm. No one was hurt.In early March a Stagecoach driver was lucky not to lose an eye after his bus was allegedly attacked by yobs.The man was driving the No 2 bus in the Stanley Gardens area of Paignton when a gang on an embankment hurled a heavy object down at him.That attack, at 7.20pm on a Tuesday, was the seventh on that service in the previous three weeks.Yesterday Stagecoach's operations manager, Richard McAllister, said the precautions taken in tandem with the police were a measure of the determination to stamp out the menace of anti-social behaviour."This was very swift action on the first evening of the service's return."It sends a clear message we are not messing about. We are putting the route back for the community who had to make do without a service for some time," he said.He revealed the operation had been organised by the police and the company in a bid to thwart those intent on disrupting a valuable public service.He promised Stagecoach would continue taking such action as long as the deterrent was needed.Paignton's neighbourhood beat sergeant, Steve Rook, said: "It's worth some knowing that we will be riding shotgun, as it were, on buses in the area."If people do target buses in such a fashion they might like to know the risks involved."He said police were more than happy to support Stagecoach in their efforts to deal with the nuisance.A 15-YEAR-OLD boy spent the night in police custody before being charged with a public order offence and one of obstruction.He is due to appear before the Bay's youth court on April 18.