Torbay is showing 'positive signs of recovery'
GLIMMERS of hope are appearing on Torbay's horizon, the boss of the resort's economic development company has reported.
There is plenty of good news in the Bay, said Steve Parrock, chief executive of Torbay Development Agency.
"We are seeing positive signs of recovery in Torbay, albeit from a very low base."
Mr Parrock told Torbay Business Forum the latest Business Barometer, in which local businesses give their perceptions of the Bay, was positive.
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"More people, 54 per cent, are expecting growth, more are expecting to take on staff. We are starting to see a substantial change in perception.
"I am not going to say everything is fantastic. It is about having faith in our economy, in ourselves in order to grow our businesses.
"South Devon and Torbay is leading the way in terms of creating new jobs and the growth of jobs.
"The new Local Plan will deliver 3,750 new jobs over the next five years, and that's almost guaranteed.
"They are projects we know are coming through. Those jobs will be more than the jobs lost in the public sector," he said.
Improving transport links, including Kingskerswell bypass, had been one of the top priorities demanded by local business people.
Work had now started on the £108million road.
"That is the single most important factor for success for Torbay," he said.
Improvements had already been made to Torbay Ring Road at Tweenaway and more dual carriageway is planned to service employment sites in the area to Long Road.
The TDA has met recently with the master planners of the former Bookham site at Long Road to discuss their proposals.
High-speed broadband had also been cited as essential and that was already being rolled out in Torbay, he said.
Mr Parrock said the hi-tech sector has been earmarked by local businesses as having the most potential for growth, the setting up of the High Tech Forum was helping to drive that expansion.
He also pointed to the tourism industry working together with a strategy and the successes in the fishing industry Brixham after's new quay.
Businesses are investing and being attracted to the Bay, said Mr Parrock who told the forum the company's innovation centres were working at capacity and creating 100 jobs every year.
The new centre proposed for White Rock would double capacity. There are plans for new work hubs for fledgling businesses in all three towns.
Work has started on the White Rock business park with progress on South Devon College's Energy Centre, and plans were being drawn up for another business park at Claylands in Paignton.
Plans for Oldway Mansion, Tesco in Brixham and a new hotel at the Pavilion are all progressing, business leaders were told.
Harbour Hotels hope to have their plans in for the Pavilion around Christmas time.