Torbay Council

Torbay Council is the local authority of Torbay in Devon, England. It is a unitary authority, having the powers of a non-metropolitan county and district council combined. It provides a full range of local government services including Council Tax billing, libraries, social services, processing planning applications, waste collection and disposal, and it is a local education authority. The council appoints members to Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority and the Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Panel. Torbay is divided into 15 wards, electing 36 councillors. The whole council is elected every four years with the last election taking place on 7 May 2015 and the next election scheduled for 2019. The council was created by the Local Government Act 1972 and replaced the Torbay Borough Council of the County Borough of Torbay. Since 1974 Torbay has held borough status which entitles the council to be known as Torbay Borough Council, although it has not used this name since becoming a unitary authority. The council is unusual in that its executive function is controlled by a directly elected mayor of Torbay, currently Gordon Oliver.

Expenditure for the year 2018/19 is budgeted to be £112 million. Torbay is halting all non urgent expenditure due to a projected overspend of £2.8 million in 2018.[2]

Torbay Council
Whole council elected every four years
Arms of Torbay Council
Coat of arms
Torbay Council logo
Council logo
Founded1 April 1974
Preceded byTorbay Borough Council (of the County Borough of Torbay)
Leader of the Council
Steve Darling, Liberal Democrats
since May 2019
Chief executive
Steve Parrock
Seats36 councillors
Council political groups
     Conservative (15)
     Liberal Democrats (13)
     Independent (8)
Council committees
Joint committees
Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Panel
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority
Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership
Length of term
4 years
Council last election
May 2019
Council next election
May 2023
SALUS ET FELICITAS (Health and Happiness)
Meeting place
Town Hall at Torquay
Town Hall, Castle Circus, Torquay
Constitution, 30 July 2013


The council was formed by the Local Government Act 1972 as the Torbay District Council. It replaced the existing Torbay Borough Council that was the local authority of the County Borough of Torbay and had been created in 1968.[3] This earlier authority was the result of the amalgamation of Brixham Urban District Council, Paignton Urban District Council and Torquay Borough Council.

The current local authority was first elected in 1973, a year before formally coming into its powers and prior to the creation of the District of Torbay on 1 April 1974. The council gained borough status, entitling it to be known as Torbay Borough Council and to annually appoint a Mayor of Torbay.

It was envisaged through the Local Government Act 1972 that Torbay as a non-metropolitan district council would share power with the Devon County Council. This arrangement lasted until 1998 when the district council gained responsibility for services that had been provided within Torbay by the county council. Since gaining county council functions the council has gone by the name Torbay Council.[3]

On 14 July 2005 Torbay held a referendum to decide on the executive arrangements of the borough. The result was in favour of the mayor and cabinet model,[4] which is unusual in the English local government system. The first directly elected mayor of Torbay was elected on 20 October 2005.[5] The previously existing civic Mayor of Torbay role was renamed 'Chairman of the Council'.[6] Following a further referendum in 2016, the elected mayoralty was abolished in May 2019, and the council returned to the leader and cabinet system.

Powers and functions

The local authority derives its powers and functions from the Local Government Act 1972 and subsequent legislation. For the purposes of local government, Torbay is within a non-metropolitan area of England. As a unitary authority, Torbay Council has the powers and functions of both a non-metropolitan county and district council combined. In its capacity as a district council it is a billing authority collecting Council Tax and business rates, it processes local planning applications, it is responsible for housing, waste collection and environmental health. In its capacity as a county council it is a local education authority, responsible for social services, libraries and waste disposal.


The Torbay Health and Wellbeing Board is made up of representatives from Torbay Council and other local healthcare organisations.[7]

Joint committees

The police and fire services and the local enterprise partnership cover a wide area, with a number of constituent councils. Torbay Council appoints two members to the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority[8] and appoints one member to the Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Panel.[9] The mayor represents the council on the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership.


In February 2001 the council transferred its council housing stock of approximately 3,000 homes to Sanctuary Housing.[10]


Expenditure for the year 2018/2019 is budgeted to be £112 million, down from £127 million in 2013/14. 59% is funded by Council Tax (from 41% in 2013/14), 1% from grants (35% in 2013/14), 41% from business rates (22% in 2013/14 and nil from previous surplus (2% in 2013/14).[11][12][13]

Torbay Council is the billing authority for Council Tax, and collects a precepts on behalf of Brixham Town Council, the Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner and the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority.[14]

Political control


Councillors are elected from 15 wards. There are six 3-member wards and nine 2-member wards, giving at total of 36 councillors.[15]

The councillor allocations are Berry Head-with-Furzeham (3 councillors), Blatchcombe (3 councillors), Churston Ferrers-with-Galmpton (2 councillors), Clifton-with-Maidenway (2 councillors), Cockington-with-Chelston (3 councillors), Ellacombe (2 councillors), Goodrington-with-Roselands (2 councillors), Preston (3 councillors), Roundham-with-Hyde (2 councillors), St Marychurch (3 councillors), St. Mary's-with-Summercombe (2 councillors), Shiphay-with-The Willows (2 councillors), Tormohun (3 councillors), Watcombe (2 councillors) and Wellswood (2 councillors).

Following the 2019 election and subsequent defectionsthe composition of the council is as follows:

Party[16] Seats
Conservative 15
Liberal Democrat 13
Independent 8

Political control of the council has been held by the following parties:[17]

Party in control Years
Liberal Democrats 1997–2000
Conservative 2000–2003
Liberal Democrats 2003–2007
Conservative 2007 – 2015

Elected mayor

From October 2005 to May 2015 the executive mayor was elected separately. The post was abolished in a referendum held in May 2016, meaning that no future elections to the post will be held. The last incumbent was Gordon Oliver of the Conservative Party, who served until the role was replaced by a leader and cabinet system in May 2019.[18] Following the 2019 election, Liberal Democrats and Independents agreed to take control with a cabinet of four Liberal Democrats and three Independents.[19][20]


  1. ^ "Committee structure". Torbay Council. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  2. ^ Northamptonshire proposes replacing councils with two unitary authorities The Guardian
  3. ^ a b [1]
  4. ^ "Elected Mayor System of Governance" (PDF). Torbay Council. 21 July 2005. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  5. ^ "Result". Torbay Council. 21 October 2005. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  6. ^ A Review Of Members’ Allowances For Torbay Council (2005), Independent Remuneration Panel
  7. ^ [2]
  8. ^ "Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority".
  9. ^ Council, Torbay (17 June 2019). "Outside bodies - Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Panel".
  10. ^ Council, Torbay. "Housing".
  11. ^ "Budget Proposals 2018/19" (PDF). Torbay Council. January 2018. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 May 2018. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  12. ^ "Minutes of the Adjourned Council - 8 February 2018" (PDF). Torbay Council. 8 February 2018. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 May 2018. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  13. ^ "Financing of Expenditure - Summary 2013/14" (PDF). Torbay Council. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 March 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  14. ^ [3]
  15. ^ Council, Torbay (17 June 2019). "Your Councillors".
  16. ^ "Torbay Council". BBC News.
  17. ^ "Torbay". BBC News Online. Retrieved 11 September 2009.
  18. ^ "Torbay mayor and cabinet system scrapped". 8 May 2016 – via
  19. ^ Ayers, John (17 May 2019). "Lib Dems and Independents take control of council". BBC News Online. Archived from the original on 17 May 2019. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  20. ^ Henderson, Guy (17 May 2019). "Lib Dems and Independents sign 'new era' deal to run Torbay Council". Devon Live. Archived from the original on 17 May 2019. Retrieved 17 May 2019.

External links

2000 Torbay Council election

The 2000 Torbay Council election took place on 4 May 2000 to elect members of Torbay unitary authority in England. The whole council was up for election and the Conservative party gained overall control of the council from no overall control.

2011 Torbay Council election

Elections to Torbay Council took place on Thursday 5 May 2011. All 36 seats on the council were up for election. The previous election also produced a majority for the Conservative Party.

2015 Torbay Council election

The 2015 Torbay Council election took place on 7 May 2015 to elect members of Torbay Council in England. This was on the same day as other local elections, and the general election.

2019 Torbay Council election

The 2019 Torbay Council election took place on 2 May 2019 to elect members of Torbay Council in England. This was on the same day as other local elections, and the general election. The Conservatives lost the council to no overall control, winning 15 seats, compared with 13 Liberal Democrats and 8 Independents.

Brixham College

Brixham College is a mixed secondary school and sixth form located in Brixham in the English county of Devon.Previously a foundation school administered by Torbay Council, Brixham College was converted to academy status on 1 January 2012. However the school continues to coordinate with Torbay Council for admissions.

Brixham College offers GCSEs, BTECs and NVQs as programmes of study for pupils, while students in the sixth form have the option to study from a range of A-levels and OCR Nationals.

Edginswell railway station

Edginswell railway station is a proposed station in the Edginswell area of Torquay, Devon. The station would be located on the Riviera Line between Newton Abbot and Torre stations. Edginswell will be the location of employment and housing development and the new station will support this development. The station would also serve Torbay Hospital, The Willows retail park and the Torquay Gateway development area.

Plans for the station were approved by Torbay Council on the 27 November 2016 for the construction of a new railway station to include the following:

Two single sided station platforms, provision of a footbridge between platforms, elevated walkway and access ramps, cycle spaces, extended footpath along Riviera Way, lighting and CCTV, and platform furniture to include shelter and signage . The proposed development to which the application relates is situated within 10 metres of relevant railway land.Lack of funding has prevented any construction work.

English Riviera Geopark

The English Riviera Geopark (ERG) in Torbay is one of eight Geoparks in the United Kingdom, and one of over eighty worldwide. It is the only urban Geopark, and was declared a Geopark on 16 September 2007. The Geopark covers 6,200 hectares of land and 4,100 hectares of sea bed.Geopark status was granted to Torbay on the grounds that the area has a varied geology covering several geological periods, which are exposed to the surface in many areas, and also that Torbay Council and other bodies have worked to promote the area's distinctive geology to the community via education.

List of towns and cities in Devon by population

This list is of towns and cities in Devon in order of their population, according to the 2011 census data from the Office for National Statistics. It comprises the Key Statistics for local authorities, civil parishes and wards that attempt to show their populations. The largest settlement in Devon is the city and unitary authority of Plymouth with a population of 256,720, whereas the smallest settlement was the town and civil parish of Beer with a population of 1,317. The city of Exeter, which is home to Exeter Cathedral, is the county town and headquarters of Devon County Council. The ceremonial county of Devon includes unitary authority areas such as Plymouth and Torbay, but the non-metropolitan county of Devon excludes such unitary authority areas. It is governed by Devon County Council, whereas Plymouth and Torbay can govern themselves on matters such as transport and education.

Traditionally a town is any settlement which has received a charter of incorporation, more commonly known as a town charter, approved by the monarch. However, since 1974, any civil parish has the right to declare itself as a town. Prior to 1888, city status was given to settlements home to a cathedral of the Church of England such as Exeter. After 1888 it was no longer a necessary condition, leading to Plymouth gaining city-status in 1928. Historical towns such as Plympton, Stonehouse and Devonport, which were merged into the city of Plymouth, have not been included, as well as Topsham, which became a part of Exeter's urban district, and St Marychurch, which was annexed by Torquay. However, the unitary authority area of Torbay recognises the three towns of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham. The ward for Ottery St Mary is also included, as it is titled Ottery St Mary Town.

Changes to population structures have, however, led to explosions in non-traditional settlements that do not fall into traditional, bureaucratic definitions of 'towns'. Several villages, which are not included in this list, have grown steadily and are more populous than many towns. For example, the ward of Fremington, with a population of 4,310. would be ranked 34 whilst its neighbour Braunton civil parish, with a population of 8,128, would be ranked 21.

Mayor of Torbay

The Mayor of Torbay was an executive mayor of the borough of Torbay in Devon, England. The post was abolished in 2019, after a referendum held in May 2016 . The last holder of the post was Gordon Oliver.

Nicholas Bye

Nicholas David Bye is a Conservative local politician in England. Bye was born in Paignton, Devon and graduated from Oxford University. He was Liberal candidate for Torbay in the 1987 election.

Bye served on Torbay Council for five years and served a term as civic mayor in 2003-04.

In October 2005, he became the first directly elected mayor of Torbay. He beat Liberal Democrat Nicholas Pannell in the second round of counting with a total of 7,096 votes to Pannell's 5,197. After the election, Bye noted that "it is quite clear from canvassing that a lot of people did not want an elected mayor."Bye was the Conservative Party's third directly elected mayor, after Chris Morgan and Linda Arkley in North Tyneside and the first directly elected mayor in the South West. In 2008 fellow Conservative Boris Johnson was elected as the first Conservative mayor of London.

Bye was one of three contenders for the Totnes Conservative candidacy, after the announcement by Anthony Steen that he will not stand in the next election. He placed third in the Totnes primary, and defeated by Sarah Wollaston.

Bye was the subject of a complaint to Torbay Council's standards committee in August 2010, over the proposed development of a large housing estate on land currently being occupied by Churston Golf Club. This complaint relates to his interests in Eric Lloyd & Co Estate Agents, the only estate agency business with an office in Churston. In 2006 Bye registered the fact that he had a financial interest in the company, and council documents have also shown he is entitled to a profit related bonus from the company.

On 12 November 2010 Bye confirmed that he will be seeking to stand as Mayor of Torbay for a further 4 years however he was deselected by the Conservative Party in favour of former independent candidate, Gordon Oliver, and stood for re-election as an independent. He failed to secure re-election in May 2011, losing to his Conservative opponent Gordon Oliver.In December 2014 it was announced that Nicholas Bye has rejoined the Conservative Party and is standing for election to Torbay Council for the Wellswood ward in the upcoming 2015 local elections.

Oldway Mansion

Oldway Mansion is a large house and gardens in Paignton, Devon, England. It was built as a private residence for Isaac Singer (1811–1875), and rebuilt by his son Paris Singer in the style of the Palace of Versailles.


Paignton ( PAYN-tən) is a seaside town on the coast of Tor Bay in Devon, England. Together with Torquay and Brixham it forms the borough of Torbay which was created in 1998. The Torbay area is a holiday destination known as the English Riviera. Paignton's population in the United Kingdom Census of 2011 was 49,021. It has origins as a Celtic settlement and was first mentioned in 1086. It grew as a small fishing village and a new harbour was built in 1847. A railway line was opened to passengers in 1859 creating links to Torquay and London. As its population increased, it merged with the villages of Goodrington and Preston.

Paignton Community and Sports Academy

Paignton Community and Sports Academy (formerly Paignton Community College) is a secondary school and sixth form with academy status, located in South Devon, England. The College has over 1926 pupils on roll, including 285 sixth form students, the majority coming from the Paignton area.

The College welcomed its first non-selective intake into Year 7 in 1992 and first sixth form students in September 1995.

The school was designated as a specialist Sports College in September 2002 and was renamed Paignton Community and Sports College. Through achieving Specialist School Status the college was received extra funding.

As the school was bidding to become a Sports College, it was also invited to put in a bid for the School Sports Co-ordinator Project (SSCO) on behalf of Torbay. This bid was successful and the Partnership Development Manager works with the College and involves all primary, special and secondary schools in the Bay. In conjunction with Torbay Council using much of the work undertaken for the Sports College bid, an application was made to NOF (New Opportunities Fund) for additional sporting facilities. This bid was also successful and the College was only one of four schools to be successful in securing funding at that time. This has resulted in a much needed Sports Hall and Fitness Suite being built on the Borough Road site.

The school became an academy on 1 October 2012 and was renamed Paignton Community and Sports Academy. As an academy, the school was previously part of the Prospects Academies Trust. However, in May 2014 the trust folded. Paignton Community and Sports Academy is now part of the Bay Education Trust which it formed together with Curledge Street Academy and Kings Ash Academy. The school is currently running a competition among its pupils to design a new logo.

Palace Theatre, Paignton

The Palace Theatre is a theatre in Paignton, Devon, England. It was built in 1890 and is the oldest working theatre in Torbay. It has been owed and run by Torbay Council or its predecessor organisations since 1920. The theatre underwent a major refurbishment in 2005 and has a seating capacity of 380.

Princess Theatre (Torquay)

The Princess Theatre in Torquay, England is a 1,500 seat theatre that first opened its doors on Wednesday 7 June 1961. Top of the bill on opening night were Tommy Cooper and Morecambe & Wise.

The theatre is a touring house and shows a variety of productions including opera, ballet, concerts, wrestling, ice shows & West End musicals and a Christmas pantomime.

The theatre was built by Torbay Council as the main feature of the redevelopment of the Princess Gardens area on Torquay seafront. The theatre replaced a marquee which was erected annually to house light entertainment.

Theatres in seaside resorts are traditionally known for their annual Summer Season consisting of light entertainment and family variety shows and Torquay is no exception. In the past the Princess Theatre has seen artistes such as Jim Davidson, Jethro and Jimmy Cricket making regular appearances. However summer 2002 saw a change from the traditional line-up to a 6-week run consisting of two West End musicals Grease and Chicago. Summer 2003 saw a similar occurrence, featuring The Blues Brothers, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Boogie Nights, with musicals proving to be a popular choice for the local people of Torbay as well as the holidaymakers.

St Cuthbert Mayne School

St Cuthbert Mayne School is a coeducational secondary school and sixth form located in Torquay in the English county of Devon. The school is named after Saint Cuthbert Mayne, a Roman Catholic priest and martyr of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation.

It is a voluntary aided Roman Catholic and Church of England school administered by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Plymouth, the Church of England Diocese of Exeter and Torbay Council. The school admits pupils from all over Torbay.


Torbay is a borough in Devon, England, administered by the unitary authority of Torbay Council. It consists of 62.87 square kilometres (24.27 sq mi) of land, spanning the towns of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham, located around an east-facing natural harbour (Tor Bay) on the English Channel. A popular tourist destination with a tight conurbation of resort towns, Torbay's sandy beaches, mild climate and recreational and leisure attractions have given rise to the nickname of the English Riviera.

Torbay Council elections

Torbay is a unitary authority in Devon, England. Until 1 April 1998 it was a non-metropolitan district. Since 2005 it has also had a directly elected mayor.


Torquay ( tor-KEE) is a seaside town in Devon, England, part of the unitary authority area of Torbay. It lies 18 miles (29 km) south of the county town of Exeter and 28 miles (45 km) east-north-east of Plymouth, on the north of Tor Bay, adjoining the neighbouring town of Paignton on the west of the bay and across from the fishing port of Brixham.

The town's economy, like Brixham's, was initially based upon fishing and agriculture, but in the early 19th century it began to develop into a fashionable seaside resort, initially frequented by members of the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars while the Royal Navy anchored in the bay. Later, as the town's fame spread, it was popular with Victorian society. Renowned for its mild climate (for the U.K.), the town earned the nickname the English Riviera.

The writer Agatha Christie was born in the town and lived there during her early years and there is an "Agatha Christie Mile", a tour with plaques dedicated to her life and work.

Local elections
Local authorities in Devon
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