Torbay seeks to be more coach friendly

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Authorities are looking to capitalise on rising trend of “staycations” and coach holidays.

Torbay District Council is planning to improve its coach facilities. This will include increasing the number of coach drop off and pick up points, allowing coaches to use the Shedden Hill Road car park close to Torquay sea front and improving the access to hotels’ onsite coach parking areas. It is also looking at ways of opening up Cockington village to coach parties.

Alan Payling of the Coach Drivers Information Pack said: “This is great news for anyone with an interest in the coach trade in Torbay and the surrounding area. It sends out a very clear message that Torbay is coach friendly, we welcome the coach trade and we will do everything we can within limited budgets to make life easy for coach operators. The council wants to provide better facilities for the coach trade.”

He added: “Importantly, Torbay Council wants to hear from operators who visit Torquay, Paignton and Brixham. They are looking for suggestions to improve the existing drop off and pick up facilities. If any operator has any ideas, please let us know.”

The decision to improve Torbay’s coach facilities came after the chairman of the Transport Working Party, Councillor Ray Hill, wrote a report on the issue.

He outlined the current problems in the area and proposed recommendations, many of which the council has taken on board.

Cllr Hill pointed out Torbay is in prime position to cater for the rising trend of “staycations” taken by “cash-strapped middle-class British families.”

Cllr Hill said that in order for the area to up its game, it must “Place the encouragement of the basic coach trade at the heart of its tourism strategy for continuing allyear- round income for the resort during the approaching years of a possible double-dip recession, and build on the exisiting facilities.”

Derek Smith, owner of the popular Marine Hotel on Paignton seafront said: “The provision of easier access to the area for the coaches must be a priority. Cllr Hill’s report will give coach operators lovely places to drop passengers off within the Bay. We must give the facilities they deserve and make a point of making them welcome. Of course, if a coach is in Torbay running a trip to one or other of our three beautiful towns – Torquay, Paignton or Brixham – it will be at mininum cost.

“We all need to cut costs, so what better way to help coach operators than to say; “Stay in the Bay”. If Cockington could be opened up to coaches, there would be another terrific destination on our doorstep and the village would really be put on the map.”

Cockington currently has a ban on PSVs running through the village, which inevitably puts off coach operators because of the restricted access.

Email cllr Hill at [email protected] with suggestions for new drop off points or details of any hotels in Torquay & Paignton where there are difficulties with access. To contact Alan Payling with suggestions for new drop off points call 01803 325369 or email [email protected]