Accessibility Skip to main content

National lockdown: Stay at Home

You must stay at home. The single most important action we can all take is to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.

To find out the latest information and advice about coronavirus in Torbay see our coronavirus section.

Back to Public health

Service changes

Information on the changes we have made to services due to coronavirus (COVID-19)

We’re working hard to maintain as many services as we can for as long as we can. Some services may need to change in the light of government advice or staff shortages. Please check this section from time to time for the latest updates.

  • Bins and recycling

    • Recycling centre

      Last updated on 5 January 2021

      Please note that unlike in the previous full lockdown, the Recycling Centre in Tor Park Road, Paignton will remain open to residents for essential visits, but you must continue to book your slot in advance via recycling centre page. Please note there is now a charge for certain items at the Recycling Centre.

      The weighbridge also remains open.

    • Household waste and recycling collections

      Last updated on 5 January 2021

      Waste and recycling collections will continue as normal. Some residents may not have yet had their Christmas and New Year waste and recycling collections – please note due to the large volume of materials following the festive period, crews are still catching up, so please, continue to leave your waste and recycling outside your home for collection and they will be collected as soon as possible.

  • Births, deaths and marriages

    • Births

      Last updated on 6 January 2021

      During this latest lockdown period you will still be able to register a birth.

      Where possible (if married), only one parent is to attend the birth registration appointment and no other children are permitted to attend. You will be required to wash your hands or use the hand sanitiser provided on entering the building and at all times will need to follow the guidance of the registrar.

      Appointment times will be lengthened to avoid people gathering in the reception area. Please only attend the office at the time you are given, in some cases you may be asked to wait outside of the building until the time of your appointment.

      It is still possible to make a claim for child benefit or universal credit before the birth has been registered. You will need to contact HMRC directly to make a claim, details can be found on GOV.UK.

    • Citizenship ceremonies

      Last updated on 6 January 2021

      If you have received a letter from the Home Office about your Citizenship ceremony please call 01803 207130.

    • Deaths

      Last updated on 6 January 2021

      Death registrations will now be conducted by telephone and appointments can be booked online. Please do not call to book an appointment if possible.

    • Marriage and civil partnership ceremonies

      Last updated on 6 January 2021

      All Marriages and Civil Partnerships are suspended until the end of the lockdown period. There is a provision to allow ceremonies to take place in exceptional circumstances, for example where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover, or is to undergo debilitating treatment or life-changing surgery.

      If your ceremony was booked during this period you will be contacted

      Please note, if you would like to book a ceremony the registrars are currently only taking bookings from 1 April 2021 onwards.

    • Give notice of marriage or civil partnership

      Last updated on 6 January 2021

      Our Registration Service resumed their face-to-face service for Notices of Marriage and Civil Partnership.

      A number of safety precautions have been put in place to protect customers and staff.

      Appointment times will be lengthened to avoid people gathering in the reception area. Please only attend the office at the time you are given. In some cases, you may be asked to wait outside of the building until the time of your appointment.

  • Business rates

    • Business rates grant and relief changes

      Last updated on 6 January 2021

      For information on the business rates grant or relief changes due to coronavirus please visit the financial support for businesses page.

    • Debts with enforcement agents

      Last updated on 6 November 2020

      Enforcement agents have been advised by CIVEA (Civil Enforcement Association), that they can continue to make doorstep visits subject to strict adherence to the CIVEA and Ministry of Justice protocols during this second national lockdown period. To date, throughout the pandemic we have chosen not to resume doorstep visits, however, these visits will resume in the future.

      Customers that are contacted by Rossendales with outstanding debts are encouraged to respond promptly. There will be a customer care team and welfare support team available should there be any issues identified to have been caused by COVID-19. This will enable an affordable payment plan, which could, in turn, offer breathing space and payment plans over longer terms.

      Customers will still be able to make payments through 24/7 self-serve options, including online payments via Rossendales web site, automated payment telephony lines and online bank transfers. Please do not make any payments directly to Torbay Council if your debt is with the enforcement agents.

      We would like to advise customers to explore all financial support options that are available to them, ensuring that their financial circumstances do not worsen more than necessary if affected by issues related to COVID-19.

    • Outstanding debts

      Last updated on 6 November 2020

      If your business has outstanding debts with us that have already been referred to enforcement agents for recovery, these debts are still recoverable and will remain with the enforcement agents. Enforcement agents have been advised by CIVEA (Civil Enforcement Association), that they can continue to make doorstep visits subject to strict adherence to the CIVEA and Ministry of Justice protocols during this second national lockdown period.  To date throughout the pandemic we have chosen not to resume doorstep visits, however, these visits will resume in the future.

    • Payment of grants

      Last updated on 24 April 2020

      Businesses that have registered for the grant will have received a confirmation email of their application. After review, you will receive an email confirming the outcome:

      • Approved – Sit tight, your grant is on its way via BACS payment
      • Further information required – Please follow the instructions in the email
      • Refused – Business does not meet the Governments eligibility requirements.

      If you have applied and not received a second email within 10 days of submitting your form please email financial.services@torbay.gov.uk stating your business rates account number and business name.

  • Complaints and compliments

    • Dealing with complaints

      Last updated on 5 January 2021

      Due to our pandemic response requirements, including the need to redeploy staff across the organisation, we are advising that there may be delays in the handling of complaints. This includes any complaints that are currently outstanding and any new complaints raised. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

  • Council tax

    • Financial support

      Last updated on 6 November 2020

      If you are concerned about your financial situation and your ability to maintain your Council Tax payments due to coronavirus there is help available. Visit the financial support for individuals page for more information.

    • Debts with enforcement agents

      Last updated on 6 November 2020

      Enforcement agents have been advised by CIVEA (Civil Enforcement Association), that they can continue to make doorstep visits subject to strict adherence to the CIVEA and Ministry of Justice protocols during this second national lockdown period. To date, throughout the pandemic we have chosen not to resume doorstep visits, however, these visits will resume in the future.

      Customers that are contacted by Rossendales with outstanding debts are encouraged to respond promptly. There will be a customer care team and welfare support team available should there be any issues identified to have been caused by COVID-19. This will enable an affordable payment plan, which could, in turn, offer breathing space and payment plans over longer terms.

      Customers will still be able to make payments through 24/7 self-serve options, including online payments via Rossendales web site, automated payment telephony lines and online bank transfers. Please do not make any payments directly to Torbay Council if your debt is with the enforcement agents.

      We would like to advise customers to explore all financial support options that are available to them, ensuring that their financial circumstances do not worsen more than necessary if affected by issues related to COVID-19.

  • Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP)

    • DHP Applications

      Last updated on 5 January 2021

      Due to coronavirus, we have seen a large increase in applications. It may take a bit longer than normal to process your application. As soon as your application has been looked at we will contact you if we need further information or to notify you of the decision. We will deal with all applications as soon as possible.

  • Fostering

    • We’re still recruiting foster carers

      Last updated on 6 January 2021

      Foster carers are still needed in Torbay despite the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, and our Fostering team is still available both online and on the phone, although they had to make some temporary changes to the way the service is run. 

      So whether you’re thinking about becoming a foster carer, or you’re a foster carer that needs to speak to the team, please get in touch with us – call 01803 207845 or email fostering@torbay.gov.uk​.

  • Harbours

    • Harbour offices

      Last updated on 5 January 2021

      During the current covid restrictions all of our harbour offices will be closed to the public until further notice. However, staff can be contacted using the details on the Harbours contact page and operational staff will be on site. Visit their coronavirus update page for more details.

    • Harbour users

      Last updated on 5 January 2021

      We have received further guidance from the Department for Transport highlighting how the lockdown restrictions affect the marine industry:

      • All non-essential public and private travel will be stopped, which by inference includes boats.
      • Access to vessels for overnight stays etc is not permitted.
  • Houses in multiple occupation

    • Licensing of HMO's

      Last updated on 11 January 2021

      Your health and safety is important to us and that is why we are making some changes to our processes for the licensing of HMO's to help reduce the risk of transmission of the coronavirus.

      If you are applying for an HMO licence we will only be receiving applications online. If you are unable to provide the supporting documents due to contractors being unable to undertake certification checks such as fire safety and gas safety then you will still be able to submit your application without these documents.

      During the time your application is being processed but incomplete (due to the absence of supporting documents) and not yet licensed no legal action will be taken by us providing an application has been made.

      Visits to licensed HMO’s will be restricted during this time, particularly where tenants are self-isolating.

      Your application will be put on hold until the required documents are received.

      Annual certificates will still be requested at this time however if you are unable to provide them due to the unavailability of contractors then please let us know.

    • Applications by tenants for a Rent Repayment Order

      Last updated on 11 January 2021

      Tenants are still able to apply to the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) for Rent Repayment Orders however you will need to seek guidance directly from the Tribunal on their working guidelines at this time.

  • How the council works

    • Cabinet and committee meetings - democratic continuity

      Last updated on 5 January 2021

      In light of the Government’s guidance on social distancing, we are undertaking all public meetings remotely via Zoom until further notice. Joining instructions for our public meetings will be published on the agenda for the meeting to enable public access.

  • Information and data

    • FOI and EIR requests

      Last updated on 5 January 2021

      Due to pandemic response requirements, including the need to redeploy staff across the organisation, customers are advised that there may be delays in handling requests for information made under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act or Environmental Information Regulations (EIR). We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

    • Subject access requests

      Last updated on 5 January 2021

      Due to pandemic response requirements and high demand for these requests, customers are advised that there are currently significant delays in the processing of subject access requests. Further delays can be expected. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

  • Libraries

    • Library closures

      Last updated on 15 January 2021

      Libraries Unlimited has taken the decision to close all libraries services in Torbay until further notice.

      They have reviewed local information and will resume lifeline library services to support the health and wellbeing of our communities from Monday 18 January.

      For more information on the reopening of libraries and service changes visit the Libraries Unlimited website.

      All current loans will automatically be renewed for you so no fines will be incurred.

      Paignton Library has an out-of-hours book drop if you need to return any books urgently.

  • Licensing and permits

    • Planning rules to allow pubs and restaurants to operate as takeaways

      Last updated on 5 January 2021

      As part of the measures the government is introducing to help the hospitality industry during the coronavirus outbreak, the Communities Secretary has confirmed that planning regulations will temporarily be relaxed to allow all pubs and restaurants to operate as takeaways of hot food and drinks to serve people staying at home.

      Currently, a planning application for change of use class is required to convert pubs and restaurants to hot food takeaways. Under the emergency measures, the government will allow a temporary change of use without an application. This time limited permitted development right will last for 12 months.

      The government will introduce the measures as soon as possible through secondary legislation. 

      Operators are reminded however that the sale of hot food and hot drink between 11pm and 5am will still require authorisation for late night refreshment under licensing law. 

      Furthermore, the measures only relate to takeaways of hot food and non-alcoholic drinks. Premises licence holders should check their licence conditions and ensure that they are permitted to sell off sales of alcohol before offering takeaways or deliveries of alcohol. 

      Further details can be obtained from the GOV.UK website.

    • Pavement café permits

      Last updated on 5 January 2021

      It has been agreed that those businesses that paid their Pavement Cafe Permit annual fees for 2020/21, will get a free year next year and will not be invoiced for 2021/22. Meanwhile those businesses who had not paid during 2020/21 have had their invoices cancelled but will be invoiced for 2021/22.

      The new Business and Planning Act 2020 also allows an easier route to apply for the use of Highway land for Pavement Cafe Permits.

    • New licensed driver applications

      Last updated on 5 January 2021

      Please be aware that due to the current Covid-19 restrictions, there may be a delay if you make, or, have made an application.

      Where possible please avoid/delay making an application as you will be charged for a refund if you do not wish to proceed with your application.

  • Parking

    • Car parks and on street pay and display bays

      Last updated on 12 January 2021

      Anyone using our car parks, or an on street pay and display bay, is asked to adhere to social distancing guidelines and to ensure they use hand sanitiser before and after using the parking machine to minimise their risk of catching and spreading the virus.

      Customers are reminded that parking charges both on and off street are in operation at all times. Enforcement of on and off street restrictions continues as normal, which includes yellow lines, resident permit zones, loading and unloading, disabled parking bays and pay and display bays both on street and in car parks. Motorists should make sure they are aware of the restrictions where they are parking in order to avoid receiving a penalty charge notice.

      If anyone wishes to avoid the use of coins or contact with a pay and display machine, the RingGo app may be used which allows ‘hands free’ payments to be made. Further details on this payment method can be found on the information boards next to the ticket machines in the car parks, or on the sides of the machines at on street pay and display bays.

      Closures

  • Parks, play and open spaces

    • Grass cutting

      Last updated on 6 November 2020

      All highway verges, and parks and open spaces are now programmed to be cut at their normal frequency. However, in order to comply with guidance from Public Health England and the control measures arising from the necessary risk assessments, these rounds may take longer.

    • Park waste and dog bins

      Last updated on 6 November 2020

      Parks and open spaces, including play parks will remain open so that exercise and socially distanced recreation can take place. As usage may be busy in these areas, please socially distance at all times and remember to only visit in your household bubble or with only one other person from outside of your household. Please be mindful that in light of this we are asking residents and visitors to be responsible and take their litter home with them. Routine park inspections are being carried out.

    • Playgrounds

      Last updated on 6 November 2020

      Playgrounds are open but outdoor gyms are closed. If you use a playground remember to social distance and bear in mind that you may not be able to use it if other people are already there.

  • Planning and building control

    • Building control

      Last updated on 6 January 2021

      Applications submitted electronically continue to be processed, as with new planning applications, hard copy applications and documents are not being accepted until further notice. The plan vetting of applications continues with decisions being made electronically.

      Site inspections will continue to be carried out where this can be done safely. If not, alternative methods for inspection may be adopted for checking compliance. Please ensure you continue to contact building control at commencement and when all other appropriate inspection stages have been reached. This should help to ensure that the construction of building works can continue to be assessed.

      Building control can be contacted on building.control@torbay.gov.uk or by phoning 01803 208095.

    • Consulting on planning applications

      Last updated on 6 November 2020

      Our adopted Statement of Community Involvement, (updated in March 2018) sets out the requirements for consulting on planning applications. This specifies that for householder applications, and applications for minor alterations in flats which are not in a Conservation Area, these applications will be publicised by neighbour notification letter only, with no site notice being placed at the site.

      We have been implementing this practice since March 2020 and continue to do so.

      For other application types requiring site notices and/or newspaper adverts these will be displayed in the usual way.

    • Current planning applications

      Last updated on 6 November 2020

      We will continue to process and determine current applications. Site visits will only take place where necessary and where officers do not have to enter occupied buildings. If officers require access into a site, such as a back garden, an appointment will be made via the agent or applicant.

      Officers may request photographs to be submitted to help in the assessment of some applications.

      Face to face site meetings will only take place where they are essential and only if they can take place whilst observing social distancing and the use of face coverings. Instead, Officers will make use of media such as email, Zoom or telephone where direct contact is helpful.

    • New planning applications

      Last updated on 6 November 2020

      Hard copy application may be submitted by post but not in person. As there are limited staff on-site to deal with post hard copy applications may experience a delay in being registered. 

      We are continuing to register and validate applications which are submitted electronically in the appropriate format.

      At present the planning team have no staff shortages due to COVID-19, however, this may change and could impact on performance.

    • Land charges

      Last updated on 6 November 2020

      Our Land Charge service will be continuing as normal. This will enable property searches in the pipeline and received since lockdown to be fully completed and to help assist with the completion of property transactions.

    • Planning Committees

      Last updated on 6 November 2020

      The majority of planning decisions are made by officers under delegated powers. Some applications however are decided by the Planning Committee on a monthly basis.

      Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, Planning Committees takes place on-line via Zoom. The public can take part in these meetings using the Zoom link, there is also a dial-in phone option.

      Information on how to join these meetings are available on the agendas

  • Public toilets

    • Public toilets

      Last updated on 11 January 2021

      Additional cleaning regimes and frequencies are in place in open facilities and users will be asked to adhere to the guidance on display with regards to social distancing and hygiene, both before and after using the facilities.

      Please also note that we are now operating our winter opening hours for public toilets and some of these are being developed too. Take a look at the list to check which toilets are open and what their opening hours are.

      In line with National trends and recommendations, we have moved many (but not all) of our public toilets to pay on entry systems (30p). To reduce the contact time many of the facilities are now use contactless payment systems only with no other alternative to use coins.

  • School admissions

    • School admissions appeals

      Last updated on 6 November 2020

      During the coronavirus pandemic, Government guidance is clear that school admissions appeals must go ahead. Please be aware that the consideration of appeals may be delayed but they will go ahead in some form.

    • School place applications

      Last updated on 6 November 2020

      Due to Coronavirus restrictions, we are currently unable to process paper forms posted to our offices. Please download any application you need to make, complete electronically and send to us by email to pupil.services@torbay.gov.uk. If you find it difficult to contact us by phone, please send an email with your queries and we will do our best to reply promptly.

      Please note, the process for applying for a Secondary School place has now closed. If you have not yet applied see the admissions pages.

      The process for applying for a Primary School place opened on the 1 November and will close on the 15 January 2021. You can apply online.

  • School transport

    • School transport applications

      Last updated on 11 January 2021

      If you need to make an application for school transport because your child is a new starter or is transitioning between schools, you are required to submit a transport application form. Please download any application you need to make, complete it electronically and send it to us by email to cstransport@torbay.gov.uk.

      Please notify the Transport Service immediately if your circumstances have changed, e.g. a change of address. The transport team will need to reassess eligibility for any changes. If your child receives transport on mobility/medical grounds, we will still require updated medical information. You can notify us of any changes by emailing cstransport@torbay.gov.uk or telephone the Transport Service helpline on 01803 207688.

  • Torre Abbey

    • Closed

      Last updated on 5 January 2021

      Torre Abbey is currently closed. We look forward to welcoming you back in the near future. For the latest news and updates see our social media channels or visit www.torre-abbey.org.uk.

Contact Public Health