Bidding authority: Torbay Council
Area within authority covered by bid: Paignton Town Centre
Bid Manager Name and position: Kevin Mowat, Interim Director of Place

Paignton town centre is on the critical list, suffering from a significant lack of investment. It is capable of recovery with transformational, targeted public and private sector investment. Failure to act now will mean that Paignton will fall further behind, add costs to the public purse (e.g. of care, crime and disadvantage) and will mean it will become a drag-anchor on economic growth.

Transformational Future High Streets Funding of £15.1m, £24.5m co-funding and successful delivery will celebrate Paignton’s USP, improve experience, attract investment and catalyse the sustainable renewal and regeneration of Paignton town centre as a place where people want to be, as recommended in the Grimsey Review and the Government’s High Street Report.

Picture Paignton - past

Paignton has evolved, largely as a result of philanthropy, private investment and good design, from a rural community of the C18th, latterly to a tourist destination, as part of the renowned English Riviera. Paignton has experienced significant decline in recent years which, coupled with a lack of major investment, has led to significant challenges for the community.

Picture Paignton - now

Paignton, like other coastal resorts in England, needs help, as shown by the following headlines:

  • It has the lowest GVA per head in England;
  • It is considered the worst place in Devon to bring up a family;
  • Average gross weekly pay was £355.30 in 2018; 77.2% of the national average;
  • In Paignton Town Centre there has been a 43.6% increase in crime over the last 10 years;
  • More than 53% of the population of Paignton is over 44 – significantly above the regional (47.9%); and national (43.4%) averages; 1 in 4 residents are 65 or over;
  • Conversely, just 25.4% of people are aged between 20 and 44, more than 7% below the national average;
  • Paignton is in the top 10% most health deprived communities in England;
  • It has serious levels of deprivation and inequality, ranking lowest in the SW;
  • The number of people shopping in Paignton town centre has declined by 23% in 5 years;

These factors limit Paignton’s ability to fulfil its rich potential.

Paignton’s potential

Paignton town centre has the enviable ingredients, and its people have a passion, for recovery:

  • A population growth of 10%;
  • 1.78m visitors p.a., spending £142.7m; around 18,000 foreign language students p.a.;
  • It is the historic and cultural heart of Torbay, with great architecture and events;
  • All transport services, including a direct train to London, right in the town centre;
  • A flat, walkable town centre – with easy access to the beach, harbour, old town;
  • Key opportunity sites within the town centre;
  • A fantastic natural environment – the world’s only urban geopark, designated by UNESCO;
  • 76% independent retailers, every one of which is a reason to come to Paignton.

Picture Paignton - the future

We already have a strategy for the transformation of Paignton town centre. It has huge support from the community and other partners. We are leading on delivery and have committed significant resources to it, but are held back by a lack of market interest. We need transformational funding and delivery at pace to help Paignton fulfil its potential.

Our transformation strategy for Paignton Town Centre covers the town centre, seafront and harbour. The EoI is focused on a more defined area, where investment is most needed:

  • Core area: improving the vibrancy and experience of the core area of Torbay Road, Victoria St, Paignton Station Square as the town’s focal point.
  • Key opportunities: where delivery is essential to drive growth that complements the core area and wider town centre transformation.

We have five quick win ‘shovel ready’ schemes, where delivery will underline USP, improve experience, catalyse regeneration activity and lever in co-funding.

  1. Public realm improvements to Paignton Station Square;
  2. Improvements to Paignton Railway Station;
  3. Delivery of Phase 1 redevelopment of the Victoria Centre, delivering 100 new homes at pace.
  4. Digital marketing training for independent retailers to support place and product marketing;
  5. Paignton Picture House, to repair the frontage open up the building for greater use.

For the Core area of Torbay Road and Victoria Street we need transformational investment in:

  1. Public realm: to improve experience of the town, celebrate its history and improve connectivity;
  2. Ground floor: provide flexibility and diversity of use; improve footfall and spend;
  3. Upper floors: incentivise re-use of vacant or under-used space for residential use.

This will result in:

  1. More people living in the town centre, adding to vitality and vibrancy;
  2. Greater diversity of commercial space, to provide a better town centre offer;
  3. Improvement to building frontages, such as the canopies along Torbay Road.
  4. Torbay Road will be improved, as a shared, heathier street, with space for events and markets
  5. Public space improvements at the western end of Victoria Street, better connecting the town.

Investment will open up key opportunities to drive growth:

  1. Comprehensive redevelopment of Victoria Centre, for a mix of uses;
  2. Paignton Picture House brought back into full use, as cinema, cultural and community hub;
  3. A new health and wellbeing hub delivered alongside Paignton Library.
  4. The acquisition / redevelopment of Crossways for mixed or residential use.
  5. Food and Drink / Leisure opportunities along Torbay Road.
  6. An enhanced and part redeveloped bus station, adding commercial (B1 / A2) space.

Our Future High Streets Funding requirement for the Expression of Interest for Paignton town centre amounts to a total £606,420 of revenue and an estimated £14.495m of capital. We have also indicated a need for a further £2.54m from the Heritage High Street Fund / other sources. We estimate this will result in at least £24.575m direct and indirect co-funding.

The return on Future High Streets investment:

Transformative Future High Streets investment, and associated co-funding, will deliver around 800 homes; around 800 jobs; reduced crime levels; higher productivity and skills levels; improved health and reduced care costs; less benefit dependency, inequality and disadvantage; better connectivity and reduced severance within the town; a more balanced demographic; increased business rates and Council Tax; greater resilience to change; more business start-ups, business success and young entrepreneurs; an improved cultural and tourism offer.