Torbay Council

Last updated

Torbay Council
Coat of arms of Torbay Borough Council.jpg
Coat of arms
Torbay Council logo.svg
Council logo
Founded1 April 1968
Mark Spacagna,
since 16 May 2023
David Thomas,
since 16 May 2023 [1]
Anne-Marie Bond
since 2021 [2]
Seats36 councillors
Political groups
Administration (17)
  Conservative (17)
Opposition (19)
  Liberal Democrats (15)
  Independent (2)
  Prosper Torbay (2)
Length of term
Whole council elected every four years
Last election
4 May 2023
Next election
6 May 2027
SALUS ET FELICITAS (Health and Happiness)
Meeting place
Town Hall, Castle Circus, Torquay, TQ1 3DR

Torbay Council is the local authority for Torbay, a unitary authority with borough status in the ceremonial county of Devon, England. The council is based in Torquay.


Following the 2023 election the Conservatives had a majority of the seats - however in October 2023 two Conservative members left the party to form a new group, Prosper Torbay. This leaves the Conservative group as a minority, though still in control of the council. [3] The leader of the council is David Thomas.


The council was created on 1 April 1968 to govern the county borough of Torbay, which replaced the abolished municipal borough of Torquay, urban districts of Brixham and Paignton and civil parish of Churston Ferrers. The council's formal title on creation in 1968 was the "mayor, aldermen and burgesses of the borough of Torbay", informally known as the corporation or borough council. As a county borough, the council provided all local government services for the area. [4]

Six years later local government was reorganised again, under the Local Government Act 1972. Torbay kept the same boundaries, but on 1 April 1974 it became a non-metropolitan district, with Devon County Council once more providing county-level services to the area. [5] Torbay retained borough status, allowing the council to take the name "Torbay Borough Council" and letting the chair of the council take the title of mayor, continuing Torbay's series of mayors which had started in 1968. [6] [7]

Torbay regained its independence from the county council in 1998 when it was made a unitary authority, since when it has styled itself "Torbay Council". [8] [7] Between 2005 and 2019 the council had a directly elected mayor. Since 2019 political leadership has instead been provided by a leader of the council. [9]


As a unitary authority, Torbay Council has the responsibilities of both a district council and county council combined. In its capacity as a district council it is a billing authority collecting Council Tax and business rates, and its responsibilities include town planning, housing, waste collection and environmental health. In its capacity as a county council it is a local education authority, and responsible for social services, libraries and waste disposal.

Torbay Council appoints two members to the Devon and Somerset Combined Fire Authority [10] and appoints one member to the Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Panel. [11] The Torbay Health and Wellbeing Board is made up of representatives from Torbay Council and other local healthcare organisations. [12]

Political control

The council has been under Conservative majority control since the 2023 election.

Political control of the council since the 1974 reforms has been as follows: [13] [14]

Non-metropolitan district

Party in controlYears
Conservative 1974–1990
No overall control 1990–1991
Liberal Democrats 1991–1998

Unitary authority

Party in controlYears
Liberal Democrats 1998–2000
Conservative 2000–2003
Liberal Democrats 2003–2007
Conservative 2007–2019
No overall control 2019–2023
Conservative 2023–present


Prior to 2005, political leadership was provided by the leader of the council. The leader from 2003 to 2005 was: [15]

Chris Harris Liberal Democrats 15 May 200323 Oct 2005

Between 2005 and 2019 the council had a directly elected mayor. The mayors were:

Nick Bye [16] Conservative 24 Oct 20058 May 2011
Gordon Oliver [17] Conservative 9 May 20115 May 2019

In 2019 the council reverted to having a leader instead of a directly elected mayor. The leaders since 2019 have been: [15]

Steve Darling Liberal Democrats 28 May 201916 May 2023
David Thomas Conservative 16 May 2023


Following the 2023 election the composition of the council was: [18]

Conservative 19
Liberal Democrats 15
Independent 2

The two independent councillors sit together as the "Independent Group". [19] The next election is due in 2027.


The council is based at Torquay Town Hall on Castle Circus, which had been completed in 1911 for the former Torquay Town Council. [20] [21]

On its creation in 1968 the council also inherited the former Paignton Urban District Council's headquarters at Oldway Mansion and the former Brixham Urban District Council's headquarters at Brixham Town Hall. Oldway Mansion was used as additional office space for the council until 2013. [22] Brixham Town Hall was transferred to Brixham Town Council in 2011. [23]


Torbay Council wards Torbay Council wards.svg
Torbay Council wards

Since the last boundary changes in 2019 the council has comprised 36 councillors representing 16 wards, with each ward electing one, two or three councillors. Elections are held every four years. [24]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Torquay</span> Town in Devon, England

Torquay 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Brixham</span> Town in Devon, England

Brixham is a coastal town and civil parish in the borough of Torbay in the county of Devon, in the south-west of England. As of the 2021 census, Brixham had a population of 16,825. It is one of the main three centres of the borough, along with Paignton and Torquay.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Torbay</span> Borough in Devon, England

Torbay is unitary authority with a borough status in the ceremonial county of Devon, England. It is governed by Torbay Council, based in the town of Torquay. The borough also includes the towns of Paignton and Brixham. The borough consists of 62.87 square kilometres (24.27 sq mi) of land around the east-facing Tor Bay, part of Lyme Bay on the English Channel. A popular tourist destination, Torbay's sandy beaches, mild climate and recreational and leisure attractions have given rise to its nickname of the "English Riviera".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Paignton</span> Seaside town in Devon, England

Paignton 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 1968. The Torbay area is a holiday destination known as the English Riviera. Paignton 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 is around 25 miles (40 km) north east of Plymouth and 20 miles (32 km) south of Exeter.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">South Hams</span> Local government district in Devon, England

South Hams is a local government district on the south coast of Devon, England. Its council is based in the town of Totnes, although the largest town is Ivybridge. The district also contains the towns of Dartmouth, Kingsbridge and Salcombe and numerous villages and surrounding rural areas.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Oldway Mansion</span> Mansion in Paignton England completed 1870s

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Torbay (UK Parliament constituency)</span> UK Parliament constituency

Torbay is a constituency in Devon represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2015 by Kevin Foster, a Conservative. He defeated Adrian Sanders of the Liberal Democrats, who had held the seat since 1997.

Torbay Council is the local authority for the unitary authority of Torbay in Devon, England. Until 1 April 1998 it was a non-metropolitan district. From 2005 to 2019 it had a directly elected mayor. The council is elected every four years.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Preston, Devon</span> Suburb of Paignton, England

Torquay was a county constituency in Devon, South West England, which returned one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Exeter City Council</span>

Exeter City Council is the local authority for Exeter, a non-metropolitan district with city status in Devon, England.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Churston Ferrers</span> Village in Devon, England

Churston Ferrers is an area and former civil parish, in the borough of Torbay, Devon, England, situated between the south coast towns of Paignton and Brixham. Today it is administered by local government as the Churston-with-Galmpton ward of the Torbay unitary authority. It contains the coastal village of Churston, the now larger village of Galmpton and the Broadsands area.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Devon County Council</span> British administrative authority

Devon County Council is the county council administering the English county of Devon. Based in the city of Exeter, the council covers the non-metropolitan county area of Devon. Members of the council (councillors) are elected every four years. Almost all councillors are members of the major national political parties.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Galmpton, Torbay</span> Village in Devon, England

Galmpton is a semi-rural village in Torbay, in the ceremonial county of Devon, England. It is located in the ward of Churston-with-Galmpton and the historic civil parish of Churston Ferrers, though some areas historically considered parts of Galmpton, such as Greenway and Galmpton Creek, are situated in the Devon borough of South Hams.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Plymouth City Council</span> Unitary local authority for Plymouth, Devon

Plymouth City Council is the local authority for Plymouth, a unitary authority with city status in the ceremonial county of Devon, England.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Torquay Town Hall</span> Municipal building in Torquay, Devon, England

Torquay Town Hall is a municipal building in Castle Circus in Torquay, Devon, England. The building, which is the meeting place of Torbay Council, is a Grade II listed building.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Old Town Hall, Torquay</span> Municipal building in Torquay, Devon, England

The Old Town Hall is a former municipal building in Union Street, Torquay, Devon, England. The building, which was the headquarters of Torquay Borough Council until 1911, is a Grade II listed building.


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  2. "Council formally confirms Anne-Marie Bond as new Chief Executive". Torbay Council. 1 April 2021. Retrieved 28 July 2022.
  3. "Councillors quit Tory party and form new group". BBC News. 26 October 2023. Retrieved 27 October 2023.
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  14. "Torbay". BBC News Online . Retrieved 11 September 2009.
  15. 1 2 "Council minutes". Torbay Council. Retrieved 28 July 2022.
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  19. "Your councillors". Torbay Council. Retrieved 15 August 2023.
  20. Historic England. "The Town Hall (1208247)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  21. "Contact us". Torbay Council. Retrieved 15 August 2023.
  22. Oldfield, Edward (28 January 2019). "Rescue plan drawn up to secure future of Oldway Mansion". Devon Live. Retrieved 15 August 2023.
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