Borough of Torbay
Status: Unitary, Borough
Region: South West England
Ceremonial County: Devon
- Total
Ranked 260th
62.88 km²
Admin. HQ: Torquay
ONS code: 00HH
- Total (2010 est.)
- Density
Ranked 149th
2135 / km²
Ethnicity: 98.8% White

Torbay Borough Council
Leadership: Mayor & Cabinet
Elected Mayor: Gordon Oliver (Con)
Executive: Conservative
MPs: Adrian Sanders (LD)

Sarah Wollaston (Con)

Torbay (play /tɔrˈb/) is an east-facing bay and natural harbour, at the western most end of Lyme Bay in the south-west of England, situated roughly midway between the cities of Exeter and Plymouth. Part of the ceremonial county of Devon, Torbay was made a unitary authority on 1 April 1998. Tourist authorities call it the English Riviera on account of its beaches and mild climate; it is a popular area with holiday makers.



The administrative area of Torbay was created in 1968 as a Borough, from the amalgamation of the Boroughs of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham. Historically part of the county of Devon, Torbay was made a unitary authority on 1 April 1998 making it responsible for its own affairs. For local elections the district is divided into 15 wards:

  • 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)
  • Wellswood (2 councillors)

Torbay Council is headed by the first directly elected mayor in the South West region. Conservative candidate Nicholas Bye became the first mayor elected under this system in October 2005, under an electoral system which was later described as "a total failure" with Bye receiving votes from fewer than 7% of the electorate.[1] 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 the general apathy towards the concept displayed during the election, stating: "it is quite clear from canvassing that a lot of people did not want an elected mayor." The most recent mayoral election took place on 5 May 2011, in which Bye lost to Gordon Oliver.

The Council elects 36 councillors in elections held every four years. The current council has a Conservative majority with the most recent election took place on 5 May 2011. The current composition (as of June 24 2011) is:

Party[2] Seats
Conservative 21
Liberal Democrat 10[3]
Independent 3
Labour 1

The area is represented nationally at the House of Commons by two MPs. Torquay (along with part of Paignton) is in the Torbay parliamentary constituency which was created in 1974 and has been held by Adrian Sanders of the Liberal Democrats since 1997. Brixham and part of Paignton fall within the Totnes constituency, with Conservative Sarah Wollaston elected. Torbay is in the South West England constituency of the European Parliament, together with the rest of South West England and Gibraltar.


There are three main towns around the bay: Torquay in the north, Paignton in the centre, and Brixham in the south, which have become connected over the years, swallowing up villages and towns such as St Marychurch, Cockington, Marldon, Churston Ferrers and Galmpton.

The County Borough of Torbay was created in 1968 by the amalgamation of the Municipal Borough of Torquay, Urban District of Paignton and Urban District of Brixham, also taking in parts of the civil parishes of Coffinswell and Kerswells from Newton Abbot Rural District and Churston Ferrers and Marldon from Totnes Rural District. The County Borough became the Borough of Torbay under local government reorganisation in 1974. In October 2005 Torbay became the first area of the South West to have an elected Mayor with Nick Bye being the successful candidate.

The southern limit of Torbay is Berry Head, and the northern limit is Hopes Nose, although Torquay itself stretches further north into Babbacombe Bay, where the beaches at Oddicombe and Babbacombe can be found; these are noted for their interesting Breccia cliffs.

Torbay is bordered by the South Hams to the south and west, and by Teignbridge to the north. Nearby towns include Totnes and Dartmouth in the South Hams Newton Abbot and Teignmouth in Teignbridge.

Because of the mild climate, Torbay palm trees are a common sight along the coast. However, this 'palm' is in fact a cabbage tree (Cordyline australis), originating from New Zealand. These trees flourish elsewhere in the UK. It is suggested that the popularity of cabbage trees in Torbay is attributable to their first being introduced to the UK in that region.

The area has a large number of European students learning English.

The fishing port of Brixham is home to one of England and Wales's most successful fishing fleets and regularly lands more value than any UK port outside of Scotland. It is also a base for Her Majesty's Coastguard and the Torbay Lifeboat Station.

Torbay's many geological features have led to the establishment of the English Riviera Geopark, one of 53 geoparks worldwide; as of July 2008, this is the sole urban geopark.[4]


Torbay has three stations on the National Rail network:

These stations are now operated by First Great Western, as are most of the journeys that operates through them since Wessex Trains was taken over by the company in 2006.

Torbay lacks direct motorway links and is served by the A380 road from Exeter. This road route into Torbay from Newton Abbot is congested in summer and during commuter hours. There were plans to remedy the situation though no clear alternative have been found as the road passes by areas of outstanding natural beauty.[5] A bypass had been planned since as early as the 1930s and has come close on a few occasions to being built, however the latest plan was halted in autumn 2008[6] In October 2010 the proposed Kingskerswell bypass was scrapped permanently due to government spending cuts. Alternative schemes such as traffic calming, possible road pricing and alterations to the existing A380 road will be implemented instead of a bypass.

The bus franchise is largely operated by Stagecoach South West of the similarly named group, that operates a large share of the market in Torbay and the neighbouring towns of South Devon. open top buses are operated by Stagecoach and other companies in the summer.

Notable people

Famous former residents of Torbay include authors Agatha Christie (who set many of her novels in a thinly disguised version of the borough), Charles Kingsley, Edmund Gosse and Rudyard Kipling. Peter Cook, comic, (half of a famous comedy team with Dudley Moore); the great industrialist and architect of the nearby Atmospheric railway, Isambard Kingdom Brunel; Prog-rock band Wishbone Ash, supermodel Lily Cole comedian Jim Davidson and astrologer Russell Grant also originate from the area.

Tennis player/TV presenter Sue Barker – Born Paignton April 1956.

World War II Scottish piper Bill Millin died in Torbay at the age of 88 on 17 August 2010.

Twin towns

Torbay is twinned with Hameln in Lower Saxony, Germany (since 1973), and Hellevoetsluis in the Netherlands (since 1989).


Torbay hosted the sailing events for the 1948 Summer Olympics in London.[7]


External links

Coordinates: 50°27′08″N 3°33′25″W / 50.45226°N 3.55682°W / 50.45226; -3.55682

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Torbay —   [ tɔːbeɪ], Stadt in der County Devon, Südwestengland, erstreckt sich um die Tor Bay des Ärmelkanals, 102 600 Einwohner; Britisches Fischereimuseum (in Brixham), naturhistorisches Museum (in Torquay); Seebad mit ganzjährigem Fremdenverkehr… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Torbay — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Torbay (homonymie). Borough of Torbay Statut Autorité unitaire …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Torbay — Borough of Torbay Basisdaten Status Unitary Authority, Borough Region …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Torbay — /tawr bay , bay /, n. a borough in S Devonshire, in SW England: seaside resort. 109,800. * * * ▪ unitary authority, England, United Kingdom       unitary authority, geographic and historic county of Devon, southwestern England, on the English… …   Universalium

  • Torbay — Original name in latin Torbay Name in other language State code CA Continent/City America/St Johns longitude 47.66659 latitude 52.73135 altitude 69 Population 3097 Date 2006 01 22 …   Cities with a population over 1000 database

  • Torbay — Sp Tòrbėjus Ap Torbay L Anglijos mst. ir unitarinė taryba, Jungtinė Karalystė …   Pasaulio vietovardžiai. Internetinė duomenų bazė

  • Torbay — Sp Tòrbėjus Ap Torbay L Anglijos mst. ir unitarinė taryba, Jungtinė Karalystė, D. Britanija …   Pasaulio vietovardžiai. Internetinė duomenų bazė

  • Torbay — Sp Tòrbėjus Ap Torbay L Anglijos mst. ir unitarinė taryba, D. Britanija …   Pasaulio vietovardžiai. Internetinė duomenų bazė

  • Torbay — /tɔˈbeɪ/ (say taw bay) noun 1. a unitary district in south western England, in Devon; includes the resort area of Torquay and two neighbouring towns. 63 km2. 2. Also, Tor Bay. an inlet in south western England, on the shores of which is situated… …   Australian English dictionary

  • Torbay — geographical name former county borough SW England in Devon on Tor Bay (inlet of English Channel) …   New Collegiate Dictionary