Devon

Torbay Mayor accused of 'putting promenades before people'

Torbay mayor Gordon Oliver
Image caption Mayor Gordon Oliver has transferred a third of a million pounds to improve Torbay's harbour

The Conservative Mayor of Torbay has been accused of "putting promenades before people" in a row over how council funds should be spent.

Gordon Oliver has sparked anger by transferring a third of a million pounds earmarked for bringing empty homes back into use to a project to improve the harbour.

Opposition politicians have criticised the move.

Mr Oliver said "the good work we're doing now is essential".

He said: "It's important that we should address this in the next five to 10 years so that we don't have a major problem later on that we can't deal with.

"The good work we're doing now is essential to overcome the problem to make sure that Torquay and Torbay doesn't have any major problems of flooding in the future."

'Pet projects'

Labour councillor Darren Cowell said Mr Oliver had not delivered a substantial number of new home starts in the affordable home sector.

"He has spent money on pet projects, putting promenades before people," he said.

"We have a disproportionate number of homes in Torbay that are in the private rented sector, well above the national average, the provision of social housing in Torbay is only 8%.

"The national average is 20% - why isn't the mayor working with everybody to bridge that gap?" he said.

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