Power50: Torbay's future lies with the Greg and Gordon Show
HERE they are — the 10 most influential and powerful people in Torbay. And there's a twist to Power 50 2012 — with two joint number ones.
Torbay mayor Gordon Oliver is still there at the top of the list which has been compiled with the help of Power 50 2012 partners and local solicitors Kitsons.
But alongside him — and going straight to joint number one in his Power 50 debut year — is Greg Fitzgerald, boss of construction giants Galliford Try PLC, who have been tasked with delivering the £110million new South Devon Link Road or Kingskerswell Bypass.
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Torbay and South Devon have been campaigning for the bypass for decades. It is seen as the biggest piece of infrastructure needed to transform the local economy's fortunes in a generation.
It will improve transport links and open up the area to the rest of the country, something which has stood in the way of developers, regeneration and investment in the past.
It is also being seen as a vehicle to creating 8,000 new jobs and encouraging inward investment to persuade companies to stay and expand in South Devon and retain current jobs.
Mr Fitzgerald may head one of the largest companies of its kind but he also knows South Devon inside out. He is a former South Devon College student and lives locally.He also knows exactly what is needed if the area is to take full advantage of the benefits of a new bypass — and he acknowledges that Galliford Try and the link road cannot do it alone.
That's where mayor Oliver and his regime at the town hall have a massive part to play. Mayor Oliver has put jobs at the top of his wish list but he will have to prove and show how the Bay is open for business and is ready to do business with those with money to invest and jobs to create.
Torbay's future may very well lay in the hands of the Gordon and Greg Show!
Regeneration and delivering — a key theme in this year's list — is what many, if not all, of the other top 10 people are all about be it in the tourism and education sectors, business community or bringing in big changes in our local health service.
And just how big a part can Torbay MP Adrian Sanders play as the Coalition continues to rule the roost at Westminster? Can he bring his influence to bear to make sure the bypass is a gateway to a new beginning with or without that palm tree?