Home » Huge boost for troubled town as fish and chip shop named UK’s second best

Huge boost for troubled town as fish and chip shop named UK’s second best

A troubled seaside town has been given a huge boost with a local fish and chip shop named the second best in Britain.

The once-booming Torquay in Devon has recently been called “run down” and “ruined by crime and abandoned tourist attractions”. But things may be looking up.

Pier Point in the town was one of the five restaurants across the UK nominated for the Restaurant of the Year category in the National Fish and Chip Awards 2024

Other nominees included restaurants in Norfolk, Somerset, Gloucestershire and Bristol with Knights Fish Restaurant in Glastonbury being named the overall winner and Pier Point coming second.

Owner Lorraine Arnold has said to be judged and recognised by the industry is “amazing”. She says quality produce and good customer service are the keys to the success of the business.

This win may provide a boost for Torquay which is home to some 50,000 people but has fallen on hard times with shuttered shops, crime and poverty identified as local challenges.

The pandemic had a large impact on the area, with falling visitor numbers since 2020 forcing businesses and tourist attractions to close down.

Crimerate.co.uk statistics show that Torquay is one of the top five most dangerous places in Devon with 90 crimes per 1,000 people in 2022.

One local has described being embarassed of her town, saying: “I felt I had to apologise for the general state and lack of high-end shops in the town and, as a local, it was embarrassing.

“The streets are filthy and smelly. Tourists are greeted down by the Strand with the homeless sitting outside what used to be Debenhams and Castle Circus at the top of town is frequented by drug addicts and criminals.”

There are glimmers of hope other than the award. It’s one of 55 UK towns benefitting from £1.1billion of Levelling Up funding.

The town is getting a Government cash injection for a £22million transformation project which includes a new statue of Torquay-born Agatha Christie by the harbour and the pedestrianisation of the Strand.

Deputy leader of Torbay Council, Cllr Chris Lewis, said: “The whole place will be transformed, This has been on the cards for a long time, and it will make the area down by the harbour a really attractive place for residents, businesses and holidaymakers.”

Vince Flower, who chairs Torquay Town Deal Board, said: “We’ve been committed to driving forward change in Torquay. Work starting on this project is a significant milestone in delivering the Town Investment Plan. 

“It is ultimately about creating a town centre that we can all be proud of and is fit for the future. Once this project is completed it is going to deliver a range of benefits to residents, visitors, and businesses.”