Wednesday, 29 June 2022

MY LATEST REPORT ON MY COUNCIL DUTIES



Time period: 1st April – 24th June 2022

1.0 Council and other meetings


In terms of physical meetings of Cornwall Council during the last three months, I attended Full Council (2), Chief Officers Employment Committee, Economic Growth and Development Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Customer and Support Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee (CASSOSC), four meetings of an Inquiry into Equality and Diversity Indicators (EDI) through CASSOSC, and the China Clay Area Community Network Panel.

Other meetings of the unitary authority via TEAMS or ZOOM video-conferencing included two briefings for a Full Council meeting, Group Leaders meeting, meeting of the EDI Inquiry, China Clay Area Community Network Panel, meeting of members from the China Clay Area, briefing for group leaders on a “county deal,” all-member-briefing on the Shared Prosperity Fund, climate literacy training and a meeting to evaluate the Local Listing project for the China Clay Area.

In terms of my role as the Chairman of the Cornish National Minority Working Group, I gave evidence to a Council of Europe Committee relating to the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, hosted two meetings of the Working Group, a forum for members of the public, an associated all-member briefing, and I took part in a session investigating the collection of data about Cornish people.

In addition, I have attended five meetings of St Dennis Parish Council and seven meetings of St Enoder Parish Council, which included the Annual Assemblies for both authorities and I presented annual reports.

I also had a number of further online meetings about a range of local issues.

2.0 Strategy for the China Clay Area

Over the last three months, I have been promoting the “Towards a Strategy” document for Clay Country, which local councillors had produced with the support of staff linked to the China Clay Area Community Network. I was pleased to do an interview with a local journalist and the resultant news story received significant coverage in both the Cornish Guardian and the St Austell Voice.

3.0 China Clay Area Community Network

I was pleased to be re-elected Chairman of the China Clay Area Community Network Panel at a meeting on 13th June.

As previously reported, the administration at Cornwall Council wishes to reduce the number of Community Network Panels from 19 to 10.

The proposal would link Clay Country with the Bodmin Network (which includes rural parishes stretching almost as far east as Altarnun). At this most recent meeting, the participants were unanimously against the change and I made a further representation to relevant officers.

4.0 Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy

Over the last few months, I chaired an Inquiry into Equality and Diversity Indicators through the Customer and Support Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

I am pleased that this work has fed through into the Council’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2022-2026. A consultation on the document has been launched on the Let’s Talk part of the Council’s website and lasts until 14th September.

5.0 Shared Prosperity Fund

A key talking point of late has been the formal announcement about the Shared Prosperity Fund. The Conservative Government has repeatedly promised that the funding Cornwall should receive through the Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) would, at least, match the level of EU structural monies that would have been received.

Cornwall Council has estimated that this should equate to £100 million each year, which had been supported by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Leadership Board (which includes Cornish MPs amongst its members). The most recent report produced by the Conservative-controlled authority states that, “in order to be no worse off,” Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly would “need to receive £700 million from the UK SPF over the coming seven years.”

The actual funding announcement of £132 million over the next three years – less than half of the anticipated £300 million – has gone down badly. I was among the “opposition” politicians who challenged Conservative MPs on this broken promise.


ST DENNIS PARISH ISSUES

6.0 Road safety matters

6.1 Double yellow lines at Wesley Place


Following the re-consultation into the proposal for double yellow lines near Wesley Place, a number of responses were received. These were quite varied. Cornwall Council chose to modify the proposal and reduce the extent of double yellow lines. The lines have installed, and I asked Cornwall Council to inform nearby local residents about their decision in advance of the works.

6.2 Speed readings

At the request of St Dennis Parish Council and I, Cornwall Council has carried out speed readings at a number of locations in St Dennis. These include:

· West of St Dennis School (20mph limit). The average speed (south-west bound) was 19.1mph, with 66.7% of vehicles within the speed limit. The average speed (north-east bound) was 21.7mph, with only 36.7% of vehicles within the speed limit.
· Fore Street near junction with Parc-an-Bre Drive / Hendra Heights (30mph limit). The average speed (south-west bound) was 23.4mph, with 94.2% of vehicles within the speed limit. The average speed (north-east bound) was 21.9mph, with 92.2% of vehicles within the speed limit.
· Hall Road (20mph limit). The average speed (south-east bound) was 21.1mph, with 44.2% of vehicles within the speed limit. The average speed (north-west bound) was 23.5mph, with only 24.9% of vehicles within the speed limit.
· Trelavour Road (30mph limit). The average speed (south-east bound) was 24.0mph, with 81.2% of vehicles within the speed limit. The average speed (north-west bound) was 25.8mph, with 76.3% of vehicles within the speed limit.

I can supply copies of the above reports to local residents on request.

6.3 Meeting with Cormac representative

In early June, I had a TEAMS meeting with the local Highway & Environment Manager for our area. A large number of topics were covered. These included:

· The condition of double yellow lines and other road markings within St Dennis. It has been agreed that a review be carried out.
· Potholes in a range of locations, including the poor condition of sections of roads and pavements along Hall Road. I was informed that Hall Road is on the surface treatment list for the next financial year.
· Request for a bollard at Little Trerice, where vehicles mounting the pavement have damaged a manhole cover. This has been agreed for installation.

7.0 Social / affordable rent properties in St Dennis

As previously reported, I produced a report into complaints about affordable housing in St Dennis not going to local households. In particular, this related to the Sanctuary element of Hendra Heights and the Coastline estate at Wesley Place. Both Housing Associations have acknowledged that mistakes have been made and a series of meetings have been held with Housing Associations during the last month.

Sanctuary have acknowledged that the nominations agreement for Hendra Heights (which prioritises households with a local connection to St Dennis) was not applied and, as a consequence, less than 25% of the properties went to local families. Sanctuary Housing have confirmed lettings will, in the future, go to local households and they will also strive to be more proactive with their advertising to ensure that local families do not miss out on the opportunity to bid.

A similar nominations agreement should have been put in place at Coastline’s Wesley Place development but, because of failings at both the local authority and the registered provider, this was not done. As a consequence, none of the properties went to households with a St Dennis connection. Coastline Housing have agreed to enter into a nominations agreement and lettings will, in the future, go to local households.

I am pleased that Sanctuary’s most recent re-let at Hendra Heights was advertised for local families, which shows that the new arrangements are now functioning.

In addition, I am also optimistic that Ocean Housing will agree that a “local connection” label can be applied to their older housing stock (that have no nomination agreements or other restrictions on local connection) for a period to boost the chances of households from St Dennis securing affordable housing. A meeting has been held but an accommodation has yet to be reached, because Cornwall Council has been slow drafting an agreement. It is worth noting that, because of the delay, three Ocean properties have been advertised during the last two months and not with any “local connection” label.

8.0 Neighbourhood Plan

The period for responding to the first questionnaire for a Neighbourhood Plan has concluded and I am looking forward to the next phase of the project, when we will be looking closely at the feedback from local residents and how this information can be used to inform the Plan.

9.0 Planning matters

There are some live planning applications, for which I have updates.

9.1 Housing development at Hendra Prazey (PA20/11311)

An application for 27 housing units (of which 23 would be affordable) was submitted in December 2020. There have been a number of objections from local residents (because of the location and road network) and consideration of the application has been slow because Cornwall Council officers have been concerned about the road layout in the area.

The applicant has prepared further information about highway issues, which has been submitted to the unitary authority. The Parish Council has been reconsulted on this additional information and they and others can make further comment.

9.2 Solar farm near Trerice

The application from Statkraft has yet to be formally submitted and I have received no further information about how the proposed development may vary from that consulted upon about 12 months ago.

9.3 Proposed dwelling off Hendra Road (PA22/02138)

St Dennis Parish Council has objected to a dwelling on land associated with Hendra Heights, but which would be accessed from Hendra Road. I have raised these local concerns with council officers and I will report back when I have more information.

10.0 Proposed multi-use trail from St Dennis to the Goss Moor

I have previously reported how St Dennis Parish Council has requested that Cornwall Council investigate the possibility of turning the section of defunct railway line between St Dennis and the Goss Moor National Nature Reserve into a multi-use trail, and that I had submitted an expression of interest from the G7 Nature Recovery Project.

Unfortunately, I recently received confirmation that the EOI was unsuccessful. The response to me states that the “G7 Legacy Project did not receive the full amount of funding” and the “proposals were highly over-subscribed.”


ST ENODER PARISH ISSUES

11.0 Road safety matters

11.1 A3058 improvements


I am pleased that the two vehicle activated signs have been erected on Beacon Road and St Austell Street, which relates to the first part of the A3058 Safer Route improvements in Summercourt. As previously reported, the timetable for the second phase of works around the installation of the signalised pedestrian crossings at the crossroads has yet to be finalised.

11.2 Double yellow lines at Penhale

Cornwall Council commenced the installation of double yellow lines at Penhale, near the Kingsley Village complex, on 14th June. I am extremely disappointed that the works have not been completed, as it seems the contractors did not attempt to get the parked cars on the northern side of the road moved away in advance of works. In addition, the extent of lines on the southern side of the road was greater than agreed and a section of the lining had had to be taken up.

A number of the cars parking on the road in this area have been workers at Marks and Spencers, because they have not been allowed to use the parking area associated with the shopping complex. But I am pleased to be able to report that the ownership of Kingsley Village has changed hands and the management company tasked with overseeing the site have told me that staff will in future be allowed to use the main car park.

11.3 Road safety audit of road through Fraddon and St Columb Road

I have just been supplied with a draft road safety audit for the stretch of road extending Penhale to the Halloon roundabout (including the area around the Co-op), and I will soon be having a meeting with council officers to discuss the provisional findings. It is my intention to publicise the report and recommendations as soon as it is finalised.

11.4 Meeting with Cormac representative

In early June, I had a TEAMS meeting with the local Highway & Environment Manager for our area. A large number of topics were covered. These included:


· Non-maintenance of garden and grassed area in Clodan Mews. I have been promised (again) that the area will be better maintained in the future.
· Over-grown hedges in a number of places, which are impacting on street furniture. These are being reviewed and various property owners approached.
· Lack of progress with surface repair in Pocohontas Crescent, Indian Queens. This is currently “on the list for this year, but with no programmed date.” I am pushing for this to be prioritised.
· Request for junction lining at Pit Lane / Higher Fraddon junction. This will be done this year.
· Concern that faded bus bays need repainting. This is being looked into.
· Potholes around the St Enoder / bridge over A30 to Summercourt area. This is also being reviewed.

In addition, we discussed complaints about speeding traffic and related issues along Moorland Road, Indian Queens, Toldish and Ruthvoes, which I am following up.

12.0 Planning

There continues to be a significant number of ongoing planning matters in St Enoder Parish. Listed below are some which may be of particular interest.

12.1 Six extra gypsy / traveller pitches at Toldish (PA20/03553)

On 28th August 2020, Cornwall Council refused planning permission for six additional gypsy / traveller pitches at Little Meadows, Toldish. The applicant has appealed the decision to the UK Government’s Planning Inspectorate. I have produced a representation on behalf of the Parish Council, which has been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate.

12.2 Two dwellings in Trevarren (PA21/03330)

An application to demolish one house at Trevarren and replace it with two houses was rejected by Cornwall Council. The Council took the view that the “application site currently occupies a prominent location to the street scene and forms an attractive rural-residential setting to the edge of a settlement,” and “the proposal, by reasons of its siting, massing and appearance, would introduce a development at odds with the established low density built forms of the immediate surrounds and a car dominated layout to the front of the site which would disrupt the continuity of the rural character of the adjoining lane.”

12.3 Six flats at St Columb Road (PA22/00228)

I previously reported that St Enoder Parish Council has objected to the proposal for six two-bedroom flats on the right-hand side of the road to Clodan Mews and rear of the Co-op. The proposed three-storey scheme would only have six parking spaces, which is less than the two parking spaces per housing unit specified in the St Enoder Neighbourhood Plan. I can report that the application has been withdrawn by the application.

12.4 Solar Farm at Tresithney

The application from Statkraft has yet to be formally submitted and I have received no further information about how the proposed development may vary from that consulted upon about 12 months ago.

12.5 Solar Farm at “Trendeal”

I attended a recent consultation about a proposed solar farm, as the location was described as Trendeal, which is on the edge of St Enoder Parish. It turns out that the development – associated with the Trendeal farm business – is outside of St Enoder Parish and lies to the south of Carland Cross and Mitchell.

12.6 Applications at Carvynick, including leisure / office building (PA22/04257)

On 3rd June 2019, the owners of Carvynick near Summercourt secured an outline planning permission for 38 residential dwellings at the site, plus a leisure / office building (PA18/04360). I did not support the application as I did not think that residential dwellings in this location would be appropriate. The consent was not achieved through Cornwall Council, but the Government’s Planning Inspectorate on the basis that the holiday park was “brown-field” / “previously developed land.”

The applicants argued that the site would be both for holiday and residential uses, and the indicative layout with the original application showed 38 simple holiday-type lodges and an impressive leisure / office building (including a swimming pool). Indeed, they argued that the residential element of the scheme was necessary to justify investment in facilities at the site (most especially the leisure building).

Reserved matters for the details of the 38 dwellings have been submitted and agreed. These houses are larger than the lodges on the original plan, while being less dispersed across the site. Further applications have been submitted and accepted for another 16 houses on some of the remaining land within the main complex, which the Council could not refuse as the principle of development had been established through the appeal.

Linked to the PA18/04360 consent, the owner has therefore now achieved planning consent for 54 housing units. There will be no affordable housing on site, but the applicant has negotiated to pay off-site contributions to provide affordable housing elsewhere.

There was a fair amount of local support for the original application, because it included a leisure building that residents of the Parish could use. Letters of support prepared by the applicant and signed by local people stated that the leisure building would “provide a community hub,” a “state-of-the-art gymnasium” and a “swimming pool for locals to not only exercise but also to learn how to swim.”

The reserved matters application for the leisure / office building (PA22/04257) has now been submitted. The proposed building is now much smaller than that on the original plan. It appears to be based around a badminton court and a small gym, that is of a size little more than two car parking spaces. There is no swimming pool as promised. St Enoder Parish has unanimously objected to the application, not least because it is not what was promised by the applicant.

There is a further application for another ten houses at Carvynick (PA22/04474), some of which would extend development into the open countryside. St Enoder Parish Council has unanimously objected to this application as well.

In addition, the owners of Carvynick have submitted a further outline application for “upto 40 tourism lodges” in the field on the eastern side of Carvynick. The Parish Council has not objected to this proposal, but sought confirmation that it would be properly controlled as a tourism site and not be allowed to become a residential site.

HELPING LOCAL FAMILIES

13.0 Advice


Over the last few weeks, I have also assisted numerous households and individuals with guidance and advice on a range of topics including planning matters, housing need, social care, environmental issues and more.

Monday, 27 June 2022

REMEMBERING 1497 AND 1997: LOOKING FORWARD



June 2022 marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Keskerdh Kernow commemoration of the quincentenary of the 1497 Cornish rebellion, which MK leader Cllr Dick Cole is covering in two articles for the Cornish Guardian. The first article appeared last week and the second will be in this week’s newspaper.

The articles are as follows:

ARTICLE 1

525 year ago, the people of Cornwall rebelled against the English state after King Henry VII demanded additional taxes from the impoverished province to fund a war in Scotland.

Thousands of Cornishman marched to London during June 1497 to air their grievances. They were led by Michael Joseph “An Gof,” a blacksmith from St Keverne, and Thomas Flamank, a lawyer from Bodmin, and were joined by a noble, Lord Audley, as they moved through Somerset. The Cornish host camped near Blackheath on the 16th June, but were attacked by state forces on the following day.

The three main leaders were captured. An Gof and Flamank were executed at Tyburn on 27th June, with the blacksmith telling the crowd that he would have "a name perpetual and a fame permanent and immortal." Audley was beheaded on the following day. The bodies of the two Cornishmen were decapitated and the fragments of their remains were placed on display in various locations. It is documented that the heads of the three men were placed on poles on London Bridge.

The discord between Cornwall and the English state during the 15th and 16th centuries was significant. There was a second rebellion in 1497 linked to the pretender Perkin Warbeck, plus the 1549 rebellion caused by opposition to the “Act of Uniformity,” which imposed religious changes and an English language prayer book on Cornwall. The impositions of the Tudor period undoubtedly did much to undermine the Cornish speaking basis of much of Cornwall at the time.

As An Gof predicted, he and the others have not been forgotten. This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the quincentenary of the rebellion, which sent out a powerful message about the continuance of Cornish culture and identity.

Thousands of people took part in the various commemorations in 1997, which were principally structured around a re-enactment of the march. Some thirty people trekked all the way from St Keverne to London. I don’t have the space to name them all but they included the late Howard Curnow, Ann Jenkin who soon after became the first female Grand Bard of Gorsedh Kernow, her daughter and my predecessor as leader of MK Loveday Jenkin, Julian German who became the leader of Cornwall Council between 2019 and 2021, and the present Grand Bard Pol Hodge.

I served on the organising committee that made the commemorations happen and, though I was only able to join the march for a few segments of the route, I was privileged to speak at an associated event at Tyburn, which marked the 500th anniversary of the executions of An Gof and Flamank.

ARTICLE 2

In last week’s newspaper, I wrote about the twenty-fifth anniversary of the commemorative march which marked the quincentenary of the 1497 Cornish rebellion. This is a topic I wish to return to this week.

The march was a powerful display of Cornish pride and resilience, that surpassed all the expectations of the organising team. It was very much promoted as a cultural celebration, but there were obviously political aspects to the whole endeavour.

The Western Morning News rightly noted it was “about much more than simply remembering and revelling in the past,” adding that Cornwall still suffered “injustice and hardship compared to other parts of Britain.”

And when the marchers arrived in Blackheath on Saturday 21st June 1997, they issued a bilingual Blackheath Declaration.

The Declaration stated: “In recent years, Cornwall has once again not been treated fairly in proportion to our needs – particularly in comparison with the assistance rendered to our Celtic cousins in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.” It had four specific demands: a Cornish Development Agency (CDA), a specific Cornwall seat in the European Parliament, a university campus in Cornwall, and the teaching of Cornish history, culture and language in schools.

Twenty-five years on, it is right that we look back at what progress has been made with the demands. Starting with the biggest positive, university education is now a reality, but we never did get our own Development Agency or Euro-seat.

I remember how, in early 1997, Cornwall County Council had supported a CDA (by 71 votes to one) but, weeks after the Blackheath Declaration, councillors ditched this position and acquiesced to the Government’s preferred option of a “SW RDA” stretching past Bristol. In terms of the Euro-seat, an inquiry was held in Taunton and Cornish representations were ignored. From 2009 until Brexit, Cornwall ended up in a multi-member SW constituency, and Westminster politicians continue to refuse to legislate to protect Cornwall’s territoriality, as shown by what happened with the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 2020.

Great work is being done with regard to the teaching of the Cornish language in schools through Go Cornish, and Cornwall Council is working with local schools to build a Cornish curriculum. But central government is dodging its obligations and cut funding for the language in 2016, which restricts what can be achieved.

In 1997, there were also numerous calls for more powers for Cornwall and a parliamentary Early Day Motion praising the marchers called for a Cornish Assembly. Twenty-five years on, establishment politicians are talking about “devolution,” but they are only promoting tweaks to local government – not meaningful self-government for Cornwall.

Looking forward, the campaigns for Cornish recognition must continue.

Friday, 20 May 2022

MK COMMENT ON QUEEN’S SPEECH



In his article in this week’s Cornish Guardian, MK leader Cllr Dick Cole commented on the UK Government’s proposed legislative programme. It is as follows:

Through the spectacle of the Queen’s Speech on Tuesday 10th May, the UK Government announced its legislative programme for the next parliamentary session. It includes a total of 38 bills and the key criticism from political opponents has been that not enough is being proposed to tackle the present cost of living crisis.

While I have not studied the full detail of many of the proposed bills, there are some elements to be welcomed, ranging from legislation to better combat modern slavery and to more effectively regulate social housing. There will also be a Renters Reform Bill and it is good that this will abolish “no fault” evictions, though I am not sure I can be supportive of all aspects of that particular legislation.

The element of the Speech that has been getting the greatest degree of discussion is the wide-ranging Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, which covers the so-called “county deals” being considered in Cornwall and elsewhere, as well as reforms to the planning system.

The “devolution” proposals are still inadequate for the needs of Cornwall, but the supporting information published with the Bill is full of hyperbole about giving “local leaders and communities the tools they need to make better places,” providing opportunities to “increase innovation and enhance local accountability” while increasing the “transparency of local leaders.” The words do not match the reality of their timid and unexciting proposals.


In terms of planning, some of the extremely unpopular measures outlined in the 2020 “Planning for the Future” White Paper, such as the zoning of land for immediate “in principle” consents, have thankfully been ditched. But once again there are claims about changes giving “local communities control over what is built” in their area, but the reality will be very, very different.

The Government has confirmed that a revised, top-down, National Planning Policy Framework will be produced and there will be a consultation about a suite of “national” development management policies, that will have primacy over policies devised in Cornwall. This disturbs me.

The Bill will also include a discretionary council tax premium on second homes of up to 100%, which is being widely welcomed. But this does not go far enough. The “premium” is less than that to be charged in Wales, there is no proposal for planning controls to stop and reverse the spread of such part-time dwellings, while the document is also silent on the adverse impact of holiday lets and airbnbs on the housing market.

This is frankly so disappointing when so many people are struggling to secure a first home for rent or purchase.

Thursday, 19 May 2022

RIGHT TO BUY IS THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT IS NEEDED



In my column in last week's Cornish Guardian, I addressed the rumoured expansion of the Right to Buy scheme, which would lead to the loss of much-needed affordable housing. It was as follows:

In 1980, Margaret Thatcher’s Government introduced Right to Buy through its first Housing Act, and the legislation allowed council tenants to purchase their homes at a significant discount from their open-market value.

As a consequence, some two million rental properties were sold. I agree with the view of Polly Neate, the Chief Executive of the homelessness charity Shelter, that this tore “a massive hole” in the stock of much-needed affordable housing.

I would add that the loss of so many social rent properties over the last forty years – which were largely not replaced – has been a significant contributory factor to the out-of-control, dysfunctional and unbalanced housing market that exists today.

I was therefore extremely alarmed to see newspaper reports that state the Prime Minister is looking into re-energising the concept of Right to Buy by extending it to tenants of Housing Associations.

I could hardly believe what I was reading. A “government source” was quoted as saying that: “The Prime Minister has got very excited about this. In many ways it is a replica of the great Maggie idea of 'buy your own council flat.' It is 'buy your own housing association flat’.”

It is a bonkers plan. There is so much that needs to be done to combat the housing crisis, but selling off social rent properties is not any part of any answer.

Again, I agree with the comments of Polly Neate. Extending Right to Buy is indeed “half-baked” and a “hare-brained idea.” It is the “opposite of what the country needs” and “there could not be a worse time to sell off what remains of our last truly affordable social homes.”

There is obviously a political dimension to what the Prime Minister is considering, as the Conservatives believe Right to Buy could be a popular policy. But a prominent thinktank has rightly pointed out the inequity at the core of the proposal, noting that it “offers huge financial benefits to those who qualify for social housing” – perhaps many tens of thousands of pounds – “while providing nothing for those … who pay much higher rents in less secure private tenancies.”

It is telling that progressive governments in the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales abolished Right to Buy in 2017 and 2019 respectively. I understood that the Northern Ireland version of the scheme will end in August.

Right to Buy should also be ruled out in Cornwall and England. Politicians should instead be prioritising the provision of proper local-needs housing, legislating to protect those in private rented accommodation and to control rents, while rolling back the spread of second homes and airbnbs.

Monday, 16 May 2022

WILL CORNISH BE INCLUDED IN THE BROADCASTING BILL?



In a recent article in the Cornish Guardian, I wrote about the UK Government’s “blindspot” when it comes to regional / minority languages and Cornish. It was as follows:

The eighth anniversary of the recognition of the Cornish through the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities has just passed. To mark the occasion, the unitary authority issued a positive press release about all the work being done to protect and promote the unique culture and distinctive language of Cornwall, reminding one and all that the UK Government had pledged the Cornish would have the “same status” as “the UK’s other Celtic people: the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish.”

But sadly, we cannot forget that the UK Government is failing to meet its obligations to the Convention in so many ways. Westminster denied the Cornish a tick-box on the 2021 census and, when it agreed the process for setting boundaries for future parliamentary seats, refused to protect the territoriality of Cornwall in law. Cornwall has not secured a meaningful devolution settlement in line with the other Celtic nations, and is not represented on the British and Irish Council.

I am in the fortunate position of being the Chairman of Cornwall Council’s working group on national minority status and, a short time ago, I hosted an engagement forum with interested members of the general public.

We were addressed by Denzil Monk, a film maker and a lecturer in film at the School of Film and Television at Falmouth University. He spoke about the campaign for public service broadcasting in and for Cornwall, which has the full support of the unitary authority. At the forum, there was a discussion about ongoing representations to the BBC about how their commitment in the 2016 BBC Charter to “regional and minority languages of the United Kingdom” ridiculously does not extend to Cornish. The document restricted its definition of such languages to “Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, Irish and Ulster Scots.”

By coincidence, the UK Government published its latest White Paper on the following day. It was titled: “Up Next: The Government’s vision for the broadcasting sector.”

Disappointingly, the document is silent on the request for public service broadcasting for Cornwall while, in the section on regional and minority languages, the Cornish language is ignored. The languages mentioned in the document are again Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, Irish and Ulster Scots.

This is so unsatisfactory, but the White Paper does present an opportunity. The Government now says that the “importance of programmes broadcast in the UK’s indigenous regional and minority languages” will be made “clear in legislation.”

Cornwall’s MPs will therefore be able to make representations to the Minister and the wider UK Government to ensure that any future provision for regional and minority languages also includes Cornish. I have already written to them and asked then to do exactly that.