Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Happy Christmas


As we edge ever closer to the festive break, I would like to wish everyone a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous and healthy New Year.

I would also like to thank all those people who have been supportive of my work throughout 2019. I can assure you all that I am most grateful for the help and encouragement I have received. It is much appreciated.

Nadelik Lowen ha Bledhen Nowydh Da.

Sunday, 24 November 2019

My latest monthly report


I have just completed my latest report about my work as a Cornwall Councillor. It covers the time period: 21st October – 24th November 2019 and is as follows:

Listed below are some examples of the activities that I have been involved with over the last month.

1.0 Council meetings and related activities


I attended a number of formal meetings and briefings at Cornwall Council. A considerable amount of my time was again taken up with the Community Governance Review (of Parish boundaries and governance) through the Electoral Review Panel, of which I am vice-chairman. There were three all-day meetings, as well as four preparatory meetings. In addition, I attended a meeting of the Environment Growth and Development Overview and Scrutiny Committee, plus two all-day meetings of an associated review into private sector housing, the latest China Clay Area Network meeting and a workshop on Cornwall Council’s investment strategy. There have also been informal meetings with a range of officers at the unitary authority and I have attended three meetings of St Enoder Parish Council.

2.0 Neighbourhood Development Plan for St Enoder


As previously reported, the finalised Neighbourhood Plan for St Enoder Parish, was submitted to Cornwall Council earlier this year, and the unitary authority held a formal consultation on the document between 20th June and 1st August. I believe that we did our best to produce a document which reflects the views of local residents, but it has been a long and, at times quite a stressful, process. Some developers objected strongly to elements of the Plan, with one firm even raising the possibility of taking legal action against it.

A government examiner has since reviewed the document and considered the objections to it. The document has passed through the examination process though the examiner has made a number of changes to it. Sometime in early 2020, the revised Plan will be the subject of a local referendum.

The finalised document can be viewed on the Cornwall Council website at:

https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/environment-and-planning/planning/neighbourhood-planning/neighbourhood-planning-in-cornwall/tab-placeholder/s/st-enoder-neighbourhood-development-plan/

3. Road safety, traffic and related issues

3.1 Indian Queens School


In my last monthly report, I gave a detailed update on the work I am doing to get improvements in the vicinity of Indian Queens School.

In terms of the proposed new pathway to be constructed across the field to the west of the School to the Harvenna Heights estate, I can confirm that I met a representative of Ocean Housing to discuss where and how the pathway would join their estate. I am following this up at the moment.

3.2 Marks and Spencers at Kingsley Village


Over the last month, the Parish Clerk and I have received a large number of complaints relating to parking and related problems in the area around Kingsley Village, following the opening of the Marks and Spencer store.

We have been monitoring the situation and have been in contact with a range of people including the planning and highway teams at Cornwall Council, CORMAC, the Police and CPG (the owners of the complex). I am continuing to make a lot of representations to those who I feel should take responsibility for dealing with the problems. I am continuing to seek formal meetings with, and between, all engaged parties.

3.3 Sea View Terrace

I have been contacted by residents from Sea View Terrace to the south of Fraddon following an accident. There have been a number of previous incidents and I am following up the resident’s concerns about the speed of traffic past their homes. Traffic speeds were last reviewed in 2015 and I have formally requested that some fresh speed recordings are undertaken.

4.0 Coastline Housing development near Mitchell

Coastline Housing are presently building out their scheme of 26 affordable properties in the most western part of St Enoder Parish, immediately adjacent to the village of Mitchell (which lies in Newlyn East Parish) on the site of the Mitchell Fruit Farm. I have asked for an update from the registered provider. They have confirmed the following for local residents:

· Eighteen of the units will be for affordable rent and the mix will be as follows - four 1-bed flats, eight 2-bed houses, four 3-bed houses and two 4-bed houses. In addition, eight properties will be available for shared ownership. These will comprise four 2-bed houses and four 3-bed houses.

· People interested in renting or purchasing one of these new homes must have a local connection to either St Enoder Parish or St Newlyn East Parish.

· In order to be able to bid for one of the rental units, households need to be registered on the Homechoice system, which can be found on the Cornwall Housing website at: https://www.cornwallhousing.org.

· And in order to be considered for one of the shared ownership properties, households need to be registered with Help to Buy South West, which can be found at: https://www.helptobuysw.org.uk.

At this time, it is anticipated that the development will be completed in Spring 2020. For further updates, it would be sensible to monitor the Coastline Housing website at: http://www.coastlinehousing.co.uk.

5.0 Water main in Parka Road


As previously reported, throughout the summer, there were a number of breaks in the water main in Parka Road, Fraddon. This caused significant problems in the local area, both in terms of water supply and traffic congestion. A number of residents made representations to South West Water, along with the Parish Council, CORMAC and the local MP.

Along with many other people, I am really grateful to SWW for taking the complaints seriously and commencing work on the replacement of the main on 4th November. I am also grateful that the contractor has, as requested, put in sensible traffic management measures with traffic lights.

6.0 Planning matters

6.1 Two bungalows to rear of Harvenna Close, Fraddon


As noted previously, due to the considerable opposition to the proposals for new properties in the gardens of two properties on Harvenna Close (PA19/03258 and PA19/03266), but which would exit onto Grovewood Court, I have referred the decision to a meeting of the Central Sub-Area Planning Committee. The meeting is to take place on 25th November.

6.2 Indian Queens Industrial Estate


There has also been considerable opposition to a proposal to create a new access, from Moorland Road, into Unit 2 of Indian Queens Industrial Estate for an area of additional car parking (PA19/05975). I have challenged the basis for the proposal as the original planning permission included a condition that vehicular access to the various employment units should be through the central Lodge Way road within the estate. It had been my understanding that the application would also be considered at the Central Planning Committee on 25th November. However, the planners have noted various groundworks on site and other areas of new parking. For this reason, they are not taking the application forward to the committee meeting at this time, but are seeking further information from the applicants about what they are doing.

6.3 Higher Fraddon pig farm


At the last meeting of the Parish Council on 12th November, the owners of the derelict pig farm unit on the right-hand side of the road through Higher Fraddon gave a presentation about possible options to redevelop the site. Options included the provision of nine live-work units.

At the meeting, on behalf of the Council and local residents, I agreed to seek guidance from Cornwall Council about the policy basis for what might be acceptable on the site.

6.4 Café at Chapel Town, Summercourt


There is also a planning application for a café at Chapel Town Business Park, Summercourt, (PA19/06652), but it opened before any planning permission had been secured. I have received a number of complaints and the planning officers at the unitary authority are presently seeking further information from the applicant about the nature of their proposals.

7.0 Community Governance Review

As part of the Community Governance Review, St Newlyn East Parish Council has requested that the land around Mitchell Fruit Farm and the new Coastline Housing estate adjacent to Mitchell be incorporated into their parish. I was pleased to attend a meeting, last week, with the Parish Clerk and Cllrs Michael Bunyan and Ross Wimberley to discuss options with representatives from St Newlyn East. This will be discussed at Tuesday’s meeting.

8.0 Remembrance Sunday

It was a privilege to be a part of the annual remembrance service at St Enoder Church and to read out the names of the fallen from First and Second World Wars at the memorial.

9.0 Inquiries

During the last month, I have helped numerous people with guidance on a range of issues.

Monday, 18 November 2019

LAUNCH OF GENERAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN


It is just 25 days to polling day and I am standing as the Mebyon Kernow candidate in the St Austell and Newquay seat. It is my hope that local residents will vote for "Vote for Cornwall" on 12th December.

Cornwall has never been the ‘number one’ priority for Westminster political parties.

We have an economic performance that is only two-thirds of the UK average, and yet the Government prioritises richer areas such as London and the South East for support and investment.

It is also shameful that our hospitals, schools and vital services receive less funding than other parts of the United Kingdom, which means that our public servants are struggling to provide what our communities need and have a right to expect.

So often, Cornwall is simply not on the ‘radar’ of the political classes in London. We have been denied devolution and the Government is content to see us as little more than a small wider part of some wide South West set-up.

As the leaders of the largest Westminster parties criss-cross the UK in search of votes, please remember that Cornwall will not be to the forefront of their minds.

At this time, please look past the theatrics of the Westminster parties, which will dominate television screens and newsprint over the new few weeks. And in the St Austell and Newquay constituency, please use your vote to demand a better deal for Cornwall by voting for Mebyon Kernow.

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

My latest monthly report to St Enoder Parish Council



At tonight’s meeting of St Enoder Parish Council, I tabled my most recent monthly report. It covers the time period 23rd September – 20th October 2019. It is as follows:

Listed below are some examples of the activities that I have been involved with over the last month. Please note that I was on holiday between 3rd and 13th October (inclusive).

1.0 Council meetings and related activities

I have attended a number of formal meetings and briefings at Cornwall Council, which were dominated by the Electoral Review Panel. As well as an all-day panel meeting, there were two associated preparatory / review meetings with officers and five public meetings (at Liskeard, St Austell, Tregadilett (for the wider Launceston area), St Issey (for the wider Wadebridge and Padstow area) and Truro). I also had a number of meetings with senior officers about highway improvements near Indian Queens School. Other meetings included a preparatory session for the Environment Growth and Development Overview and Scrutiny Committee about an upcoming inquiry into private sector housing and the Cornish National Minority Working Group. As the leader of the Mebyon Kernow group on the authority, I had separate meetings with the Council’s Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer about the authority’s future priorities.

There have also been informal meetings with a range of officers at the unitary authority and I have attended a meeting of St Enoder Parish Council.

Further information about some of these meetings is included later in this update report.

2.0 Other meetings and local activities


During the last month, I also attended two meetings of ClayTAWC (Clay Area Training and Work Centre) (chairman) and a single meeting of the St Austell Bay Economic Forum (board member).

3. Road safety, traffic and related issues

3.1 Indian Queens School

3.1.1 New pathway to School from Harvenna Heights estate


As reported previously, I managed to get agreement in principle that a new pathway is to be constructed across the field to the west of the School. It is planned that a large proportion of the field will be fenced off for use by the School. A new path will then be created on the exterior of the fence, allowing a new pedestrian route between the School and the Harvenna Heights estate. The Parish Council will be responsible for the maintenance of the path and remainder of the field.

Progress is being made. I was presented with a draft plan for the fenced area and a proposed alignment of the new path on 27th September. It was agreed that some tweaks would be made. I also met with the headteacher of Indian Queens School on 30th September and I have personally been in contact with the Chief Executive of Ocean Housing about how the new path would link into the Harvenna Heights estate. A site meeting is likely to be held soon with staff from Ocean Housing.

3.1.2 School Travel Plan

Again, as noted previously, I was successful in getting commitments contained within the School’s Travel Plan included within Cornwall Council’s Road Casualty Reduction Strategy. This document was formally published last week.

Leading on from this, I am putting pressure on the unitary authority to deliver some form of road crossing on both Chapel Road and St Francis Road (as noted in the Travel Plan) and an advisory 20mph speed limit on the part of Chapel Road by the Drang.

In order to make sure that this issue is taken seriously, I have raised it at meetings with Chief Executive and the Corporate Director for Neighbourhoods. It has also been discussed on the telephone with the Strategic Director for Economic Growth and Development. I can confirm that a brief has been preparing for council officers to look into what could be provided.

3.2 Summercourt School

My priority for the St Enoder Parish element of the highway monies available through the China Clay Area Community remains improvements outside Summercourt School. Discussions about options are ongoing and I hope to soon be a position to meet with the School itself and the Aspire Academy to discuss the options.

3.3 Double yellow lines along St Francis Road, Indian Queens and St Columb Road


I had received a promise that the lines on St Francis Road would be redone when the lines in the (recently resurfaced) Drang and Suncrest Estate were repainted. This did not happen, but I have been reassured that the repainting will take place in the near-future.

3.4 Patching of Carworgie Way and Halloon Avenue, St Columb Road

CORMAC are timetabled to carry out patching in the most heavily worn sections of Carworgie Way and Halloon Avenue during this coming week (21st – 23rd October).

3.5 St Austell St, Summercourt

It has also been confirmed that CORMAC will be investigating problems with road drains and flooding. These works are presently timetabled for between 18th and 22nd November; and will take place during night-time hours when the road will be closed

4.0 Water problems on Parka Road, Fraddon


I am very pleased to have an update on the problems caused by breaks in the water main in Parka Road, Fraddon. The Parish Clerk and I have been making representations to South West Water.

We have received an email update that “the main water supply pipe in Parka Road has been selected for funding 2019 – 2020, where we will be replacing the pipe.” They added they are waiting on their contractors, Kier, for a start date.

This appears to be very positive news as South West Water had previously stated that they would be progressing this main for capital funding in the next financial year 2020–21.

We will let everyone know when we a start date for the works, and we have also requested further information about the extent of the piping that will be replaced.

5.0 Planning matters

5.1 Two bungalows to rear of Harvenna Close, Fraddon


As noted previously, due to the considerable opposition to the proposals for new properties in the gardens of two properties on Harvenna Close (PA19/03258 and PA19/03266), but which would exit onto Grovewood Court, I have referred the decision to a meeting of the Central Sub-Area Planning Committee. The meeting is likely to take place on 25th November.

5.2 Indian Queens Industrial Estate

There is also been considerable opposition to a proposal to create a new access into Unit 2 of Indian Queens Industrial Estate for an area of additional car parking (PA19/05975). I have challenged the basis for the proposal as the original planning permission (93/06/00192) included a condition (no 7) that "there shall be no direct vehicular access or pedestrian access from the A30 trunk road." This is a specific reference to Moorland Road as the bypass for the village had not been completed at that time.

The case officer has contacted the applicants to suggest that they access the parking area from the Lodge Way road, but they were not willing to modify the application. Highways have also declined to raise an objection to the proposal.

The case officer has indicated that he will be looking to approve the application and I have therefore formally requested that it also be referred to the Central Planning Committee.

6.0 Tree preservation order in Fraddon

It is great news that Cornwall Council has confirmed the Tree Preservation Order (TPO) for the trees on the right-hand side of the road leading up to Higher Fraddon. This means that the TPO is permanent.

Many people may recall that, earlier this year, a developer wished to remove all the trees and build 14 houses up the road, but this was opposed by local residents and the Parish Council. Cornwall Council also told the developers that it could not support such a development. Well done to Charlotte Cowburn for all her hard work on making the TPO a reality.

7.0 Anti-social behaviour and vandalism

I have continued to receive reports of anti-social behaviour and vandalism around the Fraddon, Indian Queens and St Columb Road area, and I am continuing to liaise with the local policing team.

8.0 Electoral Review Panel


As noted above, a lot of my time has been taken up by the Community Governance Review, which has given parish councils and other stakeholders the opportunity to seek changes to parish boundaries.

9.0 Cornish National Minority Working Group


At the last meeting of the working group on 15th October, I was elected as the new Chairman of the group.

10.0 WW1 book

It has been almost a year since our book “Trusting Fully Trusting” (about the servicemen of Fraddon, Indian Queens, St Columb Road and Summercourt who lost their lives in the First World War) was published. We still have quite a few copies and it is probably time that we discussed how we might be able to distribute it to other outlets.

11.0 Inquiries

During the last two months, I have helped numerous people with guidance on a range of issues.

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Levant mining disaster


Today marks the 100th anniversary of the mining disaster at Levant, which I have covered in my article in the most recent edition of the Cornish Guardian. It is as follows:

Cornwall has a very proud mining history, which goes back all the way to the Early Bronze Age (over 4,000 years ago) and still continues with the extraction of china clay in Clay Country.

The physical evidence of this historic industry – the engine houses, shafts, spoil heaps, sky-tips, pan-kilns, miners’ cottages and more – can be seen in and around so many of our communities. Such is the international significance of the remains of historic deep-rock mining, that ten distinct landscapes across Cornwall are protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, “placing Cornish mining heritage on a par with international treasures like Machu Picchu, the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China.”

There are regular reports about possible new mining enterprises, such as the potential for lithium and other minerals, which would obviously be great for the local economy.

Unlike today, mining activities were the economic bedrock for so many places over the last two or three centuries. Taking my own community as an example, in the early twentieth century, half of local men worked in the clay pits and this underpinned the identity of their very being.

But Cornish mining cannot be viewed simply through a prism of nostalgia and the iconography of derelict mine buildings on our picturesque coast. Life was centred around hard physical and sometimes dangerous work. In some research that I have done, I came across numerous examples of miners who lost their lives in work accidents or bore serious injuries. Many others struggled because of occupational diseases.

At this time, it is important that we mark the centenary of the terrible disaster which occurred at the Levant Mine, near Pendeen and St Just, on 20th October 1919. The “man engine,” a steam-driven system comprising a long rod and attached platforms for transporting men up and down a shaft, collapsed as dozens and dozens of miners were being brought to surface after a day’s work.

A total of 31 men were killed and most left widows behind, along with over eighty children between them.

The contemporary report in the Cornishman and Cornish Telegraph newspaper was particularly powerful:

“The tragedy was the work of an instance. Something snapped – perhaps an iron cap or bolt – and what has been described as a living pillar of men, dropped down the man engine shaft, crushing many to death, mangling more with debris of breaking wood and metal – the beam of the man engine, the ladder ways in the side of the main shaft, and the platforms cut in the side of the shaft.”