Wednesday, 2 October 2013

My report to St Enoder Parish Council

For the last nine months or so, I have submitted a monthly written report to St Enoder Parish Council, setting out my activities on the Council and in the wider community. I have now decided to post these reports on-line. The report for the period 20th July – 18th September – it is for two months as the Parish Council does not hold Full Council meetings in August – was as follows:

1.         Council meetings

I have attended a range of meetings over the last two months. These included: Full Council; Economy and Culture Portfolio Advisory Committee (PAC); Environment, Heritage and Planning PAC (and two associated informal meetings, and a range of briefings and pre-agenda meetings); Homes and Communities PAC (and an associated informal meeting); meeting of PAC Chairs and Vice-chairs (2); Clay County Network meeting; meeting of Strategic Planning Committee and a budget briefing.

2.         Other meetings

I have also attended a range of meetings concerning Local Action funding and future European funding programmes. These included LAG meetings and associated meetings (5); a meeting with DEFRA; rural sub-group of the Local Enterprise Partnership; Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Rural Partnership; and the working group on Community Led Local Development (CLLD). Other meetings included School Governors at Summercourt School, Indian Queens Pit, and the Clay Area Training and Work Centre (ClayTAWC), which I continue to chair.

3.         Budget cuts

It has been confirmed that central government has imposed additional cuts on local government. Having already seen millions slashed off its budgets since 2010, Cornwall Council was expecting to have to make so-called “savings” of £19 million in 2014-2015. But further cuts from the government mean that the Council now has to cut £44 million from its budget for next year, which is causing significant difficulties for the authority.

4.         Parish Plan update report

On a more positive note, I have completed the Parish Plan update report (for the period March 2008-June 2013), which documents the progress made against the 75 action points listed in the document. It is an impressive list and shows that the Parish Council and others have achieved a considerable amount over the last five years. The report has been placed on the website.

5.         Patching works through Fraddon and Indian Queens

The patching works on the old A30 through Fraddon and Indian Queens were completed in August. However, I have had to make a number of complaints about the work. This included the fact that the contractors left the road and pavements in an untidy state, and then painted double yellow lines of the wrong size onto the highway. The contractors even managed to leave a significant amount of tarmac in the road drains, which I had to request was removed, and they have since failed to properly correct the double yellow lining. Cornwall Council is still dealing with the issue.

6.         Adoption of roads in Fairview Park, St Columb Road

I am very pleased to be able to report that, at the end of July, the roads and associated pavements in Fairview Park were – at last – adopted by the unitary authority.

7.         Application to Awards for All for Youth Club

On 1st August, I made an application to the Lottery’s Awards for All programme for £10,000 towards a youth club building in St Enoder Parish. We have yet to receive a decision.

8.         Funding application for Neighbourhood Plan

On 6th August, I made an application to the “Supporting Communities in Neighbourhood Planning” for £7,000 towards the costs of producing a Neighbourhood Plan for St Enoder Parish. I am pleased to be able to confirm that the application was successful. The grant will be paid to the Parish Council in two instalments: 90% in December and the remainder upon the completion of the project.

The Neighbourhood Plan working group has also held its first two meetings.

9.         Meeting to consider flooding problems in St Enoder Parish

Following my production of a report on the flooding incidents in St Enoder Parish in November/December 2012 and March 2013, I arranged for Council officers to visit the affected areas on 13th August.

Individuals in attendance included Steve Bayley (Highway Manager CORMAC), Martin Clemo (Principal Environment Projects and Technical Officer), Martin Eddy (Network Manager from the China Clay Area) and Teresa Frost (Area Manager Cormac).

The officers agreed to carry investigative work at St Dennis Junction to explore the capacity of ditches and pipework in the vicinity of the two properties that were flooded in December 2012. This work – which included below-ground cameras – was carried out on 2nd September. I will be able to report back more fully when I am provided with the conclusions of the work.

In terms of the other affected properties, it looks likely that Cornwall Council will receive some amount of money to pay for Property Level Protection (PLP) for a number of properties across Cornwall which suffer from flooding. I have also been informed – that because of the detail in my recent report – some properties in this Parish may qualify for works to mitigate against future flooding episodes.

Once the funding has been formally secured, I will be working with Cornwall Council to liaise with those homeowners who may be able to access the scheme.

I have repeated my formal request that the old A30 through Fraddon is identified as a “problem area” and a more regular programme for cleaning out the road drains is agreed (ie. at least six monthly). I have also reported a couple of drains that need further emptying.

10.       Wind turbine site meeting

On the 4th September, the Clerk and I represented the Parish Council at the site meeting held by the Planning Inspectorate to view the proposed site for a 67m high wind turbine to the north of Summercourt. We raised concerns about the submitted photomontages and sought assurances from the inspector that he would look in detail at what had been provided by the applicant.

11.       Incinerator “Community Liaison Group”

On the 5th September, I attended the inaugural meeting of the liaison group, set up “to provide a link” between the developers (of the waste incinerator at St Dennis) and local communities / organisations.

12.       Meeting with South West Water about Trevarren

As reported previously, I am continuing to make representations on behalf of the residents of Trevarren, who remain concerned about the surcharge of waste from the foul water onto the highway at Trevarren. I attended a meeting with employees of South West Water (SWW) at their Tolgus depot on 9th September to discuss ongoing concerns about potential flooding.

SWW have confirmed that they are planning to make improvements to the sewerage network in the greater St Columb area from 2015 onwards. They have also confirmed that there is a possibility that some improvements could – as part of the wider programme – also be carried out to the network in the Trevarren area, if I can make a strong enough case to SWW and their regulator OFWAT in the next couple of months.

13.       The Kelliers

As members will recall, there is one outstanding issue that must be dealt with in relation the Kelliers, before the lease agreement between Cornwall Council and St Enoder Parish Council can be finalised. This relates to obligations associated with the closed landfill site in the area. On 17th September, I had an on-site meeting with Al Stewart, who deals with closed landfill sites. The purpose of the meeting was for me to clarify some points of detail for Mr Stewart and he has promised to supply me with some further background paperwork to do with the landfill issue. I will report back in detail at the next meeting.

14.       Flytipping

There has been a significant increase in flytipping in recent weeks. I have had to bring a number of incidents to the attention of Cory, which has included a large number of mattresses dumped on local verges.

15.       Highgate Roundabout, Indian Queens

I have also started to make representations to Cornwall Council for the old Stamps Hill road, off the Highgate Roundabout, to be tidied up. This road was blocked in the late 1990s when the tip for Wheal Remfry was extended. Spoil was dumped across the end of the road to prevent access to the blocked off road. I have made representations on this matter in the past, but I am trying again as the area is becoming popular for flytipping. I have requested that the spoil be removed and a gate be erected across the old carriageway.

16.       Entrance to Heather Meadow, Fraddon

In my last monthly report, I informed members that I had met with Teresa Frost (Area Manager CORMAC) and that she had agreed to organise a team of individuals on work experience placements to weed this entrance area into this estate. This has not proved possible, but I have been in contact with Teresa who has pledged that the work will still be done.

17.       Open space at Lindsay Field, Fraddon

The Lindsay Fields development – at the rear of Heather Meadow – includes an area of open space alongside some tree planting. The planning permission specified that this area should be maintained by the developer for five years, but then transferred to Restormel Borough Council (or Cornwall Council as successor authority) in March 2012.

There was a “breakdown in communication” between the developer and the Council, and the land was not transferred. In recent months, I have made numerous representations to the Council about the matter. Progress was glacial, so in July / August I tried again and spoke to the developer as well a range of council officers including the Section 106 compliance officer, staff in the legal section and staff in the environment service, as well as at CORMAC. I am pleased to report that I have been promised that the problem will be sorted in the very near future.

18.       Traffic concerns in St Columb Road

As reported in my last monthly report, I had been approached by a number of people from the St Columb Road area about traffic speed through the area and the need for traffic calming. In turn, I approached Kingsley Developers to suggest that they might link some traffic calming measures to their latest housing application on the former John Julian Depository site. Since the last meeting, I have again met Cornwall Council’s Tim Foster (Principal Development Officer Highways) and Steve Bayley (Highway Manager CORMAC).

I have also been contacted by residents in the vicinity of the Co-op store, as well as the manager of the Co-op, about traffic problems and conflict between delivery lorries and other vehicles. I have approached Steve Bayley to seek advice on whether it would be possible, or indeed appropriate, to refashion the area in front of the Co-op for deliveries.

I am expecting to have feedback on these issues soon, when I will report to the Parish Council.

19.       Double yellow lines / parking enforcement

Some months ago, St Enoder Parish Council submitted evidence abut the lack of enforcement of double yellow lines and the need to strategically review the coverage of such lines in areas such as near the Co-op, and around the top of the Drang and nearby estates.

Because I am unhappy at the lack of response from the unitary authority, I have chased this up and requested a proper answer.

20.       Bus shelters

In August a new bus shelter was erected on the western side of Parka Road in St Columb Road. However, due to objections from local residents, the proposed bus shelter for the eastern side of the road was not taken forward. I have since liaised with officers and they have launched a consultation for a bus shelter at a different location – in the verge in front of the doctor’s surgery.

I understand this consultation is an agenda item at today’s meeting, along with a consultation about the replacement of a bus shelter in Summercourt. I have had no involvement in the preparation of this second proposal.

21.       Homechoice

In recent months, I have advised a large number of people who were bidding for rental properties through the Homechoice system. I have encountered a range of problems with how the system works and I have made representations to senior officers, seeking assurances that the problems will be eradicated.

22.       Indian Queens Band Week

But it hasn’t been all work. In late July, I had the privilege of opening Band Week and supporting the fantastic work of Indian Queens Band.

23.       Charity cricket

I also played in the councillors team in a charity cricket match between councillors and officers at Boscawen Park in Truro. The charity cricket match was an old (County Council) tradition that the Chairman of Cornwall Council has decided to resurrect.

The officers took the honours, though the councillors' cross-party team were not disgraced – something we were pleased about following the hilarious incompetence of our chaotic warm-up. My batting wasn’t up to much, but I did take a couple of wickets.

24.       Newsletter

When I was re-elected in May, I promised to continue to deliver a newsletter every six months or so. I am working on the next version, which I intend to deliver during October and November.

25.       Inquiries

Throughout the last two months, I have also helped numerous people with advice and guidance. Issues included dog mess, housing problems, speeding traffic, untrimmed hedges, various enforcement matters, flytipping, Japanese Knotweed, etc.

No comments: