Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Annual report to St Enoder Parish Assembly

This evening, I attended the Annual Assembly for St Enoder Parish and presented my annual report.

The report covered the period April 2015 – April 2016. It includes material covered by this blog over the last twelve months, but it is included here for the sake of completeness. It was as follows:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has assisted me with my work over the last twelve months.

My role as the Cornwall Councillor for St Enoder Parish is a full-time job and I produce regular reports, which are presented to (monthly) Full Council meetings of St Enoder Parish Council. Normally, I do ten reports each year as the Council does not have Full Council meetings in August and December. These can still be viewed on the Parish Council website [www.saintenoderparishcouncil.org.uk] or on my blog [http://mebyonkernow.blogspot.co.uk].

Listed below are a few examples of my activities during this period, though I must add that the list is not exhaustive.

1. Roles at Cornwall Council

I served as Chairman of the Planning Portfolio Advisory Committee for the 2015-2016 council year. I have also served on the Constitution and Governance Committee, Electoral Review Committee, working group on National Minority status, and have I attended a wide range of other committees as a non-voting member.

I have attended more than 140 formal meetings of Cornwall Council and St Enoder Parish Council, as well as a significant number of informal meetings with council officers, local parishioners and groups. In particular, there have been numerous meetings about the planning issues relating to the pig farm and adjacent biogas plant at Higher Fraddon.

2. Other organisations

I have also served on a number of other organisations, both Cornwall-wide and locally. These include: South and East Cornwall Local Action Group, St Austell Bay Economic Forum, China Clay Area Training and Work Centre at St Dennis (Chairman), Fraddon Millennium Green (Secretary) and the Indian Queens Pit Association (Trustee).

In addition, I have assisted a large number of local groups with projects and issues of concern, including the two local Pre-Schools.

3. South West Water works at Trevarren

For more than a decade, I has been making representations to South West Water on behalf of the residents of Trevarren about problems with the foul sewer that runs through their community. During periods of heavy rain, much additional water gets into the sewerage system and waste is often surcharged onto the highway in their village.

There have been numerous meetings with South West Water who, late last year, finally agreed to carry out works to make improvements and to eliminate all risk of local flooding. The actual works will include the realignment of part of the foul sewer and the construction of an associated attenuation tank. This tank will hold up to 280,000 litres of water during periods of high rainfall and also control water flows into the wider sewerage network. The works commenced in March.

4. Bus services to Summercourt

When Western Greyhound went into receivership, First took over many of their routes, but Summercourt lost its main bus service to and from Truro.

I have been in regular contact with First and, in August last year, I arranged an open meeting at the New Memorial Hall which was attended by the managing director Alex Carter and four colleagues.

He gave a commitment to reintroduce an hourly service between the two settlements. I am a somewhat disappointed that it has all taken longer than I had hoped, but Mr Carter has confirmed that these new services to serve Summercourt (Mondays to Saturdays) will officially be restarted on Monday 30th May.

It is planned that the 90 service will be diverted to serve the village throughout much of the day, while the 93 service will come through the village in the early morning and in the evening.

5. Plans for new play equipment at Indian Queens Recreation Ground

I have worked with the Clerk of St Enoder Parish Council to work up a comprehensive scheme to replace the existing play area in the Indian Queens Recreation Ground. In terms of the layout of the scheme and the individual pieces of equipment that are proposed, the Council has consulted local parents and children with the help of Indian Queens Primary School and the two local Pre-Schools.

The majority of funding for the development is in place. This will come from a one-off community payment from the developers of the solar farm at Burthy near Fraddon (secured through a legal undertaking linked to their planning application), and monies from a local developer in lieu of not providing small play areas in their own developments (secured through a planning agreement).

I did attempt to secure some funding from the National Lottery, but my application was not supported. I have submitted a further grant application to a local funding body and, if this is successful, the works could be carried out this summer. The Council should hear about the outcome of the application in the next few weeks.

6. Higher Fraddon biogas plant / pig farm

In my last annual report, I gave a detailed update on the two retrospective applications at Higher Fraddon. These were the redevelopment of the pig farm and the regularisation of the adjacent biogas plant which had not been built in accordance with a planning application previously agreed in 2009 by the old County Council.

Throughout the year, I have chaired a Forum attended by the representatives of Greener for Life (applicants for the biogas plant), the pig farm, Cornwall Council, members of the local community and others. The last meeting was held in January. Greener for Life has declined to attend future meetings and have told local residents that they intend to set up their own new Forum with a more restrictive attendance.

In November, the Council’s Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) agreed the plans for the pig farm and two new buildings, but additional controls were added to ensure that, during 2016, bio-filters will be added to all livestock buildings to ensure better odour control.

The proposal for the biogas plant was debated by councillors at SPC on three occasions, but the elected members were not supportive of the application because of concerns about traffic and how the plant had been developed. There have been ongoing discussions with the applicants on a range of matters but Greener for Life have gone to appeal for “non-determination” and the final decision will be made by a Planning Inspector appointed by the Inspectorate based in Bristol.

This will still take time and local people will be able to make representations to the appeal.

7. Planning matters

Planning matters have dominated much of civic life in St Enoder Parish over the last twelve months. I have made representations on dozens and dozens of applications, and to show the complexity and variety of what we are dealing with I have listed ten examples of significant and / or controversial applications:

- Housing on land west of Kilburn, Fraddon (PA14/00882)

I argued strongly against this application in two meetings of the Central Sub-Area Planning Committee, but was unsuccessful.

- Phase 4 of Harvenna Heights, Fraddon (PA14/10417)

Ocean Housing’s fourth phase of its affordable housing scheme has been consented, though I am still challenging the level of rents that are likely to be charged on the estate.

- Five dwellings at Cobble Lane, Fraddon (PA15/00763)

Cornwall Council refused this application due to the lack of affordable housing. The applicant has appealed and I have written a detailed appeal statement on behalf of the Parish Council.

- Development of Indian Queens Industrial Estate (PA15/00916)
This straight-forward application was approved at the Strategic Planning Committee meeting in May. The vote was unanimous.

- Three turbines on Pines Tip, Fraddon (PA15/00955)

This application was refused (unanimously) at the Strategic Planning Committee meeting in March. The reasons for refusal were the lack of local support (now expected by central government for wind farm applications), along with the visual and cumulative landscape impacts.

- 44 holiday lodges at Carvynick (PA15/01472)

This application was approved at the Central Sub-Area Planning Committee in June. There was strong local opposition to aspects of the scheme, but it was nonetheless passed with stronger conditions on screening and drainage

- Three dwellings at School Lane, Summercourt (PA15/03068)

Cornwall Council ruled that the location was inappropriate and the application was been refused. The applicant appealed, I wrote a detailed statement on behalf of the Parish Council, and the appeal was dismissed.

- Kingsley Village (PA15/04129)

The redevelopment of Kingsley Village was consented in early 2016 and I have achieved guarantees that a Post Office will be retained on the site.

- Mobile homes on the Kelliers (PA15/06186)

The second (part-retrospective) application for mobile homes on the Kelliers was refused and enforcement notices were served, but the applicant has gone to appeal. I have produced another detailed statement on behalf of the Parish Council for the appeal.

- Former Post Office, Fraddon (PA15/08012)

The change of use application to turn the former Post Office in Fraddon into a takeaway was consented at a meeting of the Central Sub-Area Planning Committee in March, but with slightly reduced opening hours.

8. Cornwall Local Plan

As the Chairman of the Planning PAC, I have been heavily involved with the production of the Cornwall Local Plan and the work following instructions given by the Inspector who commenced the assessment of the Plan through an Examination in Public (EiP). This held its first session in May 2015 and the EiP will be reconvened next month.

When the Plan is agreed, it will set the policy framework to which we will have to fit our Neighbourhood Plan.

9. The Kelliers
In 2009, Restormel Borough Council agreed to transfer the land known as the Kelliers (located to the rear of the old Indian Queens School) to St Enoder Parish Council, so that it could be improved as a nature area for local residents. Sadly, that decision was scuppered by council officers and senior councillors on the unitary authority. They refused to honour the deal to transfer the freehold and, over a long period, there was considerable negotiation about potential leases. A 99-year lease was eventually agreed, but the implementation of this arrangement was delayed because some Environmental Agency paperwork.

I recently took the opportunity of this delay to successfully challenge the approach of Cornwall Council and the freehold will soon be transferred to the Parish Council, so that it will be able to start planning how best to enhance this area.

10. Open spaces

I have made numerous representations on the open space at Lindsay Fields, which is in the process of being transferred into the ownership of Cornwall Council for future maintenance. The process to transfer the small open space in Fairview Park into the ownership of St Enoder Parish Council has also started.

11. Highway works

I have spent a lot of time lobbying Council officers with regard to a range of traffic issues, ranging from pot-holes to flooding, issues around Indian Queens School, speeding and road safety issues. In addition, I have following up on a number of possible “improvement” schemes which I submitted to the unitary authority for consideration. The feedback, thus far, has been less than helpful but I am persevering to lobby for some investment in this Parish.

12. My Community Fund

I have awarded the £2,000 in my personal Community Fund for 2014-2015 (allocated to all Cornwall Councillors) as follows:

· Crafty Queens craft group – £233
· Fraddon and Penhale Enhancement Association – £197
· Indian Queens Pit – £500
· Indian Queens Under-5s – £570
· Indian Queens Community Choir – £500

13. Inquiries

I continue to help local people with advice and assistance on a daily basis. This covers issues as diverse as traffic to housing and planning, environmental concerns, dog mess and local facilities.

I can be contacted on 07791 876607 or dickcole@btinternet.com.

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