Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Back in Cornwall … report on ONS meeting to follow


Pleased to be back in Cornwall after today’s Office of National Statistics meeting in Westminster’s Queen Elizabeth II Centre (above) at which I represented Cornwall Council and made the case for a Cornish tickbox.

The visit to London has been covered by the Guardian:
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/dec/13/cornwall-launches-campaign-for-census-tickbox-cornish?CMP=share_btn_tw

In the next few days, I will be producing a report for the unitary authority, and I will also post a summary of the nature of today’s discussions on this blog in a few days.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

The 50,000 declarations - 16 years on!

Sixteen years ago today (12th December 2001) I was part of a delegation which presented 50,000 declarations demanding a Cornish Assembly to 10 Downing Street.

I am extremely proud to have authored the actual declaration, which had been launched by Mebyon Kernow on St Piran’s Day in 2000.

The declaration was clear and forthright.

It stated that: “Cornwall is a nation with its own identity, culture, traditions and history” while noting that it suffers “severe and unique economic problems.”

In addition, the declaration stated that “important decisions about our future are increasingly taken outside of Cornwall” and concluded that “the people of Cornwall must have a greater say in how we are governed … we need a Cornish Assembly that can set the right democratic priorities for Cornwall and provide a stronger voice for our communities in Britain, in Europe and throughout the wider World.”

In a period of less than twenty months, teams of volunteers under the inspirational leadership of Paddy McDonough visited town after town, setting up street stalls and getting the individual declarations signed.

It remains a truly amazing achievement that over 50,000 people – more than 10% of the adult population of Cornwall – signed the declaration in such a short period of time, and it is my view that these declarations continue to represent a great statement of intent from the ordinary people of Cornwall. And we must continue to campaign hard to secure meaningful devolution for Cornwall.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Singing in Cornish - a celebration


Having seen Gwenno in concert at the weekend, my column in this week's Cornish Guardian celebrates those who sing in the Cornish language. It will be as follows:

There are many truly wonderful aspects to Cornwall’s identity and culture, and I consider the most important factor in our distinctiveness to be the Cornish language.

This is because, to me, the continued existence of our own Celtic language, emphasises that we have a national identity, rather than simply a regional or county character.

For many decades, there have been a large number of people who have worked so incredibly hard to promote and celebrate Cornish, and it is right that we pay a heartfelt tribute to them all.

If we look back to the 1970s, at the forefront of the promotion of the language – through song – there was the much-loved and internationally respected folk singer Brenda Wootton.

She performed and recorded many Cornish language songs which included the 1973 LP Crowdy Crawn, produced in partnership with Richard Gendall. Richard, who passed away in September at the age of 92, wrote over 450 songs for Brenda, of which about a third were in Cornish.

The Davey family meanwhile formed a group called Bucca and released an LP in 1980 titled “An Tol an Pedn an Telynor” (The Hole in the Harper's Head), which included Cornish songs and was distributed in 13 countries across the world.

As a consequence of the foresight of Richard, Brenda, Bucca and many others, the Cornish language is now a natural and an increasingly prominent part of modern life in the Duchy.

At last year’s spectacle surrounding the “Man Engine,” which was a positive, inclusive and unashamed celebration of Cornwall, the language was ever-present, showing it to be a vital and living part of our present and future.

Like Brenda Wootton, many modern-day performers, with well-deserved high profiles, have regularly sung and recorded in Cornish.

These include the traditional music specialists Dalla and The Changing Room, who saw their video for a track off their latest album, “Gwrello Glaw” (Let It Rain), viewed by over 500,000 people online.

And this weekend, I was privileged to be able to attend a joyous concert at Falmouth’s The Poly by well-known Welsh singer Gwenno and her support act, Hanterhir, who both sang in Cornish and were both fantastic.

Gwenno was brought up in Cardiff speaking both Welsh and Cornish – her father is a Cornish poet – and it was indeed inspiring to see her showcase her new album (due out in March). It is entirely in Cornish and is already receiving significant coverage throughout the music world, positively promoting Cornwall’s national language to a much wider audience.

There is so much to be positive about and I would heartily recommend the music of Gwenno and groups such as The Changing Room, Dalla and Hanterhir, who really appreciate the importance of Cornish. Why not check them out?

Friday, 1 December 2017

Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill - an end to Devonwall in sight?

I am pleased that the Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill has today passed its latest hurdle in the House of Commons, when it was read for a second time.

It seeks to amend the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986 “to make provision about the number and size of parliamentary constituencies in the United Kingdom; and for connected purposes.”

In particular, it specifies that the number of UK constituencies should 650 and that “the electorate of any constituency in Great Britain shall be (a) no less than 92.5% of the Great Britain electoral quota, and (b) no more than 107.5% of that quota.

If this Bill makes it into legislation it will end the present Boundary Review that is seeking to reduce the number of MPs to 600 and would create an unpopular cross-Tamar parliamentary constituency.

Today’s division was 229 votes in favour of the Bill and 44 against.

Three Conservatives voted with the opposition and in favour of the Bill. Only one of Cornwall’s six Tory MPs took part in the vote, with George Eustice voting against the Bill.

It is very disappointing that he and his colleagues did not use the opportunity to vote against Devonwall.

Monday, 27 November 2017

My latest report to St Enoder Parish Council

Tomorrow night, I will be presenting my latest monthly report to a meeting of St Enoder Parish Council. It will cover the time period of 23rd October to 26th November, and will be as follows:

1. Council meetings

During the last month, I have attended a range of formal meetings at, and associated with, the unitary authority. These included: Full Council (and associated agenda briefing); Cabinet; Economic Growth and Development Overview and Scrutiny Committee; Neighbourhoods OSC; Electoral Review Panel (and, as vice-chairman of the Committee, a meeting for Cornwall Councillors at Launceston plus three associated public meetings in Liskeard, Pool and Truro); Group Leaders’ meeting; (two) member briefings covering topics such as a government consultation on housing and a Cornwall-wide residents survey; China Clay Area Network meeting; a consultation meeting on a possible housing development in Summercourt; and a “Housing Delivery and Growth Summit.

In the same period, as well as a number of informal meetings with council officers and others, I attended three meetings of St Enoder Parish Council.

2. Other meetings and activities

I have attended meetings of ClayTAWC (where I am Chairman) and the St Austell Bay Economic Forum. As well, I helped out at the 40th annual show of the Indian Queens Cage Bird Society, which took place on 25th November at Fraddon Village Hall.

3. Investment programme from Cornwall Council

See previous blog entry.

4. Strategic narrative for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly

In recent weeks, there was considerable coverage of the work being done by a consultancy firm on a “strategic narrative” for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. I have been extremely critical of what has been happening and it very much came into the public domain when a presentation was made to the “Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Leadership Board,” which comprises senior councillors and representatives of various public sector bodies.

In particular, I had written to the leader of Cornwall Council on this matter as follows:

“You will already be aware of our misgivings about how the leadership of Cornwall Council commissioned this report for the ‘Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Leadership Board’ without any input from the wider democratic membership of Cornwall Council.

”On numerous occasions I have raised concerns about this, and I have also, quite often, asked about the progress of the work being undertaken by the consultants thinkingplace, but have had little or no meaningful feedback. This includes at the most recent meeting of the Economic Growth and Development Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 1st November, which was only two days before the presentation to the ‘Leadership Board’ on 3rd November.

”I have received a number of concerns from people who have heard about Friday’s briefing at the ‘Board’ meeting, and I took some time over the weekend to view the webcast. I share the concerns that have been raised with me, and I note that it was confirmed at the Board meeting that the ‘strategic narrative’ would be launched in January 2018.

”I am seeking clarity on what the role of the Cornwall Council’s elected members will be in this process in the coming weeks, and when we will be able to have our say about the ‘vision’ for Cornwall should actually be.

”In addition, I was concerned to see that in the Board’s work programme, under ‘regional and sector collaboration,’ there was the ‘development of a Great South West’ proposition. This is not something that my group supports. We remain concerned at the significant effort going into this ‘regional’ experiment from representatives of the public sector in Cornwall when they should be making a better case for the primacy of Cornwall in all forms of governance, administration, etc.”

5. Waste Collection and Cleansing Contract

Since the last Parish Council meeting, I have made representations about the limited extent of street cleaning in rural communities and the number of public waste bins in communities such as ours.

The Neighbourhoods OSC and the Cabinet have agreed that, as part of the ongoing work setting out the content of the next contract (for waste collection, street cleaning, beach cleaning, etc), additional analysis on these areas of concern. Further to the Parish Council’s formal request to Cornwall Council for enhanced bin coverage in St Enoder Parish, I am in discussions with council officers and will update further when I have firm feedback.

6. Outreach Post Office at Indian Queens

The outreach Post Office continues to be run from the ante-room of the Indian Queens Victory Hall for two three-hour sessions each week.

Unfortunately, there have been some technical problems which meant that, on a few occasions, it could not be opened, but it looks like these issues have been sorted.

7. St Enoder Neighbourhood Plan

An additional consultation was about the appropriate level of housing growth in Summercourt has taken place. The forms were hand-delivered to all properties in the village along with a freepost envelope, and all responses received will be in assessed in the near future and fed back into the work to produce our Neighbourhood Plan.

8. Planning matters

I am dealing with a range of planning and enforcement matters in St Enoder Parish, and will report in more detail in my next monthly report.

At this time however, I can confirm that the appeals relating to conditions at the Higher Fraddon biogas plant will be heard by an informal hearing. This will take place at Roche Victory Hall on 7th February.

9. Highway matters

I am also following up on a host of highway issues, including speed recordings at three locations, and I will also report in more detail in my next monthly report.

10. Grass cutting (Cornwall Council)

With regard to my ongoing representations to Cornwall Council about the maintenance of those areas in our parish which they own, I can report that the unitary authority has finally started to sort out the garden area in Clodan Mews, St Columb Road.

11. WW1 project

I am very pleased to be able to lay a wreath at the St Enoder War Memorial on Remembrance Sunday, and that our First World War project is up and running. We held our first community engagement event at Summercourt’s New Memorial Hall on 4th November and similar events are planned elsewhere in the Parish.

We have already received photographs of soldiers from two local families, which will be featured in the book.

12. Opposition to Devonwall

At the recent Cornwall Council meeting, I moved a motion reaffirming the unitary authority’s opposition to a cross-Tamar parliamentary seat. There was massive support for the motion – and it was across all political parties.

The strength of the vote for the motion (and against Devonwall) was so great that the Chairman, Mary May, did not even bother to ask if there were any votes against the motion.

The agreed motion was as follows:

”1. Cornwall Council write to the Prime Minister and the UK Government to request that they (a) take measures to end the parliamentary boundary review and stop the imposition of a cross-Tamar Devonwall constituency, and (b) ensure that future boundary reviews respect the articles of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and guarantee that parliamentary constituencies remain fully within the boundaries of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly;

”2. Cornwall Council write to all the Members of Parliament for Cornwall to seek their urgent and active support for the efforts of the unitary authority and others to ensure that Cornwall’s territoriality is respected.”

13. Inquiries


During the couple of months, I have also helped numerous people with guidance on a vast array of issues.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

My thoughts on the UK budget and the Council's investment programme

The Chancellor of the Exchequer’s latest budget has been slammed by a very diverse range of bodies and individuals.

Philip Hammond has been criticised for failing to address the crisis in social care and for rejecting pleas from the NHS for an emergency injection of £4 billion. Serious concerns have also been raised that the “lion’s share” of the increased investment in housing was not geared towards the provision of much-needed affordable homes.

In addition, there has been considerable anger at the location of capital projects supported by Philip Hammond. The Western Morning News featured a picture of Mr Hammond laughing at the opposition’s response to his budget alongside the headline: “Budget that neglects West is no joke, Chancellor.”

The newspaper and many others went on to claim that the South West had been snubbed, with more investment going to areas with the UK Government’s favoured “metro-mayors.”

The one exception to this analysis was the confirmation that Cornwall Council’s request for £79 million towards a link road between St Austell and the A30 had been granted.

This announcement, which has been extremely well-received in mid Cornwall, came in the same week that councillors on the unitary authority voted to support a large capital programme entitled: “An Investment Programme for Cornwall: delivering homes, jobs and infrastructure for communities and places.”

There is considerable logic which underpins this local programme with an initial budget of £70 million that is projected to grow to £600 million during the life of the scheme.

Its supporters have argued that intervening in construction would give the unitary authority greater control over the quality of those developments that it is involved with and could, for example, increase the amount of affordable housing.

They have also made it clear that the developments will, in the long-term, generate a financial return to go towards the funding of those basic council services that have been starved of cash by central government cuts.

Though I could understand the rationale for the programme, I have had negative experiences of “place-shaping” in my local area and therefore had a range of questions about how it would operate.

In a number of formal meetings, I queried how the sites for intervention would be selected, how the local elected members would be able to influence the programme and ensure that the Council did not invest in proposals that were not supported by local communities.

Sadly, these queries were not adequately addressed by the officers and senior councillors that I questioned. My frustrations were undoubtedly heightened because of the manner in which the leadership of the unitary authority had commenced work on a “strategic narrative” for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly without any input from the wider democratic membership of Cornwall Council.

For these reasons, I was unable to vote to support the programme.

[This is my article in this week's Cornish Guardian].

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Cornwall Council votes to oppose Devonwall


At today’s Cornwall Council, I moved a motion reaffirming the unitary authority’s opposition to a cross-Tamar parliamentary seat.

I am therefore very pleased to be able to report that there was massive support for the motion – and it was across all political parties.

The strength of the vote for the motion (and against Devonwall) was so great that the Chairman, Mary May, did not even bother to ask if there were any votes against the motion.

The agreed motion was as follows:

1. Cornwall Council write to the Prime Minister and the UK Government to request that they (a) take measures to end the parliamentary boundary review and stop the imposition of a cross-Tamar Devonwall constituency, and (b) ensure that future boundary reviews respect the articles of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and guarantee that parliamentary constituencies remain fully within the boundaries of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly;

2. Cornwall Council write to all the Members of Parliament for Cornwall to seek their urgent and active support for the efforts of the unitary authority and others to ensure that Cornwall’s territoriality is respected.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Opposition to Devonwall constituency


At tomorrow’s meeting of Cornwall Council, I have tabled a motion reaffirming the unitary authority’s opposition to a cross-Tamar parliamentary seat.

It will be as follows:

1. Cornwall Council write to the Prime Minister and the UK Government to request that they (a) take measures to end the parliamentary boundary review and stop the imposition of a cross-Tamar Devonwall constituency, and (b) ensure that future boundary reviews respect the articles of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and guarantee that parliamentary constituencies remain fully within the boundaries of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly;

2. Cornwall Council write to all the Members of Parliament for Cornwall to seek their urgent and active support for the efforts of the unitary authority and others to ensure that Cornwall’s territoriality is respected.

The motion has full cross-party support. It is seconded by Jesse Foot (Lib Dem) and is also supported by Stephen Barnes (Labour), Bert Biscoe (Independent), Martin Eddy (Lib Dem), Andrew Long (MK) and James Mustoe (Conservative).

I will update with the outcome tomorrow.

Real action needed on tax avoiders


The tax affairs of the rich and famous are once again under public scrutiny. This follows the “Paradise Papers” leak of 13.4 million files from “two offshore service providers” and the company registries of 19 tax havens.

The files reveal much about the financial affairs of some of the world’s richest individuals and biggest multinational companies, and details the myriad ways in which they avoid paying tax.

We hear a lot about the difference between tax evasion and tax avoidance.

Tax evasion is clearly illegal, when a person or a business deliberately misrepresents the true state of their affairs for tax purposes.

Tax avoidance however is not illegal, but allows individuals or corporations to “exploit” the tax system to reduce their liabilities. This often includes “artificial transactions” through offshore companies which, though not technically unlawful, are nonetheless shameful.

Just look at the convoluted actions of the Formula I racing driver, Lewis Hamilton, uncovered via the “Paradise Papers.”

To dodge taxes of more than £3 million on the purchase of a private jet costing £16.5 million, Hamilton’s advisors used “shell companies” in places such as the Isle of Man, British Virgin Islands, and Guernsey.

In a complicated scheme, Hamilton’s advisors achieved the tax dodge by setting up an artificial “leasing business” through which Hamilton rented his jet, for free, from himself. Similar arrangements were concocted to purchase a €1.7m motorhome.

Sadly, such schemes do not represent isolated episodes, but are a popular tactic for the very rich to play the system.

As far as I am concerned, it is a disgrace that such rich individuals have been able to divert millions from the public purse into their own pockets. And instead of the money being used to fund public services such as the National Health Service, it has presumably been used to fund the luxury lifestyles of a small minority.

It is simply wrong that people with access to well-paid accountants and lawyers can be treated differently to the rest of us when it comes to payment of tax.

As a result of such industrial levels of tax avoidance, ordinary people are suffering greatly because of the cuts in public spending

The Office of National Statistics recently reported that the “tax gap” – the difference between the amount of tax that should, in theory, be collected by HMRC and what is actually collected – is estimated to be £34 billion (£34,000,000,000) each year. Others such as the PCS union claim the “tax gap” is even greater.

Surely, it is time that the Government must take decisive action on such tax cheats and eradicate all these ridiculous avoidance schemes.

[This will be my article in this week’s Cornish Guardian].

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Thanks for the support at Conference


Thanks to everyone who attended yesterday’s MK Conference at Bodmin and the many kind and supportive words about my two decades at the helm of Mebyon Kernow.

I am particularly grateful to Michael Bunney and Julie Fox (pictured above) for conspiring to celebrate the occasion with a wonderful homemade cake.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Remembering the fallen of the First World War


Thousands of people attended the recent Remembrance commemorations across Cornwall and I was honoured to be able to lay a wreath at my local war memorial in St Enoder Churchtown today.

It is my strong belief that we need to properly remember the dead from all conflicts and, as we continue to mark the centenary of the First World War, it is especially important that we do more to learn about the conflict which engulfed the globe between 1914 and 1918.

I think it is especially difficult for people in this modern age to fully comprehend the magnitude of the losses of “The Great War,” in which ten million service personnel and some six million civilians died.

Looking back one hundred years, the most famous battle of 1917 was Passchendaele, also known as the Third Battle of Ypres, in which more than 500,000 men died.

Siegried Sassoon famously wrote about the three-month confrontation in one of his poems, stating “… I died in Hell (they called it Passchendaele),” while Private R. A. Colwill, writing about the area in early 1918, recounted: “There was not a sign of life of any sort. Not a tree, save for a few dead stumps which looked strange in the moonlight. Not a bird, not even a rat or a blade of grass. Nature was as dead as those Canadians whose bodies remained where they had fallen the previous autumn. Death was written large everywhere.”

The overall extent of all this suffering, at Ypres and elsewhere, was truly terrifying but each loss was also intensely personal.

I am therefore pleased to be heavily involved with St Enoder Parish Council’s community project to tell the stories of the men from Fraddon, Indian Queens, St Columb Road and Summercourt who lost their lives in the First World War.

Thanks to a grant of £7,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, we will be working with a range of local organisations to produce a book about the sixty-plus local servicemen, mostly clay workers and farm labourers, who did not return home from WW1.

We have tasked ourselves to discover all we can about who these men were, what they did in their lives and what happened to them.

But we won’t just be focusing on the men’s service records. We aim to tell their stories as the sons, husbands, brothers and friends that they were, and also explore the consequences for the sweethearts, wives, children, parents and siblings they left behind.

If you have any information which you think might be useful to the St Enoder Parish First World War Project, please feel free to get in contact with me on 07791 876607.

[This will be my article in this coming week's Cornish Guardian].

For more information about the St Enoder Parish First World War Project see:
St-Enoder-Parish-First-World-War-Project

Thursday, 9 November 2017

MK Conference: Saturday 18th November. All welcome.

MK's 2017 Conference is just over one week away. It takes place at the Bodmin Shire House Suite on Saturday 18th November and all are welcome to attend.

Mebyon Kernow's AGM will take place in the morning (10.15 start) and a number of motions will be debated.

In the afternoon (2.00 start), there will be a number of speeches which will include my annual address which will look back over my twenty years as MK leader.

We would love to see you at the event.


The below image is the MK leadership team from last year's Conference.


Monday, 6 November 2017

MK concerns about "strategic direction" study

Today, I have sent the below email to the leader of Cornwall Council. It is self explanatory.

As the leader of the Mebyon Kernow group, I am writing to formally express my concern at the nature of the work on the “strategic narrative” for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

You will already be aware of our misgivings about how the leadership of Cornwall Council commissioned this report for the “Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Leadership Board” without any input from the wider democratic membership of Cornwall Council.

On numerous occasions I have raised concerns about this, and I have also, quite often, asked about the progress of the work being undertaken by the consultants thinkingplace, but have had little or no meaningful feedback. This includes at the most recent meeting of the Economic Growth and Development Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 1st November, which was only two days before the presentation to the “Leadership Board” on 3rd November.

I have received a number of concerns from people who have heard about Friday’s briefing at the "Board" meeting, and I took some time over the weekend to view the webcast. I share the concerns that have been raised with me, and I note that it was confirmed at the Board meeting that the “strategic narrative” would be launched in January 2018.

I am seeking clarity on what the role of the Cornwall Council’s elected members will be in this process in the coming weeks, and when we will be able to have our say about the “vision” for Cornwall should actually be.

In addition, I was concerned to see that in the Board’s work programme, under “regional and sector collaboration,” there was the “development of Great South West.” This is not something that my group supports. We remain concerned at the significant effort going into this “regional” experiment from representatives of the public sector in Cornwall when they should be making a better case for the primacy of Cornwall in all forms of governance, administration, etc.

MK response to UK Government housing consultation

This weekend, on behalf of Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall, I responded to the UK Government’s most recent consultation on housing.

Titled “Planning for the right homes in the right places,” the document sets out measures to “boost housing supply” and “increase local authority capacity to manage growth” – whatever that means. In particular, it proposes a “standard method” for calculating housing targets for local councils.

Over the last few years, I have often written about the process through which Cornwall Council devised its Local Plan (that includes a policy for 52,500 new properties during the period 2010-2030).

It has been well-documented that I made the case for a lower housing target and a greater focus on the provision of genuinely affordable housing for local people.

But it turned out that policy shifts from central government and input from a government inspector meant that fewer local-needs properties would be provided on developments while the housing target was increased.

The annual target is therefore 2,625 units but, in a number of recent years, fewer units have been built. This means that there has been “under-delivery” and, as a consequence, central government expects Cornwall to build even more properties to address this “backlog.”

I continue to be extremely frustrated at how Cornwall’s housing stock has been growing at a faster rate than almost all other parts of the United Kingdom and yet we are still under pressure from Whitehall to ratchet up the extent of development even further.

It is frankly unacceptable and I am saddened at how their new consultation even includes, council area by council area, the result of their calculation of an “indicative assessment of housing need” – removing, once and for all, any illusion that local councillors decide the extent of growth in their areas.

Their assessment would set an annual target of 2,889 – which would equate to a future target of 57,780 if spread over a twenty-year plan period.

However, the good news is that, as Cornwall Council has just adopted its Local Plan, the “new standardised method” would not come into effect immediately.

Nonetheless, this top-down imposition of a “standard” approach to housing growth would take decisions on planning policy even further away from local communities, and I do not believe that Government officials inside the M25 corridor know what is best for Cornwall and its people.

It remains my view that we need to see a Cornish National Planning Policy Framework, which would allow local people to bring forward more sustainable planning policies with development geared to meet local needs and defend the Cornish countryside.

[This is my article in this week's Cornish Guardian].

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Remembering Bob Fitzsimmons


As a proud Cornishman, I believe it is really important that we always do our utmost to celebrate the achievements of people from Cornwall, both past and present.

I therefore cannot let the 100th anniversary of Bob Fitzsimmons’ death pass without writing about his successes in the boxing ring.

Born in Helston in 1863, Bob’s father was James Fitzsimmons, a policeman originally from Ireland, while his mother was Jane Strongman from St Clement near Truro.

Bob was nine when the family moved to Timaru on the South Island of New Zealand and where, when he reached adulthood, he worked as a blacksmith at the family forge. This work is often credited with developing the strength that he used so successfully as a boxer.

He fought a number of bouts in New Zealand, before moving to Australia where he became a professional fighter. Inevitably, he then went to the United States, where he had better chance of securing high profile contests.

Often described as a “lanky” middleweight, Bob was nonetheless reputed to have the upper body strength of a heavyweight and an equally powerful punch.

In 1891, he won the world middleweight title in New Orleans and then, in 1897, he knocked out “Gentleman” Jim Corbett at Carson City, Nevada, to become the heavyweight champion of the world.

Six years later, he won the new light heavyweight title, becoming the first man to hold world titles at three different weights.

Much has certainly been written about Bob, who had a number of nicknames including “Ruby” and the “freckled wonder.” He was sometimes known simply as the “Cornishman.”

One early boxing historian, Sandy Griswold, wrote: “He knows all the vulnerable spots of the human anatomy … and has a greater variety of effective blows than any fighter who ever lived.”

Joe Gans, a contemporary and lightweight champion between 1902 and 1908, told the New York Times that he considered Bob Fitzsimmons to be: “one of the greatest exponents of straight hitting that the prize ring has ever known.” He added: “Fitz was a wonderful fighter and all of his straight punches were very effective … there were few fighters able to withstand that famous shift of his. When Fitz delivered a blow he carried the whole weight of his body with it.”

Nat Fleischer, the founder of The Ring magazine, is known to have later described Fitzsimmons as the “greatest pound for pound knockout puncher in boxing history” and, in 1954, the Cornishman was inducted into the magazine’s Boxing Hall of Fame.

Bob continued to box until he was 51 years old, but three years later died of pneumonia on 22nd October 1917. And as we mark the centenary of his death, I would heartily recommend that people take the time to find out more about his remarkable life.

This is my article in this coming week's Cornish Guardian.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Mebyon Kernow statement on Catalonia


Following the events of Friday 27th October in Catalonia and Spain, which saw the Catalan Government declare independence and the Spanish state impose direct rule, MK has expressed its support for the processes of democracy and called on the international community to respect the democratic wishes of the residents of Catalonia.

Spokesperson Cllr Loveday Jenkin has released the following statement on behalf of the Party for Cornwall.

“Mebyon Kernow has made it clear that we believe it is not for MK or any other political party in the UK to support, or indeed object, to independence for Catalonia.

“However, we fully support the right of the people of Catalonia to decide their own political future in a peaceful and democratic manner.

“The present situation is a complex one, especially given that many people in Catalonia boycotted the recent referendum vote.

“But we remain shocked at the actions of the Spanish state, both during the referendum and in more recent days when it has failed to enter into a meaningful dialogue with the Catalan Government, jailed some political opponents and imposed direct rule on the area.

“It our view that the international community, including the United Kingdom and the EU, need to come together to help to find a way forward that respects the democratic wishes of the residents of Catalonia.”

Friday, 27 October 2017

Loveday Jenkin – fantastic on Any Questions


Tonight, Mebyon Kernow was represented on BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions for the first time ever, when the latest programme was broadcast from the Solomon Browne Hall in Mousehole.

MK Deputy Leader Cllr Loveday Jenkin was fantastic in dealing with questions on Catalonia, the ongoing fallout from the Harvey Weinstein scandal, Brexit, and the National Health Service.

Well done Loveday – you really did Mebyon Kernow proud.

If you didn't hear it, it is already available online:

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Cornish Nation no. 76 ... available now!


Mebyon Kernow has just published the latest edition of its Cornish Nation magazine, which has been emailed or posted to all MK members.

If you are not already a member and would like a complimentary copy, please get in contact via dickcole@btinternet.com.

Please specify whether you would like a paper or digital copy.


This latest edition has a little about my twenty years at the helm of Mebyon Kernow and the 20th anniversary of the devolution referendums in Wales and Scotland, the undemocratic reduction in councillor numbers on the unitary authority, the ongoing threat from south west regionalisation, the campaign to secure a memorial for Emily Hobhouse, and so much more.

MK panellist to appear on BBC Radio 4 Any Questions


I am very pleased to be able to report that MK’s Deputy Leader, Cllr Dr Loveday Jenkin, will be one of the four guests on this Friday’s Any Questions.

This is the first time that an MK panellist has been invited to participate on the show.

The event will be taking place at the Solomon Browne Hall in Mousehole, and the other participants will be the Chair of the House of Commons Health Select Committee Sarah Wollaston MP, Labour MP Dan Jarvis and the businessman Tim Martin.

The debate will be broadcast on Radio 4 on Friday, starting at 8.00.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

No to Devonwall!


In this week's Cornish Guardian, my article looks will look at the continued threat of a Devonwall seat and the launch of the latest “Boundary Commission for England” consultation. The article includes material already published on this blog, but the article is here for the sake of completeness. It will be as follows:

Even though there have been reports that the UK Government intends to scrap the ongoing parliamentary review, which would lead to a cross-Tamar Devonwall parliamentary constituency, the “Boundary Commission for England” (BCE) is continuing its work.

Last week, the BCE published revised proposals for new constituency boundaries which still include a Devonwall seat.

This was not a surprise, as the BCE has been working within the rules set down by Westminster that state seats must have electorates of “between 71,031 and 78,507 – that is, 5% either side of the electoral quota of 74,769.”

Indeed, the BCE has reported back: “We noted that the electorate of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly was 393,874 and that if we were to allocate five constituencies, the average electorate of those five constituencies would be 78,775, which is more than 5% above the electoral quota … [this] meant that we had no option but to recommend a constituency that crossed the county boundary between Cornwall and Devon.”

At the Boundary Commission hearings, which took place in Truro about twelve months ago, I argued that the whole process – with regard to Cornwall – was flawed and appealed to the BCE that they should recognise this and join us in making representations to central government to rethink their approach and make sure that a cross-Tamar Devonwall constituency was not created.

I am very disappointed, but not surprised, that the BCE has chosen not to do this. But, in addition, I am saddened at how it glossed over the massive level of opposition to this breach of Cornwall’s historic integrity.

After a further consultation, the final recommendations will be presented to the Westminster Parliament, sometime in 2018, and will need to be endorsed by MPs in a formal vote.

I am therefore perplexed that Theresa May’s Government is allowing the Review to continue, especially as they no longer have a majority in the House of Commons and senior Tories have admitted that their attempt to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600 is doomed to failure.

The recommendations of the Boundary Commission will almost certainly not be supported by opposition MPs, or indeed their allies in the Democratic Unionist Party.

Some Conservative MPs are also unlikely to vote through the changes and I commend the MP for St Austell and Newquay, Steve Double, for making it clear that he will use his vote to oppose Devonwall. It is about time that his five parliamentary colleagues in Cornwall made the same pledge.

But most of all, I call on Theresa May to end this farce of a Boundary Review, to repeal the underlying legislation, and think again about how future reviews might be carried out.

My latest monthly report to St Enoder Parish Council

At this Tuesday's Parish Council meeting, I will be presenting my latest monthly report. It will cover the time period 25th September – 22nd October 2017, though I was on holiday for a week during this time. It is as follows:

1. Council meetings

Over the last few weeks, I have attended a range of formal meetings. These included: Electoral Review Panel (and two associated preparatory meetings, plus two sessions seeking the view of local members in Liskeard and Truro); Constitution and Governance Committee; all-member briefing which was attended by the Police Commissioner Alison Hernandez;

“CERC” (incinerator) liaison group; a meeting of members from the China Clay Area plus an additional meeting about gypsy and traveller issues in Mid Cornwall; the national minority working group and an informal briefing as part of the parking review.

In the same period, as well as a number of informal meetings with council officers and others, I have been at one meeting of St Enoder Parish Council, and one meeting of the Neighbourhood Plan working group.

2. “Outreach” Post Office at the Victory Hall


I am pleased that an outreach Post Office is now being run from the ante-room of the Indian Queens Victory Hall for two three-hour sessions each week.

The sessions are held:

Every Tuesday morning: 8.30 – 11.30.
Every Thursday afternoon: 1.00 – 4.00.

As reported last month, the new outreach provision is being run from the existing Post Office at Summercourt, while the cost of hiring the Victory Hall for the next twelve months will be covered by Kingsley Developers.

Unfortunately, the service did not start on Tuesday 3rd October as advertised, due to a technical problem with the phone line, but it did actually commence on October 12th.

3. Newsletter

In advance of the opening of the outreach Post Office provision, I was delivering my six-monthly newsletter around the Parish which, amongst other things, publicised the opening date of the “outreach” Post Office.

However, when the opening date was pushed back, I had to delay the distribution of the newsletters. Now that the Post Office is open and I am back from a week’s holiday, I will be out leafleting again soon.

4. Planning matters

Numerous planning applications in our local parish are being dealt with by Cornwall Council. Listed below are updates on a couple of the more contentious proposals.

- Higher Fraddon biogas plant

As reported in my last monthly report, the owners of the plant have submitted two appeals to the Planning Inspectorate relating to condition 14. The condition states that the types of HGVs accessing the site must be agreed through the condition, but the operators want this to be left very open-ended and not to specify the principal use of the “duoliner” vehicle that they had previously pledged they would use during the planning process. In addition, they have appealed a planning application to modify condition 14 (by increasing the number of small vehicles to the plant).

On behalf of the Parish Council, I have written a detailed planning statement for the two appeals, which was submitted prior to the deadline of 19th October.

I have also contacted the owners of the plant, now known as Fraddon Biogas Ltd, and pointed out that they are not in compliance with condition 16 of their planning permission.

This states that: “Within two months of the date of this permission, the Operator shall submit to the Local Planning Authority for approval in writing and then implement the approved Vehicle Management Policy to deal with deliveries to and from the site” which included “details of the content of a written report which will be provided to St Enoder Parish Council and residents of Higher Fraddon Lane at 4 monthly intervals and will address information regarding deliveries to and from the site...”

Condition 16 was discharged on 19 April 2017 (PA16/11310) but, some six months later, St Enoder Parish Council has yet to receive the first four-monthly written report specified above.

- Unauthorised development on the Kelliers

Members will recall that, about nine months ago, the unauthorised caravan site on the Kelliers failed to secure planning permission through an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. The owners were also told that they had to remove the seven caravans from the site by 18th July 2017. They failed to do meet this deadline but, during the last two-three weeks, the caravans were actually carried off site.

The appeal for the failed application for five traveller pitches on the same site is still outstanding, though no date has been set for this.

A meeting of Clay Country councillors was held in September to discuss issues relating to unlawful activities as described above and, as a result, officers at the unitary authority have started research to assist in its formulation of future actions.

5. Proposed housing scheme near Mitchell

On 3rd October, I attended the consultation event in Mitchell, at which Coastline Housing presented a potential “affordable housing led” scheme for twenty houses on the eastern site of Mitchell at the Fruit Farm.

I will report again, when I am updated on progress with the site.

6. Visit of Police Commissioner

The Police Commissioner Alison Hernandez attended a briefing at Cornwall Council on 29th September. During the meeting, I made representations about the ongoing reduction in PCSOs and she stated that the scale of the cut in such officers was likely to be revisited. Another councillor for Clay Country and I had a further conversation with her after the meeting and she promised to attend a future meeting of the China Clay Area Network.

7. Highway matters

In recent weeks, the local Cormac officer has overseen speed recordings at three locations within the Parish: Parka Road, St Columb Road; Parka Road, Fraddon; and Toldish. I will make available the summary reports for the readings in the near future.

8. Review into parking matters

I attended an informal meeting as part of the “task and finish” group to review the Council’s arrangement for parking (as part of the Economic Growth and Development Overview and Scrutiny Committee). This looked at the work needed to explore various charging options for council car parks.

The next meeting will be on 24th October and will address enforcement issues, which is of special interest to our local area.

9. Grass cutting (Cornwall Council)

I have continued to make representations about the cutting of grass in those areas owned by Cornwall Council (such as the small play areas in certain housing estates). I took a senior Council officer around the sites and he acknowledged the grass in these local areas was not being cut quite often enough and he would sort this for next year’s cutting rota.

I have made yet more representations about the fact that there has been no maintenance of the garden area in Clodan Mews, St Columb Road, during this last twelve months; and the green area in Lindsay Fields, Fraddon, was not cut, as it should have been. I have been given promises that this will all be sorted out.

10. Waste Collection and Cleansing Contract

I am making representations about the limited extent of street cleaning in rural communities and the number of public waste bins, as part of the review into the content of the contract for waste collection, street cleaning, beach cleaning, etc, which will be retendered in a couple of years.

Last month, I listed the number of bins in St Enoder Parish (and these are reprised below).

Fraddon / Indian Queens / St Columb Road
Moorland Road (opposite cemetery) (083)
Moorland Road (cemetery layby) (348)
Fraddon Hill (bus stop / layby) (351)
Chapel Road (bus stop / layby) (352)
Fraddon Hill (bottom of) (353)
Parka (St Columb Road end) (354)
Parka (nearer Fraddon end) (082)
St Columb Road junction (by Chopping Block) (355)
Penhale (bus stop / layby) (081)
St Francis Road (bus stop nr Carworgie Way) (356)
Penhale (near Westbourne Terrace) (358)
Moorland Road (east of Gnomeworld) (084)
Not included on official list
Higher Fraddon (near bridge to Pedna Carne) - no number
Newquay Road (899)

Summercourt
School Road (360)
School Road (Thomas Playing Field) (361)
Road to Chapeltown (by car showrooms) (897)
Beacon Road (bus stop) (047)

I will bring maps to the Parish Council meeting to inform our discussions, so that we can consider a formal request to Cornwall Council for enhanced bin coverage in St Enoder Parish.

11. Review into councillor numbers

On 26th September, the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) published its decision to reduce the number of elected members on Cornwall Council from 123 to 87. The change will be implemented at the next set of elections due to take place in 2021.

I did quite a bit of media work about the decision, which I condemned as an “assault on democracy in Cornwall.”

Prior to 2009, Cornwall had 331 councillors on the County Council and the six district councils. The centralisation of local government was then imposed on Cornwall and the number of councillors slashed to 123. And now we are expected to suffer another significant cut in elected members, which will further increase the democratic deficit from which Cornwall already suffers.

It is interesting to note that the LGBCE did not seek a similar reduction in the number of councillors when it carried out an electoral review of the unitary authority in County Durham, which was also created in 2009. Durham County Council was founded with 126 councillors and its review allowed the council to continue with the same number of members.

The next stage of work will involve working up proposals for the new divisional boundaries for Cornwall Council and, as vice-chairman of the Electoral Review Panel, I am heavily involved with the work.

Consultants have prepared some indicative boundaries for each of Cornwall’s nineteen community networks, which are the starting point for the detailed discussions which will follow.

The China Clay Area will have four councillors and the indicative maps that have been produced show the following:

1. St Enoder Parish and St Dennis Parish (minus Enniscaven and Gothers)
2. St Stephen Parish (minus Whitemoor)
3. Treverbyn Parish (minus Bugle)
4. Roche Parish (plus Enniscaven and Gothers, Whitemoor and Bugle)

12. WW1 project

The necessary paperwork for the Heritage Lottery Fund has been completed and we have received official permission to start the project to remember the fallen of the First World War. St Enoder Parish Council will soon be receiving the £7,500 HLF grant towards the project.

The first event to publicise the project will be at Summercourt’s New Memorial Hall on the morning of the 4th November.

13. Helping local community groups
I can also confirm that I have helped the committee of Fraddon Village Hall with a funding application for new chairs.

14. Inquiries

During the couple of months, I have also helped numerous people with guidance on a vast array of issues.

15. Mebyon Kernow

In addition to my local issues, I did generate a considerable amount of coverage in the local press because I have now been the leader of MK for twenty years.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

MK calls on Theresa May to end farce of Boundary Review


MK has just released the following statement concerning the Boundary Review:

The leader of Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall has today called on the Prime Minister to make a formal announcement that she will scrap the Boundary Review that would lead to the creation of an unpopular cross-Tamar constituency.

He was speaking after the Boundary Commission announced revised proposals for constituencies for the next General Election – which included a cross-Tamar seat.

Cllr Dick Cole said: “As someone who has campaigned against the imposition of a ‘Devonwall’ parliamentary constituency for a number of years, I was pleased to see numerous recent newspaper reports that the Conservatives intended to scrap the Boundary Review.

“But I am perplexed that that Theresa May’s Government is allowing the Review to continue – especially as they no longer have a majority in the House of Commons and the recommendations of the Boundary Commission will almost certainly not be supported by opposition MPs or their friends in the Democratic Unionist Party.

“Senior Conservatives have already admitted that their attempt to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600 is doomed to failure, and I call on Theresa May to end this farce of a Boundary Review and think again.

“We will certainly be continuing with our campaigns to protect the territorial integrity of Cornwall, and for Cornwall to be treated as a distinct entity for the purposes of governance.”

Boundary Commission proposes Devonwall seat ... AGAIN!


The Boundary Commission for England (BCE) has today published revised proposals for new constituency boundaries tomorrow and commenced an eight-week consultation.

The BCE is still recommending a cross-Tamar Devonwall constituency, and has glossed over the massive level of opposition to this breach of Cornwall’s historic integrity.

At the Boundary Commission hearing in Truro in November, I argued that the whole process – with regard to Cornwall was flawed – and appealed to the BCE that they should recognise this and join us in making representations to central government to rethink their approach, to modify the existing legislation and make sure that a cross-Tamar “Devonwall” constituency is not created.

I am very disappointed, but not surprised, that the BCE has chosen not to do this.

Relevant extracts from the document published today are as follows:

“We noted that the electorate of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly was 393,874 and that if we were to allocate five constituencies, the average electorate of those five constituencies would be 78,775, which is more than 5% above the electoral quota, and therefore outside the permitted electorate range. We were aware that there would be opposition to the creation of a constituency that crossed the Cornwall county boundary, but we considered that the ‘Rules for distribution of seats’ in Schedule 2 of the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986 (as amended) meant that we had no option but to recommend a constituency that crossed the county boundary between Cornwall and Devon.”

“There was a large amount of support for our proposed sub-regions. The main political parties all submitted counterproposals that adhered to the sub-regions, while acknowledging that there were objections to the creation of a ‘Devonwall’ cross-county boundary constituency. For example, the Liberal Democrat Party (BCE-32821) said ‘We protest at the creation of a “cross-border” seat. We recognise the legal and population requirements. We accept the proposed boundaries and name of the cross-border Revised proposals for new constituency boundaries in the South West 13 seat as “Bideford, Bude and Launceston”.’ There were a number of objections from respondents in Cornwall to the combining of Cornwall and Devon, with many citing Cornwall’s separateness from the rest of England – see the Cornish Nationalist Party (BCE-29305), the Cornish Stannary Parliament (BCE-34907 and BCE-31410) and Mebyon Kernow (BCE-29560).”

“There was support for our proposed constituencies, but also many objections to the creation of a so-called ‘Devonwall’ cross-county constituency, as detailed previously in this report. Many of those who objected to a cross-county constituency did not submit a counter-proposal to create five constituencies wholly within Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, each with an electorate within the permitted electorate range. It was argued that Cornwall was a separate entity to the rest of England and should be treated in the same way as Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales in terms of the review. Our assistant commissioners were sympathetic to the arguments against a cross-county constituency between Cornwall and Devon, but accepted that the statutory rules left them with no choice but to recommend such a constituency.”

The consultation website is: www.bce2018.org.uk.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Revised proposals for parliamentary seats to be published tomorrow


Even though there have been numerous reports that the Conservatives intend to scrap the ongoing boundary review, which would otherwise lead to the imposition of a cross-Tamar “Devonwall” parliamentary constituency, the Boundary Commission for England (BCE) is continuing its work.

It will be publishing revised proposals for new constituency boundaries tomorrow (Tuesday 17th October).

There will then be an eight week consultation.

The BCE is stating that this consultation will be the “last chance” for people to have their say before it reports recommendations to central government in September 2018.

The consultation website is:
www.bce2018.org.uk.

I will post more information as soon as I get it.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Update on Post Office “outreach” at Indian Queens Victory Hall


Over the last few days, the Clerk of the Parish Council and I have been liaising with the Post Office Ltd about the delays to the start of the Post Office “outreach” at Indian Queens Victory Hall.

I can confirm that the fault on the telephone lines, etc, has been sorted and the Post Office Ltd has today confirmed that the “outreach” service will start this coming Thursday (12th October), between 1.00 and 4.00.

The service will then happen at the Victory Hall twice a week as previously advertised (Tuesday mornings and Thursday afternoons).

Those Tory promises on housing ... some comments

In her address to the Conservative Party Conference last week, the Prime Minister has quite a lot to say about housing and, in particular, affordable housing.

Theresa May talked about the UK’s “broken housing market,” she pledged to boost investment in affordable housing by £2 billion, and spoke about “getting government back into the business of building houses … a new generation of council houses.”

This general shift in government thinking has, I think, been quite widely welcomed, though a range of housing experts have been extremely dismissive of the scale of the boost in investment.

For example, Michael Oxley, the director of the Cambridge Centre for housing and planning research described it as “chicken feed,” while Anna Minton, the author of Big Capital, called it “laughable.” She added that the number of rental homes that would be built as a consequence was “pathetic” and would make little difference to the “worst housing crisis in modern times.”

Personally, I consider the present Government and their immediate predecessors to be a key part of the problem. After all, it was the Tories who started selling off council housing in the 1980s, which was a key factor in unbalancing the housing market, and their more recent policy prescriptions have also been very damaging.

They have overseen a massive reduction in investment in affordable properties. They have re-invigorated ”right-to-buy” and stopped investing in “social rent” properties, dictated that Housing Associations must focus on the much more expensive “affordable rent” model (that sets rents at 80% of the inflated cost of private sector rents), and even came up with a nonsensical scheme for “affordable” starter homes, which would cost first-time buyers “no more than £250,000.”

It is little wonder that I remain extremely cynical about the Conservative Party’s commitment to genuine affordable housing.

But I did notice that the Prime Minister stated that the Conservatives would, once again, “allow homes to be built for social rent, well below market level.” She did, though, qualify this by specifying it would be “in those parts of the country where the need is greatest,” and I have no idea if the UK Government considers this to include Cornwall!

As a local councillor, I fully support the increased provision of “social rent” homes which often cost around £400 a month, as I have always opposed the focus on “affordable rent” properties which delivers, for example, three-bed houses with rental costs in excess of £600 a month that many low-income families struggle to pay.

At this time, we need to continue to put pressure on the UK Government to deliver genuine affordable housing and that includes converting existing “affordable rent” properties into less expensive “social rent” ones.

[This is my article in this week's Cornish Guardian].

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Thank you for the messages of support


Over the last few days, I have received a large number of positive messages from people wishing to compliment me on lasting twenty years in the position of leader of Mebyon Kernow and for the work I have done in that time, for Cornwall and my local community of St Enoder Parish.

I am most grateful for everyone who has taken the time to get in contact and to express their support. Thank you.

Looking back over the last twenty years


It has been exactly twenty years since I was elected the leader of Mebyon Kernow. The role has certainly been a massive part of my adult life and little did I think that, two decades on, I would still be in post!

It has been an absolute honour to lead the Party for Cornwall, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has campaigned with me during this time.

It has been hard work. There have been many highs, it has often been frustrating, and there have been many lows as well.

High points in terms of MK include being the author of the “Declaration for a Cornish Assembly,” which was signed by over 50,000 people in 2000 and 2001, and still stands out as a powerful demand from the people of Cornwall for a meaningful devolution settlement.

It was fantastic to be part of the wide-ranging campaign that secured the recognition of the Cornish through the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

Personally, I feel my election as a Mebyon Kernow councillor for my home parish was my key accomplishment. It has been a great privilege to have served St Enoder Parish since 1999, and I am grateful to all those local residents who have continued to support me with their votes.

But politics can be tough, and I must admit my frustrations at MK’s difficulties in making progress in a political system conducted through the prism of Westminster.

In Cornwall, MK has proved itself able to be competitive in council elections and a number of members have been elected. But it has been very different when it comes to parliamentary elections, where voters have been less willing to give MK their support. It has certainly not helped that MK, as a “regional” political party, has been denied party election broadcasts at such times, and the “mainstream” media, such as the main television channels, very rarely deem MK worthy of coverage.

But, looking back over the last twenty years, perhaps the most saddening thing has been the failure of the UK Government to act properly on so many demands coming from Cornwall.

Just take the 50,000 declarations for a Cornish Assembly and our national minority status as examples. The declarations have been ignored and, instead of bringing devolution proposals, Westminster has centralised and undermined local government structures in Cornwall. And it is also the case that central government has failed to act it on its obligations – cultural, linguistic, political and economic – enshrined in the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

This all reinforces to me that MK, as a pro-Cornwall political force, is needed now as much as ever, and it is my intention to continue playing my part in the years to come.

My time as leader of the Party for Cornwall will be marked at the afternoon session of MK’s 2017 National Conference, which will be held at Bodmin’s Shire House Suite on 18th November. Anyone interested in coming along would be very welcome.

[This is my article in today’s Cornish Guardian newspaper].

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Interview on Radio Cornwall tomorrow


Earlier today, I did an interview with Radio Cornwall's James Churchfield about my twenty years as the leader of Mebyon Kernow - the Party for Cornwall.

It will be broadcast on tomorrow's breakfast show.

Monday, 2 October 2017

BAD NEWS – Delay to opening of Post Office “outreach” at Indian Queens Victory Hall


This afternoon, Post Office Ltd has been in contact to say that the Post Office “outreach” will not be starting at Indian Queens Victory Hall, tomorrow, as advertised.

I have been told that this is because of a fault with the telephone line somewhere between Indian Queens Victory Hall and the Post Office branch at Summercourt, which will be responsible for the service.

As someone who has been circulating newsletters publicising the opening, you can probably imagine just how absolutely exasperated I am.

I have been in contact with a senior person in Post Office Ltd this afternoon. She has asked me to send on her apologies to the local community. She has also confirmed that BT will be on site tomorrow to deal with the fault. The Post Office Ltd will then send in their staff to configure the computers systems, etc.

This shouldn't take too long (fingers crossed) and I will let everyone know when this has been done and when we have a new start date for the service.

If you know of anyone who might have been planning to use the service tomorrow, or Thursday, please let them about the delay to save any wasted journeys.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Cornwall Live article on my 20 years as MK leader


Thank you to Richard Whitehouse for his positive article on the www.cornwalllive.com website about my twenty years as the leader of Mebyon Kernow.

I am really quite pleased with what he has had to say.

Here is a particularly kind extract:

Dick Cole – proud Cornishman, vocal politician and all round nice guy. This is probably the description that you would get from most who have encountered the leader of Mebyon Kernow.

This week he celebrates 20 years at the head of the only purely Cornish political party …

“When I took on the role 20 years ago I had no thought that I would be doing it 20 years later,” he says with a warm chuckle.

“I just hope that it shows that I can be quite passionate in standing up for the things I believe in and my local community.”

That is a massive understatement – Dick is one of the most recognisable names and faces in Cornish politics and is well known for the passionate speeches he has given in the council chamber at Lys Kernow over the years.

When Dick stands up to speak he commands the respect of all in the chamber, no matter what their political persuasion and he is also listened to. On most occasions he is also a rare voice of reason in amongst the often party political posturing which sometimes occurs.

When it has come to issues such as the creation of the unitary authority which shut down the former borough and district councils it was Dick who spoke most passionately to raise concerns that it would lead to a democratic deficit – a similar argument he is making now about plans to cut the number Cornwall Council members from 123 to just 87.

He has also been outspoken on issues such as the incinerator in St Dennis, the plans to impose thousands of new homes across Cornwall and the proposed eco-town.

And when he fights for these issues he is battling on the side of the people and railing against the authorities which are imposing them. Above all he is always consistent and always researches his arguments to a high level.


The full article can be viewed at:
Cornwall Live article on twenty years as MK leader

Marking twenty years as the leader of Mebyon Kernow


This coming Wednesday (4th October) will mark the twentieth anniversary of my election as leader of Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall.

I will have more to say closer to the actual date of the anniversary, but the first media report of my two years at the helm of MK can be found on the Cornish Stuff website.

News report on Cornish Stuff

Friday, 29 September 2017

Vandalism at the Fraddon Millennium Green


Many local people will probably have heard about recent vandalism in our local parish, much of which has included the smashing of bottles.

Earlier in the week, bottles were broken in the car park at Indian Queens Recreation Ground and one car ended up with a puncture as a consequence. There was a further incident in the Thomas Playing Field in Summercourt and, today, it was the turn of the Fraddon Millennium Green.

It seems that some children found a box of bottles which they took to the Green, and decided to smash on the play equipment. 


We were very fortunate, though, as a local resident from a neighbouring property realised what was happening and filmed the activities on his phone. When the children realised they were being viewed, they left the Green very quickly.

It could have been so much worse, as the children left a pile of around 15 bottles (see below) which they had not yet got around to throwing at the equipment. 


We have brushed up the broken glass and also removed the other bottles, so the Green is once again safe to visit and enjoy.

Today I started the day at a briefing at Cornwall Council with the Police and Crime Commissioner, Alison Hernandez, where I was one of the councillors from Clay Country speaking up about the importance of PCSOs.

And I finished the day liaising with a local PCSO about the vandalism and how the guilty parties might be identified from the filming.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

A massive thank you to Di Mlynek


As the Chairman of ClayTAWC (the Clay Area Training and Work Centre) at St Dennis, I would like to say a massive thank you to Di Mlynek, who retired as Centre Manager yesterday.

Di (pictured above left) took over as the Manager in January 2010, and was the “heart and soul” of the Centre for seven-and-a-half years. Always with a smile, she was extremely dedicated to ClayTAWC and its values. She was instrumental in bringing forward the “retrofit” project, which included a host of improvements to the fabric of the building, both inside and out.

The Board is extremely thankful for all the fantastic work that Di has done for ClayTAWC and we will miss her as an employee.

But she will not be breaking her links with ClayTAWC. I am very glad to be able to report that Di has accepted an invitation to become a member of the Board which is responsible for the running of the Centre.

The new Manager will be Kerry Merrifield (pictured above right), who has already worked at the Centre for a number of years.

For those who don’t know, ClayTAWC was founded over 15 years ago to help provide support to residents in the China Clay Area in terms of training, education and working towards employment. Courses and activities are varied, with many being run by Cornwall Council’s Link Into Learning. The Centre also has a computer suite that is available for use by local people, as well as meeting rooms.

It is also an important community hub, used by many local bodies, which provides offices for St Dennis Parish Council and the Cornwall Rural Community Council, as well as a base for the local Police Community Support Officer. In addition, the building houses a community library.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Cut in councillor numbers is an assault on democracy in Cornwall

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) has just announced its decision to reduce the number of elected members on Cornwall Council from 123 to 87.

The change will be implemented at the next set of elections due to take place in 2021.

It is a shocking determination and I am extremely disturbed at the attitude of the LGBCE and their intention to launch an assault on democracy in Cornwall.

Prior to 2009, Cornwall had 331 councillors on the County Council and the six district councils. The centralisation of local government was then imposed on Cornwall and the number of councillors slashed to 123. And now the LGBCE has imposed another large cut in elected members, which will further increase the democratic deficit from which Cornwall already suffers. This is just so wrong.

Many people will not be aware that the LGBCE did not seek a similar reduction in the number of councillors when it carried out an electoral review of the unitary authority in County Durham, which was also created in 2009.

It was founded with 126 councillors and a subsequent review allowed the council to continue with the same number of members. So how is it appropriate that Cornwall will have to suffer a 30% reduction in the number of its elected members?

Mebyon Kernow and many other bodies have argued that Cornwall already had fewer councillors on principal authorities than almost all other parts of the United Kingdom – but these representations have been ignored by the LGBCE.

Wales has more than 1,200 councillors on its 22 unitary authorities, while Devon has just under 500 principal authority councillors and Somerset has over 400.

And yet the LGBCE expects Cornwall to get by with only 87, which – in terms of representatives per head of population – means that many other areas will have more than twice the number of councillors as Cornwall.

The top-down and undemocratic actions of the LGBCE are frankly shameful.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

"Make Votes Matter" Cornwall


In 2015, sixteen-year-old Owen Winter from North Cornwall launched an online petition in support of proportional representation (PR) for future Westminster elections. The last time I looked, the petition had amassed 288,379 signatures.

A formidable campaigner, Owen is one of the co-founders of the cross-party campaign organisation “Make Votes Matter,” which launched a second petition on the official gov.uk website in 2016. In a period of six months, 103,495 individuals signed this second petition and it will be debated by MPs on 30th October.

I am a supporter of the “Make Votes Matter” initiative as I fully back the introduction of a more proportional voting system, which would ensure that the outcome of a General Election would better reflect the actual votes cast.

At the 2017 General Election in Cornwall, the Conservative Party secured 48% of the votes but secured 100% of the seats. There are many areas in England where the Conservatives won all – or nearly all – of the seats, while Labour was equally dominant in places such as South Wales, inner London and some metropolitan areas in the north.

This cannot be right in a modern democracy.

It means that the vast majority of parliamentary constituencies are always unlikely to change hands and the larger political parties pour disproportionate resources into a small number of marginal seats.

To illustrate this, I happen to have some figures from an old General Election campaign. In one competitive Cornish seat, in the four months leading up to polling day, the Lib Dems spent £33,852 and the Conservatives £40,968 (official spending returns). This was on top of the tens of thousands of pounds spent by both parties in the preceding two years.

By comparison, in the perceived “safe” Labour-held seat of Islwyn in South Wales, the Tories spent £923 while the Lib Dems only coughed up £589.

I do not think that this disparity in spending and associated campaign activity is healthy for a democracy.

Writing on the Change.org website, Owen Winter recently explained that he started his original petition because he wanted people to be able to vote for whichever party they believed in. He didn’t want individuals to be pressured into tactical voting because they were scared of “wasting” their vote or “letting the other side in.”

As someone who has contested parliamentary elections I know from experience how great pressure is brought to bear to promote tactically voting. I feel that this distorts debate, undermines the pluralistic nature of British politics, and often derails serious consideration of the issues that really matter to communities throughout the UK.

I am pleased that I was able to attend a very positive first meeting of a Cornwall “Make Votes Matter” group last week, which was addressed by Owen. A second meeting has already been arranged for Wednesday 18th October at the Railway Tavern in Truro (7.30pm). All are welcome to attend and further information is available from mvmcornwall@gmail.com.

[This will be my article in this coming week's Cornish Guardian].

My latest newsletter …


As the councillor for St Enoder, I deliver a newsletter every six months or so. I have just collected the latest one from the printers, and we will start distributing them in the next couple of days.

In particular, this latest newsletter includes information about the “outreach” Post Office planned for Indian Queens Victory Hall and the Parish Council’s World War 1 project.

If anyone would like to help out with the leafleting, please give me a call on 07791 876607.

My latest update report to St Enoder Parish Council

My latest report will be presented to the next meeting of St Enoder Parish Council on this coming Tuesday (26th September). It covers the time period of 14th July to 24th September, and will be as follows:

1. Council meetings

Over the last few weeks, I have attended a range of formal meetings. These have included: Full Council; Cabinet; Central Sub-Area Planning Committee; Electoral Review Panel (2) (plus three officer / preparatory meetings); the initial meeting about a parking review; the first two meetings of the task and finish group looking at the next waste collection contract; China Clay Area Network meeting; planning training on environmental matters: a meeting about gypsy and traveller sites in the Mid Cornwall area; a briefing on bid to “Sport England” for a well-being project (which includes the Clay Area); the Cornwall Heritage Forum, and a Group Leaders’ meeting.

In the same period, as well as a host of informal meetings with council officers and others, I have been at four meetings of St Enoder Parish Council, and two meetings of the Neighbourhood Plan working group.

2. Other meetings

In the last two months, I have also attended meetings of Indian Queens Pit Association (trustee) (2), the ClayTAWC Board (Chairman) (2), Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Rural Partnership, South and East Cornwall Local Action Group, St Austell Bay Economic Forum and an associated sub-group (director) (2), and the St Piran Trust (trustee) (2).

3. WW1 project

I would like to start with the positive news that I have secured a grant for St Enoder Parish Council from the Heritage Lottery Fund towards a community project about the First World War.

Over the next twelve months, we will working with a range of local organisations to find out more about the impact of the conflict on the people and families of Fraddon, Indian Queens, St Columb Road and Summercourt.

A key part of the project will be to produce a book which will tell the stories of the men who lost their lives between 1914 and 1918.

In addition, the Parish Council will be placing new interpretation boards in our three local village halls, as well as other materials for use in Indian Queens Methodist Church and St Enoder Parish Church.

Watch out for more information on how you can get involved.

4. “Outreach” Post Office at the Victory Hall

Following the closure of the Post Office at Kingsley Village, many people have been pushing hard for the reinstatement of a service at the “Fraddon / Indian Queens / St Columb Road” end of the Parish. I can now report that Post Office Ltd has agreed that an outreach Post Office will be run from the ante-room of the Indian Queens Victory Hall for two three-hour sessions each week.

This will start on Tuesday 3rd October. The sessions will be:

Every Tuesday morning: 8.30 – 11.30.
Every Thursday afternoon: 1.00 – 4.00.

This new outreach provision will be run from the existing Post Office at Summercourt, while the cost of hiring the Victory Hall for the next twelve months has been covered by Kingsley Developers.

I am grateful to everyone who has worked to pull this together, but it is only meant to be a temporary measure as we are continuing to push to secure more permanent Post Office provision in the eastern end of the Parish. This includes seeking the inclusion of postal services in a retail unit at the redeveloped Kingsley Village complex, as stated in the planning permission.

5. Planning matters

- Pines Tip


As parish councillors will be aware, in 2016, the unitary authority rejected plans for three large wind turbines on Pines Tip next to the Pedna Carne Mobile Home Park, near Fraddon. The reasons for refusal were the lack of local support, plus the visual and cumulative landscape impacts of the proposal. REG Windpower, the company behind the scheme, then appealed to the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol and I produced a detailed planning statement on behalf of the Parish Council.

I can now report that the Inspector has also rejected the scheme. Key extracts from the decision are as follows:

Written Ministerial Statement (WMS)

On 18 June 2015 a Written Ministerial Statement (WMS) was issued stating that planning applications for wind energy development involving one or more wind turbines should only be granted planning permission where: the development site is in an area identified as suitable for wind energy development in a Local or Neighbourhood Plan and following consultation, it can be demonstrated that the planning impacts identified by affected local communities have been fully addressed and therefore the proposal has their backing.

Further advice on wind turbines is contained in the Planning Practice Guidance (PPG), which reflects the WMS. It also advises that the cumulative landscape impacts of a proposal are important considerations as to the effects of a proposed development on the fabric, character and quality of the landscape. Cumulative visual impacts may arise where two or more of the same type of renewable energy development would be visible from the same point, or would be visible shortly after each other along the same journey. The PPG advises that it should not be assumed that just because no other sites would be visible from the proposed development site that the proposal would not create any cumulative impacts.

Principle of development


… when the Council determined the planning application there were no development plan policies which identified suitable sites for wind energy development. Accordingly the Council relied on the transitiona
l provisions as set out in the WMS. In such instances local planning authorities could find the proposal acceptable if, following consultation, they were satisfied the application had addressed the planning impact identified by affected local communities, and therefore had their backing. However, since the Council’s decision, the CLP has been adopted. The appeal site is not identified as being suitable for wind energy development within the CLP; indeed paragraph 2.96 of the plan makes it clear that no sites for wind energy development will be allocated unless they are included in a NP. Both parties agree that there is no NP for the area.

The appellant submits that in view of the above the transitional provisions set out in the WMS apply in this case and my attention has been drawn to a number of planning appeal decisions to support this view. Whilst noting the submissions made, I do not consider that the transitional provisions apply in this case. This is because the WMS makes it clear that transitional provisions only apply where the application was submitted prior to the WMS (which it was) and where the development plan or NP do not identify suitable sites for wind turbines. Whilst the CLP does not specifically identify suitable sites for wind energy development within the body of the plan, it makes it clear that such sites should be included in NP. It is not silent on this matter. The particular circumstances of this case are materially different to the examples quoted and I find that they are not comparable, and I have afforded them limited weight in my consideration of the appeal proposal. In any event each planning application and appeal should be determined on its individual merits and this is the approach that I have taken.

The appeal site has not been identified as being suitable for wind energy development within the CLP or a NP. Accordingly the transitional provisions do not apply in this case. I therefore conclude that the principle of wind turbines in this location is not acceptable. The scheme would result in conflict with Policy 14 of the CLP and national planning policy as set out above. Given my finding in this regard, whilst there was both support and opposition to the scheme, it is not necessary to consider whether or not the proposal has the backing of the affected local communities.

Landscape character

I am however concerned that their visual dominance and their solid appearance with rotating blades would be likely to draw the viewer’s attention to the preponderance of turbines and other tall features in the landscape. This would be likely to result in a landscape perceived to be characterised by turbines and other tall manmade structures to an unacceptable degree. The relationship of the appeal site to other wind turbines and the intervisibility between would lead to wind energy development in the area being more than occasional which would conflict with the landscape strategy set out in the Council’s renewable energy document. This would lead to a significant reduction in the landscape quality of the area. I have not taken the proposed wind turbines at Scarcewater Tip into account in my assessment as these do not benefit from planning permission at this time. The presence of topography, landscape features and settlements would not mitigate the harm identified.

In light of the foregoing, I find the impacts of the proposed development on landscape character and appearance both singly and cumulatively, to be unacceptably adverse, contrary to CLP Policies 2, 12, 13, 14 and 23. There would also be conflict with the Framework in respect of the natural and local environment and visual impact.


- Pen-y-Thon, Chapel Town

The proposal for a single dwelling to the rear of the above property was also refused by Cornwall Council, but the applicant appealed the decision and it was upheld by the Inspectorate.

The applicant’s agent claimed that the proposal represented the “rounding off” of the settlement but, in the representation that I prepared on behalf of the Parish Council, we took a very different view. An extract from our statement was as follows:

The frontage of the Pen-y-Thon faces to the east and any development to the west, or south west, would be to the rear of the dwelling – clearly representing the extension of “building into the open countryside” rather than any form of “rounding off.”

The wooded area to the rear of Pen-y-Thon meanwhile represents a natural end of the residential part of the Chapel Town area, and any development to the west or south west of this would represent an incursion into the open countryside.


I was very disappointed at the decision, the less-than-sympathetic interpretation of local policies, and the lack of weight given to the views of the Parish Council.

- Unauthorised development on the Kelliers

Members will recall that, about nine months ago, the unauthorised caravan site on the Kelliers failed to secure planning permission through an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. The owners were also told that they had to remove the caravans from the site by 18th July 2017. They have failed to do this but, in the last few weeks, have started to move caravans to the top of the site so that they can be removed. Cornwall Council is, at the present time, still in the process of taking forward a prosecution.

The application for five traveller pitches on the site has also been refused by Cornwall Council, but the landowner has appealed. The date for the appeal has not yet been set but, on behalf of Cornwall Councillors across the Clay Area, I have formally requested that the unitary authority does more research into unlawful activities in relation to such sites, and related issues, to assist in preparations for the appeal and other enforcement actions across Clay Country. A meeting is to be held with senior officers on Monday 25th September and I will be able to verbally update everyone at Tuesday’s Parish Council meeting.

- Higher Fraddon biogas plant

The owners of the plant have submitted two appeals to the Planning Inspectorate. Condition 14 states that the types of HGVs accessing the site must be agreed through the condition, but the operators want this to be left very open-ended. Cornwall Council did not consider this acceptable and declined to discharge the condition as requested by “Greener for Life” – seeking them to be consistent with statements they made at last year’s appeal about the types of lorries they intended to use.

In addition, they have appealed a planning application to modify condition 14 (by increasing the number of small vehicles to the plant) because it had not been determined by the unitary authority.

For both these appeals, written representations have to be in by 19th October.

I can also report that “Greener for Life” no longer exists. The company went into liquidation on 29th August and were bought out by Ixora Energy Ltd (which had only been incorporated on 2nd August 2017), and is owned by directors of the original company. The new managing director is Darren Stockley who previously attended many meetings in Fraddon on behalf of Greener for Life.

However, I also understand that the “Fraddon Biogas Limited” Plant has “broken away,” with a different financier – though the man recorded in the paperwork had been involved with Greener for Life for a number of years.

- Carvynick

At the holiday park, the application has been approved which has modified the constraints on the site. As part of the planning permission, the owners will provide £50,000 for the purchase of new play equipment for the Thomas Playing Field in Summercourt. This money will be paid to the unitary authority between 6th and 30th April 2018 and should allow improvements to be made during next year.

6. Proposed housing scheme near Mitchell

Coastline Housing is presently working up an “affordable housing led” scheme for twenty houses on the eastern site of Mitchell at the Fruit Farm. The land falls within St Enoder Parish and the company is suggesting that, for the affordable housing, residents with a local connection to either St Enoder or Newlyn East, would be eligible to apply for the homes.

A public consultation will take place on Tuesday 3rd October at the Plume of Feathers in Mitchell from 3pm until 7pm.

7. Neighbourhood Plan meetings

I am pleased that the Parish Council’s working group for the Neighbourhood Plan is meeting again and busy reviewing the comments from the questionnaire circulated around the Parish earlier this year. The drafting of the actual Plan will soon commence.

8. Waste Collection and Cleansing Contract

Cornwall Council has commenced a review of the content of the contract for waste collection, street cleaning, beach cleaning, etc, which will be retendered in a couple of years. Much of the work is presently focussing on the best way to collect domestic waste from the roadside.

However, I am making representations about the limited extent of street cleaning in rural communities and the number of public waste bins.

I have reviewed Cornwall Council’s list of bins in St Enoder Parish, which was quite problematic. The numbers did not always tally with the location, the location itself was sometimes inaccurately recorded, and a couple of bins were not on the list at all.

The below update lists what there is in St Enoder Parish. As you can see there are a total of 18 bins.

Fraddon / Indian Queens / St Columb Road

Moorland Road (opposite cemetery) - 83
Moorland Road (cemetery layby) - 348
Fraddon Hill (bus stop / layby) - 351
Chapel Road (bus stop / layby) - 352
Fraddon Hill (bottom of) - 353
Parka (St Columb Road end) - 354
Parka (nearer Fraddon end) - 82
St Columb Road junction (by Chopping Block) - 355
Penhale (bus stop / layby) - 81
St Francis Road (bus stop nr Carworgie Way) - 356
Penhale (near Westbourne Terrace) - 358
Moorland Road (east of Gnomeworld) - 84
Not included on official list
Higher Fraddon (near bridge to Pedna Carne) - no number
Newquay Road - 899

Summercourt
School Road - 360
School Road (Thomas Playing Field) - 361
Road to Chapeltown (by car showrooms) - 897
Beacon Road (bus stop) - 47

At the Parish Council meeting on 26th September, I think it would be worthwhile to consider where we should formally request that additional bins be placed. Likewise, I believe we should also consider a formal request for more regular street cleaning to be incorporated into the new contract.

9. Review into councillor numbers

In recent months, I have regularly updated the Parish Council on the review into councillor numbers, through the Local Government Boundary Commission “for England” (LGBCE).

I can report that the LGBCE will be publishing its decision about the number of elected members for the unitary authority, for 2021 onwards, on 26th September. The next stage of work will involve working up proposals for the new divisional boundaries.

I will give a verbal update at the Parish Council meeting.

10. Highway matters

Over the last two months, I have been in regular contact with the local Cormac officer to discuss a range of highway and related matters. I can report the following:

- As part of the 2017/2018 programme for road surface improvements, works have been completed along part of Moorland Road, Indian Queens, and at Carvynick, Summercourt.

- Other works listed in this programme and still to be carried out include improvements at Trevarren; Watery Lane near Blackcross; Halloon Roundabout; and some of the rural roads around Summercourt.

- I have received a range of representations about parking and speeding issues. I can report that speed recordings are presently being taken in three locations across the Parish. I have also reported complaints about overhanging trees and bushes next to pavements, as well as vegetation encroaching over pavements.

- Some works have been carried out. This includes the cutting back of vegetation near the roundabout at Penhale to enhance visibility.

- In terms of the flooding problem on the road to Trefullock from the A3058, a team from Cormac will be carrying investigation works during the first week in October.

The China Clay Area Network Panel is meanwhile making representations about the safety record on the A3058, much of which runs through St Enoder Parish.

11. Review into parking matters

As referenced in my last monthly report, I am a member of the Economic Growth and Development Overview and Scrutiny Committee and was appointed to a “task and finish” group to review the Council’s arrangement for parking, which will include enforcement matters.

I am frustrated as the timetable for the review has been lengthened and the initial briefing and first meeting of the sub-group were almost entirely about car parks in urban areas and there was little thought given to those issues being raised in areas such as ours. I am, naturally, making further representations about this.

12. Regeneration study for St Austell Bay & the China Clay Area

I attended a meeting of the St Austell Bay Economic Forum to hear a briefing about the study into the regeneration of St Austell Bay and China Clay Area being undertaken by consultants called Thinking Place. My initial thought was that the conclusions did not focus enough on the parishes of the China Clay Area and I was very outspoken on this point – much to the annoyance of some other members of the Forum. It is my intention to make further detailed comment on the draft of the final document when it is produced.

13. A strategic vision?

The consultants referred to above, are also working on a project to develop a “strategic vision, shared outcome and ambitious growth narrative for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly” for Cornwall Council and the unelected Local Enterprise Partnership.

The project was not considered by elected members in advance of the work being commissioned. I am not happy about this or indeed what was in the brief, the contents of which have only recently been shared with me and other councillors. I have raised a number of objections and, in particular, I do not agree with the manner it seeks to place Cornwall within an emerging “Great South West proposition” which will inevitably undermine Cornwall’s distinct message.

14. Visit of Police Commissioner

The Police Commissioner Alison Hernandez will be attending a meeting at Cornwall Council on Friday 29th September. It is my intention to be present to make further representations about changes to local police cover (such as the threat to PCSOs) and my opposition to the merger of the local force with that of Dorset.

15. Helping local community groups

During the last couple of months, I have assisted a number of local groups with advice and practical help. This has included writing letters of support for three parish organisations (Indian Queens Band, Indian Queens Victory Hall and Wesley Pre-School) to some local grant bodies, and I am presently helping Fraddon Village Hall put together a funding application for new chairs.

16. Website for Queens Pit Association

I am pleased to be able to report that the Pit Association has just launched a new website. As one of the trustees, I pulled together some historic information about the monument, as well as details about our community building, which was turned into a website by Dinah Crellin (DMC IT), who lives in St Enoder Parish.

The website can be found at: www.indianqueenspit.co.uk.

17. Newsletter

I am about start the distribution of my latest six-monthly newsletter around St Enoder Parish. This edition includes information about the outreach Post Office at Indian Queens Victory Hall and the First World War project.

18. Inquiries

During the couple of months, I have also helped numerous people with guidance on a vast array of issues.