Tuesday, 24 January 2017

My latest report to St Enoder Parish Council

At tonight’s meeting of St Enoder Parish Council, I presented my latest monthly report. It covered the time period 12th December 2016 to 15th January 2017 and was as follows.

1. Council meetings

I have attended a range of formal meetings at Cornwall Council in the last month.

These included: Central Sub-Area Planning Committee, China Clay Network meeting, Constitution and Governance (2) and an associated informal meeting, Electoral Review Panel workshop, workshop on future approach to policy development and scrutiny, pre-agenda meeting for Planning Policy Advisory Committee, a meeting relating to the “allocations” development plan document and inclusion of the so-called eco-community, and planning briefings on the (a) Cornwall Local Plan, (b) Neighbourhood Planning and the (c) Community Infrastructure Levy.

As well as the meetings listed above, I had some informal meetings with council officers at the unitary authority, and I have attended one meeting of St Enoder Parish Council and gave evidence to an Inquiry Day run by the Cornwall Association of Local Councils.

And, of course, I did take a few days off over the Christmas period and into the New Year.

2. Other meetings

I have also attended a number of formal and informal meetings of the Board of ClayTAWC at St Dennis, of which I am Chairman. This is because we are presently having to restructure how this social enterprise operates.

3. St Enoder Neighbourhood Plan

My priority in the last few weeks of 2016 was the completion of the second consultation document. It has now been printed, along with a response sheet and freepost envelopes. Thanks to everyone on the Parish Council who has contributed to the project and who is or soon will be delivering the paperwork around St Enoder Parish.

In addition, three consultation events have been organised for members of the public to meet with members of St Enoder Parish Council to discuss issues relating to the Plan. These will be held at:

- Indian Queens Victory Hall (Tuesday 31st January)
- Fraddon Village Hall (Tuesday 7th February)
- Summercourt New Memorial Hall (Thursday 9th February).

All will take place between 3.00 and 7.00.

4. Central Sub-Area Planning Committee: 18th December 2016

I attended this meeting of the Central Sub-Area Planning Committee. Two planning applications from St Enoder Parish had been referred to the committee as the local view was different to the officer recommendation.

PA16/06903: Land SW of Pen Y Thon, Chapel Town, Summercourt

The main debate about the proposed construction of a new dwelling at Chapel Town focussed on whether it equated to the “rounding off” of the settlement. It was my view and that of the Parish Council that it was not rounding off. I raised my concerns and the views of the Parish Council were presented by the Clerk, Amanda Kendall. The councillors took the decision to refuse the application. The actual vote was ten to one.

PA16/08833: Land to rear of Ymir House, St Francis Road, St Columb Road.

The second application was for a new dwelling in garden areas to the rear of two properties fronting onto St Francis Road. Cllr Michael Hopkins raised objections on behalf of the Parish Council, which I backed in my speech. I also suggested to the members of the Planning Committee that, if they were minded to support the application, they should add additional conditions.

As it was an outline application, I suggested that the size of the building be specified. I also argued that the new car parking areas be provided before the construction of the house was allowed to commence, and that there be a construction management plan. The councillors showed some sympathy but the planning officer argued against the extra conditions and planning permission was then granted (without any new controls) by eight votes to two.

5. Other planning applications
As usual, there are many smaller applications that have been going through the planning system for St Enoder Parish. A number of applications have yet to be decided. For some of these proposals, the applicants are claiming that they are “infill” plots, consistent with the new policies in the Local Plan. But this interpretation does not necessarily tally with the view of officers and councillors within the authority.

Detailed guidance on how the new policies on “infill” and “rounding off” will be applied is presently being drafted and will be presented to a meeting of the Planning Policy Advisory Committee, which I chair, on 20th February.

6. Carvynick

The application to lift the holiday use conditions on the properties at Carvynick, near Summercourt, is another application which the unitary authority has yet to make a decision on.

The applicants state that they want to lift the conditions in order to aid them to invest in the complex, which they have stated they wish to continue to run as a holiday camp.

There are a number of such applications that have been submitted across Cornwall and it is fair to say that the unitary authority is struggling with these proposals, which are very varied in nature and quite different in terms of scale and location. Council’s “guidance note” on how to deal with such applications has not yet been finalised, and this will also be presented to the Council’s Planning Policy Advisory Committee on 20th February.

7. Pines Tip

As reported at the Parish Council’s Planning Meeting on 10th January 2017, the appeal into three proposed wind turbines on Pines Tip near Fraddon has commenced. The appeal will be by “written representations” and submissions have to be sent to the Planning Inspectorate by the beginning of February.

I have started the production of a detailed representation from the Parish Council in objection to this scheme which has been strongly opposed by local people and was unanimously turned down by the unitary authority’s Strategic Planning Committee.

8. Biogas plant and pig farm, Penare Farm

There are still ongoing issues relating to the planning consents for the redevelopment of the pig farm and the biogas plant at Higher Fraddon.

There has been a delay at the pig farm with regard to the installation of biofilters on some of the livestock buildings. The Council has been in communication with the owner of the farm and I understand that the works are likely to be carried out in February. Works on their surface water management scheme is also due to be completed by March.

Greener for Life have submitted information to discharge (ie. comply with) a number of planning conditions. The Council is not satisfied with the information that has been submitted and discussions with the owners of the plant continue. An enforcement notice has been served on the plant because the site is failing to keep within its traffic movements as agreed at the appeal, in terms of smaller vehicles. Greener for Life have informed the unitary authority that it ends to submit a further application to modify the condition controlling the traffic and increase the number of smaller vehicles allowed to access the site!

9. Double yellow lines

Concern has been raised at a number of Parish Council about the condition of the double yellow lines along St Francis Road. I have looked back at previous representations sent in by the Parish Council and myself, and I have sent further detailed representations to the unitary authority.

I will have copies of the letter available at the Parish Council meeting.

10. Indian Queens School

When the extra classrooms were consented for Indian Queens School, a school travel plan was agreed between consultants and Cornwall Council. I have made frequent requests that the unitary authority act on suggestions contained within the document.

I met with the headteacher of the School, Jane Scown, on 2nd December 2016 to discuss a number of issues and then had a further meeting with the appropriate officers at Cornwall Council on 9th January 2017.

Specific proposals in the travel plan included a new footway between the School and the Harvenna Heights housing estate that will soon be completed, and a further path from the School through the Mowie to the Carworgie Way / Halloon Avenue estate.

The project had also promised local residents on Ocean View that the pine trees on the edge of the School grounds would be taken down. They have had ongoing problems with the amount of pine needles that end up in their guttering and on their gardens. That has yet to happen and, on their behalf, I sought assurances that the work will be done.

I will report again when I have had feedback from Cornwall Council.

11. Small green areas

In recent years, the Parish Council has taken on responsibility for a number of areas at prominent places within the Parish which would otherwise remain rough and unkempt. This has included land at the entrances to Fairview Park, St Columb Road, and Heather Meadow, Fraddon.

I have been approached by a resident from Hanover Parc, Indian Queens, with a request that we also maintain the grassed area at the entrance to their estate.

I have asked that this be discussed at this Parish Council meeting.

12. Loss of grit bins near Pedna Carne

For a significant time, there have been three bins on the access road to Pedna Carne, but CORMAC has removed two of the three bins which they said were no longer fit-for-purpose. Because of budget cuts, they do not replace such removed bins. I nonetheless formally requested that, because of the nature of the road, the bins be replaced and CORMAC said they would see if they could find one replacement. They have since told that they have not been able to do this.

Once again, Cornwall Council has suggested that St Enoder Parish Council could buy new bins for our area.

I have also asked that this be discussed at this Parish Council meeting.

13. Indian Queens Recreation Ground

I have received an “end of project” form from SITA Cornwall Trust which provided a £35,000 grant towards the new play equipment. On behalf of the Parish Council, I have completed the form and sent it back.

I can further add that, on December 13th 2016, I was the guest speaker at the AGM of the Cornwall County Playing Fields Association (CCPFA) and spoke about the project. The Cornwall Rural Community Council has meanwhile produced a short video about the new play area for the CCPFA.

It can be viewed at https://youtu.be/4V0mEOeMB7A

14. Newsletter

In the lead-up to Christmas, I also spent a significant amount of time out and about in St Enoder Parish delivering my latest six-monthly newsletter. It wasn’t possible to get everywhere before the festivities fully kicked in, but it was great to be able to catch-up with a lot of people and check out progress on a number of issues.

Some examples of issues I am presently following up include:

- Condition of road through Trevarren, and mud on drains on the old road to St Columb (which have been cleared).

- Rough road surfaces on Carworgie Way, St Columb Road; Moorland Road, Indian Queens (east of roundabout by industrial estate), Pocohontas Crescent, Indian Queens; and Carvynick near Summercourt.

- Some blocked drains or silted up ditches, including one ditch on St Austell Street, Summercourt, which I have just had confirmed will be cleared.

- Very poor condition of garden area in Clodan Mews, St Columb Road.

15. Cornwall and its Sustainability and Transformation Plan

I chaired a meeting of the China Clay Area Network Panel in December, which had a presentation about the NHS in Cornwall and its Sustainability and Transformation Plan. At this stage, there is a consultation which is asking people about their ideas and priorities for the health service and adult social care but meaningful proposals have yet to be brought forward.

But the key is that central government expects Cornwall’s NHS to “save” £264 million by 2020/21, and it is clear that this issue will be a dominant one across Cornwall – and in the unitary authority – in the coming months.

16. Eco-community near Penwithick

My first political act of 2017 was to be interviewed by Radio Cornwall about the Government’s decision to rebrand the so-called eco-community of 1,500 properties, proposed for near Penwithick, as a “garden village.”

I have continued to help residents across the China Clay Area to express their concerns about this inappropriate development.

17. Review of councillor numbers

I continue to attend a lot of meetings about the review into the number of councillors on the unitary authority in 2021. It is being driven by an external Local Government Boundary Commission and I have to say that I am feeling disappointed by the whole process, through which there seems to be an undemocratic and inexorable rush to significantly reduce Cornwall’s elected representatives.

This was the topic of the Inquiry Day held by CALC, at which I spoke on 4th January 2017.

18. Inquiries

During the last month, I have also helped numerous people with advice and guidance on a range of problems which have included housing and traffic concerns.

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