Tuesday, 18 October 2022


Time period: 1st August – 25th September 2022

1.0 Council and other meetings

In terms of physical meetings of Cornwall Council during the last two months, I attended a Full Council meeting, Constitution and Governance Committee, Chief Officers Employment Panel and three meetings of Network Chairs about the review of Community Network Panels and the Prosperity Fund. Councillors from the China Clay Area also met the Corporate Director for Neighbourhoods at the Wheal Martyn Museum to discuss local issues.

In addition, I attended a Cost of Living summit at Tremough, one meeting of the St Dennis and Nanpean Community Fund, plus three meetings of St Enoder Parish Council and two meetings of St Dennis Parish Council.

I have also attended a number of meetings via TEAMS video-conferencing, including three Group Leaders meeting (which included discussions about the County Deal), a monthly meeting of councillors from the China Clay Area and an all member briefing about the Council’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy which I have been involved with.

I also had further online meetings about a range of local issues.

2.0 Cornwall Council

2.1 Financial problems at the unitary authority

At the most recent Full Council meeting on 21st September, the Deputy Leader of Cornwall Council stated that the authority is “in a hole” and facing a deficit of £62million in 2023/2024. The present administration has stated that it may have to prioritise statutory services and stop providing certain services which it does not have a legal obligation to provide. It is all very worrying, especially as the promises of fair funding for local government have not materialised.

2.2 Fire Control Centre at Tolvaddon

The Conservative administration is also planning to close the Fire Control Centre and centralise this important service to a “partnership” based outside of Cornwall. I reject any assertion that this important control service could be better provided by people based to the east of the Tamar, who will have little knowledge about Cornwall. I have also made it clear that I do not support the closure of the Control Centre, which I intend to oppose.

At the time of writing this report, I am pleased to see that more than 6,000 people have signed a petition opposing the loss of the service.

2.3 Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre

I am also disappointed that the Conservative administration in Truro is refusing to allow the Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre to remain on Newquay Airport. In the spirit of openness, I will add that the Centre includes the extensive model collection of my late uncle Barry Cole. I recently visited the Museum and met with the director of the Centre. I also challenged the approach of the Council at the Full Council meeting on 21st September.

At the time of writing this report, I am also pleased that more than 20,000 people have signed a petition in support of the Centre.

2.4 China Clay Area Community Network

As noted above, in my role as Chairman of the China Clay Area Community Network Panel, I attended three meetings of Chairs and vice-chairs of the Community Network Panels. Two of the meetings were focused on the plan from the Council’s Conservative administration to reduce the number of Networks. In the second of the two meetings, we were tasked to come up with suggested boundaries for a total of 12 Networks, and I have been doing my best to argue for the continuation of a China Clay Area Community Network.

3.0 Cost of Living summit

I was among the councillors to attend the summit on date at Tremough, which brought together representatives from Cornwall Council and a range of charities and third sector organisations. It would be an understatement to describe the present circumstances as worrying and I used the opportunity to network with others at the event. In particular, I was checking what additional support we might be able to generate for projects in the China Clay Area.

4.0 Community Chest

As a Cornwall Councillor, I am allocated £3,000 per annum which I can grant to local community organisations. I can confirm that I have so far supported Indian Queens and district food larder, St Dennis Carnival and Indian Queens Youth Football. Half of the money has yet to be allocated, so please get in contact if you would like to discuss the possibility of a grant for your organisation.


5.0 Planning matters

5.1 Housing development at Hendra Prazey (PA20/11311)

In terms of the proposed housing site at Hendra Prazey, I requested a site visit at Hendra Prazey with the planning / highways officers at the unitary authority who are dealing with the application. This was held in mid-August. The highways officer has withdrawn his objection following the submission of further information by the applicant’s consultants. It is fair to say that the officer did not think that the highway set-up was particularly good, but he seemed to think that it might meet a very low threshold that could be acceptable in the overall planning process.

At the meeting I queried whether the officers dealing with the biodiversity and drainage aspects of the application had looked in detail at the scheme. It has since transpired that the Council’s ecologist had raised concerns with the proposal. Concerns include that drainage works for the site could unacceptably impact on the adjacent Site of Special Scientific Interest, that some of the wildlife surveys are out-of-date and the calculation on biodiversity net gain are questionable.

There will therefore a further delay before Cornwall Council makes a decision on this application.

5.2 Proposed dwelling off Hendra Road (PA22/02138)

The planning officer dealing with the above application has contacted me to say that she wishes to approve the development. As St Dennis Parish Council has objected to the scheme, I have informed her that the application will need to be referred to a meeting of the Central Sub-Area Planning Committee.

5.3 Indian Queens Power Station (PA22/05961)

In terms of the application for the installation and operation of a 47.5 megawatt battery energy storage system on land immediately to the west of Indian Queens Power Station, there have been no objections from local residents. St Dennis Parish Council has however raised concerns about the lack of supporting information linked to the application.

6.0 Proposed multi-use trail from St Dennis to the Goss Moor

In previous reports, I have written about how I had submitted an application (on behalf of Cornwall Council and St Dennis Parish Council) to the G7 Nature Recovery Project to investigate the possibility of turning the section of defunct railway line between St Dennis and the Goss Moor National Nature Reserve into a multi-use trail. It was unsuccessful, but I was very pleased to be approached by Natural England to discuss a potential application to a “seed corn” fund to support the initial phase of the project. Unfortunately, this application was also unsuccessful, but I have been told it is on a “reserve list” should there be an underspend during this financial year.

I did take the opportunity to take two senior officers from Cornwall Council to the site, to seek their support for the project.

7.0 Highway issues

I have been continuing to follow up on a range of highway matters with Cornwall Council / Cormac. Sadly, progress is slow, for example, on the improvement of the conditions of double yellow lines and the poor state of the road surfacing in certain areas.

I have reported concerns that the two sets of barriers on the path that leads from Manson Place to Trelavour Road, because it prevents people with motorised buggies using the path. The inner barrier is on land owned by Ocean Housing and the Parish Clerk is in contact with them. The outer barrier is on land owned by Cornwall Council and they have agreed to remove it, but I have been told that the works will be timetabled for February 2023. I have challenged the delay and asked for the works to be brought forward.

8.0 Ditch to rear of Hall Road

For more than 15 months I have been following up on concerns about the condition of a ditch (vegetation and silting) that runs down the eastern side of Hall Road. It takes water from the downs and it has been historically maintained by Restormel Borough Council and subsequently the unitary authority.

It was my understanding that the works were going to be done this year, but the unitary authority and the landowner (Tregothnan Estate) are in discussions about what had historically been agreed. It seems that neither the Council or the estate can find the relevant paperwork, and there have been other discussions, for example, with Imerys. I am continuing to push for the works to be carried out and I understand that Cormac are costing the necessary works.

9.0 Footpath to north of church

I have been following up on the concerns about the footpath that extend northwards from the Church. Councillors will recall that the definitive map shows the path leading over a difficult stile over a wall though, for many years, people have walked through a gap in the wall, which was recently blocked up. A footpaths officer visited the area in August and is the process of approaching the landowner and occupier to see if a compromise can be reached and a gate inserted into the wall, where the breach had previously been located.


10.0 Parish Council projects

I am continuing to work closely with the Clerk of St Enoder Parish Council, on a range of issues. These include the following:

10.1 Field between Indian Queens Primary School and Harvenna Heights

I am pleased that the landscaping works have almost been completed along the new footway between Indian Queens Primary School and Harvenna Heights. The new walling at the south end of the field has been vandalised and needs to be rebuilt, and grass seed will soon be sown. It is good that we can now move onto placing some picnic benches and rubbish bins into the area, along with some tree planting. As previously stated, I personally favour the provision of a cluster of apple trees.

The Parish Council has also agreed to place some signs in the field, which will be known as Strongman’s Field. This was the name of the enclosure recorded on the 1840 Tithe Map, and obviously the name includes the surname of an individual or family associated with the land.

10.2 The Kelliers / G7 Nature Recovery Project

The Clerk and I also met with representatives of the G7 Nature Recovery Project to consider what support they might be able to give the Parish Council in our plans to enhance the nature conservation and public access elements of the Kelliers near Indian Queens.

10.3 CWGC plaques

Given my involvement with remembering the history of the fallen servicemen of our area, I am pleased that, following the request of the Parish Council, the Commonwealth War Grave Commission has erected plaques at the old St Enoder and Indian Queens cemeteries.

11.0 Planning

As always, there continues to be a range of planning applications in St Enoder Parish. Shown below are updates on a number of applications.

11.1 Leisure building at Carvynick (PA22/04257)

As previously reported, on 3rd June 2019, the owners of Carvynick near Summercourt secured an outline planning permission for 38 residential dwellings at the site, plus a leisure / office building (PA18/04360). The specific details (reserved matters) for the 38 dwellings have been agreed over the couple of years and the applicants have secured planning permission for a further 21 dwellings – making a total of 59.

The reserved matters application for the leisure / office building was submitted in May. Letters of support (linked to previous applications) submitted by the applicant stated that the leisure building would “provide a community hub,” a “state-of-the-art gymnasium” and a “swimming pool for locals to not only exercise but also to learn how to swim.” The proposed building is much smaller than that on the original plan, and included a badminton court and a small gym, that is of a size little more than two car parking spaces. There was no swimming pool as promised.

St Enoder Parish unanimously objected to the application, and the applicant then changed the plans and added a swimming pool in the place of badminton court. The building remains less significant than promised, but the application has been consented.

11.2 Housing development in Summercourt

An application for an affordable housing led development in Summercourt, opposite New Row, has just been submitted. It is for 20 housing units, of which half will be affordable. There has been a previous consent on this site and a more recent pre-application discussion and many people who live opposite the site raised concerns.

The application is still going through the registration process and will likely be discussed by the Parish Council at a meeting in October.

12.0 Highway matters

I have been dealing with a large number of highway issues. A few are listed below:

12.1 Zebra crossing in St Francis Road, Indian Queens

Last year, Cornwall Council installed the two zebra crossings in Indian Queens – after many years of lobbying. Unfortunately, the installation by the Victory Hall was initially too high and the raised crossing was reduced in height. In mid-August, Cormac revisited the site to remodel it again, so that it met their specifications. It has all been very frustrating and the Parish Council has complained to Cornwall Council about the failings.

12.2 Double yellow lines at Penhale

The double yellow lines at Penhale are not yet competed, and there is one section that still needs to painted on the road. Delays were caused by the parked cars and there has been objections from a local business.

The lining is part of a wider group of double yellow lines across Clay Country and will not be legally enforceable until all have been completed and the necessary legal order has been signed off.

12.3 Pocohontas Crescent

The road condition in this estate is quite poor and I have been pushing for resurfacing for a considerable time. I had hoped it would be done this year, but I have now been informed that it will be considered for inclusion in the programme for 2023.

I am continuing to lobby that greater priority is given to Pocohontas Crescent.

12.4 Study into road through Fraddon and St Columb Road

A meeting is being set up for me to meet with council officers to discuss their road safety audit from Penhale to the Halloon roundabout. I will give more feedback in the near future.


13.0 Advice

Over the last month, I have also assisted numerous households and individuals with guidance and advice on a range of topics.

Sunday, 21 August 2022


In my article in the most recent edition of the Cornish Guardian newspaper, I backed public ownership of important services such as energy. It was as follows:

Only a few days ago, it was projected that average energy bills would soon reach £3,600 a year. The figure presently being quoted is £5,000. That is simply untenable and will do immeasurable harm to ordinary households across the whole of the UK.

Martin Lewis, from the Money Saving Expert website, has described the situation as a “national crisis on the scale of the pandemic,” adding that unless “Britain’s zombie government” acts it will leave “millions destitute and in danger this winter.” The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has meanwhile produced an open letter to the two contenders for the leadership of the Conservative Party, which has been signed by over 70 charities. It calls for compassion, and for them to show leadership to “tackle this issue head on.”

But I am extremely fearful that the interventions from new Prime Minister will be inadequate to combat the magnitude of the crisis. Indeed, the latest tax plans from Liz Truss have been rubbished because analysts have estimated that the lowest paid will receive an uplift which is less than 2% of the likely price hikes.

It is good to see opposition parties putting pressure on the Conservatives with calls for a freeze on price caps, possibly paid for by a windfall tax on the profits of the energy companies.

This is vital in the short-term, but shouldn’t we be going further? I am proud that Mebyon Kernow has long maintained that important services such as energy, water and rail should be publicly owned and publicly accountable, with the focus being on community, social need and environmental protection.

I agree with Delyth Jewell, one of the Plaid Cymru members of the Welsh Parliament. She has described the energy market as a “failed experiment” and is arguing that the concept of profit has no place in domestic energy supply. As she wrote in a recent article, “nothing short of fundamental and radical reform, based on public ownership, will ameliorate the crisis that’s looming over the coming winter months, and help save millions of people from abject suffering … and it is frankly appalling that reform of this kind hasn’t come before now [because] the vested interests of shareholders have been allowed to trump the needs of millions of consumers in the UK, which is not the case in other states.”

As she says, it is shameful that the “market revolves around keeping companies in profit” rather than ensuring that the people who need the energy to stay alive are able to afford it.

Saturday, 13 August 2022


This was my article in the Cornish Guardian on the 10th August.

Levelling up was a key theme in the Conservative manifesto for the 2019 General Election. One section of the document stated: “Talent and genius are uniformly distributed throughout the country. Opportunity is not. Now is the time to close that gap – not just because it makes such obvious economic sense, but for the sake of simple social justice.”

But more recent statements from the two contenders for the leadership of the Tory Party show that their commitment to tackling regional inequality is pretty lacking.

Liz Truss came up with a proposal to introduce “regional pay boards” so that civil servants and public sector workers outside of London would be paid less. Unequal wage levels across the UK are a direct result of an unbalanced economy, while regional pay agreements would reinforce such inequities and make them worse.

As reported in last week’s Cornish Guardian, local MP Steve Double did describe the proposal as a “terrible idea” which “would be hugely damaging to public services in Cornwall.” He said it was “leveling down, not up.” One Welsh Conservative MP meanwhile estimated that 430,000 workers in Wales, including police officers and armed forces personnel, would facing a pay cut of around £3,000. He also described the proposal as “levelling down.” The mayor of Tees Valley – also a Conservative – said the proposal was so bad that he was “speechless.”

Liz Truss did an extremely quick u-turn, but later claimed that her comments had been wilfully misrepresented. But another prominent member of her party promptly pointed out that journalists accurately quoting a press release from Team Truss was not misrepresentation – wilful or otherwise.

Whereas these critics of Truss happened to be supporters of Rishi Sunak, they must have felt extremely let down when the video footage of a speech from their own preferred candidate soon after emerged on social media.

Speaking to a gathering of the party faithful in Tunbridge Wells, Sunak told them that the Conservatives had “inherited a bunch of formulas from Labour that shoved all the funding into deprived urban areas.” He said that he had “started the work of undoing that," so more funding would go into areas such as Tunbridge Wells.

There is significant poverty across the whole of the UK – including in towns in Kent – which needs to be properly dealt with. But the crassness of the former Chancellor’s words is worrying, and comes just three months after the announcement that Cornwall would receive less than half of promised monies through the Shared Prosperity Fund.


This was my article in the Cornish Guardian on the 3rd August.

It is my sincere belief that politics should be about making society more equal and tackling the inequities experienced by individuals and families, as well as by communities in the different parts of the United Kingdom. But the last few days have shown that Westminster politics is failing to rise to this important challenge.

The cost of living crisis is getting worse and worse. But as so many ordinary households struggle to pay their basic bills, and millions and millions worry about how they will cope in the coming winter, some of the UK’s largest energy companies have announced bumper profits.

At this time of great crisis, shareholders are due to receive significant dividend pay-outs while the executives of these companies – some of whom already have salaries in excess of a million pounds – will receive massive bonuses. This includes the CEO of Centrica (which owns British Gas), who already earns £875,000-a-year and, according to some reports, he could receive additional bonuses totalling £2.87 million – a sum that an average Cornish worker could not earn in a hundred years.

It is little wonder that newspaper headlines shared the anger at the obsceneness of it all. One questioned how the executives slept at night, while another described the payments as “profits in misery."

And then there was the report from the Institute of Public Policy Research (North). This was very critical of the Government’s so-called “Levelling Up” agenda, which is meant to be tackling regional disparities across the UK. Obviously, the focus of the document was about flagging up concerns relating to the extent of public spending in the north of England, but the key statistic was that London – the wealthiest part of the UK – had seen the highest increase in government investment in recent years. This is the exact opposite of levelling up.

I attended a scrutiny meeting last week at which councillors were informed that the much-awaited proposal for local authorities to charge extra tax on second homes will not happen until 2024, or possibly even 2025. In addition, it was suggested that a promised review of the present funding formula for local government is likely to be delayed until 2026. We have to ask: where is the priority for housing justice and fairer funding for councils?

Also last week, there was confirmation that the new women’s and children’s unit at Treliske – misleading called a “new hospital” – has been delayed, while the plan for a much-needed extension to West Cornwall Hospital has been paused.

It is hardly surprising that so many people – myself included – are questioning the Government’s commitment to building a fairer and more equal society.

Friday, 12 August 2022


Time period: 25th June – 30th July 2022

1.0 Council and other meetings

In terms of physical meetings during the month, I attended a Full Council meeting of the unitary authority on 12th July, plus the Community Forum linked to the incinerator, the annual general meeting of the St Dennis & Nanpean Community Fund, and the South & East Cornwall Local Action Group.

The vast majority of my Cornwall Council meetings have been via TEAMS video-conferencing. These have included Cabinet; three briefings for upcoming meetings of the Constitution and Governance Committee about the completion of the Community Governance Review (parish boundaries) on the Constitution and Governance Committee; Cornish National Minority Working Group, two associated briefings and an engagement forum for members of the public; Economic Growth and Development Overview and Scrutiny Committee; a meeting of Community Network Chairs and Vice-chairs; a meeting of councillors within the China Clay Area; Group Leaders’ meeting; briefings on the ecological emergency facing Cornwall and the wider world, plus an update on proposed “county deal.”

In addition, I have attended two meetings of St Enoder Parish Council and two meetings of St Dennis Parish Council.

I also had further online meetings about a range of local issues.

2.0 China Clay Area Community Network

As previously reported, the administration at Cornwall Council wishes to reduce the number of Community Network Panels from 19 to 10 (and merge Clay Country with the Bodmin Network in the process).

In my role as Chairman of the China Clay Area Community Network Panel, I attended a meeting of Chairs and vice-chairs of the Community Network Panels and I can report back that there is widespread opposition to the reduction in the number of Community Networks. I will be attending a further (face-to-face) meeting about this on Wednesday 27th July.

3.0 Shared Prosperity Fund

Cornwall Council’s Cabinet has published its approach to the spending of the monies that will be made available through the Shared Prosperity Fund (which has been set up in place of the EU structural funds that were previously available).

It states that the three priorities will be business, communities and skills, while there will be specific efforts to tackle inequalities in deprived areas. Assurances have also been given that all areas will have a “fair chance” to bid for the funding which will total £132 million over the next three years.

Some of the paperwork refers to the Community Network Areas, which is a further reason why we need to ensure that the China Clay Area has its own powerful Network that can deliver for this area.

4.0 Mid Cornwall Metro

One of Cornwall’s first applications to the Government’s Levelling Up Fund is for a new “metro link” to improve rail services between Newquay and Par, and Falmouth and Truro. Works are expected to increase the regularity of trains on the branch lines and will include a new siding / crossing place on the Goss Moor.

5.0 Royal Cornwall Museum

The decision of the ruling administration at Cornwall Council not to support the Royal Cornwall Museum with funding from its new Culture and Creative Investment Programme (which replaced the cultural revenue grants programme) led to the Museum announcing that it was under threat of closure.

Mebyon Kernow councillors on the unitary authority (including myself) have been among those making strong representations for the Council to do more to safeguard Cornwall principal museum.

6.0 Solar farms

I continue to get a number of contacts about the number of solar farm applications in Mid Cornwall. These include the proposals for Trerice in St Dennis Parish, Tresithney in St Enoder Parish – though the actual planning applications have yet to be submitted. In addition, there is a live planning application for Tregonning in Newlyn East Parish (though the cabling would go through St Enoder Parish to the Indian Queens Power Station on the road to St Dennis and there is another emerging proposal for a farm to the south of Mitchell.

I have written to a number of the planning officers involved with the applications to seek guidance how they will be assessing the applications and addressing subjects such as cumulative landscape and other impacts.


7.0 Social / affordable rent properties in St Dennis

In my last report, I confirmed that, in the future, the Sanctuary Housing element of Hendra Heights and the Coastline estate at Wesley Place will be advertised with a “parish connection” label to ensure that the properties will go to individuals or households with a connection to St Dennis. This follow my investigation into (accurate) complaints that properties had not been going to local people and nomination agreements were not being complied with.

I am very pleased to be able to confirm that Ocean Housing have agreed to apply a “parish connection” label to their older housing stock (that have no nomination agreements or other restrictions on local connection) to boost the chances of households from St Dennis Parish securing affordable housing in their own village. I am most grateful for the assistance of Ocean Housing on this matter.

8.0 Planning matters

8.1 Housing development at Hendra Prazey (PA20/11311)

A site meeting was held by the Parish Council (with a representative of the applicant) at Hendra Prazey to discuss the application for 27 housing units (of which 23 would be affordable). The Parish Council’s Planning Committee had a follow-up meeting and have maintained a strong objection to the proposed scheme. The vote was unanimous.

I am presently seeking further information from the relevant officers at the unitary authority about how they wish to respond to the various objections and how they intend to deal with the application.

8.2 Indian Queens Power Station (PA22/05961)

An application has also been submitted for the installation and operation of a 47.5 megawatt battery energy storage system on land immediately to the west of Indian Queens Power Station.

9.0 Proposed multi-use trail from St Dennis to the Goss Moor

In a previous report, I reported how an expression of interest had been submitted to the G7 Nature Recovery Project to investigate the possibility of turning the section of defunct railway line between St Dennis and the Goss Moor National Nature Reserve into a multi-use trail. The EOI was unsuccessful, but I was very pleased to be approached by Natural England to discuss a potential application to a “seed corn” fund. I can confirm that a funding application has been submitted to support the initial phase of the project, which would scope out, design and cost the project over the next six months. This report will then, hopefully, be able to be used to underpin the main funding applications to make the project a reality.


10.0 Parish Council projects

I am continuing to work closely with the Clerk of St Enoder Parish Council, on a range of issues. These include the following:

10.1 Field between Indian Queens Primary School and Harvenna Heights

The new footway through the Parish Council was constructed in the latter part of 2021, and I am now pleased that we have moved onto the next stage of the project. The Council’s handyman is presently working in the field with some landscaping works and, when that is done, some picnic benches will be placed in the area along with rubbish bins. I am hopeful that there will also be tree planting and I personally favour the provision of a cluster of apple trees.

10.2 Youth Club building in Indian Queens Recreation Ground

The Parish Council has a project to double the size of the Youth Club Building and an EOI has been submitted to Cornwall Council’s CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) funding pot. I can report that we have been invited to proceed to the next stage (full application), which the Clerk and I have started to work on.

11.0 Planning

11.1 Carvynick, near Summercourt

Further to my update on Carvynick in my previous report, I can confirm that outline planning permission has been granted for “up to 40 tourism lodges” in the field on the eastern side of Carvynick. The consent conditions that the “the development … shall be used as holiday accommodation only and shall not be occupied as a person's sole or main place of residence.”

In the past, the owners have argued that the holiday use at Carvynick had made the site “brown-field” or “previously developed land,” which led to an inspector from the Bristol-based Planning Inspectorate allowing residential properties within the site. As a consequence of this, Cornwall Council has added the following condition:

“When the use hereby permitted ceases or the commercial operation of the land becomes redundant all lodges, buildings, structures, tracks, materials and equipment brought onto, or erected on, the land or works undertaken to it in connection with the use shall be removed, and the land restored to its condition before the development took place. The land shall thereafter revert to use as a pasture field or other agricultural use.”

12.0 Highway matters

Last year, Cornwall Council installed the two zebra crossings in Indian Queens – after many years of lobbying. Unfortunately, the installation by the Victory Hall was not done properly and Cormac will be remodelling the platform, etc, from the 15th August onwards, when the road will be closed. This is all so, so frustrating.


13.0 Advice

Over the last month, I have also assisted numerous households and individuals with guidance and advice on a range of topics including planning matters, housing need, social care, environmental issues and more.

Please note that my next report will be published towards the end of September.