Tuesday 31 March 2015

Posters are now available

An important part of any election campaign is being visible – and one of the time-honoured ways in which to show your support is you display election posters.

So anyone in St Austell and Newquay who would like a window poster (or posters) - A4 or A3 - please get in contact on 07791 876607 or dickcole@btinternet.com.

We will soon also have some larger corex boards (A2) for prominent locations around the seat.


MK has not invited to be on panel of SW Question Time

Following my appearance on yesterday’s BBC Politics Show, I have less positive news to report about the BBC’s election coverage in the “South West.”

BBC South West intends to hold a Question Time style election debate in late April at the University of St Mark and St John in Plymouth. It will be hosted by Justin Leigh and the panel will have a candidate from the following parties: Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green and UKIP.

I did however receive an email inviting me to be a member of the audience and – from discussions – it appears that I, or another member of MK, might be able to ask a question.

To be excluded from the panel means that MK is, once again, to be denied fair and equal access to the media during the election period.

I have already spoken to four representatives of the BBC, but it is fair to say that I do not appear to be getting very far. It is my intention to make a formal complaint about our exclusion as all other parties standing in all Cornish seats will be represented.

BBC Daily Politics

The General Election campaign officially commenced with yesterday’s dissolution of parliament. I happened to be in London and I did an interview on the Daily Politics Show. It was the first in a series of short interviews with representatives of “smaller” political parties across the UK. I understand that they are doing one a day during the election period.

Thanks to everyone for their kind words about the interview, but if you haven’t seen it – it can be located at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-32116533

Also featured on the programme was the Deputy Leader of the Scottish National Party Stewart Hosie (pictured below).

Sunday 22 March 2015

MK Spring Conference

Thank you to everyone who attended the MK Spring Conference yesterday. I hope you all enjoyed the day.

In my address, I called for an end to the “politics as usual” of the “Westminster circus” which “if not challenged – will fail Cornwall in the future – just as it has failed us all in the past.”

I made the important argument that MK is a “political party with a difference,” and I called on people in Cornwall to “reject their habitual association with Westminster parties and back a new progressive politics with MK.”

I also:

· Repeated my call for a new democratic settlement for Cornwall, with the meaningful devolution of significant powers to a National Assembly.

· Demanded a geographical re-balancing of the UK economy away from London and the South East, at the same time securing greater investment in public works to boost local economic activity.

· Condemned the Coalition’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which he said had turned Cornwall into a “developers’ paradise.” I called for all decisions relating to planning to be made in Cornwall.

· Condemned the under-funding of public services in Cornwall and the failure of the Westminster parties to properly address the issue. I demanded a binding Commission to investigate the full extent of under-funding in Cornwall and to guarantee Cornish communities their fair share of funding in the future.

· Re-affirmed MK’s opposition to the privatisation of our National Health Service.

· Demanded concerted action to tackle tax avoidance and tax evasion.

· Condemned the Westminster parties’ focus on austerity, stating clearly that I was proud that MK is part of a wider movement, challenging the consensus around austerity, championing alternatives ways to balance the books of the state, which do not impact on the vulnerable and the less-well-off, through welfare cuts and privatisations.

MK's PPCs taking a short break from the Conference.

Wednesday 18 March 2015

On the hustings

The election campaign is in full swing and I have already taken part in three hustings. The first was on the Newquay campus of Cornwall College on 3rd March, followed by a debate at the Keay Theatre in St Austell on Monday, which was hosted by the St Austell Chamber of Commerce.

The third debate was today, for over 120 pupils at Brannel School in St Stephen. This was also attended by Steve Double (Conservative), Steve Gilbert (Lib Dem) and Steve Slade (Green Party), Brendan Parkinson (Labour) on behalf of their candidate Deborah Hopkins, who was working, and Kernow King, who was described as a professional Cornishman. UKIP were not present.

I enjoyed all the debates, but it was wonderful to see so many engaged young people at Brannel. Four pupils gave outstanding presentations to start the proceedings and the questions were also of a very high calibre.

And I was really chuffed when Kernow King cheekily asked who the pupils would vote for in an election, and I found that I was the most popular choice.

Thank you St Stephen and Clay Country.

No to NHS privatisations

In my article in today’s Cornish Guardian focused on the threat to the NHS from the privatisation agenda of the Westminster parties. It was as follows:

In a well-received speech on St David’s Day, actor Michael Sheen declared that “there has been a systematic undermining of the core values of the National Health Service, no matter who has been in power.”

Addressing a pro-NHS march, he expressed the view that politicians were missing the “bigger picture,” and we were “starting to become a society that we cannot be proud of.”

I share Martin Sheen’s concern about what is happening to our public services, in general, and the NHS, in particular.

During the 2010 General Election campaign, David Cameron claimed he would defend the National Health Service from “Labour’s cuts and reorganisations.” His Conservative Party also promised there would be no top-down reorganisation of the NHS. But they then pushed through the unpopular Health and Social Care Bill, which included measures to force greater competition into the provision of healthcare and opened up the NHS to a hot of private companies.

Here in Cornwall, we have already seen the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust privatise hotel services, such as cleaning, portering and catering. There was also a further attempt to privatise £75 million worth of so-called “non-complex” health services, which included trauma, general surgery and cardiology.

While upcountry, a private company which was running the Hinchingbrooke NHS hospital withdrew from its contract to provide health services because it was not profitable enough. They informed their “investors” that it was “no longer sustainable under current terms.”

And, last week, it was confirmed that the NHS has agreed it’s biggest-ever privatisation. In a deal worth up to £780 million, eleven private firms will be commissioned to carry out a range of operations, scans, X-rays and other diagnostic tests.

This is all extremely worrying and why I fully support the online campaign group, 38 Degrees, in their latest fight to protect this health service.

They are rightly concerned about the number of NHS contracts going to profit-driven private companies, as well as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) which could lead to more “US-style privatisations.”

As 38 Degrees state, in this election year: “There’s no better time to try and change the political landscape than when politicians are after our votes. Most candidates are full of warm words about the NHS because they know it’s popular. But our test is the crucial one: will they commit to kicking out privatisation, funding it properly and keeping it safe from TTIP? If they won’t, we’ll know their niceties are just hot air.”

An apology from Greenpeace

In last week’s Cornish Guardian, there was a news story about an event at Mevagissey, organised by Greenpeace (Tuesday 3rd March). The aim of the event was to promote sustainable fishing, in association with local fishermen.

But the headline was: "Anger as all but UKIP snub coastal champions meeting."

Quotes from within the article included: "Greenpeace said it had invited 'all parliamentary candidates and the local MP’,” and "Will McCallum, a Greenpeace campaigner, said: 'It is extremely disappointing that the MP and the majority of the candidates, did not attend the meeting to hear the fishermen's concerns’.”

I was not happy at the coverage, not least because I had not actually received an invitation to the event. And to be fair to some of the other candidates, Steve Double, Steve Gilbert and Steve Slade, were present with me at a hustings event on the Cornwall College campus in Newquay, between 11.00 and 1.00 on the same day. I don't think that they - like me - could be in two places at once.

I am pleased to be able to report that the Cornish Guardian has today put the record straight and published a letter from Greenpeace which confirmed I had not been invited. It also included an apology to me, for which I am grateful.

Western Greyhound routes and Summercourt

Since last Friday, when Western Greyhound ceased trading, a large number of people at Cornwall Council and in other bus companies have worked very hard to ensure that the majority of routes have replacement services.

They should be congratulated on the effective manner in which they worked. I am sure it is much appreciated by so many people.

The loss of the company is also a massive blow to this local area and those poor workers who may end up without jobs as a consequence.

Inevitably, there are still some problem areas with the routes – one of which is in my St Enoder division at Summercourt.

The Western Greyhound services 594 and 594 which previously linked Summercourt with Truro have ceased and the ‘replacement’ is the newish 91, 92 and 93 services from First, which commenced a few months ago.

Unfortunately, this service does not presently stop at Summercourt and I have been in regular contact with the Passenger Unit at County Hall about what can be done. I can report that staff at the Council are in discussion with First about how they might be able to serve the village.

Summercourt Travel’s 497 service – which has a limited number of journeys – is still running, but the Council is also keen that the mainline services from Newquay and Wadebridge to Truro include stops at Summercourt.

I will report back again, when I have more information.

Wednesday 11 March 2015

Radio Cornwall – Thursday 12th March

Even though MK is getting nowhere with the BBC Trust in terms of PEBs, I can report that tomorrow (Thursday 12th March) I will be interviewed live by Laurence Reed on Radio Cornwall. It will take place between 1.00 and 2.00, and I will also be answering questions that come in from members of the public.

Symposium on a Cornish Assembly

Today, I was one of the guests who took part in a symposium on the topic of Cornish devolution at Tremough. It was organised by Garry Tregidga and his team at the Institute of Cornish Studies.

I had the pleasurable duty of debating the merits of a Cornish Assembly with two other councillors who serve on the unitary authority: Fiona Ferguson (Conservative) and Simon Rix (Liberal Democrat). There were also contributions from Julian German on behalf of the Cornish Constitutional Convention, Bernard Deacon on neo-liberalism and the impact on democracy, and Ben Dobson on economic matters, while John Ault gave a rundown on interesting findings from the Camborne and Redruth constituency poll from November 2014.

All in all it was a thought-provoking day and great to see people discussing the merits of a Cornish Assembly.

Update on BBC’s view on Party Election Broadcasts

Earlier this week, Mebyon Kernow received the latest letter from the BBC. It related to our complaint that the BBC Trust had refused MK’s call for a Party Election Broadcast (PEB).

When I received the ruling of the Trust, I was informed that to challenge the decision, I needed to write to the BBC’s Chief Advisor on Politics (Editorial Policy and Standards) and make a formal complaint.

This is an extract from the reply:

“I do not wish to add to your frustration, but my view is that your complaint, technically, is not against the allocation of PEBs, which is the responsibility of the BBC Executive, but against the criteria for allocating broadcasts. These were approved by the BBC Trust’s Editorial Standards Committee at its meeting last month, following the public consultation to which you contributed your views …

“In these circumstances, therefore, it would not be appropriate for me to make any change to the BBC’s proposed allocation of PEBs, which in our view comply with the approved criteria. As such, we consider that any complaint you have regarding the criteria ought to be taken up directly with the Trust.”

The letter has added to my frustration with the unfair attitude of the BBC to television broadcasts.

Cornish Guardian column: no PEB for MK

My article in today’s Cornish Guardian addresses the refusal of the BBC Trust to allow MK the right to a Party Election Broadcast. It was as follows:

Some weeks ago, I wrote about how I had made formal representations to the BBC Trust seeking a Party Election Broadcast (PEB) for Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall during the 2015 General Election.

I challenged the unjust ruling that MK would not be allowed a PEB, unless we stood in one-sixth of the constituencies across “England” – a total of 89 seats. Or put another way – six seats in Cornwall and another 83 on the other side of the Tamar!

We pointed out that – by comparison – in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, political parties would only have to stand in three, seven and ten seats respectively to secure a PEB.

I am therefore extremely disappointed to report that the BBC Trust has rejected our calls for airtime. The Trust has also devised a series of arguments to justify their position, one of which they described as “overspill.”

They stated that if MK was allowed a regional broadcast, “there would be substantial overspill” with voters outside of Cornwall able to view the broadcast, even though they would not be able vote for MK candidates. The Trust claimed this would “discredit PEBs,” and “create viewer and listener indifference.” They even came up with the term “PEB fatigue.”

It will surprise no-one that we do not accept the logic of their arguments.

As long as the BBC and other broadcasters employ the “one-sixth” rule, there will be PEBs from political parties not standing a full slate of candidates across England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

It will inevitably mean that some people will be able to view broadcasts from – to quote the BBC Trust – “parties for whom they could not vote.” In 2010, for example, there were no English Democrat candidates in Cornwall, but their PEB was still broadcast to all residents of Cornwall.

And at the moment – the BBC is also trying to organise a seven-way election debate to feature David Cameron (Conservative), Ed Miliband (Labour), Nick Clegg (Lib Dem), Nigel Farage (UKIP) and Natalie Bennett (Green), alongside Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish National Party and Leanne Wood of Plaid Cymru.

Obviously, I am personally pleased that the leaders of MK’s sister parties in Scotland and Wales have secured such coverage and that the BBC will be broadcasting their views across the whole of the United Kingdom, even though most people will be unable to vote for them.

But surely, this is extremely inconsistent with their approach to MK and Cornwall!

Monday 9 March 2015

In Caernarfon for the Plaid Cymru Spring Conference

It was a great pleasure to attend the Plaid Cymru Spring Conference at Caernarfon over the weekend.

I have been a member of Plaid for over 25 years – ever since I was a student at St David’s University College, Lampeter, where I was Secretary of the College’s Plaid Cymru branch for a couple of years.

Indeed, I took part in my first political debates when I was at Lampeter – twice representing the Party at hustings.

It was also so refreshing to hear a range of speakers – such as Party Leader Leanne Wood (below) and Arfon MP Hywel Williams (who kindly name-checked me from the stage) – who outlined a clear alternative to the failed politics of the Westminster parties.

I wish them all the best for the 2015. They have a team of outstanding individuals and I sincerely hope that they will be able to add to their present tally of three MPs. 

Wales need Plaid to be strong across the whole of Wales, just as the SNP is increasingly dominant across Scotland.

And here in Cornwall, we must do our utmost to emulate our Celtic cousins.

Thursday 5 March 2015

MK comment on Liberal Democrat "Assembly" announcement

Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall has described the Liberal Democrat announcement about their commitment to the creation of a Cornish Assembly as “ill considered” and a “nonsense.”

On behalf of Mebyon Kernow, Cllr Loveday Jenkin has released the following statement:

“There must be an election on – the Lib Dems are talking about a Cornish Assembly. It is an abject shame they have done nothing about meaningful devolution to Cornwall whilst in government over the last five years.

“The statement from Nick Clegg and Jeremy Rowe contains many fine words about creating a Cornish Assembly, describing it as ‘much like that in Wales.’ But the Liberal Democrat statement is ill considered and goes on to state that they are actually planning to simply give more powers to the unitary authority. Cornwall needs proper devolution – not local government reform.

“Cornwall needs a powerful legislative Assembly – similar to those in Wales and Scotland – that control the majority of the public sector including the National Health Service, all aspects of education, a wide range of public bodies, and local government.

“It is an unbelievable nonsense that the Liberal Democrats do not know the difference between a National Assembly and a local council – thinking they could be one and the same!”

Further information

The statement from Nick Clegg and Jeremy Rowe stated that the Assembly could be “formed out of the existing Cornwall Council,” adding that “if Scotland can manage with 129 MSPs for five million people, then nobody can sensibly argue Cornwall needs more than 123 representatives.”

The reality is that Scotland has 129 MSPs in the Scottish Parliament, but it also has a total of 1,222 councillors on a range of 32 principal authorities. While in Wales, the Assembly has 60 AMs and a total of 1,254 councillors on 22 principal authorities.

MK’s model for greater self-government mirrors that of Scotland and Wales, with local communities also served by a small number of principal authorities beneath the National Assembly.

Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall has today (St Piran’s Day) launched its own policy document entitled “Towards a National Assembly of Cornwall.” It can be downloaded from the MK website at:


St Piran’s Day Message

In my annual St Piran’s Day message, I have appealed to voters across Cornwall to back Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall at the upcoming General Election.

My message is as follows:

“On May 7th, we have a fantastic opportunity to show that Cornwall matters.

“The growth of the SNP in Scotland has shown that there can be an alternative to the establishment Westminster parties, which have failed communities from Lands End to John O’Groats.

“If you also feel let down by the same old politics from the London parties, now is the time to demand a better deal for Cornwall by supporting MK in the General Election.

“Mebyon Kernow has no political masters in Westminster to please. We are based here in Cornwall. We have no vested interests and we are not funded by big business. We fight for what is best for Cornwall.

“Please support us with your votes.”

Anyone wishing to be part of MK General Election campaign, can email me on dickcole@btinternet.com or join MK at www.mebyonkernow.org.

MK launches “Towards a National Assembly of Cornwall”

Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall has today (St Piran’s Day) launched its policy document entitled “Towards a National Assembly of Cornwall.”

MK has a manifesto commitment to the creation of a National Assembly of Cornwall, with powers broadly equivalent to the Scottish Parliament, as set out in the Scotland Act 1998. The document sets out what greater self-government could mean for Cornwall.

The document demonstrates that the creation of a National Assembly of Cornwall would not make Cornwall independent of the UK, but would make it a more empowered part of the governance of the United Kingdom. It also shows how a National Assembly would control the majority of the public sector in Cornwall including the National Health Service, all aspects of education and a wide range of public bodies, as well as local government.

A copy of the document can be downloaded from the MK website:


Wednesday 4 March 2015

Cornwall needs funding for its national language

Earlier today, I was interviewed by ITV Westcountry about the seeming refusal of central government to fund the Cornish Language Partnership after the present funding arrangements end on 31st March 2015.

It is beyond belief that central government can recognise the Cornish as a national minority and then refuse to financially support Cornwall’s national language.

A statement from the unitary authority was published today. It was short, blunt and sums up the situation. It was as follows:

“At this moment, the Government has said it will not fund the Cornish Language beyond the current programme which ends on 31 March 2015. We have written to them to express our concerns about this situation and have confirmed that unless funding can be identified we will be forced to close the MAGA office. We are currently in negotiation with the Government on this matter and expect a response imminently. As a consequence of this funding uncertainty staff in the Cornish Language team are currently in a process of consultation around the future of their posts but we have tried to wait until the last possible moment to take further action.”

I know that Nick Clegg will be in Cornwall (electioneering) on St Piran’s Day and I was among those who had hoped that he would be arriving with news of an investment package for the Cornish language. But I understand, from local journalists, that he has issued a press statement in advance of Thursday about the Lib Dem brand of … devolution.

I do sincerely hope that the Deputy Prime Minister will still be able to announce something positive for the Cornish language on our national saint’s day.

Monday 2 March 2015

All planning decisions should be taken in Cornwall

I have challenged central government to democratise the planning system and for all planning decisions to be taken in Cornwall, because it is clear to me that the influence of central government is undermining the planning system locally.

The Coalition’s "presumption in favour" of development in their National Planning Policy Framework has led to unchecked and damaging development in many areas, while the views of local people have often been ignored.

Just consider ...

-  Over the last few years, the unitary authority has been debating what Cornwall’s housing target should be for the period 2010-2030. Central government claims that local councils can make the decision, but it has put in place an inspection regime that forces them to adopt higher targets than the majority of residents would prefer.

-  The Coalition has pushed through a recent diktat that unilaterally reduced the threshold for affordable housing, which will be particularly damaging in Cornwall.

-  ‘Upcountry’ planning inspectors have granted numerous applications against the wishes of local communities. One of the most recent appeals allowed a development of 131 new properties in St Austell, even though it had been opposed by local councillors and residents.

-  And the so-called “eco-community” is progressing because central government has specified such a development through one of its planning policy statements.

Mebyon Kernow is campaigning for all decisions about planning to be taken in Cornwall.

We want the right to have a Cornish National Planning Policy Framework to replace the NPPF produced by central government; we want housing targets to be agreed locally without interference from Whitehall; and we want any appeal process to also be controlled from within Cornwall.

EU funding ... Charlies?

My article in this week's Cornish Guardian addresses the refusal of central government to allow local control over EU funds. It will be as follows:

Central government last week announced that the Mayor of London and the Greater London Authority would have full control over their share of the Structural and Investment Funds from the European Union.

But in an unbelievable u-turn, they also announced that the European programmes for Cornwall – as well as other areas across England – would be centrally controlled from London!

The Coalition has always had a lot to say about localism and devolution, but it is all clearly a sham. They only seem capable of creating yet more unelected and unaccountable bodies – such as the Local Enterprise Partnership – while centralising decision-making to Westminster and Whitehall.

The unitary authority has rightly condemned the announcement. Pointing out that “Cornwall needs brave, bespoke investment decisions to grow our economy and increase wage levels and productivity,” a spokesman added that “projects dreamt up in London, for big cities, just won’t work here because our challenges and opportunities are our own.”

This debacle has reminded me of an article written by Len Truran, the National Secretary of Mebyon Kernow in the late 1970s.

Using a military analogy, he wrote: “During the last war, the most difficult job in an aircraft was that of rear gunner. He sat in his small turret experiencing the greatest discomfort of the whole aircrew, often being the lowest paid man aboard: his chances of survival were slim. He had one great advantage – thoughtful captains usually considered his well-being a priority. They called him ‘Tail End Charlie’.”

Len went on to describe Cornwall as the “Tail End Charlie” of Britain – “we are the ‘Tail Enders’ because we are the furthest from the centres of power in London and Brussels; and ‘Charlies’ because we are fools to give our support to such a system …”

He condemned the political establishment of the time, arguing that Cornwall had “no captain to put our welfare first” and “no political party crew that will spare us kind thought or give us honourable mention.”

And Len finished his article by demanding the devolution of significant powers to Cornwall, which would “take us out of the tail end” and into the mainstream.

This message is as relevant now as it was 35 years ago.

The devolved administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales already have democratic control over how their EU money is spent. Why should the people of Cornwall be denied the same?

Sunday 1 March 2015

MK makes formal complaint to BBC about Party Election Broadcasts

I can report that, on behalf of Mebyon Kernow, I have formally responded to the decision of the BBC Trust to refuse MK the option of a Party Election Broadcast for the 2015 General Election. I have set out MK’s view that the decision is flawed and intrinsically undemocratic. I have requested that it be revisited and that they treat my representation as stage 1 of the BBC’s PEBs complaints process.

We have reaffirmed our view that:

“We consider it exceptionally unjust that MK would be denied a Party Election Broadcast, because it is simply impractical meet the threshold of 89 seats across ‘England’ – one sixth of those available. How can it be fair that MK would need to stand in all six seats in the historic nation of Cornwall, as well as a further 83 seats outside of Cornwall, in order to be allowed a broadcast?

“This is not a problem that political parties in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland face, as they would only have to stand in three, seven and ten seats respectively. And it has meant that, over the last few years, a host of political parties – including the Christian Party (Wales), Scottish Green Party, Scottish Socialist Party and the Scottish Trade Union and Socialist Coalition – have been allocated airtime.”

Our latest representation was quite detailed and covered a wide range of issues.

This included the BBC Trust stated concern about what they termed “Overspill.” They stated:

“The Committee recognised that, given that the broadcasting region and the hypothetical electoral region do not match, there would be substantial ‘overspill.’ i.e. that voters outside the areas where Mebyon Kernow candidates are standing would receive any regional PEBs, including from parties for whom they could not vote, and this would risk discrediting PEBs, creating viewer and listener indifference, and inducing ‘PEB fatigue.’ They also recognised that where there is no match there is the risk that viewers and listeners within the regional electoral area would not be within the broadcast area in which the regional PEB could be received. It was noted that Cornwall is much smaller than the relevant BBC television broadcasting region (the South West), and applying the threshold criterion to the South West would still not qualify Mebyon Kernow for a PEB.”

Obviously, we do not accept the logic of their argument. We responded as follows:

“As long as the BBC and other broadcasters employ the ‘one-sixth’ rule, there will be broadcasts from political parties not standing a full slate of candidates across England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. And this will inevitably mean that some people would be able to view broadcasts ‘from parties for whom they could not vote.’

“For example, in 2010, there were no English Democrat candidates in Cornwall. But the EDP broadcast was viewable by all residents of Cornwall. Likewise, there was only a single BNP candidate in Cornwall, but their broadcast was also viewable

“It is our view that – as long as the ‘one-sixth’ rule continues to operate – the BBC Trust’s ruling is prejudicial against MK in a manner that is not prejudicial against other political parties.”

The full letter is available on request.

My monthly report to St Enoder Parish Council

At last week’s meeting of St Enoder Parish Council, I presented my monthly report. It covered the time period of 26th January – 22nd February. It was as follows:

1. Council meetings

I have attended a range of formal meetings over the last month. These included: Full Council (plus associated briefing), Central Planning Committee, Planning Policy Advisory Committee (PAC), Transport PAC, a group leaders meeting, a briefing on the unitary authority’s “Case for Cornwall,” China Clay Area Network meeting, and the Liaison Group concerning the waste incinerator.

In addition to the formal meetings listed above, I have had numerous meetings with council officers and others to discuss a range of issues. Many of these meetings are noted below.

2. Other meetings

I also attended the AGM of Indian Queens Pit, a meeting of the rural sub-group of the Local Enterprise Partnership, a meeting of School Governors at Summercourt, as well as two meetings at ClayTAWC. In addition, I was present at an event promoting a possible regeneration project for St Austell named Ceramico. This came about through my involvement with the St Austell Bay Economic Forum.

3. Central Planning Committee; 16th February 2014

Members will recall that – in spite of my strong objections – the members of this Committee voted to approve twenty properties to the rear of Kilburn in Fraddon in August 2014. At that meeting, my objections in relation to the prices for the affordable housing were ignored, though they added an informative that stated the indicative layout was “not acceptable” for the following reasons: “inadequate space standards for the affordable housing, inequitable division of land take between the open market and affordable housing, disparity between size of the affordable and open market housing units, and lack of pepper potting of the affordable housing units.”

The resolution also set out that:

“If the section 106 agreement is not signed by 2nd October 2014, the Head of Planning and Enterprise is given delegated authority to refuse planning permission on the grounds that the proposal has failed to secure the necessary safeguards to ensure the provision of the necessary mitigation and contributions within a time period deemed sufficient.”

The section 106 agreement was not agreed within the time-frame and the applicant wished to make a modification to the nature of the agreement. I meanwhile had pointed out that the Council had agreed a new Supplementary Planning Document on affordable housing and the Cornwall Local Plan had been submitted to central government, and I argued that the application should be reassessed.

At this latest meeting, members were very sympathetic to my arguments but the planning and legal officers took the opposite view. The meeting ended in what I would describe as confusion and I have requested a meeting with senior planners to discuss what happens next.

I will report back again when I have further information.

4. Full Council; 17th February

At this meeting, I moved a motion to set up an annual “Community Recognition Award” for those who make an “outstanding contribution to the lives of others and deserve recognition for their actions.” This was carried with the over-whelming support of the Council. The Council also confirmed the council tax increase of 1.97%, following the agreement of a four-year budget in November 2014.

5. Transport PAC; 11th February

This meeting discussed a draft of Cornwall Council’s Transport Plan, which set out a range of future schemes. I raised a strong objection that it did not include any schemes relating specifically to St Enoder Parish, such as the measures included in the traffic management plan produced in association with consented new classroom at Indian Queens School. I have since lobbied the officers in question and forwarded previous representations to them.

6. Planning PAC; 19th February

Following a reorganisation of the responsibilities for individual PACs, the Environment, Heritage and Planning PAC has become the Planning PAC. It does, however, still have responsibility for environment strategy. I was elected chairman of the PAC at this meeting.

7. Penare Pig Farm, Higher Fraddon and associated AD plant

I have continued dedicate a significant amount of time to those issues relating to the development of the AD plant at Higher Fraddon, and the re-development of the pig farm

An assessment of the road has just been completed by the consultants Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB). This will be discussed at the next Community Forum, which has been arranged for Thursday (26 February) at Kingsley Village. The PB report has been forwarded to all members of the Parish Council, along with the agenda and supporting paperwork for the Forum meeting.

I can report that the assessment identifies significant problems with the capacity of the road to the biogas plant. In particular, it specifies that the access road “would not be deemed to provide ’safe and suitable’ access to the site (as required within the National Planning Policy Framework.”

I have also attended:

-  Two meetings with members of the Higher Fraddon Residents’ Group.
-  A meeting between Greener for Life and Treliver Minerals Ltd to discuss use of land on the southern side of the A30.
-  A meeting between Greener for Life and the most immediate residents to the AD unit to discuss the height of the tank closest to them and screening.

Notes from the two above meetings with Greener for Life have been included within the paperwork for the Community Forum meeting.

8. Progress on open spaces

I have had a meeting with Jon Mitchell to discuss the delays in sorting out the open areas at Fairview Park, St Columb Road, and Lindsay Fields, Fraddon. He has agreed to prioritise both issues.

In terms of Fairview Park, he has agreed that he will action the transfer of the land to St Enoder Parish Council as previously agreed so that we can tidy up the area. The associated payment of £16,000 will also be forwarded to the Parish Council and whatever is left over after the area has been reconfigured can be spent on play equipment elsewhere in the Parish.

It would be helpful if St Enoder Parish Council reaffirmed its commitment to taking this course of action at tonight’s meeting.

With regards to Lindsay Fields, Mr Mitchell has instructed Cormac to inspect the green area, identify any defects and pull together a list of works necessary to bring the site up to adoption standard. The developer will then be asked to undertake the work in accordance with the schedule of defects and the legal team will then be instructed to bring forward the transfer to Cornwall Council.

I have also been in contact with the staff dealing with the Kelliers and I have requested an urgent meeting to address the extent of progress.

9. Highways issues

I am pleased to be able to report that the 20 mph speed limit on the roads around the Indian Queens Primary School has been installed.

I have also been in regular contact with officers from Cormac on a range of issues. I can report that possible schemes to improve the road drains along the old A30 through Fraddon, and at one location on Chapel Road, Indian Queens, have been put forward for consideration by the Council’s capital team.

I have also made representations on a range of issues. These include:

-  Problems caused by construction traffic relating to solar farm at Burthy, including incorrect access from Sea View Terrace.
-  Need for patching at Harvenna Close.
-  Flooded ditch at Higher Fraddon.
-  Damaged manhole cover near Summercourt crossroads.
-  Damaged wall at entrance of Heather Meadow.
-  Complaints about the condition of double yellow lines.

10. Planning matters

Over the last month, I have also liaised with planning officers in relation to a number of planning applications. These included the “unauthorised” application on land adjacent to the Kelliers, which has just been refused, the three turbines proposed on Pines Tip, as well as the latest phase of the Ocean Housing development at Higher Harvenna. I am in the process of arranging a meeting to discuss access arrangements to the school in relation to the development.

11. Inquiries

Throughout the last month, I have also helped numerous people and local organisations with advice and guidance on a wide range of issues.