Thursday, 28 April 2016

SNP and Plaid Cymru table Early Day Motion in support of the Cornish language

An Early Day Motion has been tabled in the House of Commons today, calling for the Government to reverse its cuts to the Cornish Language.

The primary sponsor is Angus McNeil (SNP) who represents Na h-Eileanan an Iar, and the motion is also sponsored by Mhairi Black, Deidre Brock, Drew Hendry and Angus Robertson (all from the SNP) plus Jonathan Edwards of Plaid Cymru.

Jonathan Edwards, you may recall, spoke at the MK Conference in 2011, when we marked the tenth anniversary of the 50,000 declarations for a Cornish Assembly

The motion states the following:

“That this House supports the indigenous and oldest languages of these islands, the Celtic languages; and therefore calls on the Government to reverse its cuts to the smallest and most vulnerable of these languages, Cornish, and instead calls for the support and appreciation of this historical cultural jewel.”

At the time of writing, it has been supported by 18 MPs. They are all members of SNP or Plaid Cymru, plus one Labour MP (Conor McGinn; St Helens North).

Please write to your MPs asking them to support EDM 1429.

There is also the online petition on the Parliament website, which calls on central government to continue to provide annual financial support for the Cornish language, which can be located at:

If you haven’t already signed the petition, please do so and contact as many of your friends as you can and ask them to do the same.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Yet another “eco-community” update

As previously reported, the Examination into the Cornwall Local Plan will re-convene on 16th May. A timetable has now been released which presently suggests that the “eco-community” will be considered on 19th May.

The Inspector has issued a few further comments, which include the “eco-community,” and respondents to the Examination have until the middle of next week to respond.

His latest comments / questions on the eco-community were as follows:


4.16 I raised some preliminary questions with the Council in LI.ID.3 (and a further question in LI.ID.3.1). The Council’s response is in LI.CC.3. Written comments can be made on this statement within the deadline for pre-hearing questions.


4.17 Is the identification as a broad location in this Plan of a new community at West Carclaze/Baal justified in the context of the following:

- Progress/decisions already made in the context of previous/existing strategies eg China Clay Regeneration Plan and recently committed and planned public investment in the area (eg road improvement, Technology Park/ESRAM building)?
- The substantial area of currently despoiled land, but taking into account that there are the long term restoration conditions?
- The particular scale of development proposed (1,500 dwellings with 1,200 in the plan-period) – why is this scale necessary to achieve the stated benefits?
- Whether it is deliverable to achieve the expectations of the Plan.
- Irrespective of this particular proposal, does the overall strategy of the Plan/Council/LEP justify/require these 1,200 dwellings (in this plan-period) either within the China Clay CNA or the wider grouping of the 3 CNAs and or/the Regeneration Plan Area (see text in the Plan, version J.2, PP9, p157). If not assigned to West Carclaze/Baal where should they go?

4.18 Is the identification of Par Docks justified in the context of the following:

- Is it previously developed land as defined in the NPPF?
- Does stand or fall with the justification for West Carclaze/Baal proposal? Is there any real linkage between them?
- What needs to be overcome to enable development to start? Why is development likely to be late in the plan-period? If there is a high degree of uncertainty about delivery, should it be within the Plan at all, but addressed at the next review?
- Is flood risk sufficiently resolved to confirm the principle of development?
- If 300 is considered deliverable, but there is no justification for identifying Par Docks specifically in the Plan, would 300 need to be added to the requirement for St Blazey, Fowey, Lostwithiel CNA? If delivery is too uncertain to be counted in this Plan, should the 300 be reassigned to the wider Regeneration Area?

Detailed matters/requirements

4.19 In LI.ID.3, 3.3/3.4 I asked about the justification for the energy efficiency/renewable energy requirements etc of the policy. The Council’s response draws on the national picture, but does not explain why the requirements are specifically justified for this development when not sought in similar terms for any other development. In short, why only here/why here at all?

4.20 I also queried the 30% affordable housing requirement. The Council’s response confirms that this is above the zonal rate for the area of 25%. The Council will be aware that I have seen no evidence to support this approach and that the site developer Eco-Bos seeks 25%. Given the apparent close working between the Council and Eco-Bos, I would hope that this matter could be resolved by the parties before the hearing.

4.21 The table in policy 2a gives a total figure of 1,500 dwellings for the eco-communities and a footnote indicates that this is made up of 1,200 dwellings at West Carclaze/Baal and 300 at Par Docks within the plan-period. The Council confirms that it regards the capacity of the sites as 1,500 and 500 respectively. Should these figures be used in the Plan so as to indicate the full extent of the proposals, whilst recognising that not all will be delivered in the plan-period?

Update on Devonwall motion to Cornwall Council

At yesterday’s meeting of the unitary authority, my motion opposing the creation of a cross-Tamar parliamentary constituency was referred to the next meeting of the Council’s Constitution and Governance Committee.

The decision was taken by the Chairman and will at least allow the issue to be discussed in greater detail. I have taken the opportunity to request legal advice for the meeting about how we could use the Framework Convention to protect the territorial integrity of Cornwall (and oppose the cuts to funding for the Cornish language).

This meeting will take place on Thursday 12th May, and the findings will be reported back to a meeting of the Full Council on Tuesday 17th May.

Also at yesterday’s meeting, there was also a proposal to set up a Governance Review, which would be tied into the recently commenced review of council size and divisional boundaries.

The report included plans to set up an external group of four individuals to do much of the work for the Review. I was not happy with the proposals which lacked clarity and I successfully moved that the report also be referred to the next meeting of the Constitution and Governance Committee, before being brought back to Full Council on 17th May.

My latest report to St Enoder Parish Council

At Tuesday’s meeting of St Enoder Parish Council, I presented my monthly. Some of the report has appeared in previous blogs, but is here for the sake of completeness.

My report cover the time period 20th March to 22nd April 2016, and is as follows:

1. Council meetings

I have attended a range of formal meetings at Cornwall Council over the last month. These included: Strategic Planning Committee, Planning Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) plus two associated pre-agenda meeting, Transport PAC, Young People PAC, Constitution and Governance Committee, Electoral Review Panel, Civic Awards Panel, informal Planning and Development Improvement Group, a briefing on EU funding, a briefing on the upcoming Boundary Review (and related meetings of Group Leaders and the Electoral Review Panel), a meeting of the China Clay Network, an informal meeting of the councillors from the China Clay Area, a meeting of Community Networks, and an informal site visit for the proposed “eco-community” near St Austell.

In addition to the meetings listed above, I have had numerous informal meetings with council officers and others to discuss a range of issues.

2. Other meetings

I have attended meetings of the St Austell Bay Economic Forum (which took place at the Indian Queens Pit Building) and the ClayTAWC centre in St Dennis, where I am Chairman. I also took part in a debate on the EU referendum at the university near Falmouth.

3. South West Water works at Trevarren
As reported in my report to the recent Annual Assembly, South West Water have, following significant representations over a long period, commenced works to realign part of the foul sewer near Trevarren and construct an associated attenuation tank (with a capacity of 280,000 litres) to prevent flooding in the area. The works started in late March and are ongoing.

4. Bus services to Summercourt

Also, as reported in my report to the recent Annual Assembly, Alex Carter of FIRST has confirmed that an hourly service between Summercourt and Truro (Mondays to Saturdays) will be reintroduced from Monday 30th May. Though I am somewhat disappointed that it has taken longer than I had hoped, it is good that this new service is now only weeks away.

5. Planning and related matters

I have been actively involved with a large number of ongoing applications, as well as related planning matters. Listed below are a few examples, though this list is by no means exhaustive:

- AD plant at Penare (PA15/03073)

The “regularisation” application for the biogas plant at Higher Fraddon was discussed at a meeting of Cornwall Council's Strategic Planning Committee, for the third time, on 7th April.

In advance of the meeting, Greener for Life went to appeal for “non-determination.” Prior to the 7th, it was confirmed that Cornwall Council had lost jurisdiction over the application and this meant that councillors were not able to “decide” the application but were, in effect, considering how to approach the upcoming appeal.

The revised recommendation in the officer’s report was that the Council should declare it would have been “minded” to approve the application (if it still had the ability to do so), subject to a series of conditions.

I argued that councillors, rather than saying that they were “minded to approve,” should resolve to contest the appeal. They voted twenty to nil to do this. I also argued that the Council should adopt a stronger position with regard to the “potential” conditions that will be considered at the appeal, which is what councillors also voted for.

A number of “potential” conditions to be considered at the appeal, of which two examples are as follows:

The officer recommended a “condition 14” that said the number of vehicle movements should be no more than 42 per week, of which 35 would be HGVs and seven would be staff / other vehicles. This was challenged by public speakers, and myself. It was noted that the original consent from 2009 stated there should be no more than 51 vehicle movements, and the application for the pig farm had recently been consented with 11 movements. Councillors took the view that traffic movements should therefore be restricted to 40 per week, of which only 28 could be large vehicles and 12 would be smaller, staff or other, vehicles. There were a number of references to the amount of traffic accessing the site, which was much greater than this, and councillors also sought an additional condition about the proactive monitoring of movements and a commitment to enforcement.

The officer recommended a “condition 15” which restricted movements to between 7am and 7pm, with no vehicles between 8am & 9am, and 3pm & 4.15pm on weekdays (to avoid children walking to and from school along the lane that has no pavement). This was changed to a restriction between 9am and 6pm, with no vehicles between 3pm & 4.15pm on weekdays.

Paperwork for the appeal has to be submitted by 20th May and St Enoder Parish Council needs to agree how it will be approaching this issue.

Greener for Life have requested that the appeal should be by written representations, but I understand that this is likely to be challenged with a request for the appeal to be heard via a hearing.

Greener for Life has also appealed their other application on traffic movements, which was refused by Cornwall Council. The timetable is the same for this appeal.

- Five housing units on land adjacent to Cobble Lane, Fraddon (PA15/00763)

Members will recall that this application was refused by Cornwall Council because of an under-provision of affordable housing and an adverse impact on immediate neighbours.

The appeal was dismissed. The Inspector’s ruling accepted that the site was an “exception site” and he came to the following conclusion in terms of planning balance:

“The benefits of the scheme are principally that it would provide five additional houses. However, only two of these would be affordable units in an area where there is strong evidence that such properties are what are principally needed. Irrespective of the viability of the proposed scheme in terms of cross-subsidy, there is evidence that other sites can and will provide a greater proportion of affordable units. That could be outweighed were all other factors in the proposed development’s favour. However, it represents a clear breach of the current village envelope – physically as well as in policy terms – and thereby an intrusion into open countryside. Moreover, it does so with a scheme that would lead to a deterioration in the living conditions of the occupants of the adjacent residential properties. I therefore conclude that the benefits of the scheme are insufficient to outweigh it significant and demonstrable adverse impacts.”

- Mobile homes on the Kelliers (PA15/06186)

I can confirm a detailed statement on behalf of the Parish Council for the appeal into the above application. It was submitted in advance of the deadline of 28th March.

6. Highway and related issues

Since my last monthly report, I have been liaising with Cornwall Council on a range of traffic matters. I had hoped that I would be in a position to provide more detailed information on this in this report, but I will do that for the next meeting.

Resurfacing works were completed at Beacon Road, Summercourt, in early April and there has also been some more small scale patching carried out locally.

I specifically attended meetings of the Transport PAC and Young People PAC, which were discussing issues relating to transport to schools and also congestion around local schools.

7. Inquiries

In the last month, I have also helped numerous people with advice and guidance. Issues have included housing problems, speeding traffic, various enforcement matters and more.

Monday, 25 April 2016

My newsletter for St Enoder Parish

As the Cornwall Councillor for St Enoder division, I do try to distribute a regular newsletter to keep local people informed about my activities. 

It had been my hope that my latest newsletter would have been out a couple of weeks ago, but that did not prove possible because of the level of my commitments. That said, my latest newsletter has been printed and will be delivered across the Parish over the next couple of weeks.

My Cornish Guardian article on cuts to the Cornish language

My article in this week’s Cornish Guardian focuses on the appalling news that the Conservative Government have axed funding for the Cornish language. It will be as follows:

It is almost exactly two years since central government recognised the Cornish as a national minority through the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

The official government press release, at that time, made it clear that all the Celtic peoples of these Islands – the Cornish, Irish, Scottish and Welsh – would now be afforded equal protection under this Convention.

I remember it being a time of great celebration and the Cornish Guardian certainly covered the announcement in great detail, welcoming the pledge that the Cornish could “stand equally beside all other groups in British society – an impressive achievement and a landmark change in Cornwall’s proud heritage.”

The Prime Minister himself recognised that central government had given a powerful commitment to support Cornish identity, culture and language; and he declared that: “There is a distinctive history, culture and language in Cornwall which we should celebrate and make sure is properly looked after and protected.”

The Cornish language had previously been recognised by the UK Government through the Charter for Regional and Minority Languages, and the Department of Communities and Local Government had been providing a modest amount of funding for the language. This was consistent with the approach of the Westminster parliament (and devolved legislatures) in providing monies for indigenous languages in all other Celtic parts of the UK as well.

I was therefore really shocked and appalled when, last week, the Government announced it would not be providing any further funding to support the language.

I find myself in full agreement with the Grand Bard of Gorsedh Kernow, Merv Davey, who has rightly pointed out that a “promise was made to the people of Cornwall and that promise has been broken.”

How can central government sign up to agreements, such as the Framework Convention, and then refuse to act on the articles contained in them?

And why is it that certain local MPs, who were so keen to be seen taking their parliamentary oath in Cornish, have failed to stand up and fight for the language?

Indeed, it is a sign of great disrespect towards this especially important aspect of Cornish identity that, while we have lost all funding from Westminster, governmental monies are still being made available for Irish Gaelic, Scots Gaelic, Ulster Scots and Welsh.

It also means that this will be yet another £150,000 a year that will not be spent in Cornwall, strengthening our identity and boosting the local economy, but will instead disappear back into Westminster to be spent elsewhere!

An online petition has been launched by Dr Jon Mills on the Parliament website, which calls on central government to continue to provide financial support for Cornish. It can be located at:

Please support this important petition and please also lobby your local MP on this issue.

Update on the “eco-community”

Since my last blog on this subject, I have been at a number of Cornwall Council meetings where the “eco-community” has been discussed.

Last Monday (18th April), members of the Strategic Planning Committee had an informal site visit in order for the members of the Committee to see the area for the proposed development at an early stage. We were driven around in land-rovers by Imerys staff, but there was no lobbying, as the site visit was led by the planning officer dealing with the application. Cllr Matt Luke and I also attended the visit.

From what we heard, it seems the application is still some months away from going to a formal meeting of the Strategic Planning Committee.

In the evening, I was at a meeting of the China Clay Area Community Network. It was decided to invite the planning officer dealing with the application to the next meeting, which take place on the 20th June, and which members of the public would be able to attend.

And on Friday (22nd April), I chaired a meeting of the Planning PAC (Policy Advisory Committee) which was looking at the draft Allocations Development Plan Document. This would be linked to the Cornwall Local Plan and identify those housing, employment and other key allocations around key towns needed to “deliver” the growth set out in the Local Plan.

The document now includes the so-called eco-communities at West Carclaze & Baal and Par.

I had plenty to say on this section and challenged how it had been written and I also objected to the reference to the potential regeneration opportunities at Goonbarrow, Blackpool and Nanpean / Drinnick within the document.

This section also included a vision which was to “regenerate despoiled land” though this missed the point, noted elsewhere, that “much of the land is subject to restoration conditions” anyway.

I could go on, but the document is being redrafted and there will be a public consultation on the Allocations DPD after the next stage of the Examination in Public (which recommences in on May 16th). I will let everyone know when this is happening.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Angry at the cut to Cornish language funding. Join the fightback. Join Mebyon Kernow today.

It has been a rough week for Cornwall and its culture, with the shocking news that the Conservative Government has ended funding for the Cornish language.

It shows that Westminster is failing Cornwall and cannot be trusted to do what is right for Cornwall.

So if you agree with MK’s campaign for political recognition and the greater recognition of our distinct identity and language – and are not already a member of Mebyon Kernow – why not join MK today?

Individual membership only costs £15 per individual (waged) or £8 (unwaged); family membership is £20 per household, while life membership is a bargain at £300 per person.

Members get Cornish Nation magazine three times a year, as well as the opportunity to attend numerous local events and take part in campaigns to win a better deal for Cornwall.

You can join online at:

Alternatively you could send a cheque made out to Mebyon Kernow to me at Mebyon Kernow c/o Lanhainsworth, Fraddon Hill, Fraddon, St Columb, TR9 6PQ.

I would certainly love to hear from you.

Please sign the petition in support of funding for the Cornish language

An online petition has been launched on the Parliament website, which calls on central government to continue to provide annual financial support for the Cornish language.

It has been launched by Dr Jon Mills and can be located at:

If you haven’t already signed the petition, please do so and contact as many of your friends as you can and ask them to do the same.

Mebyon Kernow slams shameful cuts to Cornish language funding

On behalf of Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall, Cllr Loveday Jenkin has condemned the decision of the Conservative Government to end funding for the Cornish language.

In a statement issued today, she said:

“In 2002, the Cornish language was recognised through the Council of Europe’s Charter for Regional and Minority Languages and, in April 2014, central government also recognised the Cornish as a national minority through the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

“Through these treaties, central government gave a commitment to support Cornish identity, culture and language.

“It is therefore absolutely shameful that they have pulled the plug on vital funding for the language, reneging on their obligations, and showing their total disrespect for Cornwall’s national language.

“It is also extremely sad that local Conservative MPs, some of whom even took their parliamentary oaths in Cornish, have failed to fight for the language.”

Cllr Jenkin has also confirmed that Mebyon Kernow would fight this decision, adding that:

“I would appeal to all supporters of the language to lobby central government and local MPs by writing hundreds and hundreds of letters to them – all in Cornish!”

The cut to Cornish language funding: The actual letter from DCLG

I have just seen the official letter from central government to Cllr John Pollard concerning the request for funding for the Cornish language.

It was sent by James Wharton MP, the Minister for Local Growth and the Northern Powerhouse at the Department for Communities and Local Government.

It is frankly insulting and is as follows:

Dear Councillor Pollard

Thank you for your letter of 12 February to the Rt Hon Greg Clark MP regarding Cornish language funding. I am replying as this matter falls within my ministerial responsibilities.

An important aim of the Government is to devolve power and responsibility to the local level, since local people and organisations know best what their area needs in order to grow and be successful. The Cornwall Devolution Deal, which was the first county deal, demonstrates the Government’s ongoing commitment to Cornwall. For example, the Deal includes an agreement that Government would devolve a consolidated local transport budget and provides for a greater local role in commissioning skills training. It is our ambition to ensure that more decisions are taken locally by all parts of Government.

I am sure you will agree that it is for locally elected leaders to make decisions, on behalf of the Cornish people, on what should be funded in Cornwall. As you know, on top of the ambitious devolution deal, Cornwall Council has a core spending power of over £1.7 billion over the next four years.

As Cornwall continues to implement its Devolution Deal, I look forward to hearing more about the great progress that has been made and encourage you to work closely with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to ensure the continued recognition of Cornish culture.

BREAKING NEWS: Central government cuts Cornish language funding

Cornwall Council has just released a press statement condemning the Conservative Government, which has decided to “cut all its funding for the Cornish language with immediate effect.”

The main extract from the Cornwall Council press release is as follows:

“The Government has provided up to £150,000 a year to support the Cornish language since it was recognised under the Charter for Regional and Minority Languages in 2003. This grant has been used to support the development of the language, including funding a range of educational activities.

“At the end of last year the Council was asked by the Government to submit a bid for funding for the current financial year. This bid was supported by MPs, George Eustice and Sarah Newton, as well as Cornish Members of the House of Lords, Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, and the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP.

“The Council has now received a formal letter from the Department of Communities and Local Government stating that it was not providing any further funding to support the development of the Cornish language – despite the recognition of the Cornish people as a national minority in April 2014.”

I am absolutely appalled, and Mebyon Kernow will be making further comment in the next few hours.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

What's the EU ever done for us?

On Wednesday, I will taking part in a debate at the Penryn Campus about the upcoming EU referendum. Other speakers include Green MEP Molly Scott Cato and businessman John Harvey.

The event has been organised by Cornwall Young Greens.

Motion to Cornwall Council: Devonwall seat would be against articles of Framework Convention

The agenda for next Tuesday’s meeting of Full Council (26th April) has just been published.

Motions for discussion include one that I have tabled to oppose the upcoming parliamentary boundary review and the inevitable creation of a Devonwall Constituency. This specifically links opposition to the Devonwall seat to the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

The motion is as follows:

This Council writes to the UK Government to:
- object to the commencement of the Boundary Review of parliamentary constituencies, as guided by the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act, which would inevitably lead to a cross-Tamar Devonwall constituency;
- point out, in the strongest possible terms, that the Boundary Review is against articles within the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities; and
- challenge ministers to revisit the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act, in order to ensure that the territorial integrity of Cornwall and its historic border are respected in the provision of parliamentary seats.

The motion has been seconded by Cllr Andrew Long, and the additional supporters are Cllr Loveday Jenkin, Cllr Andrewes (Green) and Cllr Heyward (Independent).

The Liberal Democrats have meanwhile tabled a motion about St Piran’s Day. Their motion is as follows:

This Council:-
Notes that St Andrew’s Day is an optional holiday in Scotland;
Notes proposals for St David’s Day to be a holiday in Wales;
And sees no reason why St Piran’s Day should not be similarly celebrated in Cornwall.
The Council therefore calls upon the administration to ensure that the freedom to celebrate St Piran’s Day as a public holiday is one of the new powers negotiated as part of the second stage of the “Case for Cornwall” package.

Monday, 18 April 2016

MK meeting in St Austell & Newquay constituency: Friday 22nd April

The next meeting for Mebyon Kernow members in the St Austell & Newquay Constituency has been arranged to take place on the evening of Friday 22nd April.

The meeting will take place at ClayTAWC in St Dennis and start at 7.30.

Anyone from the St Austell & Newquay Constituency, who would be interested in finding more about MK and its local campaigns, can call me on 07791 876607 or email me on for more details.

Central government to make more changes to planning system

In early March, a new organisation YourKidsFutureCornwall placed full page adverts in the Cornish Guardian and other local newspapers setting out its opposition to the high level of development taking place in Cornwall.

Describing themselves as “passionate about protecting Kernow from the developers’ onslaught,” their initiative has been widely reported as a “rallying call” against "the concreting of Cornwall.”

Put simply, they are arguing that the extent of development is out-of-control, with many acres of green fields being lost to large developments, which do not meet the local needs of the community or have their support. They are also pointing out how thousands and thousands of expensive, open market, properties are being built, which many ordinary people simply cannot afford while, at the same time, the affordable homes that Cornwall needs are not being provided.

It is a telling intervention at this time and shows the growing frustration being felt across Cornwall today.

I have written about the planning system in Cornwall on many occasions and it is clear to me that communities in Cornwall have very limited control over large-scale housing proposals.

Central government has put in place a top-down National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which contains a “presumption in favour” of development. This makes the document a “developers’ charter” and there have been numerous examples of where local communities have been unable to prevent inappropriate and unpopular developments.

And sadly, it is getting worse. The Government’s Housing and Planning Bill is presently working its way through parliament and proposes to make further changes to the NPPF.

This legislation is wide-ranging and it will, for example, further undermine the provision of proper affordable homes with the ridiculous proposal for “starter homes” (which would still be deemed “affordable” if costing £250,000) and reductions in length of tenancies in social rented properties.

In addition to this, many people may not have heard that, though the Bill, the Government is planning to introduce a new route to a planning consent called “permission in principle.”

The full details of how “permission in principle” would work remain unclear. But it does seem that consents would be granted in a shorter time-frame than at present and would be made with less detailed information than presently needed.

It is also clear that such a new approach would make it even more difficult for local communities to oppose inappropriate schemes.

The Housing and Planning Bill has hit some major difficulties in the House of Lords, but the Conservative Government still seems hell-bent on pushing through this frankly ill-thought-out and damaging legislation.

I would appeal to Cornwall six MPs to stand up for local communities and oppose the Bill and demand a new approach on planning matters.

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

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Report on MK meeting with BBC

On Monday 11th April, Cllr Andrew Long and I travelled to Plymouth to meet with representatives of BBC South West.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss Mebyon Kernow’s concerns about the BBC’s coverage of MK in the 2015 General Election campaign, as well as the historic under-representation of MK on regional television in the years prior to 2015.

At the meeting, there were five people from the BBC including the head of BBC South West Leo Devine and Martin Oates.

We had previously set out our concerns in a letter, which we had sent to the BBC, and these concerns were discussed in some detail.

It is fair to say that we did not make any great progress at the meeting and the local representatives of the BBC did repeatedly argue that the editorial decisions they made in the “South West” were in-line with guidelines from their central office.

As we have not yet heard from Ric Bailey, the Chief Advisor on Politics (Editorial Policy and Standards) at the BBC, we told the meeting we would be making additional representations to him.

In spite of this, it was nonetheless a useful meeting and we made it clear that we would continue to argue our corner with the Corporation.

One thing we did not discuss was the refusal of the BBC to allow MK Party Election Broadcasts, as this was outside of the responsibilities of BBC South West.

It is something that we will be raising further with Ric Bailey in the next few weeks and we will be pointing out – once again – the unfair and undemocratic nature of the present arrangements.

It is especially galling at the moment to see all manner of political parties allowed PEBs for the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and London Assembly elections. I understand that PEBs have already been broadcast by RISE Scotland’s Socialist Alternative, Solidarity (Scotland), Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party, Monster Raving Loony Party (Wales), BNP, Respect, Women’s Equality Party (London).

Why shouldn't MK have the same right to a PEB in relation to future election campaigns? 

More to follow …

Update: Cornwall Local Plan and the so-called “eco-community” proposal: part 2

In recent years, various documents that have been produced by Eco-bos and others making the case for the “eco-town” or “eco-community” near Penwithick, and numerous promises have been made about the nature of the development.

For example, local people were also variously promised 40-50% affordable housing (Clay Country Eco-town The Facts; 2008) or 40% affordable housing (see Clay Country Eco-town Summary Booklet; 2009).

At the first session of the Examination in Public of the Cornwall Local Plan (May 2015), the Inspector ruled that the affordable housing target for the China Clay Area should be reduced from 40% to only 25%.

The councillors did not agree with this view but the Council had no option other than to redraft aspects of the Plan. At this time, when Cllr Matt Luke and I unsuccessfully attempted to get the “eco-community” removed from the document, supporters of the scheme put in place some policy guidelines for the development of the eco-community. This included a target of 30% affordable housing to reflect past promises and their assertion that this was no "ordinary" development.

But in its most recent representations to the Planning Inspector, Eco-bos have argued that they should not have to do more than 25% because of “significant development constraints associated with the former mineral working sites identified in the Clay Area” and issues of “economic viability.”

It seems to me that almost every statement coming out of Eco-bos shows just how inappropriate their development actually is.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Update: Cornwall Local Plan and the so-called “eco-community” proposal

As I have already reported on this blog, the Examination in Public into the draft Cornwall Local Plan will be reconvening on 16th May.

I can further report that the Inspector has sent three notes through to Cornwall Council seeking further information on key areas which he would like to address in the upcoming hearings.

One of these notes related to the so-called “eco-community” which Mebyon Kernow and others have made representations on. Once Cornwall Council has responded “interested parties” will also be given an opportunity to respond further.

The statement from the Inspector (dated 8th April) was as follows:

Inspector’s Preliminary Questions for the Council on the Changes 
Part 3: Eco-Communities West Carclaze/Baal and Par Docks 

1. Introduction

1.1 This is the 3rd in a series of notes I am sending to the Council to try and clarify and focus matters in dispute in advance of the hearings. For more background, please see my first note of this series (LI.ID.1). When I have received the Council’s response I will provide the opportunity for a written response from interested parties.

1.2 Timescales are tight. It would be helpful if I could receive a response by the end of Friday 15th April. Although this is an important tissue, I am not expecting substantial new documentation. A response of 3-4 pages should be all that is necessary, together with a simple plan of the location of any features referred to in the response or below.

1.3 It is important that my assessment of the soundness of the strategic principles of these proposals as set out in the Plan is kept separate from the detailed, site-specific proposal in the current planning application which is not a matter for my decision or comment. Accordingly, I do not expect the Council to provide me with the detailed evidence submitted in support of that planning application nor will I accept copies of the representations which have been made on that application (as requested by Cllr Cole, Rep 892 and others).

1.4 The Eco-communities are referred to in principle in new policy 2, part 2l (change 13) and in detail in amended policy 3 (change 25).

2. Principle of the Proposals

2.1 The main evidence in support of the Eco-communities proposal in this Plan that has been formally submitted by the Council is: West Carclaze/Baal and Par Docks Eco-Communities Site Allocations Overview Report (January 2015) (Examination Document A15) and the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (January 2015)(A16). I have not seen any subsequent update. The Council should therefore bring the position up-to-date with reference to (so far as is relevant): the completion of the A391 Carloddon road scheme; progress on the technology park and ESAM building and how this relates (if at all to) to the proposal; the significance or otherwise of the emerging proposal for a link road to the A30 and whether the proposals in the Plan depend on that link and any other significant changes of circumstances since the analysis in A15.

2.2 As highlighted in representations, the Planning Policy Statement Supplement on Eco-towns was cancelled in March 2015. Given that this had provided an important context for the original development of the scheme, the Council should provide a brief summary of why it considers that the eco-communities concept in these locations is still justified.

2.3 Any changes in relation to flood risk, particularly at Par Docks should also be highlighted, including the current position of the Environment Agency.

2.4 Bearing in mind that a planning application (prepared I understand by the Council) was submitted in January 2015, but remains undetermined some 15 months later, are there any fundamental obstacles to the start/delivery of the proposal if it were to remain in the Plan at adoption?

3. Detailed matters

3.1 The proposed changes have reduced the scale of new housing proposed in both locations. K1.CC.1 (PP9) notes that the figures have been reduced to those that are considered deliverable. Does this mean deliverable in plan-period? Do the figures also reflect what is the overall, long term scale of development? If not should those also be (remain) in the Plan, so that appropriate decisions on infrastructure and master-planning are made at the outset?

3.2 30% affordable housing is proposed. For both locations is this consistent with the zonal rates in policy 8 (change 60). If not why is it justified? (It is queried by Eco-Bos, rep 128).

3.3 What is the justification to demonstrate high levels of energy efficiency in the fabric of the buildings on the site given the Written Ministerial Statement of March 2015 on requirements relating to construction and energy performance? Has this and the other requirements specific to this proposal been viability tested? If justified, should there be greater clarity of what is required?

3.4 Are the requirements in relation to all energy being from renewable and low carbon sources on or near the site and provision of a low carbon heat network feasible and viable/deliverable?

3.5 If part of the justification for these proposals remains the opportunity to address an area of “derelict or despoiled” land should land “restoration” (in some form) be a requirement and over what area?

3.6 Two particular site-specific concerns are raised in representations: the loss of the few remaining green fields in the area and the threat to a County Wildlife Site. Irrespective of the particular proposal in the planning application, are these 2 impacts inevitable or likely and, if so, what is the harm and is any such loss justified?

3.7 In my first note to the Council in this series (LI.ID.1) on Employment Floorspace I made the following comment (3.3d):  For St Austell CNA a note on the 2nd table in J.8.2 states that the residual target (presumably for the industrial floorspace) will be delivered in the adjacent West Carclaze. If this intention is justified (which will need testing as part of the examination of the Eco-community) it should be made clear in the Plan.

3.8 Should the provision of the residual requirement for industrial floorspace that cannot be delivered in St Austell CNA be directed to West Carclaze? If so, how should that be expressed in the Plan? Would the Carloddon Technology Park be part of that prevision or has that already been counted in the figures in J.8.2 for China Clay CNA?

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Annual report to St Enoder Parish Assembly

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

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

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

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

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

1. Roles at Cornwall Council

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

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

2. Other organisations

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

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

3. South West Water works at Trevarren

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

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

4. Bus services to Summercourt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Higher Fraddon biogas plant / pig farm

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

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

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

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

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

7. Planning matters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- 44 holiday lodges at Carvynick (PA15/01472)

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

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

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

- Kingsley Village (PA15/04129)

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

- Mobile homes on the Kelliers (PA15/06186)

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

- Former Post Office, Fraddon (PA15/08012)

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

8. Cornwall Local Plan

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

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

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

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

10. Open spaces

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

11. Highway works

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

12. My Community Fund

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

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

13. Inquiries

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

I can be contacted on 07791 876607 or

Update on First bus services to and from Summercourt

Residents of Summercourt will recall that, last year, the managing director of First, Alex Carter, gave a commitment to reintroduce an hourly service between Truro and Summercourt.

He has confirmed that these new services to serve the village (Mondays to Saturdays) will officially be restarted on Monday 30th May, when the new timetables are introduced.
I understand that the 90 service will be diverted to serve the village throughout much of the day, while the 93 service will come through the village in the early morning and in the evening.

Though I am somewhat disappointed that it taken longer than I had hoped, I am nonetheless pleased that it will be happening soon.

I will circulate the new / revised timetable in the very near future.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Real action needed on tax havens and tax avoidance

The person who leaked millions of documents from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca has done British society a great service.

It is very important that more is known about the secretive world of off-shore finance and the aggressive tax avoidance being practiced by the super-rich.

It is to be welcomed that a taskforce of HMRC and the National Crime Agency is to be set up to probe the Panama Papers, but the British Government, and other governments around the globe, need to do so much more to tackle the tax havens.

This is a massive scandal and it has even been reported that Mossack Fonseca helped to shelter the proceeds from the Brink’s Mat bullion robbery, which took place in 1980s.

One American economist Gabriel Zucman has estimated that “8% of the world’s wealth is stashed in tax havens” and, it is clear, that billions in UK taxes are being, and have been, lost.

It is all totally unacceptable that there is one rule for the rich and one rule for the rest of us, and I have no sympathy whatsoever with anyone on the long list of wealthy establishment figures, celebrities, sportspeople and politicians who have been exposed as hiding money in offshore accounts.

The people I have sympathy with are the ordinary men and women of the United Kingdom who pay their taxes, but live in communities which are seeing cut after cut to their local public services.

Just look at recent news stories. We have had the Local Government Association making the case that councils have suffered such cuts that they do not have enough resource to do basic things such as filling pot-holes. And then there is the recent study which shows that, by 2020, the spending power of the unitary authority will have fallen by £200 for every single household in Cornwall.

We are in this difficult position, partly because of the Conservative Party’s political choice of austerity, but also because the Government is failing to collect all the taxes that are legitimately due.

This issue has certainly damaged the Leader of the Conservatives. David Cameron was less than convincing when he was challenged about the offshore holding set up by his father, which was registered in Panama but operated out of the Bahamas.

Initially saying it was “a private matter” did him no favours, and I am sure that this issue will continue to bedevil him and his colleagues in the coming weeks and months.

As the leader of a political party myself, albeit a smaller one – and in a spirit of complete openness – I can confirm that I have no offshore accounts, not even on the Isles of Scilly!

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

Thursday, 7 April 2016

My interview with Doronieth Kernow blog: part 2

A few weeks back, Ben Gilby published the first part of an interview with me on his Doronieth Kernow blog. He has today published the second part of the interview.

Why not visit his site and have a read of this and the many other, very varied and thought-provoking, blog entries.

It can be found at:

Update from Strategic Planning Committee on biogas plant at Higher Fraddon

This morning, the “regularisation” application for the biogas plant at Higher Fraddon was discussed at a meeting of Cornwall Council's Strategic Planning Committee for the third time. 

I have already had a few messages from people asking me to explain what actually happened, so here goes.

I have already reported that Greener for Life had gone to appeal and, in advance of today’s meeting, it was confirmed that Cornwall Council had lost jurisdiction over the application. 

This meant that councillors were not able to “decide” the application at today’s meeting but were, in effect, considering how to approach the upcoming appeal. 

The recommendation in the officers report was that the Council should declare it would have been “minded” to approve the application (if it still had the ability to do so), subject to a series of conditions.

I argued that councillors, rather than saying that they were “minded to approve,” should resolve to contest the appeal. They voted twenty to nil to do this.

I also argued that the Council should adopt a stronger position with regard to the “potential” conditions that will be considered at the appeal, which is what councillors also voted for.

A number of conditions were changes, but I will just include two examples of how they suggested stronger conditions.

The officer recommended a “condition 14” that said the number of vehicle movements should be no more than 42 per week, of which 35 would be HGVs and seven would be staff / other vehicles. This was challenged by public speakers, and myself. It was noted that the original consent from 2009 stated there should be no more than 51 vehicle movements, and the application for the pig farm had recently been consented with 11 movements. Councillors took the view that traffic movements should therefore be restricted to 40 per week, of which only 28 could be large vehicles and 12 would be smaller, staff or other, vehicles. There were a number of references to the amount of traffic accessing the site, which was much greater than this, and councillors also sought an additional condition about the proactive monitoring of movements and a commitment to enforcement.

The officer recommended a “condition 15” which restricted movements to between 7am and 7pm, with no vehicles between 8am & 9am, and 3pm & 4.15pm on weekdays (to avoid children walking to and from school along the lane that has no pavement). This was changed to a restriction between 9am and 6pm, with no vehicles between 3pm & 4.15pm on weekdays.

There is still a long way to go with the application before a final decision is taken by the appeal inspector. The fact that there will be an appeal means that local residents will be able submit their views and raise what issues they like, even if they are not raised by Cornwall Council.

I will report more when I have further information about the appeal, its timetable, processes, etc.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

How can anyone claim we want the 'eco-town?'

Well done to MK member Julie Fox for getting a letter published in today’s Cornish Guardian, setting out her strong opposition to the so-called “eco-town,” and stressing the point that it does not have public support.

The full letter was as follows:

More than one thousand people have objected to plans for the supposed eco-town near St Austell and I cannot understand how the Cornish Guardian can publish its recent headlines such as “Eco-town plans get support of residents” and “Public backs eco-town bid.”

Too much housing is being foisted on St Austell and the china clay area and this massive development is not sustainable.

According to Cornwall Council’s own figures:

-  In 1991 the china clay area had a total of 7,541 dwellings.
-  Between 1991 and 2010, a further 3,525 properties were built in this area – an increase in housing of 47%.
-  The authorities now wants the area to accommodate another 3,000 properties (including the eco-town).
-  If built, this would mean an increase in housing stock of 87% between 1991 and 2030.

This level of housing growth is so much greater than elsewhere in Cornwall; it is excessive and it is truly unsustainable.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

“Towards a National Assembly of Cornwall”

My article in this coming week’s Cornish Guardian will, somewhat predictably, concentrate on the launch of the above document.

The article will be as follows:

At Mebyon Kernow’s Spring Conference, which took place last weekend, we launched an updated version of our publication titled “Towards a National Assembly of Cornwall.”

I believe it is an important document. It clearly sets out how the devolution of significant political powers to Cornwall, and bringing the majority of the public sector under local democratic control, would be good for our local communities.

Devolution has already led to the establishment of a Scottish Parliament, as well as Assemblies for Wales and Northern Ireland. These devolved institutions have certainly grown in stature and authority in recent years, and constitutional change is continuing to rise up the political agenda in certain parts of the United Kingdom.

But make no mistake, the UK – even taking into account the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – is an over-centralised state, dominated by London and the South East of England.

And here in Cornwall, the reality is that democratically elected and locally accountable politicians presently lack the powers to make so many of the political decisions that really matter.

The word “devolution” is being bandied about a lot in Cornwall these days, but it is not in the context of the meaningful shift of power achieved in Wales and Scotland.

Last year’s top-down “devolution deal” was extremely feeble and lacked ambition. It only allowed very, very limited new powers to the unitary authority, while giving other responsibilities to unelected bodies with little democratic legitimacy such as the Local Enterprise Partnership.

I do not see how reforms even merit being described as “devolution.” Neither are they democratic and the “deal” was so limited in scope that it did not merit legislation or even a debate in the House of Commons.

It is my view that Cornwall needs proper devolution – not tweaks to local government – and I hope that “Towards a National Assembly of Cornwall” will go some way in helping us to construct a compelling public campaign for greater self-government.

The document dispels the common misrepresentation that such an Assembly would somehow be independent of the UK, clearly stating that it would be an integral and empowered part of the United Kingdom. It also dismisses the claim that devolution equates to nothing more than local government reform.

It is also my hope that this document will become part of a mature, respectful and wide-ranging debate about the future governance of the whole of the United Kingdom, but which place the needs of Cornwall at the very heart of that debate.

MK’s new document can be downloaded from:

Some photographs from the MK Spring Conference

For those that couldn't make it, here are a few images of the MK Spring Conference (all taken by Niall Curry).

Cllr Loveday Jenkin

 Gwylym Lewis (and Cllr Rod Toms)

Cllr Matt Luke

Cllr Zoe Fox (and Cllr Phil Rendle)

Clive Price-Jones

The Conference

“Towards a National Assembly of Cornwall” available now

The new and revised version of “Towards a National Assembly of Cornwall,” which we launched at yesterday’s MK Spring Conference, is now available.

All Mebyon Kernow members will be sent a copy of the document, either as a pdf or a hard copy, in the very near future.

It can, however, be downloaded now from the MK website at:

A paper copy can also be requested from me; email me on or phone 07791 876607.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Today’s Spring Conference

Thanks to everyone who made it to today’s event.

It was great to see so many friends and to be able to launch “Towards a National Assembly of Cornwall.”

Reports will appear on the MK website in the very near future and our new policy document will be available to download.

Friday, 1 April 2016

MK Spring Conference … Saturday 2nd April.

MK’s half-day Spring Conference will take place tomorrow at Lys Kernow (“New County Hall”) in Truro. Doors will open at 9.15, with Conference business taking place between 10.00 and 1.00.

It is a wonderful opportunity to meet up with MK members, the leadership team and MK councillors.

Debates will include MK agreeing its position on the EU referendum and there will be a series of updates on various MK campaigns.

These will include feedback on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, our opposition to the proposed Devonwall parliamentary seat, MK’s support for greater local control over planning, and our ongoing campaign for a Cornish Assembly.

Members will also be looking ahead to the 2017 Council elections and we will be launching a revised version of our policy document “Towards a National Assembly of Cornwall.”

All welcome.

Update on planning application for biogas plant at Higher Fraddon

This application is due to be discussed at the next meeting of the Strategic Planning Committee on April 7th.

However, today it has been confirmed that Greener for Life have appealed to the Planning Inspectorate. I understand that they have also appealed the “traffic movements“ application that has already been refused by the local authority.

It is all quite complicated, but it basically means that Greener for Life wish the decision to be decided by a single appointed Inspector, rather than democratically-elected local councillors.

Cornwall Council is presently seeking advice from the Planning Inspectorate about when the unitary authority will (or did) lose jurisdiction over the present application.

Some conflicting advice has been received today as to whether Cornwall Council lost jurisdiction when the appeal was lodged (31st March 2016) or will lose jurisdiction when a formal start date for the appeal is agreed by the Inspectorate.

At the moment, it is unclear whether councillors would be able to make a binding decision on Thursday, or will be debating what representations they would make to the actual appeal. There is also the possibility that discussion of the application could be deferred.

Sorry for the technical nature of this, but it is my hope that we will have some clarity on Monday, when I will update everyone further.

MK members at European Free Alliance General Assembly

More than 150 delegates are presently attending the General Assembly of the European Free Alliance in Corsica, which bring together nationalist and regionalist parties from across Europe which are campaigning for greater self-government.

Attending the event on behalf of MK are Davyth Hicks, Talwyn Baudu and Joanie Willett, who are pictured below with representatives of Plaid Cymru, the Scottish National Party and Yorkshire First.