Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Update on situation with Fraddon Post Office

As everyone is aware, Fraddon Post Office will close on Wednesday, due to the shutting of Kingsley Village in advance of its redevelopment into a retail park.

The Clerk of St Enoder Parish Council and I have had a number of meetings with a local representative of Post Office Ltd, though this organisation has not yet sorted anything in terms of a replacement local Post Office.

Post Office Ltd have approached retail units in the Indian Queens and St Columb Road area, but none have felt themselves to be in a position to take on the service.

As a short-term alternative, Post Office Ltd states that it will look to provide an outreach service (perhaps in a local village hall), but the Parish Council has been told that they would only look to provide a total of six hours a week spread over two sessions. It is also the case that none of those existing Post Offices (with the equipment to do outreach) have yet expressed an interest in the work.

We have challenged the “offer” of six hours, which is “inadequate.” We have also pointed out that other communities have a greater amount of outreach, such as Mevagissey which has 18 hours spread over four days.

The Parish held its Annual Assembly on 11th April at which councillors fostered a discussion on the situation. As well as parish councillors, this meeting was attended by parishioners and representatives of local groups, and there was considerable anger which is reflected throughout the wider community. A resolution from the floor to make additional representations to senior management of Post Office Ltd was agreed.

In the subsequent wide-ranging letter, which also sought an urgent meeting with senior figures in Post Office Ltd, it was stressed how Fraddon Post Office serves the eastern part of St Enoder Parish (with a resident population of over 4,000 people) and that is incomprehensible that this area would not have its Post Office.

The letter also formally requested that Post Office Ltd is more proactive and that “urgent talks” are held with the new owners (CPG) of Kingsley Village, who were agreeable to a Post Office remaining at Fraddon in the new complex. The planning approval for the site even states that: “A Post Office shall remain within the development,” and it is clear that we need to understand how this might happen and what the timetables will be.

The MP for St Austell and Newquay, Steve Double, has also been contacted and his office is making representations to their contacts within Post Office Ltd.

We know that, at this time, it is vitally important that local people put pressure on the Post Office Ltd to do more to ensure a decent Post Office service in the eastern half of St Enoder Parish. A petition on this important issue is presently being prepared and will be considered at the next meeting of St Enoder Parish Council (Tuesday 24th April).

In addition, we can report that it has just been confirmed that we have secured a meeting with the External Relations Manager from Post Office Ltd on Wednesday 3rd May.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Statement on General Election

As the leader of Mebyon Kernow, I have published the following statement on the announcement of a 2017 General Election.

“Theresa May’s decision to announce a General Election for June 8th represents a political cynicism of the worst kind. Her decision is manifestly not about Brexit; it is all about the self-interest of the Conservative Party.

“In recent months, the Prime Minister has repeatedly stated that there would be no snap General Election, but today’s declaration shows that she has been deliberately and shamefully misleading voters and other political groups - giving the Conservatives a massive organisational advantage.

“It is also disrespectful to call a General Election during the local elections presently taking place in Cornwall, Scotland, Wales and across much of England.

“The lead-up to the June contest will inevitably over-shadow the elections to Cornwall Council and shift the focus away from important local issues and onto Westminster party politics. It also reflects the disregard that the UK government has for local councils and the work that they do.

“I have no wish to hide from the simple fact that such a snap election is very difficult for a political party such as Mebyon Kernow, which lacks the financial resources of the large Westminster political parties.

“At this point, I can confirm that MK’s Executive Committee will be meeting in the near-future to consider the 2017 General Election and our approach to it.”

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

My annual report to the St Enoder Parish Annual Assembly

Last night, I attended the St Enoder Parish Annual Assembly at Summercourt and presented my annual report to local residents. 

At the meeting, my good friend Arthur Trenerry was rewarded with the Parish’s Honourable Service Award (see above with Parish Chairman Michael Bunyan - thanks to Charlotte Cowburn for the photograph). And everyone present supported a proposal that a representation go from the meeting to Post Office Ltd emphasising the desperate need for a Post Office in the eastern end of the Parish.

My report 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 [www.saintenoderparishcouncil.org.uk] or on my blog [http://mebyonkernow.blogspot.co.uk].

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

1. Roles at Cornwall Council

I served as Chairman of the Planning Portfolio Advisory Committee for the 2016-2017 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 150 formal meetings and briefings at Cornwall Council and St Enoder Parish Council (including the work of the Neighbourhood Plan Working Group), as well as a significant number of informal meetings with council officers, local parishioners and groups.

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).

3. New play equipment at Indian Queens Recreation Ground

The biggest highlight of the 12 months has been the installation of the new play equipment in the Indian Queens Recreation, and it was a pleasure to work with the Parish Clerk and fellow parish councillors on this project.

I was pleased to be able to secure a grant of £35,000 from the Cornwall SITA for the play equipment and an additional £10,000 grant from the National Lottery’s Awards for All programme for a tarmac path to the improved park.

It is particularly pleasing to see how many young people and their families are really enjoying the new facilities.

4. South West Water works at Trevarren

As reported at the last Annual Assembly, I had been making representations to South West Water – for 13 years – 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 discharged onto the highway in their village.

Over the years, there had been numerous meetings with South West Water which, in 2015, finally agreed to carry out works to make improvements and to eliminate all risk of local flooding. The works were completed last summer and included the realignment of part of the foul sewer and the construction of an associated attenuation tank, which could hold up to 280,000 litres of water during periods of high rainfall. The cost of the works was over £450,000.

5. Bus services between Summercourt and Truro

At the last Parish Assembly, I reported how I had been in regular contact with First about the need to reintroduce services between Summercourt and Cornish capital (that had previously been run by Western Greyhound).

The new services to serve Summercourt (Mondays to Saturdays) were restarted on Monday 30th May 2016.

6. Fraddon Post Office

The impending redevelopment of Kingsley Village means that the Post Office is due to close on 25th April 2017.

When the planning application was being dealt with, I sought specific assurances that a Post Office would continue in the new complex and as a temporary set-up in the interim construction period.

This is all proving to be extremely difficult and the Parish Clerk and I have had a number of meetings with Post Office Ltd and Kingsley Developers about what happens next. The Post Office Ltd has told us that one option would be “outreach,” which would consist of a temporary Post Office run from a venue such as a local village hall.

We are continuing to put a significant amount of pressure on all concerned to make sure that a Post Office in the eastern end of the Parish is retained.

7. Planning matters

Planning matters have dominated much of civic life in St Enoder Parish over the last twelve months, once again. I have made representations on dozens and dozens of applications. Some applications have been refused by local planners, though developers have often appealed to the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol. Each time this has happened, Dick has produced a detailed representation, on behalf of the Parish Council, to ensure that the views of local people were put forward to the Inspector.

Three of the more significant and / or controversial applications were as follows:

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

This application was refused (unanimously) at the Strategic Planning Committee meeting in March 2016. 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. The applicant went to appeal, which is still being considered through the written representations process. I produced a 9,500 word representation for this appeal.

- Mobile homes on the Kelliers (PA15/06186)

The applicant for this part-retrospective application also went to appeal. I produced a statement on behalf of the Parish Council and represented local residents at an informal hearing on 16th August. The Inspector dismissed the appeal and upheld the enforcement notice to remove the caravans from the site.

- Higher Fraddon biogas plant (PA15/03073 and PA15/05220).

The two applications relating to the biogas plant also went to appeal. One had been refused and the applicant went to appeal for non-determination on the other. I produced another representation for this appeal, which stretched to 13,500 words. It was heard at an informal hearing on 6th September at Kingsley Village, and the inspector approved the consent(s) but did add additional conditions.

Since the decision was published, there has been considerable “toing and froing” between the owners and the unitary authority in terms of the discharge of conditions. Much of the information submitted to Cornwall Council has been lacking and work continues on what can be agreed.

8. Cornwall Local Plan

As the Chairman of the Planning PAC, I was heavily involved with the work that led to the production of the Cornwall Local Plan. Following the Inspector’s amendments after the first session of the Examination in Public (EiP) held in May 2015, the revised document was referred to a second session of the EiP in May 2016.

The Plan was formally accepted by the unitary authority in November 2017 and sets the policy framework for the production of our Neighbourhood Plan.

9. Neighbourhood Plan for St Enoder

Along with other members of St Enoder Parish Council, I have been heavily involved with the work towards a Neighbourhood Plan for St Enoder.

I was able to secure a grant of £3,950 for the work, which went towards the production of a comprehensive consultation document, freepost envelopes, etc. The consultation was undertaken during January and February, and included three consultation events held at Indian Queens Victory Hall (Tuesday 31st January), Fraddon Village Hall (Tuesday 7th February) and Summercourt New Memorial Hall (Thursday 9th February).

10. The Kelliers

I have often reported on the saga surrounding the transfer of the land known as the Kelliers (located to the rear of the old Indian Queens School) from Restormel Borough Council to St Enoder Parish Council, so that it could be improved as a nature area for local residents. Sadly in 2010, that decision was scuppered by council officers and senior councillors on the unitary authority.

I am pleased to be able to report that having pushed for the original deal to be honoured, the land finally passed into local ownership in February 2017, along with a grant of £4,950 to enhance the area.

Work will soon be able to commence on the improvements to the area.

11. Open spaces

In addition, the open space at Lindsay Fields has been transferred into the ownership of Cornwall Council for future maintenance. I am presently seeking clarification from the environment section at the unitary authority about their likely maintenance regime.

The open space at Fairview Park has meanwhile been transferred from Kingsley Developers into the ownership of the Parish Council.

12. 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. This has been reported in detail in many of my monthly reports and I also reported back on upcoming tarmacing works in my most recent monthly report (March).

13. PCSOs

As a Cornwall Councillors, I have also made representations to the Police and Crime Commissioner following the publication of the new Police Plan for 2017 – 2020. This states that more than half of the Police Community Support Officers working across the force area will be “phased out” during the next four years. I was particularly concerned to read a statement in the Cornish Guardian which stated that “no decision has yet been taken on which communities are likely to lose a PCSO” but that “large towns and cities are expected to see little change.”

I am continuing to question what this all means for community policing in our local area, which does not happen to be a large town or city.

14. Stop press … some good news

The eastern part of Summercourt around the primary school has had a very poor broadband signal for many years. On behalf of the School and local residents, I have made representations to British Telecom on this matter and I am pleased to be able to report that BT has just confirmed that the improvement works will be carried out within this financial year and hopefully prior to Christmas.

15. My Community Fund

I have awarded the £2,000 in my personal Community Fund for 2015-2016 (allocated to all Cornwall Councillors) as follows:

· Fraddon Millennium Green – £500
· Indian Queens Pantomine Society – £500
· St Enoder Age Concern – £500
· Wesley Under-5s – £500

16. 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 dickcole@btinternet.com. 

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Standing for election in St Enoder division

The nominations for the elections to Cornwall Council have been published today and can be found at: Candidates for Cornwall Council

My nomination to defend the division of St Enoder has been accepted and I will soon be out delivering my main election address.

There are a total of three candidates for the St Enoder seat. As well as myself, there is a Conservative candidate (from Mevagissey) and a Liberal Democrat candidate (from Bodmin).

In addition, I can confirm that there have been a total of 14 nominations for the 14 seats on St Enoder Parish Council. Everyone who was nominated has therefore been elected unopposed and there will be no parish election.

MK candidates for the 2017 local elections

Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall has nominated a total of 32 official candidates for the upcoming local elections. Of these, 19 will be contesting seats on the unitary authority.

Many of the candidates for Town and Parish Councils have been returned unopposed. The full list of candidates is as follows:

Candidates for Cornwall Council 

St Ives Constituency Party
Breage, Germoe and Sithney - Mike Tresidder
Crowan & Wendron - Loveday Jenkin
Helston South - Alice Waddoups
Penzance East - Rob Simmons

Camborne & Redruth Constituency Party
Camborne Pendarves - John Ellery Gillingham
Camborne Roskear - Linda Lemon
Camborne Trelowarren - Zoe Fox
Camborne Treslothan - Alan Sanders
Four Lanes - Chris Lawrence
Lanner & Stithians - Matt Blewett

Truro & Falmouth Constituency Party
Falmouth Boslowick - Jenny Booth

St Austell & Newquay Constituency Party
Bugle - Garry Tregidga
Penwithick & Boscoppa - Matt Luke
Roche - Brian Higman
St Enoder - Dick Cole
St Stephen - Jerry Jefferies

North Cornwall Constituency Party
Bodmin St Petroc - John Gibbs

SE Cornwall Constituency Party
Callington - Andrew Long
St Dominick, Harrowbarrow and Kelly Bray - Mark Smith

Candidates for Town and Parish Councils (27)

St Ives Constituency Party
Crowan Parish Council (Praze ward) - Loveday Jenkin [ELECTED UNOPPOSED]
Penzance Town Council (East Ward) - Rob Simmons [ELECTED UNOPPOSED]

Camborne & Redruth Constituency Party
Camborne Town Council (Pendarves Ward) - John Ellery Gillingham [ELECTED UNOPPOSED]
Camborne Town Council (Roskear Ward) - Linda Lemon [ELECTED UNOPPOSED]
Camborne Town Council (Treslothan Ward) - Jane Barclay & Alan Sanders
Camborne Town Council (Trelowarren Ward) - Zoe Fox
Carn Brea Parish Council (Four Lanes Ward) - Chris Lawrence
St Day Parish Council - Roy Gill [ELECTED UNOPPOSED]

Truro & Falmouth Constituency Party
Falmouth Town Council (Boslowick Ward) - Jenny Booth
Truro City Council (Boscawen Ward) - Conan Jenkin
Truro City Council (Redannick Ward) - Lance Dyer
Newlyn East Parish Council (Newlyn East Ward) - Rod Toms [ELECTED UNOPPOSED]

St Austell & Newquay Constituency Party
Mevagissey Parish Council - Matt Facey
Roche Parish Council - Brian Higman [ELECTED UNOPPOSED]
St Austell Town Council (Poltair Ward) - Julie Fox
St Enoder Parish Council - Dick Cole [ELECTED UNOPPOSED]
St Goran Parish Council - Michael Bunney [ELECTED UNOPPOSED]
St Mewan Parish Council (Polgooth & Sticker Ward) - David Holman [ELECTED UNOPPOSED]
Treverbyn Parish Council (Boscoppa Ward) - Matt Luke [ELECTED UNOPPOSED]

North Cornwall Constituency Party
Bodmin Town Council (St Petroc Ward) - John Gibbs

SE Cornwall Constituency Party
Callington Town Council (Callington Ward) - Maria Coakley, Andrew Long & Mark Smith [ELECTED UNOPPOSED]
Callington Town Council (Kelly Bray Ward) - Debbie Smith [ELECTED UNOPPOSED]
Pillaton Parish Council - David Floyd [ELECTED UNOPPOSED]
Saltash Town Council (East Ward) - Clare Ellison

More information to follow.