Sunday, 4 August 2019

100 years of council housing ...


One hundred years ago, on 31st July 1919, the Westminster Parliament passed the Housing Act (1919). It was momentous legislation that amended the earlier Housing of the Working Classes Act (1890) and brought forward ambitious plans for the provision of council housing with low rents.

The Housing Act had its legislative roots in the Tudor Walters Committee report of 1917 and is known as the Addison Act after the Health and Housing minister, Christopher Addison. It is also linked to the pledge from the Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, that he would deliver “habitations fit for the heroes” who had served in the First World War, though his words are more generally remembered as “homes fit for heroes.”

According to the UK Government, the Act “made housing a national responsibility, and local authorities were given the task of developing new housing and rented accommodation where it was needed by working people.” It promised significant subsidies from central government towards the construction of half a million houses within three years and, though subsequent economic problems meant that the funding had to be reduced, a total of 213,000 homes were completed through the provisions of the Act.

The Tudor Walters report specified that new housing should not be tiny terraced units squeezed onto very small plots, but “generously proportioned” houses with good-sized gardens.

The new rental properties provided by St Columb Rural Council in my local area in the early 1920s were certainly as foreseen by MPs. These included Barnfield Terrace in Indian Queens, as shown in the above photograph, Beaconside in Summercourt and Westbourne Terrace in Penhale – where my own father was born about ten years later. 

Another Housing Act followed in 1924 which allotted further funding to local councils, while additional legislation in 1930 lead to the clearance of a large number of slums. Figures show that “inter-war Housing Acts” helped local councils to build 1.1 million new homes.

Strategically, this new approach placed public sector housing at the very heart of government policy and this lasted for more than six decades.

Sadly, this all changed with the sell-off of council housing, which was commenced by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Government of the 1980s and, I believe, this is one of the reasons why we have such a dysfunctional housing market in the UK today.

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

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

My latest monthly report to St Enoder Parish Council


At tonight’s meeting of St Enoder Parish Council, I tabled my most recent monhly report. It covers the time period of 24th June to 19th July 2019. It was as follows:

Listed below are some examples of the activities that I have been involved with over the last four weeks.

1. Holyer an Gof book awards

I am very pleased to be able to report our book “Trusting Fully Trusting” (about the servicemen of Fraddon, Indian Queens, St Columb Road and Summercourt who lost their lives in the First World War) has won an important award.

Parish Council Chairman Michael Bunyan, my wife Ann and I attended Gorsedh Kernow’s Holyer an Gof Publishers’ Awards at the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro on 10th July.

The book won Class 5B (best Cornish book about social, cultural and political history published in 2018), but also went on to win the Federation of Old Cornwall Societies Holyer an Gof Cup (for best non-fiction Cornish book published in 2018).

I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone associated with the book awards and their positive view of our publication, which was compiled with the support of the wider community and St Enoder Parish Council.

2. Council meetings and related activities

I have attended a number of formal meetings, briefings and training sessions at Cornwall Council, which include Full Council, the Environment Growth and Development Overview and Scrutiny Committee (and workshop), planning training (on a future approach to long-term policy preparation), two meetings with planning officers about the planning situation at Carvynick (of which the second was also attended by the owners), a briefing on the work programme of the Electoral Review Panel, and a meeting of the National Minority Working Group.

There have also been informal meetings with a range of officers at the unitary authority and I have attended two meetings of St Enoder Parish Council.

In addition, I was heavily involved with the first UK National Minority Summit, organised by Cornwall Council, which took place at Falmouth University on 5th July. As well as being at the event, I attended two preparatory sessions and a “working lunch” with a Government Minister and council staff.

Further information about some of these meetings are included later in this monthly report.

3. Other meetings

During the last month, I attended meetings of Indian Queens Pit (trustee) and the “Community Led Local Development” Local Action Group for South and East Cornwall (vice-chairman).

4. Planning matters

4.1 St Enoder Neighbourhood Plan


The statutory consultation on the St Enoder Neighbourhood Plan will end on 1st August. On behalf of the Parish Council, I have been liaising with the relevant officers at the unitary authority and an inspector will soon be appointed to formally review the document.

4.2 Carvynick Holiday Park

In my last monthly report, I outlined how a planning inspector had granted outline planning permission for 38 residential units at Carvynick and an office/leisure building. The matters of “access, layout and scale, appearance and landscaping” were reserved and further applications will need to be submitted to set out the detail of what is developed.

I met with planning officers on 24th June to discuss what the inspector had agreed and a further meeting was held with planning officers and the owners of the site (Kingsley Developers (SW) Ltd) on 19th July. At the second meeting, the owners of the site repeated criticism of the St Enoder Neighbourhood Plan that they had made at previous meetings of the Parish Council and made a range of comments about how they might develop the site. There was reference to both tourism and residential development, and it would be fair to say that I am unclear about the full nature of their plans and will be seeking further clarification in the coming weeks.

5. Road safety issues and traffic issues

5.1 Indian Queens School


Last month, I was successful in ensuring that the content of the School Travel Plan was included in the Action Plan associated with the Road Casualty Reduction Strategy.

A further meeting was held at the School on 3rd July. It covered a range of issues, but a key focus was on how a large proportion of the field next to the School could be landscaped and fenced off for use by the children, and a path created between the School and the Harvenna Heights estate, thereby creating an additional pedestrian route to the School.

It was noted that the Parish Council had previously stated it would welcome the remainder of the field being devolved into its care. I confirmed this was still the case and I have since met with a senior officer at the unitary authority. We are looking at how the construction of the new path could be funded from a capital pot relating to the devolution of assets to parish councils, in advance of the transfer of the land.

There is to be a follow-up meeting within Cornwall Council on 1st August.

5.2 Re-surfacing and patching

In recent weeks, Cormac has carried out some patching on rural roads in the southern part of the parish and through Trefullock Moor. I have been informed that they will also be re-surfacing The Drang and the Suncrest Estate between 8th and 13th August.

5.3 Double yellow lines

I am continuing to push for faded double yellow lines to be repainted. It is a particular problem along parts of St Francis Road. I have again been in contact with Cormac and the parking team at Cornwall Council.

I have pointed out that as Cormac will be re-surfacing The Drang and the Suncrest Estate between 8th and 13th August, which will include the refreshing of some lineage near the Victory Hall. I have suggested that it would make sense that other faded lines are redone at the same time and this has been agreed in principle.

6. St Enoder Cemetery

As well as maintaining two open cemeteries, St Enoder Parish Council looks after two closed cemeteries. These are the churchyard at St Enoder (which the Parish Council agreed to maintain only a couple of months ago) and the adjacent old cemetery which contains the war memorial.

I am pleased at how the Parish Council is working hard to improve the old cemetery and has decided that, in the coming months, it will re-erect a number of fallen headstones. On 4th July, I was pleased to assist the Parish handyman Nigel Trebell to remove the remains of some tree stumps from the areas where works will be taking place.

7. UK National Minority Summit

I have been a member of councillor and officer team, which organised the first UK National Minority Summit that took place at Falmouth University on 5th July.

I found myself in the fortunate position of being one of three elected members and two council officers who shared a “working lunch” with Government Minister Lord Bourne. He spoke at the Summit and announced £200,000 of funding for Cornish culture and language, but we also used the opportunity to lobby him on a range of issues around the failure of the UK Government to meet its obligations through the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

8. Full Council
In advance of the Full Council meeting on 9th July, there was a demonstration outside the Council offices at which a range of groups and individuals set out concerns about the extent of development that is happening across Cornwall and how it is, conversely, not meeting the needs of local communities.

I spoke with a number of the protesters and intend to continue to raise their concerns at future meetings of the authority.

9. Electoral Review Panel

This Panel will soon be starting work on the Community Governance Review, through which the boundaries of local parishes or internal arrangements of parish councils could be changed. The closing date for submissions was last week and, as vice-chairman of the Panel, I am anticipating there will be a massive amount of work associated with this.

I can also confirm that Newlyn East Parish Council has made a submission to include some land near Mitchell (presently in St Enoder Parish) to be shifted to their parish.

10. Newsletter

In recent weeks I have been out and about delivering my latest six-monthly newsletter around St Enoder Parish and I would like to thank everyone who has helped me with this task.

11. Inquiries

During the last month, I have helped numerous people with guidance on a range of issues.

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My next monthly report will be presented to the 24th September meeting of St Enoder Parish Council.

Sunday, 14 July 2019

SOME THOUGHTS ON PLANNING FOLLOWING RECENT DEMONSTRATION AT COUNTY HALL


At last week’s meeting of the unitary authority, a considerable number of campaigners joined together to protest at the level of housing growth across Cornwall. A number of local groups were also present at the demonstration to raise concerns about specific developments which they consider will have an adverse impact on their local area.

A large number of people continue to be angry at the housing target of 52,500 new housing units, for the period 2010-2030, which is included in the Cornwall Local Plan.

I share many of these concerns and I understand people’s frustrations. Not least, this is because, as a local councillor, I have been on the losing side in many planning battles where, I strongly believe, the wrong decisions were taken.

In terms of local planning policy, I was heavily involved in the production of the Local Plan document and argued for a lower housing target of 38,000-40,000, with a stronger focus on the provision of proper local-needs affordable housing. In addition, I recall arguing for less growth in areas such as Bodmin and Newquay, and I was among the small number of members who opposed the so-called “eco-town” in Clay Country.

But overall, I was pretty unsuccessful in my representations and I would describe the process of agreeing the housing target as a “charade.” So much of the debate was not about what would be right for Cornwall, but what might be acceptable to central government.

The final housing target, submitted to the Government, was 47,500 but even this was deemed inadequate by a government-appointed inspector who, following an “Examination in Public,” pushed up the figure to the 52,500.

The reality is that the top-down National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) does largely dictate how local councils deal with planning matters.

In terms of housing targets, I remember the most recent consultation into revisions to the NPPF when the UK Government stated that they expected housing targets for council areas to be calculated using a top-down “standard method.” They even included an appendix in the document showing that if Cornwall’s housing target was recalculated, using their method, it would go up to 58,000.

In all this “toing and froing,” Cornwall Council has come in for significant criticism and I believe it really does need to be much more robust in challenging the diktats of central government.

It is my strong view that we should be uniting around a strong campaign to ensure that all decisions over planning and housing should be taken here in Cornwall, democratically, through a Cornish NPPF, without interference from Whitehall and their inspectors.

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

My thoughts on the recent National Minority Summit


Five years on from the recognition of the Cornish as a national minority, Cornwall Council held the first UK National Minority Summit at Falmouth University on Friday 5th July.

It was a privilege for me to be involved with the organisation of the event and it was great to hear from so many activists from across the Cornish movement. In addition, there were telling contributions from others from further afield such as Professor Tove Malloy (Director of the European Centre for Minority Issues), Cornishman Dr Davyth Hicks (Secretary General of the European Language Equality Network), Professor Elin Haf Gruffydd Jones (University of Wales Trinity St David) and Iain Campbell (University of the Highlands and Islands), plus Montfort Tadier and Ben Spink from Jersey.

Also at the event was Lord Bourne (Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government) and he used the gathering to announce a one-off payment of £200,000 to support Cornish culture, with three-quarters of the money earmarked for the language.

He spoke about Cornwall’s rich history and distinctive identity, and how “we should support the Cornish language and help it flourish for generations to come.”

I had the opportunity to speak at the summit and, obviously, I welcomed the funding announcement. But I also told the Minister that the UK Government needed to do so much more to meet the wider obligations that it agreed under the Framework Convention. In particular, I reminded him that, in 2014, they had pledged the Cornish would receive a parity of treatment with the other national minorities (Northern Irish, Scottish and Welsh) but that this had not transpired as yet.

Lord Bourne knew the challenge was coming as I had the good fortune to share a “working dinner” with him on the night before the summit, along with Cllr Bert Biscoe and Cllr Jesse Foot, Professor Tove Malloy and Dr Davyth Hicks, plus council officers and the Minister’s own staff.

It would be accurate to report that we pressed Lord Bourne on a wide range of issues which also included long-term funding for the Cornish language, greater control over Cornwall’s heritage, better public broadcasting in the Cornish national interest, and a Cornish tick-box on the 2021 census.

He knows that it is our intention to continue to lobby him and others in the UK Government on these and associated matters, and I hope that many people across Cornwall will join us in doing this.

I would like to finish by thanking the council officers who worked so hard to make the summit a success.

[This was my article in last week's Cornish Guardian].

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Big Enough, Rich Enough, Smart Enough


During my recent visit to Scotland – for a week’s holiday – I took the opportunity to read Scottish newspapers and catch snippets of Scottish television. I found the news media to the north of the Tweed to be so very different to the largely London-centred output that we, in Cornwall, have come to accept as the norm.

It was so refreshing to see the news from a national perspective that was not dominated by the South East of England.

There is even one newspaper, launched only in 2014, called The National, which actively campaigns for an independent Scotland. While I was there, it launched another independence campaign titled “Big Enough, Rich Enough, Smart Enough.”

It is a clever initiative. It seeks to reverse the age-old criticism of the push for both devolution and independence, that stated Scotland was “too small and too poor,” while its inhabitants were not clever enough. It is an effort that resonated with me.

As the leader of Mebyon Kernow, I must make it clear that I am not saying that I wish to campaign for an independent Cornwall. I remain 100% committed to securing meaningful devolution for Cornwall within the United Kingdom through a National Assembly.

But the National’s campaign did resonate with me because I can remember the numerous occasions when arguments against greater self-government for Cornwall suggested our nation was also “too small and too poor.” I have also lost count at how many times I have heard people question whether the residents of Cornwall have the where-with-all to govern themselves, and why we need to bring in new people for prominent local jobs as if there is no-one already living in Cornwall who is capable of doing such roles. Remember how David Penhaligon defined an expert as “someone who comes from 150 miles away.”

As the quote from David Penhaligon shows, this has long been a problem and it is just over thirty years since the seminal text “Cornwall at the Crossroads” by Bernard Deacon, Andrew George and Ronald Perry was published.

I believe this book is as relevant now as it was in 1988. It rightly made the case for Cornwall as a special place with a distinct identity, rooted in the strengths of its people and communities, while pointing out how decisions about Cornwall were continuously being based around externally derived assumptions that it was “remote” and “too small” and its people suffered from backwardness.

Looking forward, how about joining me in a “Cornwall is Big Enough, Rich Enough, Smart Enough” campaign?

[This is my article in tomorrow's Cornish Guardian].

It is 50 years since Daphne Du Maurier called for home rule for Cornwall


Much has been written about the life and achievements of the novelist Daphne du Maurier, and it is often noted that the author of Frenchman’s Creek, Jamaica Inn, My Cousin Rachel, Rebecca and Rule Britannia was a member of Mebyon Kernow.

Indeed, it is fifty years since she had an article published in MK’s Cornish Nation magazine, which was titled “Stand On Your Own Two Feet.”

It is a quite interesting piece of writing and very optimistic, believing that “a form of self-government for Cornwall with legislative powers touching local industry, education, health and economy” was possible within ten years.

Very much of its time, it does cover a range of subjects including education – she argued against the closure of small schools – and economic matters, such as the need to support the traditional industries of “fishing, mining, farming.” She set out hopes that Cornwall’s fishing ports would be “able to compete in a big way” and local mining companies should not be outdone by large American companies, while agriculture could help Cornwall be more self-sufficient in terms of food production.

In particular, she had a lot to say about tourism. Bemoaning the impact of “junk-shops” and “trinket-booths” selling mass-produced goods on Cornish quays, du Maurier argued that the “visitor should be encouraged to come to Cornwall because of its historical interest and its present day craftsmanship, not merely because it has beaches that are ideal in fine weather.”

She also called for Cornwall to “have its own Tourist Board” with “all matters relating to tourism … in the hands of this Board, who would not take direction from other similar bodies beyond the Tamar.”

But du Maurier did not just want greater control over tourism and had the following vision for the future:

“The aim must surely be to make Cornwall a really worthwhile place in which to live, and work, and bring up future generations, not harking back too much to the past, but looking forward and planning for the century ahead. Not ‘just another county,’ but a Cornwall where ‘One and All’ means what it says, no divisions, no petty strife, no inter-borough squabbles, no east versus west, a united Cornwall able to run its own affairs with minimum direction from London yet remaining part of the UK and loyal to the Crown.”

[This article was recently published in the Cornish Guardian.]
If anyone would like a free photocopy of the original article, please contact me on dickcole@btinternet.com.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

My latest report to St Enoder Parish Council


At tonight’s meeting of St Enoder Parish Council, I presented my most recent monthly report. It covers the time period of 27th May – 23rd June, though please note I was away on holiday between 15th and 23rd June.

It was as follows:

1. Council meetings and related activities

I have attended a number of formal meetings or briefings at Cornwall Council. These include the Neighbourhoods Overview and Scrutiny Committee, China Clay Area Network meeting and the Positive Parking Review Panel. In addition, I attended a number of informal meetings with council officers, senior councillors and others. I also attended a meeting of St Enoder Parish Council.

2. St Enoder Neighbourhood Plan

Following the consultation into the “pre-submission” draft of the Neighbourhood Plan for St Enoder Parish, which ended on 4th March, the document was submitted to Cornwall Council on 7th May in accordance with the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012 (as amended).

Cornwall Council is now carrying out a further statutory consultation of residents and other interested stakeholders on the document. This will run for six weeks from 20th June until 1st August.

The document and supporting information can be viewed on the “neighbourhood planning” section of the Cornwall Council website.

3. Planning matters

3.1 Carvynick Holiday Park


On 18th March, planning permission was granted for 38 holiday units at Carvynick and an office/leisure building, with access, layout and scale, appearance and landscaping reserved. A holiday condition, which had my full support, was imposed on the 38 units so that they could not be unfettered residential properties.

A previous application for the same site at Carvynick had been refused by the unitary authority. Kingsley Developers (SW) Ltd appealed this earlier decision to the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol, seeking for there to be no “holiday conditions” on the “holiday units.”

The Inspector issued his ruling on 4th June, which I did not agree with. He acknowledged that the proposal did not comply with policy 3 in the Cornwall Local Plan, which supports the “rounding off of settlements and development of previously developed land within or immediately adjoining that settlement of a scale appropriate to its size and role.”

He wrote that: “In terms of the criteria under Policy 3 of the Local Plan it is not within or immediately adjoining the settlement of Summercourt and I am not persuaded that the holiday park forms a settlement in its own right. In these circumstances, the scheme would not fulfil the requirements of Policy 3, in particular in respect of rounding off.”

But he granted permission for open-market housing on the site. After ignoring Policy 3, he referred to the subordinate Policy 21 which supports “sustainably located proposals that use previously developed land.”

The Inspector also made it clear that he was allowing open-market housing at Carvynick. He wrote: “The appellant indicates that the site would be operated by a management agreement such that the dwellings would in any event be occupied as holiday lets. While this may deliver the intended approach to the use of the site, I attribute this matter little weight in my considerations as the effect of a permission, without a condition restricting occupation to holiday accommodation, would be to allow open market housing.”

I must add that as part of the application, the develpoers would be obliged to pay a contribution towards the local education infrastructure and affordable housing.

3.2 Housing applications in Higher Fraddon

In my last monthly report, I reported on the planning application and the two submissions for “pre-application advice” on the right-hand-side of the road leading to Higher Fraddon, which had generated considerable opposition from local residents.

Cornwall Council previously issued pre-application advice for a possible 14 new dwellings (PA19/00791/PREAPP) in the wooded area. It advised against an application, stating that it would be against Policy 4 of the emerging St Enoder Parish Neighbourhood Plan. The same advice has now been issued for the proposed 28 dwellings on the old farmyard site (PA19/00656/PREAPP).

The concluding section stated: “The proposal would be contrary to Policy 4 - Exception Sites and Policy Employment 1 of the emerging NDP and does not appear to have the support of the local community. It is unlikely that should the proposal proceed to formal submission it would be supported.”

The application for a single property in the wooded area (PA18/11316) has been refused. The reason for refusal was as follows:

“The proposed dwelling would result in a negative and harmful impact on the character and appearance of the area by way of eroding the open space and wooded area, which is covered by a Tree Preservation Order, and physically extending the built form of the settlement into the open countryside. The impact on the distinctive character and appearance of the area and loss of woodland and scrub is considered to outweigh any benefits of this proposal and therefore the proposal does not comply with Policies 1, 2, 3, 7, 12, 21, and 23 of the Cornwall Local Plan, and paragraphs 8, 170 and 174 of the NPPF 2019.”

4. Road safety issues and traffic issues

In my last monthly report, I gave a comprehensive update on a range of matters relating to road safety and traffic matters. I have a couple of specific updates:

4.1 Traffic issues at Indian Queens School
I have continued to make representations about getting Cornwall Council to bring forward road safety measures included in the School Travel Plan, which was produced in 2014 as part of the planning application to build extra classrooms at the School.

- Cornwall Road Casualty Reduction Strategy

On 23rd May, I attended a meeting of the Neighbourhoods Overview and Scrutiny Committee, which was considering the content of a new Cornwall Road Casualty Reduction Strategy and associated Action Plan. The Action Plan includes a range of feasibility studies and specific engineering improvements, to deal with road safety matters, to be carried out within the next two years. I made forceful representations at the meeting that the road safety elements in the School Travel Plan for Indian Queens School should be included in the document.

I have had a number of follow-up meetings with officers and I can confirm that I have succeeded in getting this addition made to the Action Plan for the Casualty Reduction Strategy. The exact wording is as follows:

“Indian Queens School - Road safety improvements to be investigated, as set out in the Travel Plan, for potential future delivery.”

Obviously, I will be continuing to seek that the measures are investigated as quickly as possible.

- Upcoming meeting
There is to be a meeting at Indian Queens School next week to discuss a range of issues, which will include the provision of the proposed new footway between the Harvenna Heights estate and the School.

4.2 Improvements along A3058 (north of Summercourt)

As previously noted, Cornwall Council was successful in its bid to the Government’s Safer Roads Fund to carry out safety works on the A3058 between Summercourt and Quintrell Downs. The funding of over £1 million will not be made available until 2020/2021 but work has commenced on scoping what works should be funded.

I have been in contact with the design team and I have been informed that it is likely that the initial plans will have been completed by August and it was suggested that the follow-up consultation would be in 2020-2021. However, I have made it clear that I would like to see the design work made public as soon as is practicable, so that local people can give their views on what is proposed.

5. Clearing fly-tipping down the Kelliers

It was great to be involved with the latest effort to clear “historic” fly-tipping from the Kelliers in advance of the Parish Council’s plans to improve the locality as a countryside area.

Thanks to Colum Taylor (Cornwall Rural Community Council) who organised volunteers from the unitary authority through the “Cornwall Council Employee Volunteering Scheme;” thanks to the wonderful volunteers themselves who were an absolute pleasure to work with; and thanks to the guys from Biffa who picked up the rubbish.

We found loads of stuff – beer cans, tyres, car bonnets and even bits of an ice cream van!

6. Planning application for extension to Indian Queens Cemetery
Working with the Parish Clerk, I have produced a “planning statement” for the “change-of-use” application to ensure that the extension to Indian Queens Cemetery can be used for burials.

7. Electoral Review Panel

At the meeting of this Panel on 18th June, I was re-elected vice-chairman.

8. Neighbourhoods Overview and Scrutiny Committee

I attended the special meeting of the Scrutiny Committee on 31st May, which heard presentations about how the unitary authority will be doing its bit to combat climate change – having recently declared a “climate emergency.”

It is good to see that this matter is also being considered by the Parish Council at its meeting on 25th June.

9. World War One project

Following the submission of all the necessary paperwork to the Heritage Lottery Fund (to show how we spent their grant of £7,500), they have confirmed that they are happy with how we carried out the project and used the resources at our disposal.

10. Proposed World War Two project

June 6th 2019 marked the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy and, on September 3rd, it will be 80 years since the United Kingdom entered the Second World War.

I have made it known that I am scoping the content of a book about the individuals from Fraddon, Indian Queens, St Columb Road and Summercourt who lost their lives in this conflict. At the present time, I estimate that the publication will include the life stories of 19 individuals.

The St Enoder War Memorial contains the names of 11 men from Fraddon and Summercourt, who lost their lives in the war:

Mervyn Bulford (Royal Navy / HMS Galatea)
Joseph Donald Caddy (West Riding Regiment)
Selwyn Garfield Cole (Coldstream Guards)
Douglas Kenneth Common (Royal Artillery)
Dennis Tremayne Kelly (Royal Navy / HMS Avenger)
Herbert John Nancarrow (Royal Artillery)
Denis James Powell (Royal Engineers)
Thomas Harry Powell (West Surrey Regiment)
William Henry Frederick Raison (Wiltshire Regiment)
John Maurice Tonkin (Royal Air Force)
Richard John Henwood Trevethan (Royal Artillery).

Seven men from Indian Queens and St Columb Road are meanwhile listed on the St Columb War Memorial:

William Hedley Bennett (Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry)
Eldred Grose (Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry)
George Henry Hawkey (Royal Air Force)
Thomas Pellow Hosking (Royal Air Force)
Eric Charles Noel Kent (Royal Canadian Air Force)
Maurice Sloman (Royal Navy)
Alwyn Rodney Gilbert Wright (Royal Army Service Corps).

In addition, local woman Nella Eileen Trebilcock (nee Osborne) was killed in a bombing raid on a boatyard at Dartmouth in Devon.

11. Newsletter

I am presently drafting my latest six-monthly newsletter which will be delivered around the whole of St Enoder Parish in early July.

12. Inquiries

During the last few weeks, I have also helped numerous people with guidance on a range of issues.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

SECOND WORLD WAR PROJECT IN ST ENODER PARISH ... CAN YOU HELP?


June 6th 2019 marked the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy and, on September 3rd, it will be 80 years since the United Kingdom entered the Second World War.

It is my hope that, in the coming months, there will be many opportunities for people to find out more about what happened between 1939 and 1945.

As everyone will know, I was involved with a project to produce the book, which remembers the servicemen from Fraddon, Indian Queens, St Columb Road and Summercourt who lost their lives in the First World War.

At this time, I would like to make I known that I am scoping the content of a similar book about the Second World War, which we hope to produce during the next few years.

The St Enoder War Memorial contains the names of 11 men from Fraddon and Summercourt, who lost their lives in the 1939-1945 conflict and who we hope to find out more about:

Mervyn Bulford (Royal Navy / HMS Galatea)
Joseph Donald Caddy (West Riding Regiment)
Selwyn Garfield Cole (Coldstream Guards)
Douglas Kenneth Common (Royal Artillery)
Dennis Tremayne Kelly (Royal Navy / HMS Avenger)
Herbert John Nancarrow (Royal Artillery)
Denis James Powell (Royal Engineers)
Thomas Harry Powell (West Surrey Regiment)
William Henry Frederick Raison (Wiltshire Regiment)
John Maurice Tonkin (Royal Air Force)
Richard John Henwood Trevethan (Royal Artillery).

Seven men from Indian Queens and St Columb Road are meanwhile listed on the St Columb War Memorial:

William Hedley Bennett (Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry)
Eldred Grose (Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry)
George Henry Hawkey (Royal Air Force)
Thomas Pellow Hosking (Royal Air Force)
Eric Charles Noel Kent (Royal Canadian Air Force)
Maurice Sloman (Royal Navy)
Alwyn Rodney Gilbert Wright (Royal Army Service Corps).

In addition, local woman Nella Eileen Trebilcock (nee Osborne) was killed in a bombing raid on a boatyard at Dartmouth in Devon.

If you can help, please get in contact.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

My latest update report to St Enoder Parish Council


At tonight’s meeting of St Enoder Parish Council, I will tabling my latest “monthly” report, though this one covers the time period from 25th March to 26th May 2019. The report is as follows:

Listed below are some examples of the work that I have undertaken during the last two months. I did not do a monthly report in April, as the Parish Council meeting was only two weeks after I had presented my annual report to the 2019 Annual Assembly.

1. Council meetings and related activities

I have attended a number of formal meetings or briefings at Cornwall Council. These include Full Council (two) plus a preparatory briefing, Economic Growth and Development Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Neighbourhood OSC (and an associated briefing on the Fire Service), informal Investment Panel, meeting of Group Leaders, mandatory planning training, additional training sessions on scrutiny work and tree protection, China Clay Area Network meeting, Cornish National Minority Working Group (four), Electoral Review Panel (plus two meetings with officers about the Community Governance Review for local parishes), Positive Parking Review panel, and an all-member briefing on the future arrangements for the running of the unitary authority.

In the same period, I attended a number of informal meetings with council officers, senior councillors and others. These have covered a diverse range of topics including planning matters and traffic safety (see below).

In addition, I attended five meetings of St Enoder Parish Council, our Annual Assembly and one meeting of the working group for the St Enoder Parish Neighbourhood Plan (see below).

2. Other meetings and activities

There were also two meetings of the Indian Queens Pit charity (trustee), two meetings of the St Piran Trust (which included its 2019 AGM when I was re-appointed as a trustee), the Community-led Local Development Local Action Group for South and East Cornwall (of which I have been re-elected vice-chairman) and the St Austell Bay Economic Forum.

3.0 St Enoder Neighbourhood Plan

It is with a great sense of relief that I can report that the St Enoder Neighbourhood Plan has been completed and submitted to Cornwall Council.

The consultation into the “pre-submission” draft of the Neighbourhood Plan for St Enoder Parish initially ended on Monday 18th February, though following a request from a local business, an extension to the consultation was agreed until 4th March. In total, we received 27 representations (six from statutory organizations, 12 from local residents and nine from landholders).

The working group held two meetings (on 20th March and 23rd April) to consider the feedback and a number of changes were made to the Plan. The decision to formally submit the revised Plan was taken at a formal meeting of the Parish Council on 30th April. In addition to the Plan itself, I have completed an associated consultation statement and a "basic condition" assessment, which have also been submitted to the unitary authority.

Cornwall Council will soon hold a further formal consultation, which will be followed by a review undertaken by a planning inspector, and there will then a referendum of local residents.

4. Planning matters

4.1 Carvynick Holiday Park

Planning permission was granted for 38 holiday units at Carvynick and an office/leisure building, with access, layout and scale, appearance and landscaping reserved. A holiday condition was imposed on the 38 units, so that they could not be unfettered residential properties.

A previous application for the same site at Carvynick had been refused by the unitary authority. This has been appealed by Kingsley Developers (SW) Ltd and it is now with the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol. The applicants are arguing that there should not be a planning restriction that states the holiday units have to be used for holiday accommodation.

In recent weeks, additional information has been submitted to the appeal, in which Kingsley Developers (SW) Ltd have confirmed that they will be objecting to the content of the St Enoder Neighbourhood Plan at the next formal consultation.

4.2 Housing applications in Higher Fraddon

There has been one planning application and two submissions for “pre-application advice” on the right-hand-side of the road leading to Higher Fraddon. This has generated considerable opposition from local residents.

The decision on the application for a single property in the wooded area (PA18/11316) will soon be made. The proposal is likely to be refused, because Cornwall Council has issued pre-application advice for a possible 14 new dwellings (PA19/00791/PREAPP) in the same wooded area, which advised against an application.

In the response from Cornwall Council, the following comments were made about representations from St Enoder Parish Council:

“The Parish Council noted this was not in line with the emerging Neighbourhood Development Plan. 28 residents present [at a recent Parish Council meeting] objected to the scheme due to additional traffic on an already busy narrow road, no footpath on the road, lack of infrastructure, ribbon development along an already congested narrow road with not sufficient off road parking, flooding issues already in this area with a stream running along the back, issues with sewerage and the abundance of wildlife on the site.”

Following a request for this area of trees to be protected by Cllr Charlotte Cowburn, the following was stated.

“Cornwall Council’s Forestry Officer has placed a TPO (tree preservation order) on the site to prevent any pre-emptive felling in order to obtain planning permission. The trees do have an amenity contribution to the larger landscape as well as transient public visual amenity from passing traffic. Additionally their loss would result in a net canopy loss and a decrease in wildlife resource which would not be in keeping with Cornwall Council’s Biodiversity Action Plan.”

And in conclusion, it added:

“The proposal would be contrary to Policy 4 - Exception Sites of the emerging NDP and does not appear to have the support of the local community. It is unlikely that, should the proposal proceed to formal submission, it would be supported.”

The second request for pre-application advice relates to a proposal for 28 dwellings on the old farmyard site (PA19/00656/PREAPP), slightly further up the road. Cornwall Council has not yet published its advice, but housing in this area would also be against Policy 4 of the St Enoder Parish Neighbourhood Plan.

4.3 Pig farm in Higher Fraddon

I attended a meeting with officers from Cornwall Council and the pig farm at Higher Fraddon on 5th April. The meeting was to discuss a number of issues about the farm, how it liaises with the adjacent biogas plant and to discuss the farm’s application to not retrofit two of the farm buildings with biofilters (PA18/00336). Discussions are ongoing and I will update further in the near future.

4.4 Harvenna Close / Grovewood Court

About twenty people attended the Parish Council meeting on 14th May to raise concerns about the proposals for two properties in gardens of properties on Harvenna Close (PA19/03258 and PA19/03266), but which would exit onto Grovewood Court. There were a range of concerns, dominated by worries about traffic and the impact on parking. As a consequence, I have formally requested that highway officers look closely at the impact of the proposed developments.

4.5 Blue Anchor

Parish councillors will be aware that St Austell Brewery wish to build five properties in the car park of the Blue Anchor. The initial drawings located the houses to the rear of existing cottages and the residents were quite worried. The Brewery’s planning agent visited the site to meet with local residents (and me), and the company had agreed to redesign the scheme and locate the houses elsewhere in the parking area.

5. Road safety issues and traffic issues

Over the last two months, I have continued to follow up on a range of road safety and traffic issues. I regularly meet up with the local Cormac officer, Rachel Tatlow, and our last meeting was on 13th May. I also met with Geoff Brown, the Cabinet Member with responsibility for transport, on 14th May.

I have included updates in many previous monthly reports, but there has been considerable discussion about local traffic and road safety matters on social media in the last few days. I therefore think it would be worthwhile for me to give a comprehensive update on these matters at this time.

5.1 Traffic issues at Indian Queens School

I have received representations over a significant period of time about speeding traffic, the volume of traffic and parking issues around Indian Queens School. Related to this, my priority has been to regularly lobby Cornwall Council to ensure that it follows through with the proposed safety measures included in the School’s Travel Plan.

- School Travel Plan and new recreational space


As a bit of a recap, in 2014, as part of the planning application to build extra classrooms at the School, Cornwall Council commissioned consultants to produce a Travel Plan. Around this time, I helped to secure additional recreation land next to the School. It was initially agreed that about half of the field would be enclosed for use by the School and a new footway constructed across the field to the Harvenna Heights estate, creating a new pedestrian approach to the School.

The remaining budget from the school improvement works is earmarked for the enclosure (fencing) of the School’s element of the field and associated works within that area. The construction of the new path – which will be immediately outside of the fenced area for safeguarding reasons – has not yet happened, but I can confirm that a meeting has been set up for the first week in July at which representatives of Cornwall Council, the School and the Aspire Academy chain will be getting together to discuss the options around the field. I will be at that meeting and I will be meeting the head of the School separately next week.

In terms of the School Travel Plan associated with the planning consent, it was prepared for Cornwall Council by Hyder Consulting (UK) Limited. I have repeatedly been in contact with the Education Capital Team (which has traditionally oversees improvement works at schools) and other sections at the unitary authority, calling for the commitments in the document to be delivered.

Put bluntly, the key problem I have encountered is that the Travel Plan was agreed by Education Capital Team, but there had been limited discussion with the staff in the transport section. It has all been pretty exasperating.

For information, extracts from the document include the following:

Page 20 states: “A footpath is being provided which would link into the proposed new residential development to the south (when this is built out).” As noted before, this has yet to be done.

Page 20 also states: “The school will liaise with Cornwall Council with regards to the Halloon Avenue footpath and encourage them to provide this link (if this is feasible as the land is not owned by Cornwall Council). The developer has partly built out an extant planning consent, and it is understood that a condition of the consent included the provision of a footpath. The school will encourage Cornwall Council to investigate the provision of this footpath as this will improve the walking access to the school and reduce the need to travel via vehicle.” This also has yet to be done.

Page 34 and 35 references the possibility of parents parking in the nearby Queens Club car park. The statement is: “The Travel Team [at the School] will discuss with Cornwall Council the feasibility of providing a crossing patrol across St Francis Road in order to facilitate pedestrian movements from the Queens club car park. It is envisaged that a patrol would operate during the school peak hours (0830-0900 and 1500-1530). It is anticipated that this will instil confidence amongst parents using this car parking area for a walking bus or park and stride location.” I never thought this would happen, but I know the Council has yet to consider providing a crossing patrol.

Page 40 meanwhile includes the following statement on the Action Plan: “The Action Plan for Indian Queens Primary School is presented below and identifies specific measures relating to the STP objectives. It is recognised that whilst it might not be possible to implement each of the suggested Action Plan measures immediately, the school, with assistance from partners, will both prioritise and subsequently implement appropriate measures going forward.”

Specific proposals of relevance to Cornwall Council include:

HW2: Discuss and encourage Cornwall Council to implement crossings and/or a new footpath on St Francis Road / Chapel Road.
HW4: Investigate potential locations for a school crossing patrol.
WA2: Promote the ‘park and stride’ schemes using Victory Hall and Indian Queens Club as potential drop-off points, investigate with CC the option of improving crossing movements on St Francis Road.

- Cornwall Road Casualty Reduction Strategy

I can add that, on 23rd May, I attended a meeting of the Neighbourhoods Overview and Scrutiny Committee, which was considering the content of a new Cornwall Road Casualty Reduction Strategy and associated Action Plan. The Action Plan includes a range of feasibility studies and specific engineering improvements, to deal with road safety matters, to be carried out within the next two years. I was not impressed that the above elements in the School Travel Plan for Indian Queens School were not included.

I made forceful representations at the meeting and Cornwall Council’s Service Director for Transport and Infrastructure has agreed to review the Travel Plan and consider the safety elements within it for inclusion in the Road Casualty Reduction Strategy. I should find out if this can be done within a matter of weeks.

5.2 Improvements along A3058 (north of Summercourt)

Last year, it was confirmed that Cornwall Council had been successful in its bid to the Government’s Safer Roads Fund to carry out safety works on the A3058 between Summercourt and Quintrell Downs. The funding of over £1 million will not be made available until 2020/2021 but work has commenced on scoping what works should be funded.

The application was for works between the crossroads junction at Summercourt and the roundabout at Quintrell Downs. I have already made representations that works should be focussed within the village of Summercourt as much as possible.

A meeting to discuss progress was held on 2nd April. I have requested a number of things including a vehicle-activated sign on Beacon Road and crossing points. I have received a representation that “average speed cameras” should be installed, and I will ask that this option is also considered.

I can confirm that once proposals have been prepared, there will be a consultation to find out what local people think.

5.3 Community Network funding


Cornwall Council is making £50,000 available to each of its Community Networks for each year between 2018/2019 and 2021/2022. This means that the six members of the China Clay Area will have a total of £150,000 to allocate between now and 2021 – with the remaining money being made available after the 2021 election.

Local councillors have decided that the money will be divided equally between the six divisions in the China Clay Area, and we will therefore have about £25,000 to spend in St Enoder Parish, though it must be acknowledged that this is a limited amount of money and it would be easy to spend twenty-times that.

- Mobile vehicle activated sign

Through the Parish Council, we have decided to use part of the Community Network money to purchase a mobile “vehicle activated sign” which can be moved to numerous locations around the Parish as a “flashing” disincentive to speeding but to also record the actual speeds of vehicles for use with the Police and others to help us make further improvements.

There is a delay with this purchase at the moment as the suggested maintenance and operational costs of the unit (ie. for moving it around the local area) were excessive. This is now being reviewed by Cornwall Council, and I am seeking an alternative, more cost-effective, way forward with parish councillors able to action the frequent relocation of the camera.

- Summercourt School

In addition, we are investigating calming works and a 20 mph speed limit outside Summercourt School. I have pushed for these improvements for quite some time, including when the 20 mph speed limit was agreed for the access road to Indian Queens School.

I repeatedly challenged the view that the School was not a priority, but have asked that a scheme be worked up through the Community Network scheme. Initial feedback stated that I needed to fund a “feasibility study” costing £7,000 because of the potential complexity of any meaningful scheme by the School. This relates to the position of the School being on the outskirts of the village and close to a 60 mph speed limit.

I am presently disputing this and, after a meeting with the Cabinet Member for Transport, I have asked whether this improvement, for historic reasons, could be funded through a different mechanism.

- Chapel Road / The Drang, Indian Queens

As noted above, I am pushing for the proposals in the Travel Plan for Indian Queens School to be properly taken forward but, in order to keep my options open, I have requested that a temporary speed-visor be placed on Chapel Road (near the dropping-off point for the School) to record the nature of the traffic in that location (ie. numbers and speeds). 

- Other requests

In order for this update to be as comprehensive as possible, I would like to address what happened during 2013 and 2017 for background.

Some areas had historic schemes in the Cornwall Council Transport Plan, which were taken forward. In other areas, such as ours, elected members were told to prepare a list of schemes that we would like to see happen. We were told that these would be assessed and some would be taken forward.

The list I produced was very long (including vehicle activated signs (VAS), speed limit changes, enhanced entry points into built-up areas, etc), and I did a ridiculous amount of lobbying of the relevant officers but, under a weight of requests, the scheme simply stalled.

All my previous requests to the unitary authority are still listed with the relevant officers and may be summarised as follows:

- Speed reduction measures / traffic calming at Fraddon, Indian Queens and St Columb Road, which could include traffic calming measures at entry points, possible priority build-outs through the villages, as well as permanent VAS signs.

- Speed reduction measures / traffic calming in Summercourt, which could include traffic calming measures at entry points, possible priority build-outs, as well as permanent VAS signs.

- Traffic management measures to resolve congestion, accessibility, delivery and safety issues relating to the Co-op store in St Columb Road.

- Improved pedestrian phase to existing signalised junction at Summercourt crossroads, to improve safety and accessibility.

- Access improvements at Indian Queens Primary School, which were agreed when the planning permission was granted for additional classrooms and should be taken forward as part of the School’s Travel Plan.

- 20 mph speed limit and related highway improvements outside Summercourt School.

- Traffic calming at New Road near Fraddon and at Sea View Terrace on the road to St Stephen.

- Feedback from council officers

I must add that when I follow-up new requests with council officers for improvements, I often get told that it would need to be funded from the Parish’s share of the Community Network funding.

5.4 Concerns at Fraddon around Kingsley Village

At three recent meetings of St Enoder Parish Council, residents of Fraddon have raised concerns about the level of traffic in their area and related issues, including fears of a likely increase in traffic cutting through the built-up areas of Fraddon and St Columb Road when the Kingsley Village complex reopens.

I can confirm that I have formally requested that a traffic census is undertaken at the western end of Fraddon. This would help us better document any subsequent increase in the amount of traffic and provide evidence to argue for possible future mitigation measures. At this point, I have not had confirmation when the survey might be undertaken.

I was also asked about the speed limit extents at Fraddon and whether there was an opportunity to extend the speed limit towards Pedna Carne, and I have raised the request with Rachel Tatlow. Her response was as follows:

“There is insufficient frontage development to extend the limit further east of its current location, and consequently through the A & B road ‘speed limit review’ a few years ago, it was recommended to retain the existing derestricted limit throughout this section.”

5.5 Surfacing works

Earlier this year, surfacing works were undertaken at Trevarren and on the A392 (near the junctions with Atlantic Reach, Tresithney and Trugo). With regard to the works on the A392, I raised concerns about the excessive damage to verges along Barton Lane, which was caused by diverted traffic when the main road towards Quintrell Downs was closed. Works have also been carried out on the road from the A3058 (St Austell Street) to Goonabarn, to the south of Summercourt.

The following surfacing works are timetabled for next month:

- A3076 (from Mitchell and past Gummows Shop, which is partially along the St Enoder Parish boundary): provisional date is 10th-13th June.
- A39 Highgate to Halloon: provisional date is 17th-27th June

Other locations are on the work programme, but not with dates as yet, are as follows:

- Watery Lane near Black Cross
- B3275 near Melbur Blockworks
- Trefullock Moor.
- Carworgie Way and Halloon Avenue, St Columb Road
- Pocohontas Crescent and Princess Park, Indian Queens
- The Drang, Indian Queens

5.6 Lining works

I also receive a large number of requests for works that can be undertaken through existing maintenance budgets. This has included the need to repaint some road markings and I have had it confirmed that the lined speed limit gateway into Indian Queens on Moorland Road will be renewed later this year.

5.7 Double yellow lines.

It has also been a reality that Cornwall Council has prioritised traffic enforcement in towns and council-owned car parks. But now that they are in the process of installing “pay-on-exit” and “number-plate recognition” technologies in certain car parks, and we have succeeded in getting guarantees that the freed-up enforcement officers will be able to deal with poor parking in more rural areas such as ours.

In relation to this, I am lobbying the parking team to get the double-yellow lines repainted in many areas, so that they are enforceable.

5.8 Other highway issues

In addition, I am continuing to monitor and follow-up on a number of other highway issues. These include:

- Localised flooding on the A3058 and issues with ditches.
- Maintenance of the ditch in Church Lane by the Mission Church.
- Condition of road drain network in built-up areas of the Parish.

6. New waste bins

In recent years, I have had a number of requests for extra waste bins in our area. The Parish Council has also had similar requests.

I have been making representations and I am pleased to be able to report that Cornwall Council has placed new bins in the four locations where we had received most requests. They are (i) at the entrance to the Goss Moor trail, (ii) on St Francis Road by the Mission Church, (iii) at the bus-stop by the Blue Anchor and (iv) at the bus-stop by the London Inn.

7. World War One project

- “Trusting Fully Trusting”


It recently came to my attention that a number of our First World War books were partly misprinted. We have found that in some of them a few pages were missing / duplicated / mixed up, in the section between pages 90 to 120.

The Parish Clerk and I have gone through all remaining copies to check that they are ok and the printer has agreed to provide an additional 50 new copies (at no cost to the Parish Council) in lieu of those that were faulty. If anyone does happen to have a faulty copy, please let us know and we will replace it with a new error-free version.

As well as being available from the Parish Council, we have provided copies of the book to Waterstones bookshop in Truro.

- End of grant paperwork

I have submitted all the necessary paperwork to the Heritage Lottery Fund, to show how we spent their grant of £7,500 on this project.

- Literary Festival

The book is still being well-received and I have received an invitation to speak at Gorseth Kernow’s Literary Festival about how the book was researched and produced. The event will take place at St Just in the first week of September.

8. New leader at Cornwall Council

At the Full Council on 21st May, the Liberal Democrat leader of Cornwall Council Adam Paynter stood down after two years at the helm. His independent deputy Julian German is the new leader of the authority, and Adam will now be his second-in-command.

Julian German was challenged for the role by the leader of the Conservative group but the majority of Council, including me, voted for him.

9. Thomas Playing Field

Along with the Parish Clerk and Cllr Mark Kessell, I have helped to monitor the condition of the new play equipment in the Thomas Playing Field and report issues to the supplier, such as where some rust is coming through. There has also been damage to the trampoline caused by young people bouncing on it with their bicycles, and the Clerk has got the area fenced off.

10. Inquiries 

During the last month, I have also helped numerous people with guidance on a range of issues.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

The European elections ...

My article in this week's Cornish Guardian is on the European elections. It is as follows:


On Thursday, voters will be going to the polls in the controversial elections to the European Parliament, which have, unsurprisingly, been dominated by Brexit.

Along with many others, I am nervous about what a post-Brexit future will hold for Cornwall and whether our communities will be a priority for the Westminster Parliament.

I do worry that powers “repatriated” from the European Union will largely be centralised in London, and there will be no democratic dividend for Cornwall and the other nations and regions of the UK. I would also question whether there will be any appetite from central government to tackle inequality across the UK or to reverse the decades-long under-investment into areas away from the South East.

It has been widely reported that Mebyon Kernow is not contesting the “south west” seat in these elections– not least because it stretches from the Isles of Scilly to Wiltshire via Gibraltar. Because of this, MK members in the St Austell and Newquay Constituency decided to take the opportunity to write to MEP candidates to find out if they support the proposal for a Cornish Assembly.

My colleagues were very disappointed that they did not receive a single reply from candidates representing Change UK, the Conservatives, the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats or The Brexit Party.

On a more positive note, the Green Party’s list confirmed that they fully support greater self-government for Cornwall, adding that “Cornwall has a distinct historical and geographical identity” and pledging to support and actively campaign for “the establishment of an Assembly for Cornwall, with similar powers to those of the Welsh Assembly.”

I was pleased that they also criticised the over-centralised nature of the British state and recognised the disproportionate power held at Westminster, and the need to give power back to the regions of the UK.

In addition, one English Democrat candidate said she was supportive of an Assembly, as were two of the independents (Larch Maxey and Neville Seed). One UKIP candidate also replied but did not express an opinion.

It will therefore surprise no-one that I will be voting for the Green Party in the European Parliament elections.

I would add that MK has co-operated with the Greens on a number of occasions during the last 25 years and they sit in the same progressive group in the European Parliament as the European Free Alliance (of which MK is a member along with our sister parties Plaid Cymru, the SNP and the Yorkshire Party).

Monday, 20 May 2019

STATEMENT ON EU ELECTIONS FROM MK’S LEADERSHIP TEAM

As Mebyon Kernow is not standing in the 2019 EU Elections, we have been asked on numerous occasions who we will be voting for.

We can confirm that the National Executive of MK has not agreed a formal position on this matter but, in a spirit of openness, we are happy to confirm that MK’s leadership team will be voting for the Green Party.

MK has co-operated with the Greens on a number of occasions during the last 25 years and the Greens also sit in the same progressive group in the European Parliament as the European Free Alliance (of which MK is a member along with our sister parties Plaid Cymru, the SNP and the Yorkshire Party).

In a survey of candidates in the “south west” region, the Green Party has also confirmed its continuing support for a Cornish Assembly, while we had no positive responses from Change UK, the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Brexit Party or UKIP.

In addition, MK and the Greens share many goals such as the need for a greater focus on dealing with climate change.

Cllrs Michael Bunney, Dick Cole, Loveday Jenkin and Andrew Long

Sunday, 19 May 2019

WHAT DO EU CANDIDATES THINK ABOUT PROPOSAL FOR NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF CORNWALL?


The St Austell and Newquay Constituency Party of MK recently sent a copy of the MK booklet “Towards a National Assembly of Cornwall” to all candidates standing in the “south west” seat for the European Parliament.

We requested that the candidates give their personal view – and that of their party – on the proposal for a Cornish Assembly.

We can confirm the following:

- The Green Party has confirmed that they fully support the push for a Cornish Assembly.
- One English Democrat candidate (Jenny Knight) said she was supportive of an Assembly.
- One UKIP candidate (Stephen Lee) replied but was non-committal.
- Two independents (Larch Maxey and Neville Seed) said they were supportive of an Assembly.

Not one candidate from Change UK, Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems or The Brexit Party has replied.

THE GREEN PARTY (TOM SCOTT ON BEHALF OF THE GREEN LIST)

I’m happy to say that I very much agree with the thrust of the proposals for this outlined in the leaflet that you sent, and that for some time now this has also been Green Party policy, as agreed by our members at our party conference. To quote from our policy document on public administration:

“The Green Party recognises that Cornwall has a distinct historical and geographical identity, and supports (and will actively campaign for) the establishment of an Assembly for Cornwall, with similar powers to those of the Welsh Assembly, which will be supported, in turn, by a new local government structure promoting subsidiarity.

“Any such region should be able to decide, via a referendum of the citizens living within it, to create a directly elected regional assembly as an additional tier of government.

“These regional assemblies would take over the powers of region-wide non governmental agencies, and adapt their existing bureaucracies to serve the new Assembly. Funding would, in the initial stages, come from diverting the existing block grant regional funding allocated by central Government.

“The particular form and structure of these regional assemblies set up under will vary from region to region according to regional circumstances. They should be elected by a system of proportional representation. The appropriate form and structure will be determined by regional constitutional conventions drawn from all sectors of society, similar to the Scottish Constitutional Convention.”

In the EU context, subsidiarity – regional and local self-government enabling decisions to be democratically made as closely as possible to the people they affect – is one of the basic principles of the European Union, and one which was strongly restated with the signing of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009. It is a principle with which with which the Green Party wholeheartedly agrees – we think power should flow upwards from the people rather than downwards from an over-centralised state.

I also agree with you that it would be very much to Cornwall’s advantage at EU level to have a regional assembly with representation at EU level, e.g. in the Committee of the Regions.

In my view, one reason that the Brexit referendum of 2016 went the way that it did is because people do not feel properly represented by our current electoral and constitutional arrangements – and I think the chaos and confusion that has resulted should be an urgent wake-up call prompting a fresh look at these. As Caroline Lucas said earlier this year:

“Brexit shows no sign of giving us back ‘control’ or changing the way we’re ruled. A People’s Vote should be the starting gun on the race to genuinely democratise the UK. Looking anew at the way Britain is governed, not just by the EU but by Westminster as well. We are one of the most centralised countries in Europe, with disproportionate power held at Westminster, and far too little in our regions and local authorities. Powers need to go back to the regions of the UK, where people have a better chance of influencing it.”

JENNY KNIGHT (ENGLISH DEMOCRATS)

I am the English Democrats candidate for the Sth West + Gibraltar in the forthcoming elections. I was asked to record a minute manifesto for local radio which I have to say sounds unnaturally fast due to the time factor! However, I thought you might be interested and please share it as you see fit.

Good Luck with your National Assembly and self determination for Cornwall.

UKIP (STEPHEN LEE)


You sent me your devolution leaflet I assume because I am a Euro candidate for the South West. Bearing in mind I am only 5th on the UKIP list I would not get very excited about my chances of success or my opinion. Hopefully even if I won I will not need to take my seat at Brussels, at least for very long. Even if I were to win a seat, as members of the European Parliament have only a tiny influence either in the UK or the EU I doubt that my opinion on Cornwall having it's own assembly will have much significance.

I am not aware of UKIP policy on the subject - I have no-one to ask today. At the moment we are bogged down with both local and EU elections but I am interested in the subject. On a personal level I am torn between smaller central government and accountability. You might argue that a devolved government is more accountable. My opinion is that can only work under proportional representation to avoid the formation of potentially corrupt cliques forming.

I just looked at our local policies and they do not mention local assemblies. Please see Local Government at https://www.ukip.org/ukip-manifesto.php

LARCH MAXEY

As a Welsh Speaker who'se seen the difference a National Assembly made to Wales I am highly supportive of a Cornish Assembly.

As a Climate and Ecological Emergency Independent my focus is on the Climate and Ecological Emergency. As The UN General Secretary has said, if we do not turn things around by the end of this year, 2019, we risk the extinction of our species. Everything is at stake so we must do everything we can and research and history suggest that means mass participation civil disobedience as politics alone will not be enough..

I welcome the move towards more democracy that a Cornish Assembly offers and have a question which would help me get behind a Cornish Assembly: Is MK willing to commit to using Citizens' Assemblies within the National Assembly - thus allowing people to have a real direct voice and role in democracy?

One of our aims is National Citizen Assemblies on Climate & Ecological Justice

1. The Council of Ministers and the European Parliament must tell the truth and take action to declare a Climate and Ecological Emergency.
2. The Emergency Declaration must demand a zero carbon Europe by a date no later than 2030.
3. National Citizen Assemblies on Climate & Ecological Justice must be instituted and have a leading role in shaping a zero carbon Europe.

NEVILLE SEED

I have long thought that more needs to be done and am a supporter of a proposed national assembly similar to that of Wales.

It is a shame you did not peruse this in 2004 when the North East rejected such an assembly. Having grown up in the North East and having family there I understand the differences between the 2 regions and why a rejection there should not dissuade you pursuing a Cornwall assembly.

I have made a reference to this problem on my campaign website in the policies section https://nevilleseed.co.uk/policies/. Your policy booklet is however far superior.

If elected I will do all I can to help bring about a Cornwall assembly as I feel the area is overlooked by the main political parties.

If possible I would like to know your viewpoints on the fishing industry and how you see being impacted by Brexit or the lack of it.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Climate change and the "UN planetary health check"



My article in tomorrow’s Cornish Guardian covers issues relating to climate change. It will be as follows:

At the World Economic Forum at Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, in January, David Attenborough declared that “The Garden of Eden is no more.” Addressing the Forum, which asserts to “engage the foremost political, business and other leaders of society,” he issued a challenge for stronger action in the battle against climate change.

Mr Attenborough told the meeting: “I am quite literally from another age. I was born during the Holocene – the name given to the 12,000-year period of climatic stability that allowed humans to settle, farm and create civilisations.”

The 93-year-old added: “Global businesses, international co-operation and the striving for higher ideals these are all possible because for millennia, on a global scale, nature has largely been predictable and stable … now in the space of one human lifetime – indeed in the space of my lifetime – all that has changed. The Holocene has ended. The Garden of Eden is no more.”

And he went on to cleverly suggest that we are now in the Anthropocene – the Age of Humans, adding that we all need to “move beyond” the “guilt or blame” for the environmental crisis we are in, and to get on with the “practical tasks at hand” to deal with the emergency.

Mr Attenborough has also reached out beyond the “powerful,” who assembled at Davos, with a television programme called “Climate Change – the Facts,” which built on his life’s work as a broadcaster and natural historian. This essential work is being complemented by so many environmental campaigners, including the inspirational 16-year-old Greta Thunberg.

Tackling climate change and safeguarding the global environment are the defining issues of the early 21st century, as borne out by yet another damning report – this time from the UN which has brought together the work of more than 450 scientists and diplomats.

This report warns that “nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history — and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely [and] the health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever.”

One of the authors of the report, Professor Andy Purvis from the Natural History Museum, has described it as “the most thorough, most detailed and most extensive planetary health check” that has ever been done.

His perspective is so telling. “The take-home message is that we should have gone to the doctor sooner. We are in a bad way. The society we would like our children and grandchildren to live in is in real jeopardy. I cannot overstate it. If we leave it to later generations to clear up the mess, I don’t think they will forgive us.”

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

HAVE YOU WRITTEN TO KEVIN FOSTER (MINISTER FOR THE CONSTITUTION)?


As we mark the fifth anniversary of the recognition of the Cornish through the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and five years of inaction from the UK Government – if you haven’t already done so – please write to the Minister for the Constitution Kevin Foster (see picture) and challenge him to take the lead in bringing forward a proposal for a Cornish tick-box in the next census.

His address is: Cabinet Office, 70 Whitehall, London SW1A 2AS and the email for the Cabinet Office is: publiccorrespondence@cabinet-office.gsi.gov.uk

Please also write to your local MP on this matter. The address for all MPs is: House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA. Email addresses can be found from https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/

And if you live outside Cornwall, it would be especially helpful if you could write to your MP and show parliamentarians across the UK that there is a very wide demand for a Cornish tick-box.

SOME USEFUL INFORMATION TO HELP YOU MAKE THE CASE FOR A CORNISH TICK-BOX ON THE 2021 CENSUS

The Government White Paper “Help Shape Our Future: The 2021 Census of Population and Housing in England and Wales” does not include support for a Cornish tick-box.

However, this Autumn, a statutory order will be laid before both Houses of Parliament. It will set out the content of the 2021 census and, very importantly, this order can be amended by the UK Government, the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

We therefore need to start building a massive groundswell of support for a Cornish tick-box and to lobby Government Ministers and MPs to treat the Cornish in the same manner “as the UK’s other Celtic people, the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish.”

Here is some possible points to make in your letter:


• The White Paper, based on recommendations from the Office of National Statistics, states that the “ONS fully recognises the need of the Cornish community for data on the socio-economic, educational, health and housing conditions of those who identify as Cornish” (para 3.116). But in failing to support the inclusion of a Cornish tick-box on the 2021 census, they undermine their own stated commitment to “those who identify as Cornish.”

• In April 2014, the Cornish people were recognised as a national minority through the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. This was a landmark decision by the UK Government and the official announcement stated that “the decision to recognise the unique identity of the Cornish, now affords them the same status … as the UK’s other Celtic people, the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish.”

• It is illogical and wrong that the Cornish would be the only UK national minority to be denied a tick-box in the upcoming census, and to have to “write-in” their national identity.

• If the next census (as in 2011) contains tick-boxes for British, English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish – but not Cornish – there will be significant doubts about the veracity of the data collected on the Cornish. With the Cornish having to rely on a “write-in” option – however energetically that option may be promoted – there will still undoubtedly be a significant undercount in comparison to those groups who have been afforded a tick-box, such as “the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish.”

• There was no tick-box for Welsh on the 2001 census and 14% of the population of Wales “wrote-in” Welsh. Ten years later, with a tick-box, 66% of the population identified as Welsh. In 2011, there was no tick-box for Cornish on the census but 13.8% of the population of Cornwall “wrote-in” Cornish. As shown in Wales, a tick-box is needed to achieve a full count of Cornish people across Cornwall, England and Wales.

• The failure to properly collect data about the Cornish would make it difficult for the UK Government, plus other public bodies such as Cornwall Council and the National Health Service, to meet their obligations under the Framework Convention, and to devise appropriate policy solutions for this national minority.

• The White Paper states that the ONS considers the need for a Cornish tick-box to be “very localised and not strong enough to justify its inclusion in the nationwide census” (para 3.120). But how can the ONS consider the Cornish to represent a localised scenario, and yet do not take a similar view in relation to other groups principally associated with a specific historic territory, such as the Welsh. In the 2011 census, 16.9% of people who identified as Welsh were resident outside of Wales, while 12.3% of people who identified as Cornish were resident outside of Cornwall. However, Cornish people living outside of Cornwall in 2011 would have been less likely to have seen the publicity materials promoting the “write-in” option and remain significantly under-recorded.

• The tick-box issue is one of great significance to Cornish people and their public representatives. There was near-unanimous support for a cross-party motion, seeking a tick-box, which was tabled at a meeting of Cornwall Council in January 2019. Only one member voted against the motion and there was just a single abstention.

THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR SUPPORT.

MEBYON KERNOW HIT OUT AT GOVERNMENT INACTION ON FRAMEWORK CONVENTION


Five years on from the recognition of the Cornish as a national minority through the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, on behalf of Mebyon Kernow, I have criticised the UK Government for failing to meet its obligations towards the Cornish.

To be blunt, I accused the UK Government of a “manifest failure” to deliver on the commitments it agreed to on 24th April 2014. My statement was follows:

“The recognition of the Cornish in 2014 was a landmark ruling and the UK Government made it clear that the Cornish would be afforded ‘the same status … as the UK’s other Celtic people, the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish.’

“A significant document, the Framework Convention sets out numerous obligations for the Westminster Parliament. These include support for Cornish language and culture with associated improvements in education and the media, the greater visibility of the Cornish in public life and the media, the protection of the integrity of Cornwall and its historic borders, more opportunities for Cornwall and the Cornish on the international stage, and so much more.

“It is therefore desperately disappointing that the anticipated changes in public policy have simply not materialised, because the UK Government, and other bodies such as the BBC and the Office of National Statistics (ONS), have failed to meet their stated responsibilities.

“Five years of inaction from the Westminster establishment represents a manifest failure to treat the Cornish in the same manner as the ‘Scots, the Welsh and the Irish,’ while many of their actions have been prejudicial to the intent of the Framework Convention.

“Five years on from 24th April 2014, the UK Government needs to apologise for their failure to deliver on the articles of the Framework Convention, and it needs to immediately put in place measures to properly reflect the status of the Cornish throughout all aspects of cultural, economic and political life in Cornwall and across the UK as a whole.”

Examples of the UK Government’s failure to deliver on articles in the Framework Convention:


· In 2016, less than two years after ministers set out their positive support for Cornish culture, the UK Government ended all central government funding for the Cornish language.

· Also in 2016, the BBC launched its new Charter which included support for the “regional and minority languages of the United Kingdom” but Cornish was explicitly excluded.

· The present proposal for the 2021 census shows that there will be tick-boxes for all the UK national minorities – with the exception of the Cornish who will have to “write-in” their nationality.

· The ongoing review of the boundaries of seats in the Westminster Parliament respects the historic territories of the Northern Irish, Scottish and Welsh, but this is not the case with Cornwall, which faces the imposition of a “Devonwall” cross-Tamar parliamentary seat.

· The UK Government continues to treat Cornwall as no more than a local government area, whereas the other Celtic parts of the UK have devolved settlements, which reflect their national status and can exhibit real power on behalf of their residents.

Monday, 15 April 2019

HELP US TO MAKE THE CASE FOR A CORNISH TICK-BOX ON THE 2021 CENSUS


The Government White Paper “Help Shape Our Future: The 2021 Census of Population and Housing in England and Wales” does not include support for a Cornish tick-box.

However, this Autumn, a statutory order will be laid before both Houses of Parliament. It will set out the content of the 2021 census and, very importantly, this order can be amended by the UK Government, the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

We therefore need to start building a massive groundswell of support for a Cornish tick-box and to lobby Government Ministers and MPs to treat the Cornish in the same manner “as the UK’s other Celtic people, the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish.”

Please write to the interim Minister for the Constitution Kevin Foster and ask him to take the lead in bringing forward a proposal for a Cornish tick-box in the next census. His address is: Cabinet Office, 70 Whitehall, London SW1A 2AS and the email for the Cabinet Office is: publiccorrespondence@cabinet-office.gsi.gov.uk.

Please also write to your local MP on this matter. The address for all MPs is: House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA. Email addresses can be found from https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/

If you live outside Cornwall, it would be especially helpful if you could write to your MP and show parliamentarians across the UK that there is a very wide demand for a Cornish tick-box.

POSSIBLE CONTENT FOR YOUR LETTER
  • The White Paper, based on recommendations from the Office of National Statistics, states that the “ONS fully recognises the need of the Cornish community for data on the socio-economic, educational, health and housing conditions of those who identify as Cornish” (para 3.116). But in failing to support the inclusion of a Cornish tick-box on the 2021 census, they undermine their own stated commitment to “those who identify as Cornish.
  • In April 2014, the Cornish people were recognised as a national minority through the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. This was a landmark decision by the UK Government and the official announcement stated that “the decision to recognise the unique identity of the Cornish, now affords them the same status … as the UK’s other Celtic people, the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish.”
  • It is illogical and wrong that the Cornish would be the only UK national minority to be denied a tick-box in the upcoming census, and to have to “write-in” their national identity.
  • If the next census (as in 2011) contains tick-boxes for British, English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish – but not Cornish – there will be significant doubts about the veracity of the data collected on the Cornish. With the Cornish having to rely on a “write-in” option – however energetically that option may be promoted – there will still undoubtedly be a significant undercount in comparison to those groups who have been afforded a tick-box, such as “the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish.”
  • There was no tick-box for Welsh on the 2001 census and 14% of the population of Wales “wrote-in” Welsh. Ten years later, with a tick-box, 66% of the population identified as Welsh. In 2011, there was no tick-box for Cornish on the census but 13.8% of the population of Cornwall “wrote-in” Cornish. As shown in Wales, a tick-box is needed to achieve a full count of Cornish people across Cornwall, England and Wales.
  • The failure to properly collect data about the Cornish would make it difficult for the UK Government, plus other public bodies such as Cornwall Council and the National Health Service, to meet their obligations under the Framework Convention, and to devise appropriate policy solutions for this national minority.
  • The White Paper states that the ONS considers the need for a Cornish tick-box to be “very localised and not strong enough to justify its inclusion in the nationwide census” (para 3.120). But how can the ONS consider the Cornish to represent a localised scenario, and yet do not take a similar view in relation to other groups principally associated with a specific historic territory, such as the Welsh. In the 2011 census, 16.9% of people who identified as Welsh were resident outside of Wales, while 12.3% of people who identified as Cornish were resident outside of Cornwall. However, Cornish people living outside of Cornwall in 2011 would have been less likely to have seen the publicity materials promoting the “write-in” option and remain significantly under-recorded.
  • The tick-box issue is one of great significance to Cornish people and their public representatives. There was near-unanimous support for a cross-party motion, seeking a tick-box, which was tabled at a meeting of Cornwall Council in January 2019. Only one member voted against the motion and there was just a single abstention.
THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR SUPPORT.