Saturday, 28 September 2019

The St Enoder War Memorial - 100 years on

This month marks the centenary of the unveiling of the war memorial in my home parish of St Enoder, which took place on 20th September 1919.

Erected to remember the men of Fraddon, Summercourt and surrounding areas who lost their lives in the First World War, the monument was built by E. J. Roberts, a well-known stonemason from St Columb Road. Comprising a cross on a large base, it is ten feet and one inch in height and weighs over three tons, while newspaper articles from the time state that it cost £125.

As with many communities, all the money for the war memorial was raised by local residents. Quite a number of people were engaged with the fundraising and envelopes were delivered to every house for voluntary contributions.

The unveiling itself began with a memorial service in St Enoder Church, which was officiated by Canon William Horsburgh. Muffled peals were rung on the bells before and after the service by the St Enoder ringers. I believe that my great-grandfather Dick Cole, who had served with the Royal Engineers, was almost certainly one of the bellringers.

While Handel’s “Dead March” from “Saul” was being played by the organist Miss Flamank, a procession left the church. It was headed by the churchwardens (Mr R. H. Flamank and Mr J. Chapman) and included the members of the Parish Council and the War Memorial Committee, along with the choir, children and members of the general public.

In the churchyard, the unveiling ceremony was performed by Dorothy Carus-Wilson, whose husband Lieutenant-Colonel Trevor Carus-Wilson DSO TD has been killed in 1918. A prominent local landowner, he had been the commanding officer of the 1st/5th Battalion of the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry.

Rev Horsburgh dedicated the memorial and it is known that relatives, children and friends then placed flowers on the memorial. The Last Post was sounded by Albert Victor Menear, a prominent bandsman who had joined the Royal Engineers with my great-grandfather. Albert’s brother Clare also lost his life in the war and is remembered on the war memorial in St Columb.

Owing to what was described as “inclement weather,” the procession returned to the church. Further addresses were then made as part of a united religious service by Canon Horsburgh, the chairman of the Parish Council Mr A. Goodman, Rev F. Tresize from the United Methodists and Dyer Trevarton from the local Wesleyans.

Interestingly, 100 years on, it is Dyer’s grandson Graham who plays the Last Post on Remembrance Sundays at St Enoder Churchtown.

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

More government action needed on climate change

It was truly awe-inspiring to see the millions and millions of people, from nearly 200 different countries around the world, coming together on 20th September to join protests demanding meaningful action to combat climate change.

Having grown out of the international movement known as Youth Strike 4 Climate, created by the redoubtable sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg, it is heartening to see so many children and young people actually leading the demonstrations.

It was therefore particularly disappointing that the Government’s Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, felt he had to criticise the young people for “bunking off” and also condemn the organisers of the various events for being “irresponsible” in this regard.

Such comments are pretty laughable coming from an MP who. at the time, was himself bunking off because his Conservative Prime Minister had suspended Parliament. I totally disagree with the sentiments of Gavin Williamson. It is my view that this fledgling “climate strike” movement represents a refreshing alternative to the chaos surrounding the Westminster political bubble at the present time.

It gives me great hope for the future and everyone associated with the protests – both in Cornwall and much further afield – should be congratulated for their wonderful efforts.

It is a reality that the danger of climate change is the defining issue of the 21st century and the evidence of the threats facing the planet and humanity is stark – rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, deforestation in the Amazon, rising sea levels, worsening air pollution, plastic pollution and more.

The protests took place in advance of an important United Nations summit in New York, where global leaders were due to consider more extremely worrying evidence pulled together by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The WMO’s climate statement details “unprecedented levels of warming seen in recent years“ and states that the “five-year period from 2014 to 2019 is the warmest on record” and “sea-level rise has accelerated significantly over the same period, as CO2 emissions have hit new highs.” Unsurprisingly, it calls for “carbon-cutting efforts” to be “intensified immediately.”

This all shows that climate campaigners – both young and old – are right to put pressure on governments to take a lead and what the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, had to say in advance of the summit was spot-on. "I told leaders not to come with fancy speeches, but with concrete commitments. People want solutions, commitments and action.”

[This is my article in the latest edition of the Cornish Guardian].

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

My latest report to St Enoder Parish Council

At tonight’s meeting of St Enoder Parish Council, I presented my most recent update report. I covers the period 22nd July – 22nd September.

It is as follows:

1. Council meetings and related activities

I have attended a number of formal meetings and briefings at Cornwall Council.

These included Full Council and an associated briefing, Environment Growth and Development Overview and Scrutiny Committee and an associated meeting about an upcoming inquiry into private sector housing, Electoral Review Panel plus four associated meetings with officers and four public meetings, Central Planning Committee, Positive Parking Panel, three meetings with council officers about traffic issues at Indian Queens School and suggested improvements, China Clay Area Network, two meetings with councillors from the China Clay Area – one of which focussed on a “place-shaping” strategy for the five parishes of the Chinas Clay Area, briefings on the Health and Wellbeing Strategy, Group Leaders’ meeting and a meeting with the Council chairman Hilary Frank about council priorities and processes.

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

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

2. Other meetings and local activities

During the last month, I attended meetings of the Local Action Group for South and East Cornwall and was pleased to take part in Indian Queens Carnival. As a trustee of Indian Queens Pit, I was also delighted that the annual John Cowling concert at the venue was attended by over 400 people.

3. Extension to Indian Queens Cemetery

I am particularly pleased to be able to confirm that the planning application, submitted by the Parish Council Clerk and I, for the land to the rear of Indian Queens Cemetery to be an extension for the burial area, has been successful. The Clerk and I have already met a surveyor on site to start planning out how it will look.

4. Planning matters

4.1 St Enoder Neighbourhood Plan

The statutory consultation for the St Enoder Neighbourhood Plan ended on 1st August. A planning inspector has commenced his examination of the document and, on behalf of the Parish Council, I have worked with Cornwall Council to clarify some points of detail for him.

4.2 Pig farm at Higher Fraddon

The existing planning permission for the pig farm specifies that two existing pig buildings (nos 4 and 5) on the farm should be retrofitted with biofilters, and that this work needs to be undertaken in advance of the construction of the two further consented buildings.

A planning application was submitted last year (PA18/00336) which sought to modify a condition not to retrofit the buildings, though this has not yet been decided as council officers have been trying to assess whether they think that the smells from the site merit forcing the owners to install the biofilters.

I met with a group of local residents on 8th August to keep them informed about ongoing discussions and many of these residents attended a meeting of the Parish Council on 13th August, when they restated their view that the biofilters should be installed. This position was also reaffirmed by the Parish Council.

4.3 Carvynick Holiday Park

I have previously reported that a planning inspector had granted outline planning permission for 38 residential units and an office/leisure building (PA18/04360) at Carvynick, with matters of “access, layout and scale, appearance and landscaping” reserved. This means that a further application will need to be submitted to set out the detail of what is developed.

The site owners, Kingsley Developers, submitted a further application (PA19/05348) to amend condition 2 of the consent to allow for a “phased development.” It would be fair to say that there has been some uncertainty about the implications of such a change, but I understand that this request has now been withdrawn by the applicants.

4.4 Two bungalows to rear of Harvenna Close, Fraddon

There has also been considerable opposition to the proposals for new properties in the gardens of two properties on Harvenna Close (PA19/03258 and PA19/03266), but which would exit onto Grovewood Court. I have referred the decision to a meeting of the Central Sub-Area Planning Committee, and it was initially thought that it would be considered on 30th September. However, due to the nature of some of the objections, the applicants have been asked to provide some further information and a decision will therefore be taken at a future meeting of the Sub-Area Planning Committee.

4.5 Indian Queens Industrial Estate

There has also been considerable opposition to a proposal to create a new access into Unit 2 of Indian Queens Industrial Estate for an area of additional car parking (PA19/05975). It would exit onto Moorland Road and a number of local residents attended the meeting of the Parish Council on 13th August to raise their concerns. It is noteworthy that the original planning permission includes a condition that vehicular access to the various employment units should be through the Lodge Way road, which was specifically built to serve the industrial estate.

I have spoken to the planning officer and he has gone back to the owners of Unit 2 and suggested that they find a way to serve the area of additional car parking from Lodge Way as originally intended.

5. Road safety, traffic and related issues

5.1 Indian Queens School

5.1.1 New pathway to School from Harvenna Heights estate

As reported previously, I managed to get agreement in principle that a new pathway is to be constructed across the field to the west of the School. It is planned that a large proportion of the field will be fenced off for use by the School. A new path will then be created on the exterior of the fence, allowing a new pedestrian route between the School and the Harvenna Heights estate.

I have had meetings with officers to discuss the new pathway on 1st and 19th August, and I can confirm that a surveyor is presently working out exactly where the fence should be located. I am also liaising with the School on this, and as soon as the fence line is known we will be able to finalise costings for the pathway and how it is delivered.

5.1.2 School Travel Plan

In addition to the new path noted above, I am continuing to put pressure of the unitary authority to carry out commitments contained within the School’s Travel Plan, which I recently managed to also get included within the Council’s Road Casualty Reduction Strategy.

In addition to a meeting on 19th August, I have also had informal meetings with a couple of senior officers and councillors. At this time, I am pushing for the Council to deliver some form of road crossing on both Chapel Road and St Francis Road (as noted in the Travel Plan), to make the routes to school much safer. I am also making enquiries about an advisory 20mph speed limit on the part of Chapel Road by the Drang.

As part of this, I requested that Cornwall Council undertook a survey of speed along Chapel Road, near the top of the Drang. This was carried out over a period of 11 days in July and I have now received a copy of the results. These are available on request from me.

I will using this evidence to keep up the pressure for improvements in this area. The speed recordings were taken in both directions and showed the following:

· North-eastbound traffic had a mean speed of 26.3 mph, but 21.4 % of the vehicles were travelling at speeds of between 31 and 40 mph, while 1.1% were recorded doing over 40 mph.

· South-westbound traffic had a mean speed of 29.5 mph, but 44.4 % of the vehicles were travelling at speeds of between 31 and 40 mph, while 4.0% were recorded doing over 40 mph.

5.2 Summercourt School

As noted previously, Cornwall Council has made some monies available to each of its Community Networks in order to carry out highway improvements in the period leading up to 2022. I estimate that there is about £33,000 to be spent in St Enoder Parish.

In addition to a mobile “vehicle activated sign,” one of my priorities is to get a 20 mph speed limit outside Summercourt School. I can confirm that officers have produced a plan for an advisory 20mph speed limit associated with a flashing signs with associated signage that states “School 20mph when lights show.” I am in discussions with the officers about what they have proposed and, now that the Schools are back, I will be seeking a meeting with Summercourt School and the Aspire Academy to discuss the proposal further.

5.3 Re-surfacing of the Drang and Suncrest Estate, Indian Queens

I am pleased to be able to report that the Drang and Suncrest Estate were resurfaced during August.

5.4 Double yellow lines along St Francis Road, Indian Queens and St Columb Road

As I knew that following the resurfacing of the Drang and Suncrest Estate, there would be a need to repaint some lines, I formally requested that when the lining team was in the parish they should also repaint the faded lines along the whole of St Francis Road. This was agreed.

The Drang has been finished, along with a small part of St Francis Road, but not the whole area as promised. I am presently chasing up when these works will be completed.

5.5 Patching of Carworgie Way and Halloon Avenue, St Columb Road

I can also report that CORMAC are timetabled to carry out patching in Carworgie Way and Halloon Avenue during October. I will let people know when I have a definite date for the works.

5.6 Kingsley Village

Some residents at a recent Parish Council expressed concern about the potential impact of traffic visiting the Kingsley Village complex on the local road network. At my request, a traffic survey was carried out in advance of the opening of the new units. I have yet to receive the results but have been told it should be with me within a matter of a few weeks.

5.7 Other highway matters

The white “teeth” on the approach to Toldish on the old A30 have been repainted and it has been confirmed that the small grilled road gully outside of the Summercourt Memorial Hall will be repaied in mid October.

A number of residents have raised concerns about continuing flooding on the A3058 (St Austell St) towards Summercourt and issues with road drains. CORMAC have confirmed that they will be undertaking maintenance of the infrastructure along this road in the near future.

6. Anti-social behaviour and vandalism

Many parishioners have raised concerns about the increased level of anti-social behaviour and vandalism around the Fraddon, Indian Queens and St Columb Road area.

I can confirm that I am in regular contact with the local policing team and I know that these problems are being prioritised. As well as the team based in St Columb, some officers from Newquay have also been out in recent weeks, and I know they have been following up numerous inquiries.

I share the frustrations of local residents, not least because Indian Queens Pit was damaged in late August and a fellow trustee of the pit, Malcolm Williams, and I had to repair a section of wall which had been partly pulled down.

I would add that it is important that all incidents are reported to the local policing team. If anything has happened which has not yet been reported to them, please let me know (place, time, etc) and I will feed it through to the authorities.

7. Water problems on Parka Road, Fraddon

Throughout the summer, there have been a number of breaks in the water main in Parka Road, Fraddon.

It has caused significant problems in the local area, both in terms of water supply and traffic congestion.

A number of residents have made representations to South West Water (SWW), along with the Parish Council and the local MP. I have liaised with CORMAC and they received the following update at the end of August:

“South West Water have advised that the water main has been identified for capital improvement. The recent series of bursts and associated reinstatement costs have only strengthened the case for its replacement. South West Water will be progressing this main for capital funding in the next financial year 2020–21. Funding for the present year has already been allocated.”

Other people have had a less positive response and I will be continuing to make representations to make sure that the works are undertaken as soon as possible.

8. A strategy for the China Clay Area

On 4th September, the six councillors from the China Clay Area met with a senior officer from the Localism team to look in detail at the working draft of our emerging “place-shaping” strategy and action plan for the five parishes of Clay Country. A significant amount of work was done and, as a consequence, the draft document is going through a considerable edit before it is presented to the China Clay Area Network for further discussion.

9. New waste collection contract?

At the Full Council meeting on 10th September, Cornwall Council agreed over £60 million in capital expenditure for new vehicles and wheelie bins, related to the new waste collection contract that is due to commence in April 2020. I did not support the uplift in the capital budget and queried aspects of the overall financial information relating the Council’s wider budget including waste disposal (ie. the incinerator).

It has since transpired that the two bidders for the contract have come in significantly over the anticipated budget and there appears some doubt about how the costs could reduced to provide better value for the local council tax payer. A number of councillors are querying why the Council doesn’t do the waste collection itself.

10. Fraddon Millennium Green

As the secretary of the Fraddon Millennium Green Trust, I am pleased to be able to report that we have contractors in the Green cutting back on overgrown hedges and starting to give the place a good tidy-up.

11. Electoral Review Panel

11.1 Community Governance Review

In recent weeks, a lot of my time has been taken up by the Community Governance Review, which has given parish councils and other stakeholders the opportunity to seek changes to parish boundaries.

A large number of requests have been received and these are being reviewed at the moment. Some town councils are seeking to expand into rural areas while in other areas some smaller communities are trying to break away from existing parishes. There are also many smaller proposed changes.

We are midway through a series of public meetings, which I have attended in my role as Vice-chairman of the committee. So far, these have taken place at Bude, Penzance, Falmouth and Crantock (for the wider Newquay area).

11.2 Impact on St Enoder Parish

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. They would like to take over the development site of 26 affordable properties (Coastline Housing) adjacent to Mitchell, most of the fruit farm and an associated dwelling, the old school house, and two-and-a-half fields associated with Nantillio Farm (which includes the playing field used by Mitchell residents and the Nantillio Farm bungalow).

St Enoder Parish Council has objected to the change and the Parish Clerk attended the Crantock meeting to set out the views of local councillors.

12. WW1 book

Following the announcement that 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) won the cup for best non-fiction Cornish book published in 2018 at Gorsedh Kernow’s Holyer an Gof Publishers’ Awards, I spoke at the organisation’s Literary Festival on 5th September. I was really pleased with how the discussion went and how warmly people spoke about the book.

I had previously also given an illustrated talk to a friends group at St Dennis (13th August), which also went well.

13. Cricket

It has not all been work and I participated in the annual councillors versus officers cricket game. I had to leave early to attend a Parish Council meeting, but did enjoy taking part. My innings was, as usual, quite short but I did manage to hit one six! The councillors won for the fourth year in a row.

14. Inquiries

During the last two months, I have helped numerous people with guidance on a range of issues including planning matters, environmental concerns, educational matters and more.

Friday, 20 September 2019

The White Gold festival and bricks

On 21st September, St Austell will be hosting its annual White Gold Festival. It is an event which goes from strength to strength and seeks to celebrate the importance of china clay to St Austell and the parishes of Clay Country.

There is much planned for the day which includes talks and workshop demonstrations from potters, some displays and a craft fair, as well as music and dance. So why not come along to the town, this Saturday between 10am and 4pm, and take part in what looks to be a wonderful “Festival of Clay.” Full details about the 2019 programme can be found at

I am particularly pleased to support the associated Brickfield project, through which artists Rosanna Martin and Georgia Gendall are looking to revive the art of brick-making in the locality. They have already held a number of workshops, and there is a further “drop in” brick-making session at Blackpool Pit, near Trewoon, between 2pm and 5pm on Saturday.

For me, it is particularly important that we should remember how our area had a strong brick-making tradition and how the industry thrived through much of the 19th and 20th centuries. Indeed, in my home parish of St Enoder, I know that there were at least five brickworks – at Burthy, Chytane, Gaverigan, St Columb Road and Wheal Remfry.

It is even part of my family heritage. In the 1880s, my great-great grandfather John Cole was the superintendent of Chytane Brickworks, near Fraddon, which produced bricks, tiles and coping stones. It is great for me to know that some of these coping stones can still be seen on the walls around St Enoder Cemetery, each complete with a “Chytane” stamp showing their point of origin (see above)..

Also, at St Columb Road, the brickworks was located to the south of the railway station. It does not survive but the partial remains of the associated linear pit, which supplied the enterprise with clay, can still be seen within the Parish Council’s nearby allotment field.

Wheal Remfry was the last working brickworks in Cornwall, which closed in 1972. A neighbour of mine, John Osborne, was the last man to fire the beehive kiln on the site and I am very pleased to see that he is assisting the Brickfield project with his knowledge and experience.

All the bricks made as part of this initiative will be fired in clamp kiln at Blackpool Pit between 6pm and 9pm on Saturday, and I understand there will even be jacket potatoes and beans to enjoy.

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

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Kernow FA and the Chagossians

My article in this week’s Cornish Guardian focuses on the recent football match between the Kernow FA and the Chagos Islands, and provides information about the wrongs done to the Chagossians by the British state. It is as follows:

On Sunday 25th August, I attended a football match for the first time in my life and I really enjoyed watching the Kernow Football Alliance take on a team made up of Chagos Islanders.

I think it is fantastic that the Kernow FA has been founded and accepted into CONIFA (the Confederation of Independent Football Associations), which is the “football federation for all associations outside FIFA” and supports more than 55 “teams from nations, de-facto nations, regions, minority peoples and sports isolated territories.”

As someone who is involved in numerous campaigns for greater Cornish recognition, I would like to congratulate everyone involved with this wonderful initiative to ensure there is a Cornwall team playing on the international stage.

I would also like to praise the actions of the Kernow FA organising committee for being so supportive of the Chagos Islanders, which included holding a press conference to help publicise their plight when they were in Cornwall.

It is a truly shocking story. Between 1967 and 1973 the UK Government forcibly evicted the Chagossians from the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, so that they could lease the largest of the islands (Diego Garcia) to the United States for use as a military base.

The expulsion of this community has been condemned many times as one of the most shameful episodes in British post-war history and the consequences of the exile has been very severe on the Chagossians, many of whom live in exile in Mauritius and the United Kingdom.

Campaigners have brought a range of legal challenges against the UK Government and the islanders won a historic victory in the High Court in 2000. This ruled the actions of the UK Government to be illegal and Tony Blair was in a position to end the injustice. But, in 2004, he instead invoked an obscure royal prerogative to ban the islanders from ever returning to Diego Garcia and the surrounding islands.

The UK Government appealed a more recent High Court ruling and, in recent years, has even had the brass neck to argue that it is not feasible for the Chagossians to return home, because their existence would be “precarious” and “prone to the impacts of climate change.” Strangely, they have raised no concerns about the 4,000 US servicemen and contractors, presently living on Diego Garcia.

It is shameful that the UK Government continues to hide behind legalese, and dubious and very mean-spirited arguments to stand against people who they have so terribly wronged. It is time that the Government did what is right and that is to allow the Chagossians to return home, and to help them to rebuild their communities.