Wednesday, 6 October 2021

MY LATEST CORNWALL COUNCIL REPORT


My most recent report covers the time period 30th August – 26th September. It is as follows:

1.0 Council and other meetings

In terms of physical meetings, during the last four weeks I attended the Constitution & Governance Committee, a session about Clay Country with senior officers from the Economic Growth & Development directorate, two St Dennis Parish Council meetings (Full Council and Cemetery Committee), an open meeting about the development of a Neighbourhood Plan for St Dennis, and three St Enoder Parish Council meetings (Planning Committee, General Purposes Committee and Staffing Committee).

Other meetings via TEAMS or ZOOM video-conferencing included Cabinet, an informal development session of the Economic Growth & Development Overview & Scrutiny Committee, a briefing in advance of the Cornwall Council meeting on 28th September and a related Group Leaders meeting, a meeting of elected members from the China Clay Area, the China Clay Community Support Group, a planning training workshop on heritage, and the Community-Led Local Development Local Action Group. There were one-to-one meetings with Kate Kennally (Cornwall Council Chief Executive) and Ashley Shopland from Imerys, plus a meeting to explore the possibility of a multi-use trail from St Dennis to the Goss Moor Trail.

Some of the above meetings are referenced elsewhere in this report, and I had a number of further online meetings about a range of local issues.

I also attended a meeting of the Indian Queens Pit charity, of which I am a trustee.

2.0 A Strategy for the China Clay Area

On 2nd September, the four councillors for Clay Country hosted senior officers from the Economic Growth & Development Directorate (including the Strategic Director for Economic Growth & Development; the Director of the Local Enterprise Partnership & Service Director for Growth; Service Director for Planning & Sustainable Development; Service Director for Transport; and Head of Housing Delivery & Development) at the impressive new Venton Conference Centre at Chapel Town, Summercourt. I took the lead in presenting the “Towards a Strategy” document for Clay Country, which we had produced with the support of staff linked to the Clay Area Community Network.

I was pleased with how the meeting went and we have been promised follow-up meetings to consider requests within the document. In an email (dated 24th September) about economic support for towns, the Cabinet Member for the Economy confirmed that “the Clay Country members” would “receive funding to produce plans to develop their economic future.”

The specific “asks” were as follows, with the priority requests for the EG&D directorate shown underlined:

Jobs and economy

· Produce an up-to-date and bespoke employment strategy to support and expand key strategic sites, while bringing forward incubator units for smaller or new businesses.

· Support the continuance of the china clay industry and the emergence of lithium extraction in Clay Country.

· Commission a business survey to improve knowledge of the local business community and its needs.

· Create a formal forum for local businesses.

· Develop a strategy to grow recreational and tourism businesses.

· Audit broadband coverage to inform strategy to improve quality across the Area.

Transport and accessibility

· Audit current usage of public transport in the China Clay Area and carry our research into linkages between various communities.

· Support for increased services on the Par-Newquay rail branch line.

· Establish “on demand” community-based transport schemes to provide better linkages across the China Clay Area.

· Establish working group to explore impact of HGVs on local communities.

Housing

· Support for enhanced public sector intervention to bring forward more affordable housing, targeted to meet local needs.

· Increase investment in specialist housing (ie. sheltered housing) to build a more balanced housing market.

· Support for the production and necessary updates to Neighbourhood Plans for the five parishes of the China Clay Area.

· Create a “home improvement” / retrofit initiative to make old homes more energy efficient, etc.

· Audit of park homes and residential caravan sites to better understand issues in such residential areas.

Health and wellbeing

· Establish a Public Health Partnership to promote healthier lifestyles across the Clay Area.

· Work with local GP practices to introduce more specialist / outreach clinics and services, along with more social prescribing.

· Establish a Public Health Partnership to develop the provision of dental services within Clay Country.

· Establish a private sector / public partnership to promote training opportunities throughout the China Clay Area.

Community

· Produce an audit of the extent of public services provided in the China Clay Area, compared to the other parts of Cornwall, in order to secure a guarantee from Cornwall Council and other public bodies that Clay Country will get a fairer share of service provision in the future.

· Establish a “Safer Clay Country” partnership to assist the local police to boost community safety and tackle anti-social behaviour.

· Produce a Heritage and Culture Strategy for the China Clay Area.

· Support for development of community hubs through the China Clay Area.

· Support for local community and volunteer groups to set up social enterprises.

Historic and Natural Environment

· Request Historic England to agree a Heritage Action Zone for the China Clay Area.

· Request Historic England to commence assessment of historic remains from clay industry and related mining features for statutory protection.

· Establish a programme between Cornwall Council and partners to increase the network of clay trails, footpaths and bridlepaths.

· Establish a local partnership with local landowners to open up more land for public access.

Climate change

· Support climate change action groups throughout the China Clay Area.

· Hold a series of climate change summits / workshops to bring together parish councils and community groups to produce local action plans.

· Establish strong working links between Cornwall Council’s climate change team and local communities.

Covid-19 recovery

· Secure a guarantee that the China Clay Area will be treated on a par with Cornwall key towns, when it comes to the Recovery.

3.0 Local Listing project

Cornwall Council is piloting a Local Heritage List Project, funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. It will cover two areas; Redruth and Clay Country (plus some surrounding parishes). A Community Outreach Officer has been recruited to help local residents to identify those historic structures or places that they deem to be important.

As well as being on a “local list,” some of the historic assets could end up being considered for statutory protection through Listing or Scheduling. This part of the project could be significant for the parishes of St Dennis and St Enoder, which have a low level of protected structures and sites.

I am pleased to be one of the volunteers who has been appointed to the advisory group, from which the project will seek guidance.

4.0 Meeting with Ashley Shopland

As a key local employer, Imerys organised a tour of some of their operation for councillors from in and around the China Clay Area. I was unavailable on the chosen date and instead had a one-to-one (virtual) meeting with managing director Ashley Shopland on 6th September to discuss the clay industry and the potential for lithium extraction, as well as wider issues across the local area.

5.0 Community Chest


As a Cornwall Councillor, I have been allocated £3,000 which I can distribute to local community organisations. Grants should be above £100 and the maximum grant is usually £1,000. If you are interested in applying, please get in contact with me.

ST DENNIS PARISH ISSUES

6.0 Manson Place Community Day


I was pleased to attend the Community Day organised by Ocean Housing on 1st September, and to meet with a number of local residents.

7.0 Possibility of a multi-use trail from St Dennis to the Goss Moor Trail.

St Dennis Parish Council has approached Cornwall Council to explore whether it would be possible to create a new multi-use trail along the old railway line that links St Dennis to the Goss Moor. As a result of these discussions, I have been in conversation with a number of council officers who are exploring landownership and other issues.

8.0 Neighbourhood Plan for St Dennis Parish

I was also pleased to attend the Parish Council’s open meeting on 18th September about the production of a Neighbourhood Plan for St Dennis Parish. The meeting was not well-attended, but I have offered to help out with this work as I have considerable experience with planning matters and chaired the committee which produced the St Enoder Neighbourhood Plan.

9.0 Waiting restrictions near Wesley Place

The 21-day consultation for proposed double yellow lines near Wesley Place on Carne Hill will be undertaken soon. I have been informed it will be done as part of a wider consultation of schemes across the China Clay Area.

10.0 Proposed solar farm at Trerice Manor Farm

Last month, I reported that Statkraft UK had sought a screening opinion (PA21/08542) from Cornwall Council to see if they would need to carry out an environmental impact assessment as part of their upcoming application for a solar farm. Unlike the other proposed solar farms referenced in this report, the unitary authority has yet to take a view on this screening opinion.

11.0 Public housing for rent

A number of residents have contacted me to raise concerns that not enough social rent properties are going to households with local links. I am presently liaising with officers to get information about this, and I will report back more fully in my next written report.

12.0 Recycling bins

Also, as reported last month, the new Conservative administration has stated that the recycling banks recently removed from council car parks can be re-instated, where there is popular demand. I have formally asked for the bins previously located within the car park off Wellington Road.

I have had a “holding response” from the Council, that said “further information regarding requests for replacement bins will be coming forward after the results of the pilot retention scheme are received and assessed later in the year.” I am trying to get more clarity from the administration.

ST ENODER PARISH ISSUES

13.0 Highway matters


In my last monthly report, I gave a detailed update on the wide range of traffic matters that I have been dealing with in St Enoder Parish. I have some further updates about specific works about a number of upcoming works.

13.1 Summercourt School

It has been confirmed that the safety measures outside Summercourt School (including the extension of the 30mph limit to the east, two vehicle-activated signs and a “variable” 20mph speed limit during school drop-off and pick-up times) will be installed during half-term week (25th-29th October). Some of the electrical work may take place after the initial installation, with signs becoming operational in early-mid November.

13.2 Zebra crossings on Chapel Road and St Francis Road, Indian Queens

Cornwall Council consulted on the proposal for two zebra crossings in March and April. The feedback was positive and it has been confirmed that the crossings will also be installed in the latter part of October. It is my understanding that the works will start in the week commencing 18th October, with the main works also taking place in half-term week (25th-29th October).

13.3 New footway between Harvenna Heights estate and Indian Queens School

Many people will have seen that Indian Queens School has started work on an enlarged outside / play area for the children (see above), which will take up two thirds of the field to the west of the School. The remainder of the field has transferred from Cornwall Council to St Enoder Parish Council, and the Parish Council will be constructing a new footway through this land to link the estate to the School. A local tarmac firm is lined up to do the works with a provisional start date of 20th October.

13.4 Proposed works on A3058 through Summercourt

The 21-day consultation on the A3058 improvements (including the extension of the 30mph limit on Beacon Road, two vehicle-activated signs and signalised pedestrian crossings at the traffic lights) should be happening in the near future.

I share the disappointment at the time it is taking to get to the consultation – but we are nearly there. Fingers crossed, this consultation will take place in October and I am continuing to receive assurances that the resultant works will still take place over the winter months.

13.5 Parking problems at Penhale / Kingsley Village Area

Following representations that I have made about the parking problems at Penhale near the Kingsley Village complex, Cornwall Council has confirmed that they will be putting in double yellow lines in this location. There will be a consultation in the near future about the actual extent of the lining.

14.0 Planning matters

There continues to be a large number of planning applications in St Enoder. Updates on some large planning proposals are as below:

14.1 Carvynick

In 2018, the owners of Carvynick, near Summercourt, sought outline planning permission for 38 residential units and a leisure building on the site. This was not supported by Cornwall Council, who felt that the “residential units” on the site should continue to be restricted for holiday use.

The applicants referred the proposal to the Planning Inspectorate (APP/D0840/W/18/3215936), which granted planning permission. As there were to be no affordable homes on the site, it was specified that there would need to be a financial payment to the Council to provide such homes elsewhere in the locality, in addition to a further payment towards improvements at Summercourt School.

As it was an outline consent, the full details for the development had to be agreed through further reserved matters applications. There have been two such applications. One covered 16 of the units (PA20/02147) and this was approved in 2020. A second application for the remaining 22 units (PA21/04792) was submitted earlier this year and was recently approved.

These two applications concentrated the 38 housing units into a smaller area than suggested in the original outline consent. As a consequence, a further application (PA21/04793) was received for an additional ten open market properties on the site. These are likely to be approved as well, because the principle of housing on this part of the Carvynick site was agreed through the earlier appeal which I fundamentally disagreed with. It is my understanding that the planning consent will include the need for an off-site financial contribution towards affordable housing.

During the initial applications, the applicants placed great focus on the construction of a leisure building, but there has not yet been a “reserved matters” application for this.

14.2 Proposed solar farm at Tresithney Farm


As with the proposed solar farm on land in St Dennis Parish, Statkraft UK sought a screening opinion (PA21/08039) from Cornwall Council to see if they would need to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as part of their upcoming application for a solar farm. Cornwall Council has confirmed that an EIA is needed because the development “would be likely to have significant effects on the environment by virtue of the scale, location and cumulative impact of the development proposed.”

14.3 Proposed solar farm at Tregonning Farm


Renewable Connections Developments Ltd also sought a scoping opinion (PA21/06846) about the need for an EIA for their proposed solar farm just outside St Enoder Parish. On this occasion, Cornwall Council have decided that the proposal “would not be likely to have a significant effect on the environment and an Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Statement are therefore not required.”

This emerging proposal is located immediately outside of St Enoder Parish, at Tregonning Farm in St Newlyn East Parish, but the cabling would run through St Enoder Parish to the Indian Queens Power Station. A webinar on the proposal was held on Wednesday 8th September and it was confirmed that the developer proposed that the cabling would go mostly go through farmland from Tregonning to Barton Lane, Fraddon. But from there, it would be laid along the old A30 through Fraddon and Indian Queens.

15.0 The Great Big Fuss Up

Some residents raised concerns about the music event held near Goonabarn to the south of Summercourt on 17th-19th September. The event organisers submitted a Temporary Event Notice (TEN) to Cornwall Council a few months, which allows events for up to 500 people.

The Licensing Authority has three working days to process TENs, during which time the Police and/or Environmental Health can object. Cornwall Council staff did not raise any concerns, although I understand that they gave considerable advice to the applicant, but did not stand in the way of the event.

I was not told about the TEN and I have challenged senior officers within the authority that elected members are informed about consents for events in their local areas.

16.0 Summercourt Fair

I was also contacted by a number of residents concerned about the parking congestion linked to this year’s Fair, especially as no car parking were provided. I will be speaking to the local Police and council officers about how they could influence the organisers of the event to provide some parking areas in future years.

Monday, 6 September 2021

MY LATEST CORNWALL COUNCIL REPORT


My most recent monthly report cover the time period: 26th July – 29th August 2021. It is as follows:

1.0 Council and other meetings

In terms of physical meetings, during the last five weeks I attended the Constitution & Governance Committee and the Chief Officers Employment Committee at Cornwall Council, meetings of St Dennis Parish Council and St Enoder Parish Council, as well as the AGM of the South & East Cornwall Community-Led Local Development Local Action Group. This took place at the impressive new Venton Conference Centre at Chapel Town, Summercourt.

I also attended a range of meetings by TEAMS or ZOOM video-conferencing. These have included the Central Sub-Area Planning Committee, the China Clay Area Community Network Panel, the China Clay Community Support Group, a briefing for councillors from within the China Clay Area, three further sessions about regeneration and other issues in Clay Country, and two meetings of the St Dennis & Nanpean Community Fund.

In addition, I have had a number of further online meetings about a range of local issues. Some of these are referenced in this report.

2.0 Coronavirus

The last few weeks have been very concerning about the spread of Covid-19 across Cornwall and, in mid August, it was reported that Cornwall had 11 of the 20 areas across the country with the highest levels of infection. I have tried to keep up with all the data, so that I could advise local people asking questions about the present situation.

Figures are released in somewhat contrived MSOAs (Middle Layer Super Output Areas), with names that do not fully reflect the areas that they cover.

St Enoder Parish lies within the St Columb Major & St Mawgan MSOA, which was recently one of the locations within the top 20 for Covid-19. At the time of writing this report, 52 people in this area were known to be infected (454.9 per 100,000) – down from the 125 individuals in the previous week.

St Dennis Parish lies within the Roche & Goss Moor MSOA, in which the most recent figures show that 46 people in this area were known to be infected (582.8 per 100,000) – down from the 73 individuals in the previous week.

Statistics at the end of August show that, in St Columb Major & St Mawgan MSOA, 86.6% of adults have had their first jab and 78.9% have had their second, while in the Roche & Goss Moor MSOA, 83.4% of adults have had their first jab and 76.5% their second as well.

3.0 Standing up for a better deal for the China Clay Area


As one of the four councillors for Clay Country, I have been spending a considerable amount of time working to persuade senior officers within Cornwall Council to prioritise the needs of our area.

The senior officer who attends meetings of the China Clay Area Network Panel is Sophie Hosking, the Strategic Director for Neighbourhoods, and we were pleased to host her for the day on 4th August and discuss a wide range of key issues for our locality.

Having produced a “Towards a Strategy” document for Clay Country, we have also been preparing for an upcoming meeting (1st September) when we will be presenting our views to senior officers from the Economic Growth & Development Directorate about the needs of the five parishes of Clay Country.

4.0 Parliamentary Boundary Review

I am pleased to be able to report that Cornwall Council’s Constitution & Governance Committee unanimously objected to the Boundary Commission for England’s initial proposals for new parliamentary constituencies, which would split the China Clay Area between two different seats.

As previously reported, the proposal places three of the four Clay Country divisions within a modified St Austell & Newquay Constituency – namely Penwithick & Boscoppa (comprising Treverbyn Parish minus Bugle), St Dennis & St Enoder (comprising two whole parishes), and St Stephen (comprising St Stephen-in-Brannel Parish minus Whitemoor). But the fourth division – Roche & Bugle (comprising the whole of Roche Parish plus Bugle from Treverbyn Parish and Whitemoor from St Stephen-in-Brannel Parish) – would be within a modified South East Cornwall Constituency.

On behalf of the Cornwall Councillors for the Clay Area, I made a written submission to the Committee and I also spoke at the meeting.

5.0 Community Chest


As a Cornwall Councillor, I have been allocated £3,000 which I can distribute to local community organisations. Grants should be above £100 and the maximum grant is usually £1,000. If you are interested in applying, please get in contact with me.

ST DENNIS PARISH ISSUES

6.0 Local surgeries


I held my first surgeries in St Dennis Parish, which took place at ClayTAWC, on Friday 6th and Monday 9th August. It was good to meet a number of people and the issues brought to my attention included highway / traffic concerns and environmental matters, plus concerns about anti-social behaviour. I am now working on addressing these issues.

Some 15 people also attended to raise concerns about issues relating to St Dennis Cemetery, which is owned and operated by the Parish Council. I have fed the representations through to the Parish Council and I am pleased to hear that the Council’s Cemetery Committee will soon be carrying out a survey to find out people’s views about the regulations for the management of the Cemetery.

7.0 Cornish Lithium

On 9th August, I was pleased to join Alan Baker and Kate Harcourt from Cornish Lithium for a site meeting at Trelavour to find out more about their plans for the extraction of lithium from land on the south side of St Dennis. I look forward to receiving further updates, which I will strive to share with local residents.

8.0 Neighbourhood Plan for St Dennis Parish

Parish councillors are keen to produce a Neighbourhood Plan for St Dennis Parish and I attended a meeting with the Parish Clerk and two councillors on 5th August. As I have considerable experience with planning matters, and chaired the committee which produced the St Enoder Neighbourhood Plan, I have offered to help out with this work.

There is, however, great uncertainty about neighbourhood planning because the UK Government has announced that it is looking to make significant changes to how the planning system operates and it is not clear how this will affect the standing of Neighbourhood Plans.

But at this stage, I have started pulling together some background information on housing and the provision of employment land which people may find of interest.

8.1 Background information – housing

The Local Plan includes a target of 52,500 new dwellings for Cornwall for the period 2010-2030. The Clay Area’s share of the Cornwall housing target is 1,800 new dwellings for the plan period (not including the “eco-town” development near Penwithick).

Figures from Cornwall Council’s “Local Plan Housing Implementation Strategy 2021” show that the housing target for Clay Country will definitely be surpassed during the plan period.

Completions (small sites <10) - 543
Completions (large sites 10+) - 773
Permission (small sites with planning permission <10) - 250
Permission (large sites with planning permission 10+) - 265
Sites (subject to signing of Section 106 agreement) - 150
Anticipated windfalls (small sites <10) - 144
Neighbourhood Plan site allocations - 140

This presently projects the delivery of 2,265 properties – a surplus of 465 housing units.

In terms of the parish of St Dennis, a total of 76 dwellings were completed between 2010 and 2021, of which 16 were affordable homes. As of April 2021, there were extant planning permissions for 34 open market dwellings, of which four were under construction.

Council records also show that St Dennis has a total of 236 publicly-owned rental units, which equates to 19% of housing stock at this time – this is significantly higher than the average figure of 11% for Cornwall as a whole.

8.2 Background information – employment land

The Cornwall Local Plan seeks 13,250m2 of office floorspace and 13,000m2 of industrial floorspace within the China Clay Area.

The latest figures show that 22,319m2 of industrial floorspace has been constructed, while a further 23,171m2 has been consented. Together this equates to 349.9% of the Local Plan target, which is significantly more than all other parts of Cornwall. In addition, 7,883m2 of office floorspace has been completed, while a further 5,326m2 of office space has planning permission.

In terms of the parish of St Dennis, 2,021m2 of industrial floorspace has been delivered, along with 258m2 of office floorspace.

9.0 Highway issues

9.1 Hendra Road


As noted above, I have had a range of highway concerns brought to my attention. This includes speeding traffic at the very southern section of Hendra Road. I checked and found out that speed readings have not been taken in this area for a few years. I requested that Cornwall Council undertake some fresh speed readings and this has been done.

I will publicise the results as soon as I receive them.

9.2 Waiting restrictions near Wesley Place

The 21-day consultation for proposed double yellow lines near Wesley Place on Carne Hill is imminent. It had been hoped that the consultation would have commenced in August. This hasn’t happened but it shouldn’t be too long now.

10.0 Proposed solar farm at Trerice Manor Farm

Statkraft UK have sought a screening opinion (PA21/08542) from Cornwall Council to see if they would need to carry out an environmental impact assessment as part of their upcoming application for a solar farm. It is not a formal application as such, and the submission is based around the information which formed the basis of the pre-application consultation that took place in April.

At this point, it is not known to what extent Statkraft UK will make changes to their original proposal when they submit the actual application.

11.0 Recycling bins

In the last term of the unitary authority, the recycling facilities in the car park off Wellington Road were removed. The new Conservative administration has stated that the recycling banks can be re-instated, where there is popular demand. I have discussed this with parish councillors and I have formally asked for such bins to be placed back within the car park.

ST ENODER PARISH ISSUES

12.0 Highway matters

12.1 Proposed new footway between Harvenna Heights estate and Indian Queens School


I am very pleased to be able to report that part of the field to the west of Indian Queens School has finally been transferred from Cornwall Council to St Enoder Parish Council. The School has started work on its enlarged play area within the remainder of the field, and the Parish Council will now be able to proceed with the works to construct the footway between the Harvenna Heights estate and the School. The path will go around the School’s enlarged recreation area.

In recent weeks, I have worked with the Clerk of the Parish Council to get the extent of the Parish Council’s new land marked out, the grass cut and a skipload of rubbish removed from the area. I also had meetings with Indian Queens School and Ocean Housing about the arrangements for constructing the new footway.

I am also pleased to be able to confirm that the Parish Council has appointed a contractor to construct the footway, and the works are scheduled to be carried out in late October.

12.2 Proposed works on A3058 through Summercourt

In my last update, I reported that the 21-day consultation on the A3058 improvements (including the extension of the 30mph limit on Beacon Road, two vehicle-activated signs and signalised pedestrian crossings at the traffic lights) would commence in August.

I am extremely disappointed that this did not happen. I have been informed that there have been delays in getting “cost estimates” for the works, which are now expected in mid September. I have been assured by officers that they have started preparing the consultation documents so “that as soon as the estimates are returned, reviewed and agreed, public consultation is able to get underway as soon as possible.”

I am continuing to receive assurances that the resultant works will still take place in this coming Autumn / Winter.

12.3 Summercourt School

I was also expecting a 21-day consultation on proposals for enhanced safety measures outside Summercourt School (including the extension of the 30mph limit to the east, two vehicle-activated signs and a “variable” 20mph speed limit during school drop-off and pick-up times). But I have been informed that the Council is prioritising straightforward works outside Schools, and it has been deemed that a pre-works consultation is no longer necessary – though, through a new mechanism, the operation of the changes will be monitored.

The signs and the electrical equipment have been ordered, and installation has been timetabled for the last week in October. The signs should then become operational in early-mid November.

12.4 Proposed zebra crossings on Chapel Road and St Francis Road, Indian Queens

I have been briefed on the feedback from the consultation for the crossings, which took place in March/April, and I will update further in the near-future.

12.5 Sea View Terrace

On 26th July, I had a meeting with officers about their work looking at road safety problems at Sea View Terrace, on the road between Fraddon and St Stephens. They agreed to look further back through their records about incidents along this stretch of road in order to further inform their deliberations.

12.6 Penhale

I am continuing to make representations about the parking problems at Penhale, near the Kingsley Village complex, and I am continuing to push for double yellow lines in this location. I have put considerable pressure on the planning service because of the planning consent and the obligations which went with the development. Progress has not been what I had hoped and I have now further escalated the issue with the Transport team. In particular, I have spoken to both the Service Director for Transport and the Local Transport & Road Safety Lead.

12.7 Road through Fraddon and St Columb Road

As noted previously, Cornwall Council have agreed to do a full review of road safety issues on the stretch of road from Penhale and through Fraddon and St Columb Road. There will soon be an “inception” meeting for the review, which I will be attending.

12.8 Speed monitoring

12.8.1 Parish Council speed visor


The Parish Clerk and I continue to move the Parish Council owned vehicle activated flashing sign around the Parish every few weeks. During August, the sign has been at the approach into St Columb Road from Fraddon.

We have been attaching the sign to streetlights, but cannot use some of the bigger streetlights (with larger circumferences) or telegraph poles. This does mean there are some locations where the sign cannot be erected. For example, we have had a request at Chapel Town where it would be difficult to locate the sign, so I have requested Cornwall Council do some speed readings in this area.

12.8.2 Carnego Lane

Earlier this year, some speed readings were carried out in Carnego Lane, Summercourt, at the request of local residents. I have been supplied with the results and these are available from me on request.

I can however report that the average speeds were 20.5mph (southbound) and 21mph (northbound), and that 98.5% of vehicles were travelling at speeds within the 30mph speed limit.

13.0 Planning matters

13.1 Four commercial units at Indian Queens Industrial Estate and new access onto Moorland Road, Indian Queens (PA21/01683)


An application for a new access into the Indian Queens Estate from Moorland Road and the provision of 15 parking spaces was refused in November 2020 at a meeting of the Central Sub-Area Planning Committee. A subsequent application for four houses within the industrial estate was then submitted, but later withdrawn.

This latest application for four employment units was submitted in the same general area, and included a new access. It was located in the position of trees that had previously screened the industrial estate but had already been ripped out. A petition opposing the development was signed by 92 local residents, who were particularly unhappy about the impact of extra traffic near their properties.

I referred this to the Central Sub-Area Planning Committee on 2nd August. I spoke against the application as did Ross Wimberley on behalf of St Enoder Parish Council and councillors unanimously rejected the proposal. The councillors did not feel able to refuse the application on highway grounds, but did throw it out for the following reason:

The proposal, by reasons of the proposed entrance/exit onto Moorland Road, removing part of the existing stone wall/Cornish hedge along the northern boundary of the site fronting Moorland Road and by introducing the new industrial buildings themselves, will harm the distinctive character of an area prominent to public view. The application is, therefore, contrary to policies 2 and 12 of the Cornwall Local Plan Strategic Policies 2010-2030.

14.1 Solar farm applications

14.1.1 Tresithney Farm


As reported above in relation to the proposed solar farm on land in St Dennis Parish, Statkraft UK have sought a screening opinion (PA21/08039) from Cornwall Council to see if they would need to carry out an environmental impact assessment as part of their upcoming application for a solar farm.

At this point, it is not known to what extent Statkraft UK will make changes to their original proposal when they submit the actual application.

14.1.2 Tregonning Farm

As previously reported, there is an emerging proposal for a further solar farm, which is located immediately outside of St Enoder Parish, at Tregonning Farm in St Newlyn East Parish. The cabling would nonetheless run to the Indian Queens Power Station.

A webinar on the proposal is due to take place on Wednesday 8th September at 7pm. The link to register for the event is at tregonningsolarfarm.co.uk. If you interested in attending, please scroll to the end of the home page for the link.

14.2 Planning in principle for five dwellings, Highgate Hill, Indian Queens (PA20/08024)

On 20th November 2020, this planning application for housing units at the top of Highgate Hill was refused and the applicant has appealed the decision to the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol. The application was against policies in the St Enoder Neighbourhood Plan and I have produced a detailed appeal statement on behalf of the Parish Council, which was in agreement with the unitary authority’s reasons for refusal. It was submitted on 23rd August.

14.3 Seven dwellings in Higher Fraddon (PA21/05945)


An application has been submitted for seven new properties on the site of derelict farm buildings at Higher Fraddon. This would be in place of an extant planning permission for five housing units allowed via a new mechanism known as “Q Class” which allows buildings on farm holdings to be converted into dwellings as long as they are structurally sound.

14.4 New industrial units at Toldish

Planning consent has also been granted for two new industrial units at Toldish.

15.0 St Enoder byway 31

I can also report that Cornwall Council has redone the surface for byway 31 in the Toldish area.

16.0 Green spaces

There are a number of small green or play spaces within local estates that are owned by Cornwall Council and where Cormac should cut the grass and carry out maintenance. I am very disappointed that, once again, these works are not being carried out as regularly as they should.

I have made further representations in recent weeks. The areas of unkempt grass have been cut as a consequence and I have also been promised that the hedges around the open space at St James View, Fraddon, and the garden area in Clodan Mews, St Columb Road, will be placed on Cormac’s work programme and tidied up in the Autumn.

I have also requested that all the play equipment in these areas have a thorough clean.

17.0 Ongoing projects

Other projects I have been working on with the Parish Council include the rebuilding of part of the wall around the old St Enoder Cemetery, and the preparations for the construction of a public toilet in Indian Queens Recreation Ground.

Monday, 23 August 2021

CORNWALL NEEDS FAIR FUNDING AND DEVOLUTION

My article in this week's Cornish Guardian addresses concerns that Cornwall will not get it fair share of future regional investment. It is as follows:


The headline in a recent edition of the Independent newspaper was pretty stark. It stated that the “poor parts of the UK” are about to suffer a “£1 billion Brexit black hole.”

The article focussed on the future distribution of “regional development cash” in place of the structural funding that came via the European Union. It also suggested that Cornwall would be amongst the “biggest likely losers,” not least because it is not listed among the Government’s new “priority areas.”

At the same time, the Institute for Government (IfG) think-tank has produced a report that claims the relationship between central government and the devolved administrations will be damaged by a Whitehall “power-grab.”

Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have previously received larger sums than England, via the structural funds, with the report stating that “from the European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund combined in the 2014–20 cycle, England was allocated €7.1bn, or €130 per person; Scotland €940 million, or €180 per person; Northern Ireland €510m, or €280 per person; and Wales €2.4bn, or €780 per person. Compared with England, allocations of EU structural funds per person were therefore a little over a third higher in Scotland, more than twice as high in Northern Ireland, and six times as high in Wales.”

The document acknowledges that the governments in Belfast, Edinburgh, and Cardiff took the lead in “disbursing those funds,” while the “promised replacement” known as the shared prosperity fund will be “controlled by the government in London.” It also addresses how the devolved nations are putting pressure on the Conservative Government to live up to the pledge in their 2019 general election manifesto that promised they “would at a minimum match the level of EU spending in each of the four nations of the UK.”

Obviously, the Prime Minister has made similar statements with regard to the hidden nation of Cornwall – even though we did not merit reference in the manifesto. We are also still waiting to see how, or even whether, Cornish businesses and communities will benefit from this promised investment.

The IfG document does reference that “in 2014–20, Cornwall was allocated €1,011 per person” but is otherwise silent on our “hidden nation.”

The overall conclusion from the think-tank is that the provision of regional funding “should be done in a way that respects the devolution settlements” and ensures a significant role for the administrations in Belfast, Edinburgh and Cardiff.

It seems to me that Cornwall needs the promised funding and also merits devolution, just like the other Celtic parts of the UK, in order to control how such investment is allocated and spent.

Friday, 20 August 2021

MEBYON KERNOW DEMANDS FUNDAMENTAL AND FAR-REACHING CHANGES TO TACKLE THE HOUSING CRISIS IN CORNWAL


The following press release was sent out earlier today.

MK’s leadership team has challenged the UK Government to bring forward a range of “fundamental and far-reaching” interventions to deal with the UK’s dysfunctional housing market.

The statement from Cllrs Michael Bunney, Dick Cole, Andrew Long and Loveday Jenkin is as follows:

The housing market across the UK – but especially in Cornwall – is dysfunctional and it is not working for ordinary people. The cost of housing is going up and up, which is simply unsustainable.

So many families are struggling to access housing that properly meets their most basic needs, while it is scandalous that a lot of people have multiple properties – including “second homes” and bolt-holes – many of which stand empty for the majority of the year.

In many parts of Cornwall, the very fabric of local society is being undermined – not least because of external misconceptions of Cornwall as a holiday or leisure area.

The UK Government is failing to address the severity of the housing crisis, and it is refusing to bring forward the “fundamental and far-reaching” changes that are necessary to tackle the “out-of-control” housing market.

Mebyon Kernow is calling on the UK Government to:

Make changes to the planning system to prioritise the delivery of high-quality and genuinely affordable housing. It is wrong that the present set-up makes it easy for developers to get planning permission for expensive open-market properties and many developments provide no affordable homes at all.

Redefine the definition of affordable housing and link to local incomes. In recent years, central government has made “affordable” housing more expensive with “affordable rent” units which have a limited discount from market rents and the recent introduction of “First Homes” which could cost up to £250,000. Cornwall needs local-needs housing at a proper level of affordability.

Increase investment in the provision of proper affordable housing. It is important to ensure that a higher percentage of new dwellings are affordable homes and not open-market properties. This can be delivered through government investment.

Safeguard all existing rental properties owned by registered providers. The loss of rental properties from the public sector through “right to acquire” and other mechanisms needs to be curtailed. A number of housing associations have sold off some of their older properties rather than carry out renovations. MK maintains that all existing social rent properties should be retained in public ownership.

Make changes to the planning system to control "second homes." A longstanding policy of Mebyon Kernow is to introduce planning restrictions to stop and then reverse the spread of “second homes.” Part of this would relate to all existing dwellings being designated as principal residences.

Introduce a council tax premium on “second homes.” It is clear that “second homes” are a massive “social problem” and councils should be given the right to charge a council tax of at least 200% on such properties.

Introduce rent controls on private sector properties. The ever-increasing cost of rental properties is damaging the quality of life of thousands of households, and measures to make open-market rents less expensive are much needed.

Explore further mechanisms to better regulate the housing market. This should include the development of a “local housing market” for Cornwall with more “local occupation” criteria on properties and an expectation of all-year-round-residency, plus restrictions on marketing associated with estate agents.

At this time, we are fearful that the UK Government will not act to properly combat the housing crisis.

Mebyon Kernow is also continuing its campaign for greater self-government for Cornwall through a Cornish Assembly or Parliament, which would have control over all aspects of housing and planning and would be able to act in the best interests of the people of Cornwall.

Thursday, 12 August 2021

MK SAY NO TO “GREAT SOUTH WEST” AND “WESTERN POWERHOUSE” NONSENSE


My article in this week’s Cornish Guardian newspaper is as follows:

Throughout my adult life, I have been involved in numerous campaigns for Cornwall to be a political, economic and cultural unit in its own right. But the political establishment, big business, and even many local councillors, have been vigorously pursuing a regionalist agenda in which Cornwall is submerged within “Devonwall” or “South West” bodies.

We have often been told that Cornwall's interests are best served by merging Cornwall into larger areas and that it would boost Cornwall’s clout. In my opinion, it is the reverse that has actually happened.

I remember how business and some media interests came together at a conference in Newquay in November 1987, called at the behest of the Duke of Cornwall, to allow the proponents of “Devonwall” to push a proposal for a Devon and Cornwall Development Company. It was followed, in the early 1990s, by the Westcountry Development Corporation.

Similarly, when the Conservative Government established Training and Enterprise Councils in 1990-91, the opportunity to create a much-needed Cornish-based institution was lost. Instead, a giant Devon and Cornwall TEC was formed.

The election of a Labour Government in 1997 did not change things. Calls for a Cornish Development Agency were ignored and a SW regional development agency – stretching from the Isles of Scilly to Swindon – was created. An unelected regional chamber for the “South West” followed along with a top-down spatial strategy that proposed truly unsustainable levels of house-building.

It has been little different under the Tories since 2010. For the last five years, their MPs, plus public bodies and businesses, have been pursuing the concept of a “Great South West,” which covers Cornwall and the English counties of Devon, Dorset and Somerset.

Recent newspaper reports now claim that the Government wants to merge the Great South West join together with another central government construct called the Western Gateway, which covers Bristol, Bath, Gloucester, Swansea and Cardiff.

Businessman Mark Duddridge, a prominent supporter of the Great South West which diminishes Cornwall, declared – without any sense of irony whatsoever – that it would be hard for “our Cornish voice “ to be heard “if we have something that reaches up to Gloucester and South Wales.” He has also made the fanciful claim that “we have tried to get the Great South West recognised as a region … everyone in the Great South West wants that to happen.”

I would respectfully say that that is simply not true. All this talk of a Great South West and a Western Gateway is a nonsense. It is Cornwall, as Cornwall, that needs to secure the tools to be able shape its own future.

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

My latest Cornwall Council report

Time period: 30th June – 25th July 2021


1.0 Council and other meetings

During the last four weeks, at Cornwall Council, I have attended physical meetings of Full Council and the Customers Overview & Scrutiny Committee.

I also attended a briefing about the Council’s emerging Climate Emergency Development Plan Document, as well as an informal Constitution & Governance Committee (relating to the parliamentary boundary review), plus meetings of China Clay Area Cornwall Councillors, the China Clay Area Community Support Group, and Group Leaders – all via Teams video-conferencing. I have also had a number of meetings via Teams or Zoom about a range of local issues. Some of these are referenced in this report.

In addition, I have attended one virtual meeting of St Dennis Parish Council and one physical meetings of St Enoder Parish Council, as well as one meeting of the St Austell Bay Economic Forum.

2.0 China Clay Area Community Network

As the chairman of the Community Network, I had a meeting with our Community Link Officer on 8th July about our ongoing work to promote a Strategy for the China Clay Area, that we have been working on.

3.0 Parliamentary Boundary Review

I have been taking a lead in raising objections to the Boundary Commission for England’s initial proposals for new parliamentary constituencies, which would split the China Clay Area between two different seats.

As previously reported, the proposal places three of the four Clay Country divisions within a modified St Austell & Newquay Constituency – namely Penwithick & Boscoppa (comprising the whole of Treverbyn Parish, except Bugle), St Dennis & St Enoder (comprising two whole parishes), and St Stephen (comprising the whole of St Stephen-in-Brannel Parish, except Whitemoor). But the fourth division – Roche & Bugle (comprising the whole of Roche Parish plus Bugle from Treverbyn Parish and Whitemoor from St Stephen-in-Brannel Parish) – would be within a modified South East Cornwall Constituency.

Not only would Clay Country be split but, as pointed out above, two local parishes would also be divided between parliamentary seats.

As well as drafting a collective response on behalf of the four councillors for the Clay Area, I have made representations within Cornwall Council and I raised the issue at a meeting of the St Austell Bay Economic Forum, which decided to object to the splitting up of Clay Country.

4.0 Full Council

At Full Council on 14th July, I was one of the named supporters of a motion to declare a housing emergency. I helped with the drafting of the document, which was referred to the ruling Cabinet for further consideration.

5.0 South and East Cornwall ‘Leader’ and ‘Community-Led Local Development’ Local Action Groups

On behalf of Cornwall Council, I have been appointed to the South and East Cornwall ‘Leader’ and ‘Community-Led Local Development’ LAGs. The CLLD LAG is responsible for the allocation of certain remaining EU funds to local businesses and groups. This is important to our area, as priority areas for financial support include St Dennis, Bugle, Foxhole, Penwithick, Treviscoe and Victoria.

6.0 Community Chest

As a Cornwall Councillor, I have been allocated £3,000 which I can distribute to local community organisations. Grants should be above £100 and the maximum grant is usually £1,000. If you are interested in applying, please get in contact with me.

7.0 Charity cricket match

It has not all been hard work. Following Full Council on 14th July, I took part in a cricket match, between councillors and officers, for the charity of the newly-elected Chairman. In terms of the result, the elected members were resoundingly beaten by the staff.

ST DENNIS PARISH ISSUES

8.0 Local surgeries

When I was elected to represent the new and larger division of St Dennis & St Enoder, I pledged to hold some surgeries in St Dennis so that local residents could bring issues to the attention of their new councillor.

I can confirm that I will be at ClayTAWC at the following dates and times. No appointments are necessary and I will meet with people as and when they arrive.

Friday 6th August: 10.00-12.00 and 2.00-5.00
Monday 9th August : 2.00-7.00

9.0 Waiting restrictions near Wesley Place

As part of Cornwall Council’s Community Network highway schemes, it has been proposed that some double yellow lines could be introduced in the vicinity of the new development at Wesley Place on Carne Hill to better manage traffic flows, etc. I understand that the proposed scheme is presently being designed and that there should be a 21-day consultation starting in August.

10.0 Play Area in Hall Road

I am starting to chase up a number of issues, in liaison with St Dennis Parish Council. This includes the condition of the children’s play area in Hall Road and I am making inquiries about options for the better maintenance and potential enhancement of this community space.

11.0 Solar farm in western part of St Dennis Parish

I have had a couple of conversations with representatives of Statkraft UK, the company which undertook a pre-application consultation for a solar farm on land in St Dennis Parish. I have been told that they are still assessing the feedback from their consultation and will be in contact with the various respondents.

The company had stated that they had hoped to submit a formal planning application in June, but that is now likely to happen in September. At this point, I do not know to what extent Statkraft UK will make changes to their original proposal following feedback from the local community.

ST ENODER PARISH ISSUES

12.0 Highway matters

12.1 Proposed new footway between Harvenna Heights estate and Indian Queens School

I am pleased to be able to report that the legal paperwork for the transfer of part of the field to the west of Indian Queens School, from Cornwall Council to St Enoder Parish Council, has been signed. The Parish Council will now be able to proceed with the works for the footway between Harvenna Heights and the School.

12.2 Proposed zebra crossings on Chapel Road and St Francis Road, Indian Queens

I have been briefed on the feedback on the consultation which took place in March. The schemes were supported and highway officers are only looking to make a couple of slight tweaks, and I will be speaking to those residents who had specific localised concerns in the next few days.

I do not have a timetable for the construction works, though I understand that they will be completed in this financial year.

12.3 Proposed works on A3058 through Summercourt

In my last update, I reported that consultation on the A3058 improvements would be happening in July/August. I have been reassured that highway officers are nearly there and the 21-day consultation will commence in August.

12.4 Summercourt School

I have been reassured that the 21-day consultation on the proposed improvements outside the School will also commence in August.

12.5 Sea View Terrace

I have spoken to Cornwall Council officers about their work looking at road safety problems at Sea View Terrace, on the road between Fraddon and St Stephens. In a few weeks, they will be feeding their findings back to senior management about what they feel might be appropriate for the area.

12.6 Road through Fraddon and St Columb Road

Further to my update in my last report, that Cornwall Council will doing a full review of road safety issues on the stretch of road from Penhale and through Fraddon and St Columb Road, I can confirm that highway officers are finalising the brief for the study. I have just been supplied with a copy of the draft brief, so that I can make comment on what is being suggested.

13.0 St Enoder Parish Neighbourhood Plan

The Neighbourhood Plan for St Enoder Parish went to referendum on Thursday 15th July and the electors of the Parish voted in favour of the document being used in the planning process.

The turnout was 15.4% and the result was:

YES 529 votes (91.2%)

NO 51 votes (8.8%)

Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote.

14.0 Planning matters

14.1 Solar farm applications

As reported above in relation to the proposed solar farm on land in St Dennis Parish, representatives of Statkraft UK are likely to submit a formal planning application for a solar farm between St Columb Road and Whitecross in September. Again, I do not know to what extent Statkraft UK will make changes to their original proposal following feedback from the local community.

In addition, I can report that a proposal for a further solar farm has been announced for Tregonning Farm. This is immediately outside of St Enoder Parish, in St Newlyn East Parish, though the cabling is anticipated to run to the Indian Queens Power Station.

Further information can be viewed at:

An application has also been submitted for increased capacity at the Fraddon sub-station (PA21/03911) to serve an, as yet unidentified, solar farm. I can confirm that it does not relate to any of the three solar farm proposals mentioned above.

14.2 Construction of 20 residential units at Lindsay Fields, Fraddon (PA20/01508)

This planning application went through the consultation period many months ago, but the consent has only just been granted because of discussions around conditions and the Section 106 legal agreement.

14.3 Planning in principle for five dwellings, Highgate Hill, Indian Queens (PA20/08024)

On 20th November 2020, this planning application for housing units at the top of Highgate Hill was refused. The applicant has just appealed the decision to the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol and all representations on the appeal have to be submitted by 23rd August.

14.4 Four commercial units and new access onto Moorland Road, Indian Queens (PA21/01683)

An application for a new access into the Indian Queens Estate from Moorland Road and the provision of 15 parking spaces was refused in November 2020 at a meeting of the Central Sub-Area Planning Committee. A new application has been submitted in the same general area, which still includes a new access and is in the position of trees, that were planted to screen the development but have been ripped out.

I have again referred this to the Central Sub-Area Planning Committee on 2nd August, when I will again be speaking against the proposal.

15.0 Scrambling on the edge of the Goss Moor

In recent months, I have received many complaints about (i) scrambling which is taking place on the closed railway track / Goss Moor near to St Dennis Junction to the east of Indian Queens, and (ii) associated disturbance at St Dennis Junction, where many of the riders congregate. The area where the scrambling is taking place is owned by Network Rail, while Natural England have also been making representatives about the adverse impact on this area which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

On Monday 19th July, I was invited to attend a site meeting with Network Rail and Natural England, and I made them fully aware of the concerns raised to me by residents.

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

My latest Cornwall Council report


This report covers the last three months (24th March – 30th June 2021). My normal monthly reports were not done in April and early May because of the local elections.

1.0 Cornwall Council elections

First and foremost, I would like to thank everyone who supported me in the recent election. I was very pleased to be returned for the new larger division of St Dennis & St Enoder. The result was:

Dick Cole (MK) - 1,501
Nick Morris (Con) - 354
Julian Young (Lib Dem) - 73

The number of seats on the Council had been reduced from 123 to 87, and the Conservatives won 47 of the divisions, giving them an overall majority.

I am now the group leader of a larger Mebyon Kernow / Green Group, which comprises five MK councillors (one more than last time) and a newly-elected Green Party councillor.

2.0 Council meetings

Physical meetings have recommenced at Cornwall Council, but only voting members of the various committees are allowed to be present. Non-committee members wishing to take part have to do so via Teams video-conferencing. I have attended Full Council, the Customers Overview & Scrutiny Committee, and Constitution & Governance. I also attended a meeting of the Central Sub-Area Planning Committee – via Teams.

In addition, I have attended three physical meetings of St Dennis Parish Council and two physical meetings of St Enoder Parish Council.

I have also had a number of meetings via Teams or Zoom video-conferencing about a range of local issues. Some of these are referenced in this report.

3.0 China Clay Area Community Network

A meeting of our local Community Network (for Cornwall Councillors and parish councils) took place (via Teams) on 14th June, and I was elected Chairman for the next 12 months. The meeting also agreed that the priority for the Community Network must be the promotion of a Strategy for the China Clay Area, which I will be taking a lead on.

4.0 New project in Clay Country

Cornwall Council is piloting a Local Heritage List Project, funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. It will cover two areas; Redruth and Clay Country (plus some surrounding parishes). A Community Outreach Officer is being recruited to support the two communities to nominate historic structures or places not already designated, that they would like to see included in a local list and potentially considered for statutory protection (Listing or Scheduling).

Local people will be able to volunteer to help with the project, and I will bring forward more information when I have it.

5.0 Parliamentary Boundary Review

The Boundary Commission for England (BCE) has just published its initial proposals for new boundaries for parliamentary constituencies. Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly will retain six constituencies and there will be no cross-Tamar constituencies but, disappointingly, the proposals would split the China Clay Area between two parliamentary constituencies.

The proposal places three of the four Clay Country divisions within a modified St Austell & Newquay Constituency – namely Penwithick & Boscoppa (comprising the whole of Treverbyn Parish, except Bugle), St Dennis & St Enoder (comprising two whole parishes), and St Stephen (comprising the whole of St Stephen-in-Brannel Parish, except Whitemoor). But the fourth division – Roche & Bugle (comprising the whole of Roche Parish plus Bugle from Treverbyn Parish and Whitemoor from St Stephen-in-Brannel Parish) – would be within a modified South East Cornwall Constituency.

Not only would Clay Country be split but, as pointed out above, two local parishes would also be divided between parliamentary seats.

I am working with councillors and others to make representations to the BCE about keeping the parishes of the China Clay Area together. It is my hope that Dennis Parish Council and St Enoder Parish Council will both support this initiative.

ST DENNIS PARISH ISSUES

6.0 Finding out more

It has been a privilege to serve the parish of St Enoder for the last 22 years. I am now honoured to have been returned on 6th May to serve the new division of St Dennis & St Enoder. Because I have not represented St Dennis Parish before, I have been doing my best to find out more about the issues facing local people. I have attended three meetings of St Dennis Parish Council and a briefing with the Parish Council Chairman and Clerk.

I am grateful that the Chairman and Clerk also took me out for a walk and to bring a number of issues to my attention. This included the condition of the play area on Hall Road and the footway between Manson Place and Trelavour Road. We also discussed issues relating to the parish cemetery.

A number of residents have also been in contact with me and, in the coming weeks, I will be arranging some surgeries at ClayTAWC so that people will be able to speak to me.

7.0 “CERC” Liaison Group

I attended the most recent meeting of the Liaison Group for the incinerator – again via Teams. The Chairman of the Parish Council was also present, but there were no members of the public there. If anyone has got an issue that they would like to see raised at future meetings, please get in contact with me.

8.0 St Dennis and Nanpean Community Trust

As the Cornwall Councillor covering St Dennis Parish, I have been invited to be a member of the Community Trust, which distributes the funds generated by the planning obligations imposed on the incinerator. I will be accepting the offer to join the Trust.

9.0 Planning matters in St Dennis Parish

At the present time, I am keeping an eye on a couple of “live” planning proposals and reading up on them. These include the proposal for 27 houses at Hendra Prazey (PA20/11311) and the proposal for a solar farm near Trerice, for which some pre-application consultations were undertaken during March and April by a firm called Statkraft UK.

During the election period, I attended the meeting of St Dennis Parish Council – via Zoom video-conferencing – at which Statkraft gave a presentation. We are now waiting to see what form the application will take and whether Statkraft UK will make any meaningful changes to their proposal following feedback from the local community.

10.0 Traffic matters in St Dennis Parish

Parish councillors have raised concerns with me about speeding at a number of locations within the village. I am presently collating the reports from speed readings previously taken by Cornwall Council, in advance of a more formal discussion with local councillors.

ST ENODER PARISH ISSUES

11.0 Planning maters

I continue to deal with a range of planning applications. Updates of note are as follows:

11.1 Fifty properties at St Columb Road (PA20/02929)

Residents will be aware that a proposal for 50 properties to the rear of the new development opposite the Doctors’ Surgery was refused by Cornwall Council and the developers appealed to the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol. I was pleased to write a detailed representation to the appeal on behalf of the Parish Council, which also included 75 letters of objection (representing 108 local people), and I can report that the Planning Inspector has agreed with Cornwall Council, St Enoder Parish Council and local objectors.

The Inspector rejected the appeal, stating that “the proposed development would harm the character and appearance of the area and not be of an appropriate scale.”

11.2 Development opposite the Doctors’ Surgery (PA18/04292)

The development of ten units opposite the Doctors’ Surgery has been completed but the condition to put double yellow lines in front of the development had not been actioned. The condition stated:

"Prior to commencement of development, the applicant shall submit to the Highway Authority a request for a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) to mark out double yellow lines along Parka Road on the road side fronting the site subject of this permission. If following the statutory consultation process the TRO is deemed acceptable, then prior to occupation of development the associated works shall be implemented.
"Reason: To mark out double yellow lines along the road frontage of the development along Parka Road in order to reduce obstruction to the free flow of traffic and improve highway safety in accordance with Policy 27 of the Cornwall Local Plan."

I have raised this oversight with the developer and I hope it will soon be remedied.

11.3 Solar Farm between St Columb Road and Whitecross

In addition to the proposal for a solar farm in St Dennis Parish, Statkraft UK also undertook pre-application consultation for a solar farm on land at Tresithney, just to the north-west of St Columb Road. In April, on behalf of St Enoder Parish Council, I produced a document which summarised the views of local people and I forwarded to the applicants.

As with the proposal in St Dennis Parish, we are presently waiting to see what form the application will take and whether Statkraft UK will make any meaningful changes to their proposal following feedback from the local community.

12.0 Referendum for St Enoder Parish Neighbourhood Plan

Electors in the parish of St Enoder have recently received polling cards for the referendum for the Neighbourhood Plan for St Enoder Parish. It will take place on Thursday 15th July.

Over the last few years, the Neighbourhood Plan was produced by the Parish Council. It is a planning document and has to be in general conformity with other planning documents such as the National Planning Policy Framework (produced by central government) and the Cornwall Local Plan (produced by Cornwall Council).

The Neighbourhood Plan does not duplicate policies or re-state guidelines included within other documents. It does however ensure an extra level of policy detail at the local level.

The question in the referendum will be:
“Do you want Cornwall Council to use the neighbourhood plan for St Enoder to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?”

Further information about the Neighbourhood Plan will be circulated over the next few days leading up to the vote.

13.0 Highway matters

13.1 Proposed new footway between Harvenna Heights estate and Indian Queens School

There was a Teams meeting on 10th June, where I went through the legal paperwork for the transfer of part of the field to the west of Indian Queens School, from Cornwall Council to St Enoder Parish Council. The document contained a number of clauses that, from the Parish Council’s perspective, needed to be amended and, as soon as this is done, the transfer will be completed.

This will mean that the Parish Council will be able to proceed with the works for the footway, between Harvenna Heights and the School, through the summer.

13.2 Proposed zebra crossings on Chapel Road and St Francis Road, Indian Queens

The consultation on the proposal for two proposed zebra crossings and associated measures on Chapel Road and St Francis Road took place in March. I have spoken to officers and I will be briefed on the consultation feedback in early July.

13.3 Proposed works on A3058 through Summercourt

There was a Teams meeting on 28th May for me to view the final design of the proposed works on the A3058 though Summercourt. The consultation will be slightly later than I had hoped – in July/August – but I am still pushing that we are in a position for the works to be completed in the Autumn of this year. The relevant officers have assured me that they are already talking to Cormac about fitting it into their work programme for later in 2021.

13.4 Summercourt School

The layout of improvement works outside the school is also being finalised for consultation and, in mid April, I met with the head of Summercourt School and representative of the Aspire Academy to discuss what will be proposed.

13.5 Sea View Terrace

Cornwall Council officers have also identified Sea View Terrace, on the road between Fraddon and Sea View Terrace, as a location to be reviewed as part of their “road safety” audit of around thirty locations across Cornwall. I will report further when I have more feedback from officers on their work.

13.6 Road through Fraddon and St Columb Road

There have been a number of accidents in Fraddon in recent months and I have used this actuality to call on officers to do a full review of road safety issues relating to the stretch of road from Penhale and through Fraddon and St Columb Road.

An initial meeting was held on 17th June and officers have agreed to commence such an assessment looking, in particular, at where there have been incidents in recent years. The project is presently being worked up and I will report more in the near future.

Linked to this, I am continuing to push for Cornwall Council and the businesses at Kingsley Village to address the parking problems at Penhale, where there have been a couple of recent accidents and numerous near-misses. I have already formally requested some double yellow lines in this area.

14.0 St Enoder Cemetery

I have also been pleased to help the Parish Clerk with the supervision of repair works being carried out within the closed cemetery situated adjacent to the Parish Church and churchyard.

The contractors are presently repairing the wall that was built to enclose the burial ground in the early 1880s. Various sections had collapsed, largely because of the impact of tree roots, and many of the moulded capping stones had also slipped from the tops of the walls.

I must admit that these works are very personal to me. Like many local people, lots of my relatives are interred in the space. But when we were initially planning the renovations, I noticed that the moulded capping stones were stamped “CHYTANE” and had therefore been produced by the Chytane China Clay and Brick Works Company, located to the south of Fraddon.

My very own great-great-grandfather, John Cole, worked as a brickmaker at Chytane and it is documented that, by 1884, he was the superintendent and agent for the works.

I am so pleased to know that my own family was involved with the construction of the old cemetery and that I am involved with the present works to improve its modern condition.

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

My latest monthly report


Time period: 23rd February – 23rd March 2021

1.0 Council and other meetings

Over the last month, I have attended a number of virtual meetings and briefings via Microsoft Works and Zoom.

In terms of Cornwall Council, these have included Full Council; a briefing in advance of this coming week’s Full Council; Economic Growth and Development Overview and Scrutiny Committee and an associated briefing; the Cornish National Minority Working Group and two meetings about the 2021 census and the publicity for the “write-in” option for Cornish nationality; monthly meeting of elected members within the China Clay Area; the first meeting of the core group for a new Race Equality Forum for Cornwall; and a members’ briefing session.

I have also had a number of meetings about the road safety schemes which are being brought forward in St Enoder Parish.

In addition, I have been at meetings of St Enoder Parish Council, South & East Cornwall Community-Led Local Development Local Action Group, and the lockdown support group for the China Clay Area.

2.0 Planning matters

The Parish Council and I continue to deal with a range of planning applications. Updates of note are as follows:

2.1 Fifty properties at St Columb Road (PA20/02929)

Last month, I reported that Cornwall Council had refused planning permission for the construction of 50 new properties at St Columb Road, on land immediately to the rear of the development opposite the Doctors’ Surgery, and that the applicant had appealed the decision to the Bristol-based Planning Inspectorate.

On behalf of the Parish Council, I have prepared a detailed representation for the appeal, which stretches to more than 5,000 words. It sets out a wide range of evidence as to why the development should not be allowed to proceed. The submission also included a large number of letters of objection from local residents.

2.2 Six extra gypsy / traveller pitches at Little Meadows, Toldish (PA20/03553)

In August, Cornwall Council refused planning permission for six additional gypsy / traveller pitches at Little Meadows, Toldish. There is already a planning consent for six units at the site, which have yet to be fully constructed.

As anticipated, the applicant has appealed the decision to the Bristol-based Planning Inspectorate. When the timetable for the appeal is published, I will produce a detailed representation on behalf of the Parish Council and local objectors.

2.3 Solar Farm between St Columb Road and Whitecross

A firm called Statkraft UK is working up a proposal for a solar farm on land at Tresithney, just to the north-west of St Columb Road. Information about the proposal can be found on the on Statkraft’s website as below:

https://www.statkraft.co.uk/about-statkraft-uk/where-we-operate/Locations/white-cross-solar-energy-farm 

The website states that the proposal “is in the early stages of development,” but also notes that the company anticipates submitting an application in June of this years.

The website includes a map which shows the fields around Tresithney, where solar panels are proposed. Some of these fields abut the edge of St Columb Road and the northern half of Barton Lane towards Whitecross. It also shows an “area of search” through which they would need to lay electric cables towards the power station on the St Dennis road. The area of search includes the built-up areas of Indian Queens, St Columb Road and the northern part of Fraddon; and concerns have already been raised about the disturbance that such cable laying might cause.

The information is very limited at the present time and I have been in contact with a representative of the company to find out more. The website states that “from 29th March, a full online consultation space will be available, where you can view further project details including access maps, layout diagrams, photographs, videos and more.”

I am also monitoring feedback from the local community, so that this can inform what representations I make back to the applicants and Cornwall Council.

2.4 Indian Queens Industrial Estate

Last year, there was an application (PA19/05975) which sought a new access into an industrial unit at the Indian Queens Estate from Moorland Road for the provision of 15 parking spaces. It was strongly opposed by local residents. Planning officers recommended that it should be approved, so I referred it to a meeting of the Central Sub-Area Planning Committee on 2nd November. Members of the Planning Committee voted unanimously to reject the application.

The owners of Unit 2 had also created a largish area of hardstanding, which planners were told would be turned back to grass if their initial application for the parking area was successful. But by the time of the November meeting, they had already submitted a planning application (PA20/09460) for four houses in this area. This application was withdrawn by the applicants when they were told it would be refused by the local authority.

I am very disappointed that the owner has submitted another application (PA21/01683) for this area. This time, it is for four commercial units with a B8 use (ie. storage and distribution). It again includes a new access onto Moorland Road and I will, once again, do my utmost to represent the views of local residents.

4.0 Highway improvements

4.1 Proposed new footway between Harvenna Heights estate and Indian Queens School


The legal paperwork for the transfer of part of the field to the west of Indian Queens School, from Cornwall Council to St Enoder Parish Council, has been prepared by unitary authority and passed to the Parish Council’s solicitor.

As soon as the transfer is completed, the Parish Council will be able to begin the construction of the proposed new footway between the Harvenna Heights estate and Indian Queens School. At the end of February, the Parish Council’s handyman cleared some vegetation (in advance of the bird nesting season) so that the Parish Council will be in a position to proceed with the works quite soon.

4.2 Proposed zebra crossings on Chapel Road and St Francis Road, Indian Queens

There is a live consultation about the two proposed zebra crossings and associated measures on Chapel Road and St Francis Road. The full consultation can be viewed on Cornwall Council’s website at:
https://www.engagespace.co.uk/cornwall/

The consultation ends on 31st March.

4.3 Proposed works on A3058 through Summercourt

The design of the proposed improvements along the A3058 are nearing completion and I have been assured that the consultation on the proposals will commence in May.

The potential location for the permanent vehicle activated sign (VAS) in St Austell Street has been agreed, and following a series of accidents on Beacon Road, I am continuing to feed the views / perspectives of local residents to the design team.

4.4 Summercourt School

The first indicative layout of improvement works outside the school have been forwarded to me. The works will include the extension of the 30mph further to the east, new markings on the highway, and permanent vehicle activated signs which will be calibrated to show a 20mph limit immediately outside the School during the times that children arrive at and leave the school. I anticipate that the consultation will also take place in May.

I will update parish councillors further at the meeting.

5.0 “Towards a Strategy for the China Clay Area”

Following the production of this document, a meeting has been secured with the key officers from the Economic Growth and Development directorate. It is an opportunity to get senior staff from the unitary authority to take the needs of Clay Country parishes seriously.

6.0 Full Council

At the meeting on 23rd February, councillors agreed a 4.99% increase in council. This included the government’s suggested 3.0% uplift to go towards meeting the rising costs of adult social care. Such was the pressure on the council’s finances, especially with the added burden from the pandemic, that none of the opposition groups on the council felt able to move an alternative to that proposed by the Liberal Democrat / Independent administration.

7.0 2021 census

Over the last few weeks, I have been involved with promoting the 2021 census and, in particular, the right of people to describe their identity as Cornish.

8.0 Inquires

In addition, I have had queries on a host of subjects from local residents, and I have done my best to assist.

Please note:
I will not be doing a report for the next (April) meeting of the Parish Council, as that falls within the election period, when I will be standing for re-election to the unitary authority.

ANNUAL REPORT (2020-2021) FOR PARISH ASSEMBLY (23rd MARCH 2021)

This report includes a summary of my work as the Cornwall Councillor for St Enoder Division over the last twelve months. The topics covered are not exhaustive and I have also assisted a wide range of people with specific localised or personal issues.

1.0 Lockdown

My last physical meeting prior to the lockdown was the local VE Day Committee, which had to cancel the events planned for 8th and 10th May 2020, and one of the last events I was involved with was the visit of two classes from Indian Queens School to New County Hall on 11th March.

Lockdown commenced on 23rd March and from that point, like so many people, I have worked from home, with lots and lots of meetings held via Microsoft Teams or Zoom video-conferencing.

2.0 Covid-19 response / volunteer activities

It has been remarkable how many people have stepped forward to help support their families, friends and members of the wider community throughout this last difficult year

In late March, the Clerk of St Enoder Parish Council (Amanda Kendall) and I were registered as the local parish hub with Volunteer Cornwall. I worked with the St Columb Road Surgery to organise a team of volunteers to deliver prescriptions to people who were shielding or deemed vulnerable. This took place between April and July. More recently, I was pleased to help out a little with marshalling of people coming to get their vaccinations at the St Columb Surgery.

In addition, I have attended the Covid-19 Local Outbreak Engagement Board (for briefings about the response to the pandemic) and also the lockdown support group for the China Clay Area.

3.0 Planning matters

There has also been a large number of planning applications for our area, where I have done my best to represent the views of local people. A few examples are as follows:

3.1 Indian Queens Industrial Estate (PA19/05975)

The proposal to create a new access from Moorland Road into Unit 2 of the Indian Queens Industrial Estate for an area of additional car parking was strongly opposed by local residents. The original planning consent for the estate stated that vehicular access should be through the central Lodge Way road. I referred the application to the Central Sub-Area Planning Committee and it was rejected by councillors. The vote was unanimous.

3.2 St Columb Road (PA20/02929)

An application for fifty houses was submitted for the land to the rear of the development presently being built opposite the Doctors’ Surgery. Again, there was significant opposition to the scheme via formal objections plus comments on social media. The proposal was refused by planning officers under delegated powers, but the applicant has appealed to the Planning Inspectorate based in Bristol. On behalf of the Parish Council, I have prepared a detailed representation against the scheme.

3.3 Little Meadows, Toldish (PA20/03553)

In 2017, a planning application (PA17/03198) for six traveller pitches was refused by Cornwall Council, but it was then granted on appeal by a government planning inspector in 2018. A fresh application to increase the size of the site to 12 pitches was refused by planning officers under delegated powers, but I have just found out that the applicant has also appealed to the Planning Inspectorate based in Bristol.

3.4 Derelict pig farm at Higher Fraddon (PA20/08679 & PA20/09375)

I have been involved with discussions around the potential redevelopment of the derelict pig farm site, which initially focused around two applications; one for conversion of farm building into five dwellings and another for 16 holiday units, which raised strong objections and I did not support..

3.5 Ouistreham, Indian Queens (PA20/00184)

An outline application was submitted for a bungalow in the back garden of Ouistreham, opposite Queens Garage. Concerns were raised about the cramped nature of the development and I referred it to a meeting of the Central Sub-Area Planning Committee. The application was refused by eight votes to four.

3.6 Solar farm

A consultation on a proposal for a solar farm between St Columb Road and Whitecross has just been launched. More information will be made available on the promoter’s website on 29th March. The website can be found at:

https://www.statkraft.co.uk/about-statkraft-uk/where-we-operate/Locations/white-cross-solar-energy-farm/

4.0 Planning White Paper

During 2020, the UK Government has just published a White Paper setting out proposals to completely change the planning system, which would undermine the ability of local communities to object to inappropriate developments. The changes would have massively increased the rate of development across Cornwall.

I was one of two councillors on the unitary authority, who tabled a motion opposing the changes, which was backed by the majority of councillors.

5.0 Highway improvements

Throughout the last 12 months, I have been promoting a range of improvements in our local area. The pandemic has caused delays, but we have made some significant progress in recent weeks.

5.1 New footway from Harvenna Heights estate


The legal documentation to transfer part of the field between Harvenna Heights estate and Indian Queens School, from Cornwall Council to St Enoder Parish Council, has been drafted. It is presently with solicitors. The transfer will be accompanied by a financial sum for the construction of a new pathway across the field. It is hoped that these works will be undertaken this summer.

5.2 Chapel Road and St Francis Road, Indian Queens

I have been lobbying extremely hard to get Cornwall Council to deliver improvements suggested within the Travel Plan, associated with the new classrooms that were constructed a few years ago. Following a feasibility study, it has been agreed that there should be zebra crossings on Chapel Road and St Francis Road (at either end of the Drang). The consultation on the proposal is presently live on the Cornwall Council website, and will close on 31st March. It can be found at:
https://www.engagespace.co.uk/cornwall/

5.3 A3058

I have been liaising with officers at Cornwall Council on a regular basis about improvements in Summercourt, as part of a wider scheme of enhancements along the A3058. The scheme will include the extension of the 30mph speed limit on Beacon Road and a permanent vehicle activated sign at the northern entrance into the village, plus pedestrian crossings linked to the traffic lights on the crossroads. There will also be an additional vehicle activated sign to face traffic entering Summercourt along St Austell Street. The consultation on the scheme is expected to take place in May, with the works to be carried out in the autumn.

5.4 Summercourt School

There continues to be a commitment to deliver improvements outside Summercourt School. The first indicative layout of improvement works outside the school have been forwarded to me, and I will be seeking views as the Council finalise the design for consultation, which will hopefully consulted on in May, as well.

6.0 Traffic matters

There have been a number of accidents in the built-up parts of the Parish in locations including the bottom of Fraddon Hill, Ridgewell Terrace, Fraddon,

Seaview Terrace on the road to St Stephen and on Beacon Road, Summercourt. I have made a range of representations and I can report that Seaview Terrace has been included on a list of about thirty locations, which are to be investigated through a “Local Safety Scheme.” I have also been involved with council officers investigating parking problems along New Road at Fraddon, near the Kingsley Village complex.

7.0 St Enoder Parish Council

Over the last twelve months, I have been pleased to work with the Parish Council on a range of projects.

7.1 Indian Queens Cemetery

Along with other parish councillors, I was involved with the work in the extension to the cemetery, which included the construction of the new roadway and an associated path.

7.2 Mobile vehicle activated sign

The Parish Council has purchased a mobile vehicle activated sign and I am pleased to be one of the councillors who has helped to move it to a range of locations around the Parish. Recent restrictions have meant that we have not moved it as often as we would have liked, but that will change going forward.

7.3 Grant funding for a toilet in Indian Queens Recreation Ground

The Parish Council has been working up a project to provide a public toilet for users of the Indian Queens Recreation Ground. I was able to secure a grant of £10,000 for the project from the National Lottery’s Award for All funding programme. The works will be carried out later this year.

8.0 Strategy for the China Clay Area

I was also very pleased to take a lead in the production of a “Towards a Strategy for the China Clay Area” document, which we are using to lobby Cornwall Council for greater investment in the five parishes of Clay Country.

9.0 Community Governance Review

I have been spending a considerable amount of time on the work of the Electoral Review Panel and, in particular, on the review of parish boundaries and arrangements for parish councils. This involved transferring land adjacent to Mitchell from St Enoder Parish to St Newlyn East Parish.

 
10.0 Grants

As a Cornwall Councillor, I have a community chest from which I am able to give grants to local groups. In 2020-2021, I made funds available to St Enoder Parish Council for materials to deal with the response to the pandemic, St Enoder Youth Club, Indian Queens Under-5s, the Wesley Pre-School and for supplies to the new Community Larder for Indian Queens and District.