Monday 8 May 2023


Time period: 20th January – 23rd April 2023

1.0 Council and other meetings

In terms of physical meetings of Cornwall Council during the last three months, I attended Full Council (3), Cabinet (3), Customers and Support Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Economic Growth and Development Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Constitution and Governance Committee (2), China Clay Area Community Network (2), a meeting about Community Levelling Up (Good Growth) funding for the China Clay Area, meetings relating to a peer review into the Council’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy (3), stakeholder events for a review into the Homechoice system for the allocation of publicly-owned rental properties (3), a visit to the Council call centre at Camborne through the Customers and Support Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee, a meeting about the proposed new CAPs (Community Area Partnerships), and a stakeholder event about health provision in the China Clay Area linked to the “eco-town / garden village” development near Penwithick.

Further meetings through Teams video-conferencing included gatherings of Cornwall Councillors in the China Clay Area (2), sessions about Community Levelling Up (Good Growth) funding for the China Clay Area (3), Cornish National Minority Working Group (2) and an associated public forum (plus three associated sessions), briefing on Cornwall Council residents’ survey, a training session about the new Climate Change Development Plan Document, a policy briefing about the proposed “devolution deal,” Group Leader meetings (3) and briefings in advance of Full Council meetings (2).

Other physical meetings have included St Enoder Parish Council (4) and St Dennis Parish Council (4), the Incinerator Community Forum, St Dennis and Nanpean Community Trust (trustee), Board of ClayTAWC (chairman) (3), Indian Queens Pit (trustee) (2) and a public meeting organised by Cornish Lithium at The Pitch. I also attended Annual Assemblies for both parishes.

ClayTAWC is hosting a multi-agency community hub on the first Wednesday of each month at which a range of organisations are present to give advice to local people. I attended the hub in February.

I also had further online meetings about a range of local issues.


2.1 “Devolution deal”

The ten-week consultation into the so-called “devolution deal” agreed between the UK Government and Cornwall Council closed in March. I can confirm that I submitted a detailed response on behalf of Mebyon Kernow, which called on the Conservative unitary authority to seek a better “deal” and to use their political influence to secure a more meaningful deal that should include the transfer of far-reaching powers from Westminster to Cornwall as has happened in Wales and Scotland.

I also took part in a debate about the “deal” at the university at Tremough on 6th February and I was a guest on the BBC Politics Show on 10th February, on which we covered the same subject.

At the meeting of Full Council on 18th April, I proposed a motion seeking greater devolution for Cornwall. The motion argued that Cornwall merited parity with Wales and Scotland in terms of devolution and sought to “commence negotiations for a proper devolution settlement similar to those enjoyed in the other Celtic parts of the UK (such as a National Assembly of Cornwall or Cornish Parliament).”

The motion was lost by 38 votes to 36. Supporters included all MK, Green, Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors, plus all members of the Independent Group – bar one – and three Conservatives. It was opposed by 35 Tories, one “Conservative aligned independent,” one non-aligned independent and the one member of the Independent Group.

Interesting, a number of councillors from the Conservative administration expressed some sympathy with the move for more extensive powers for Cornwall, and I will continue to do all I can to persuade my colleagues to be more ambitious for Cornwall.

2.2 Review into Homechoice

Cornwall Council and a series of Registered Providers (Housing Associations) have commenced a review into the Homechoice system for the allocation of publicly owned rental properties. I attended a meeting of the Economic Growth and Development Overview and Scrutiny Committee about this on 28th February, and argued that all the partners should be prioritising the provision of affordable housing to local people. I also sent an email to other councillors and officers dealing with the review. It was as follows:

I am a strong supporter of assisting local people to access affordable housing in their local parish. Indeed, I feel that the whole concept of affordable / local-needs housing is greatly undermined, if processes make that difficult for local people.

Obviously, local people have a preference for properties, where occupation is controlled by Section 106 agreement or a nomination agreement.

But I believe it is extremely important that a significant number of those affordable homes without S106s / nomination agreements (such as old council housing) should also have a local (parish) connection applied. This is especially important, where there is a high percentage of “old” affordable housing units.

About 12 months ago, I did a study into the provision of affordable housing in one of the two parishes that I represent (St Dennis). At that time, there were a total of 236 publicly-owned rental units in this parish. Of these, 190 (80%) had no “parish connection” criteria, while 20 units (9%) were tied by a Section 106 agreement and the two most recent affordable housing developments totalling 26 units (11%) were controlled by nomination agreements.

I wrote the report because, due to mistakes, the nomination agreements on the 26 properties noted above were not applied. On one of the developments (ten units), not one went to a family with a parish connection to St Dennis.

Through this study, I looked at lettings over a three-year period. I identified 33 rental properties, for which no S106s or nomination agreements had been applied and for which I was given letting information. I can confirm that only eight (24%) went to households with a parish connection to St Dennis.

There is considerable anger at what has happened in St Dennis Parish and I believe that any review of the allocations system must look to apply “parish connection” criteria on a significant number of non-S106 properties in such places.

Over this same three-year period in the other parish I represent (St Enoder), I can confirm that nine non-S106 properties came up for re-let. Only two (22%) went to local households. In St Enoder, local households very much have preference for the newer S106 properties (most of which are the more expensive affordable rent units), but are largely missing out on the older “social rent” units.

I do not think it appropriate that households with a parish connection are, disproportionately, missing out on social rent properties in their home areas.

It is my view that considerable work should be done to understand the split of Section 106 / non-S106 properties and social rent / affordable rent units in all parishes across Cornwall, which can be used to boost the provision of parish connection in parishes such as St Dennis and St Enoder.

It is my intention to update the evidence in the coming days and I will formally submit this as part of the review.

Three stakeholder events were held in April and I attended all three. I continue to argue that the “local connection” aspect of the allocations should be strengthened for parishes such as St Dennis and St Enoder. I am presently collating further evidence to submit into the review.

2.3 Full Council meetings

Since my last report, there have been three meetings of Cornwall Council. The first of these was an extraordinary meeting, which dealt with the completion of the Community Governance Review that considered changes to parish council boundaries. I was heavily involved with this and I am pleased that the attempt by St Austell Town Council to extend its boundaries into Treverbyn Parish was not successful.

The second meeting agreed the Council’s budget for 2023/24. It included a (maximum) 4.99% increase in council tax and was voted through by the Conservative majority on the authority. The Mebyon Kernow / Green Group did not support the budget and challenged the leadership of the unitary authority and Cornwall’s six MPs to better lobby for fair funding for local government in Cornwall.

As noted above, at the third meeting, I moved a motion about greater devolution for Cornwall.

2.4 China Clay Area CAP?

Cornwall Council’s Cabinet has taken the decision to change the present 19 Community Networks into 12 Community Area Partnerships (CAPs). I am pleased to be able to report that the new CAP for our area will largely cover the same patch as the existing Network.

It will cover the five China Clay Area parishes, plus the parish of Luxulyan. This new CAP will start meeting from May onwards and will have some say over the allocation of elements of Shared Prosperity (Community Levelling Up) Funding.

2.5 Fire Control Room

I attended the meeting of Cornwall Council’s Cabinet on 22nd March and I was pleased that the decision was taken to keep the Fire Control Room within Cornwall and rejected the option to out-source it to the east of the Tamar.

2.6 Peer review into Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy

Between 21st and 23rd March, a team of Local Government Association representatives and peers from other councils visited Cornwall to review the unitary authority’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy. As I had chaired the councillors working group, which was a key element in the production of the Strategy, I attended two discussions and a feedback session. A full feedback report will be published in the near-future.

2.7 My Community Chest

As a Cornwall Councillor, I am allocated £3,000 per annum, which I can grant to local organisations. I can confirm that for 2022/2023, I awarded grants to the Community Larder for Indian Queens and District, Indian Queens Youth Football, St Dennis Carnival, St Dennis Multi-Agency Hub, St Dennis Youth Club, the Wesley Pre-School at Indian Queens, and Wheal Rose Football Team at Mitchell. Anyone wishing to apply to my community chest for 2023/24, should give me a call to have a chat.


3.0 Multi-use trail

In January, I reported that I had secured funding from Natural England to produce a report scoping out what would need to be done to turn the section of the defunct railway line between St Dennis and the Goss Moor National Nature Reserve into a multi-use trail. Sustrans were commissioned to do the study and I was pleased to visit the old railway line with them on 9th February.

A first draft of this study has just been completed. I will be attending a meeting with the charity and Cornwall Council in the next few days to discuss the initial findings.

4.0 Footpath 20

I am pleased to report that Cornwall Council has inserted a gate into a wall on the route of footpath 20 to the north of St Dennis Church.

5.0 Path between Manson Place and Trelavour Road

I was also pleased to meet up with some St Dennis Parish Councillors on Sunday 5th February to help cut back vegetation growing out into the path which extends from Manson Place to Trelavour Road.

6.0 Cornish Lithium meeting

I attended the public meeting held by Cornish Lithium in The Pitch on 22nd March. A detailed update was provided, which included an acknowledgement that the firm is carrying out some geo-technical work on one of the two most dominant skytips above St Dennis (namely Pointy). Obviously, it is not yet known what the conclusion of the assessment will be, but I know the importance of Flatty and Pointy to the local area and I will be carefully monitoring the situation as it develops.

7.0 Planning matters

Last year, a planning application was submitted for a new dwelling on Hendra Road, which was opposed by the Parish Council. It was subsequently withdrawn, but a fresh application has now been submitted (PA23/01263). The Parish Council has, once again, raised an objection and I will be keep an eye on what happens with the proposal.

8.0 Litter pick

It was great to join parish councillors and local residents at the litter pick in St Dennis on 15th April. It is worrying how much waste you can pick up in a couple of hours.

9.0 Annual Assembly

It was also a pleasure to attend the 2023 Annual Assembly for St Dennis on 18th April. I presented an annual report summarising key elements of my work over the last 12 months.

10.0 ClayTAWC

As the Chairman of the Board at ClayTAWC, I am putting a significant amount of time into the safeguarding of the future of the centre. Our 25-year lease for the building ends in about 18 months, and we are presently seeking funding to purchase the building so that it will be protected as a community-owned asset at the heart of the village. It is hoped that the funding will come from the St Dennis and Nanpean Community Trust (incinerator fund) and Shared Prosperity Funding through Cornwall Council.


11.0 Youth Club

As previously reported, the Parish Clerk (Amanda Kendall) and I submitted an application to Cornwall Council’s Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funding towards the extension of the Youth Club building in the Indian Queens Recreation Ground. I am delighted to confirm that the funding application for £60,000 was successful and it is hoped the works to double the size of the youth club building will commence in Spring / early Summer.

12.0 Orchard planting

I was also pleased to be involved with the planting of 11 apple trees and four cherry trees on Parish Council land near to Indian Queens School on 23rd March (see above image). The works were carried out by the Parish Clerk, the Parish Council handyman (Nigel Trebell) and myself, with the assistance of over seventy children and some of the School’s teaching assistants.

The handyman has also installed three picnic benches in this area, along with two rubbish bins.

13.0 Planning matters

There continues to be a large number of live planning applications in St Enoder Parish. Listed below are updates on a couple of them, which will soon be considered by St Enoder Parish Council.

13.1 Housing development at Summercourt (PA22/08134)

I hosted a meeting at the New Memorial Hall in Summercourt on 23rd February, at which residents of New Row met with representatives of the owners of the land opposite their properties, where a development of 20 new dwellings (ten affordable) was proposed. Cornwall Council had also raised concerns about the application as originally submitted and I confirm that a slightly reworked scheme (of 18 units) has been submitted by the applicants.

13.2 Solar Farm at Burthy Row / Chytane (PA23/01893)

The application for a 50mw solar farm at Burthy / Chytane near Fraddon has just been submitted. It has been validated and residents can now formally comment on the proposal.

14.0 Highway matters

14.1 Pedestrianised crossings in Summercourt

Works to install three pedestrianised crossings on the crossroads are nearing completion. I had a number of concerns raised with me about the time that the works have taken and related matters, which I have passed onto Cornwall Council.

The new lights are up and final works relate to the replacement of some granite kerbing, after which the new arrangement will be fully operational.

14.2 Zebra crossings

Last year, zebra crossings were installed on Chapel Road and St Francis Road, Indian Queens, along with some associated calming measures. I have just been supplied with new speed data reports, which show that the installations are slowing speeds in the area – especially along Chapel Road. The figures are as follows:

Chapel Road

o Mean speed – 26.3mph
o % compliance with 30mph limit – 77.5%
Post scheme
o Mean speed – 19.2mph (7.1mph reduction)
o % compliance with 30mph limit – 99.3%

Pre scheme
o Mean speed – 29.5mph
o % compliance with 30mph limit – 51.6%
Post scheme
o Mean speed – 20.8mph (8.7mph reduction)
o % compliance with 30mph limit – 97.8%

St Francis Road

Pre scheme
o Mean speed – 25.5mph
o % compliance with 30mph limit – 84.9%
Post scheme
o Mean speed – 23.1mph (2.4mph reduction)
o % compliance with 30mph limit – 96.0%

Pre scheme
o Mean speed – 25.5mph
o % compliance with 30mph limit – 79.6%
Post scheme
o Mean speed – 23.4mph (2.1mph reduction)
o % compliance with 30mph limit – 95.0%

I hope that people will agree that this is a positive impact for the local community.

14.3 Pocohontas Crescent / Princess Parc

I have made numerous representations to Cornwall Council in recent years about the state of the road in Pocohontas Crescent and I am pleased that Cormac have recently been on site carrying out “works to repair the carriageway surface” in Pocohontas Crescent and Princess Parc.

15.0 Annual Assembly

It was also a pleasure to attend the 2023 Annual Assembly for St Enoder on 11th April, at which I presented an annual report summarising key elements of my work over the last 12 months.


16.0 Advice

Over the last three months, I have also assisted numerous households and individuals with guidance and advice on a range of topics, including housing, planning and fly-tipping.