Tuesday 9 April 2024


Time period: First quarter of 2024

1.0 Funding applications

I am pleased that I can start with some good news. In the late summer of last year, I worked with two local organisations to submit funding applications to Cornwall Council’s Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Fund. I am extremely pleased that both applications have been successful.

The first application was for £70,000 for the Indian Queens Under-Fives Pre-School. The money will be used to make improvements to their existing Pre-School building. The cladding around the exterior of the structure has been failing for a number of years, and new external cladding will be installed. In addition, the internal walls of the Centre will be replaced, a new non-slip floor surface will be installed and the kitchen will be refurbished.

The second application was for £42,000 for the Fraddon Millennium Green Trust. The funding will install a wooden tractor and trailer slide (in the location of the locomotive that had to be removed in 2023) and the replacement of the existing safety surfacing across the park with a newer “wetpour” surface.

I am also chuffed because this means that the total amount of funding I have secured through grant applications, specifically for works in my division, has now passed one million pounds.

I can also confirm that St Enoder Parish Council will be supporting both of the above projects with funding.

2.0 Council and other meetings

Over the last few months, I have attended a range of physical meetings. At Cornwall Council, these have included Full Council (3), Cabinet (3), Strategic Planning, Customers and Support Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee (4), Constitution and Governance Committee, meeting of Chairs of the various Community Area Partnerships (CAPs), a meeting with officers about the Council’s Equality and Diversity Strategy, China Clay Area and Luxulyan Community Area Partnership (CAP), meetings about the production of a White Paper seeking greater devolution for Cornwall (2), and a meeting about data relating to my role as chair of unitary authority’s National Minority Working Group.

I have also attended a range of online Cornwall Council meetings via Teams / Zoom video-conferencing. These have included “pre-meetings” for Customers and Support Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee (3), informal meeting of Constitution and Governance Committee, Scrutiny Improvement Review Informal Working Group (6), National Minority Working Group, session with officers and senior councillors about the Homechoice Review, meetings about a strategy for the GRT community, a briefing on the Mid Cornwall Metro project, meetings about the production of a White Paper (2), a meeting of councillors from the China Clay and Luxulyan Community Area Partnership, Group Leaders meeting, and briefings in advance of the January and February Full Councils. In addition, I attended a Teams meeting about the possibility of a multi-use trail for St Dennis, plus meetings about road safety measures at Seaview Terrace, local lettings plans (3) and 20mph limits in the China Clay Area.

Other physical meetings have included St Dennis Parish Council (3), St Enoder Parish Council (5) plus a meeting between the Council and the local football teams at the Indian Queens Recreation Ground, neighbourhood plan meeting for St Dennis Parish, Cornish Lithium “coffee morning” sessions at ClayTAWC (2), St Dennis and Nanpean Community Trust, the Incinerator Liaison Group, meetings of the Indian Queens Pit Committee (2) and a number of meetings at ClayTAWC.

In addition, I have had informal meetings with a wide range of groups and individuals.


3.0 Cornwall Council budget

The Cornwall Council budget for 2024-2025 was agreed at the Full Council meeting on 20th February. Put simply, the Deputy Leader of the Council argued that the Conservative administration was doing a fine job in difficult circumstances, but had no option other than to make cuts, reduce reserves and increase council tax by the maximum allowable amount – all at the same time. But credit where credit is due, Cllr David Harris was forthright in talking about the “financial abyss” facing councils and acknowledged that, if funding arrangements for local government do not change, Cornwall Council will be “bust” within two years.

Speaking on behalf of the Mebyon Kernow / Green Group, which did not support the budget, I pointed out – once again – that Cornwall has a majority Conservative Council, all Cornish MPs are Tories, and the Government in Westminster is also Conservative.

It is indeed time that they collectively delivered, in the words of Cllr Harris, “a longer term funding settlement … based on a fair funding formula” plus a “significant financial intervention” from central government.

4.0 Homechoice

I have written previously about the review into the Homechoice system, through which publicly-owned rental properties are allocated, and how I have outlined my concerns. A meeting was organised for 30th November 2023 for me to discuss my concerns in detail. A number of officers were present including the Service Director for Planning and Housing (Chief Planning Officer) and the Head of Planning and Housing Policy, plus the Cabinet Member with responsibility for Housing.

I recently found that my views were not being taken on board and the ruling Cabinet took the decision, in spite of my challenges, to proceed with their changes to the Homechoice system. I was actively considering “calling-in” the review to a scrutiny committee but discovered that, following the second consultation, the review had been downgraded by the administration from a “key” to a “non-key” decision. This effectively has removed my right to “call-in” the decision. I have challenged this and I am awaiting a response from senior council officers.

I have, nonetheless, had additional meetings about possible “local lettings plans” for the two parishes I represent, which I am continuing to follow up.

5.0 Housing Supplementary Planning Document

At the meeting of Cornwall Council’s Cabinet on 14th February, the administration agreed to task officers to redraft the existing Housing SPD. This followed the changes to the Homechoice system noted above. I challenged the ten members of the Cabinet to broaden the work out to involve the membership of the wider council membership, but my requests were ignored.

6.0 20mph limits

One of the key policies of the administration at Cornwall Council is 20mph limits in built-up areas. This policy is being rolled out, area by area. The Falmouth-Penryn and Camelford networks were completed in 2024, and council staff are now working up detailed proposals for a second tranche of areas, including Clay Country.

The proposed extent of these speed limits for our local villages is quite extensive and there will be a detailed consultation in the very near-future, which I will do my best to promote locally. I believe the consultation is due to start in mid April. Please look out for it and make sure that the unitary authority hears your views.

Officers at Cornwall Council have been looking at issues on the road from Penhale, through Fraddon and St Columb Road, to the Halloon roundabout. I can report that I had meeting to consider whether any of the suggestions emanating from that study could be brought forward in tandem with the new speed limits. I am disappointed at the progress I am making on this, but I am continuing to make representations.

7.0 New approach to waste collection

The new waste collection (fortnightly waste and recycling collections in alternative weeks) has commenced across most of my division, and I had a few queries about what has been happening.

8.0 “Level 2 devolution deal”

On 28th November 2023, the ten-strong ruling Cabinet on Cornwall Council voted to proceed with the so-called “level 2 devolution deal.” But it is not about devolution at all. It is simply a range of very limited accommodations between central government and Cornwall’s unitary authority. I was not surprised that the editorial in the Cornish Guardian, in early December, stated that the deal “doesn’t amount to much.”

I remain disappointed that the “deal” is so insubstantial. But one thing that did please me is that the administration in Truro acknowledges Cornwall needs deeper devolution. It has committed itself to producing a White Paper “making the case for much greater autonomy over Cornwall’s political and economic life.” This will involve a cross-party “reference group” made up of the leaders of the five political groups on the authority. The language in the report about the White Paper is certainly more ambitious and notes that the document would be a ”new and bold vision for a historic national-Cornwall constitutional settlement.” It adds that “the White Paper will give further amplification to Cornwall’s credentials as a nation that can contribute even more to creating a stronger and more sustainable United Kingdom.”

I am actively participating in this project. I have attended a series of meetings already and I am also feeding information to the team from the Local Government Information Unit that are engaged with the project.

9.0 Local consultation events

I have also attended a couple of consultation events for proposals in Clay Country, which lie outside my division. These were about the proposed solar farm at Trelion near St Stephen (St Stephen Community Centre) and the British Lithium project at Goonbarrow and surrounding areas (Roche Victory Hall).

In terms of the Trelion proposal, I understand that the proposal, if consented, would like to link to the Indian Queens Power Station with cabling through clayworks. I was shocked to see that they have a second “fall-back” option, to cable a distance of 7km along roads in St Enoder Parish, extending past Sea View Terrace, along the old A30 through Fraddon and Indian Queens, and past Gaverigan to the power station.

10.0 Renewable energy

At the most recent meeting of the Customers and Support Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee, representatives of Celtic Sea Power gave a presentation about their business plan. This is a long-term project relating to the off-shore generation of energy and the firm is talking about how they might link into the Indian Queens Power Station. No detail is being given at this stage in the development of the scheme, but I have formally requested a meeting to better understand their intentions and what this might mean for our area.

11.0 Cornwall Local Plan

The unitary authority is starting to do background work on how it approaches the production of a new Local Plan for Cornwall, which will set the key planning framework for Cornwall until 2050. Central government expects the work to be completed in a very short period (30 months), though there is a lack of clarity about what is expected of the unitary authority.

I attended a recent briefing about this and I am in the process of ensuring that this briefing will also be shared with a future meeting of the China Clay Area and Luxulyan CAP.

It is likely that the main work will commence in the middle part of 2025, but I am concerned about the processes being put in place to guide the work. I am presently questioning to what extent elected councillors will be able to influence what is happening, which will be driven by senior officers and the leadership of Cornwall Council.

12.0 Road problems

The weather over the last few weeks has been really damaging to the local road network, while there have been a large number of flooding problems. I have been out on a regular basis to visit areas where I know there can be problems, so that I can make a number of representations to Cornwall Council / Cormac.

13.0 Community Chest

As the local Cornwall Councillor, I am allocated £3,000 to grant to local community organisations. I can confirm that, for 2023-24, I supported ClayTAWC (supplies for small foodbank), Indian Queens Pit, Indian Queens Under-5s Pre-School, St Dennis Bells and Ringers, St Dennis Youth Football, St Enoder Youth Club and Summercourt Academy PTFA.


14.0 20mph limits

See paragraph 6.0 for an update on the Cornwall Council plans for 20mph limits.

15.0 Planning matters

I have updates on a couple of applications.

· Battery storage areas [PA23/04504 / PA23/06527]. The first of these applications have been approved, while I understand from the planning officer that he is minded to approve the second application as well. The two proposals, each for 50MW, will collectively replace an extant consent for 100MW, which was approved on 2nd February 2022.

· Construction of a house [PA23/04860]. St Dennis Parish Council has raised a strong objection to this proposal for a single dwelling on Hendra Road, next to Jubilee Terrace. It has been refused by Cornwall Council for the following reason:

The proposal would, by reason of the scale and proportions of the plot would be at odds with the prevailing character of the village and fail to provide continuity with the existing built form and character of the surrounding locality. The development would be contrary to the aims of Policies 1, 2, 12 and 21 of the Cornwall Local Plan Strategic Policies 2010-2030, paragraphs 8, 11, 124, 126 and 130 of the National Planning Policy Framework 2023.

· Lithium hydroxide demonstration facility [PA23/09395]. A “prior approval” for this development at the Trelavour Dryers has also been agreed.

16.0 St Dennis Neighbourhood Plan

It is also unclear what the production of a Cornwall Local Plan will mean for neighbourhood plans, but I am pleased that St Dennis Parish Council’s NDP working group has started to meet again. The last meeting was on 20th March and the next three meetings have already been timetabled in.

17.0 Possible multi-use trail

On 18th December 2023, a number of senior officers including the Head of Connectivity and Transport Policy met with me to discuss my representations about the possibility of the creation of a multi-use trail along the old railway line between St Dennis and the Goss Moor nature reserve. The team at Cornwall Council has asked the Parish Council and I to approach those individuals who own sections of the trackbed to understand whether they would be supportive of such a project. St Dennis Parish Council has agreed to making such an approach.

18.0 ClayTAWC

Following the confirmation of the funding to purchase the Old School Building for ClayTAWC, it has been great to start the conveyancing process.

19.0 Cornish Lithium

I popped into a couple of coffee mornings hosted by Cornish Lithium on 20th January and 17th February. I also attended a meeting to discuss their work programme and their geotechnical assessments around the skytips as a summary of the findings is anticipated to be published quite soon.

20.0 Signs

I have been approached about the lack of nameplate signs in places such as Enniscaven. I have raised this with the Parish Council at a recent meeting and there was also discussion about “welcome” signs on entry points into the Parish. I am preparing a report about such signage for a future meeting of the Council.


21.0 Grant applications for Indian Queens Under-5s and the Fraddon Millennium Green

See paragraph 1.0 for an update on these two successful applications.

22.0 20mph limits

See paragraph 6.0 for an update on the Cornwall Council plans for 20mph limits.

23.0 Seaview Terrace

I have also been following up on the commitment from Cornwall Council to install some road safety improvements at Seaview Terrace, between Fraddon and St Stephen. I had hoped that the works would be done by now, but there have been delays. I can report that Cornwall Council is reviewing the nature of the proposed works.

24.0 Planning matters

As always, there continue to be a number of significant planning applications in St Enoder Parish. Listed below are a few applications with updates.

· Solar farm at Burthy Row / Chytane, Fraddon (PA23/01893). This application was considered at a meeting of the unitary authority’s Strategic Planning Committee on 14th December. It was approved by Cornwall Councillors. In the lead-up to this meeting, I made representations about the proposed community benefit associated with the scheme and ensured that it was increased from a proposed one-off payment of £150,000 to an annual payment £17,000 per annum for a period of 40 years [£680,000]. I also sought and secured additional screening for one property near the development.

· Tourist accommodation to rear of Silver Birch Gardens, St Columb Road (PA23/05462). A number of local people and the Parish Council have objected to development in this area. The scheme has been modified and the number of units restricted to a maximum of 19. There is a fresh consultation on the proposal.

· Nine dwellings to the east of Motor Showroom, Summercourt (PA23/08722). This application has been supported by the Parish Council. There had previously been a consent for houses on the site and there have been no objections from local residents.

· Five dwellings off Pit Lane, Indian Queens (PA23/09094). This application is in an enclosure, which had been part-developed without first securing planning permission in the past. The Parish Council has objected to this proposal and it will be heard at a meeting of Cornwall Council’s Central Planning Committee in the near-future.

· One residential dwelling in place of the old pumping station, Higher Fraddon (PA23/07359). A number of local residents objected to this proposal, but it was passed by Cornwall Council because it was on previously developed land.

24.0 Flooding at Trefullock

As noted above, the recent weather has caused some localised flooding around my division. One of the worst affected areas was the road through Trefullock near Summercourt. Along with the Parish Clerk, I have been making a lot of representations to Cornwall Council about the situation.

25.0 Thomas Playing Field, Summercourt

In 2019, new play equipment was installed into the playing field at Summercourt. Since then, there have been some issues with rust on some of the equipment, plus problems with localised slumps in the groundworks and the safety surfacing.

I have been making representations to the suppliers / installers with Cllr Mark Kessell and other parish councillors, and I am pleased to be able to report that we are nearing agreement for a significant refresh of the area in order to resolve all the concerns that we have raised.

26.0 Indian Queens School

I was also pleased to attend Indian Queens School recently and to be one of a number of speakers about their careers. I spoke my work as an archaeologist, rather than politics.


27.0 Advice

In addition, I have assisted numerous households and individuals with guidance.

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