Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Council Toilet U Turn

My first reaction on hearing (from the Cornish Guardian) that the Council's public toilets would not, after all, be closed, was delight.
After that I think we are all entitled to ask:
1.  What took the Council, which is supposed to represent Cornwall, so long to listen to public opinion?
2. How is the new decision being funded as the Council say they have 'no money'?
3. What does it say for democracy if decisions of the Council are changed behind closed doors and then members just find out about them from the Cornish Guardian ?
4. Does the Council know what it is doing? On Monday lunchtime the Leader tells Laurence Reed 'no money'. On Tuesday morning he tells Cornish Guardian toilets are saved.
5. Won't the parishes who took over their public toilets feel conned?
6.Surely this must be good news for other services such as leisure centres which the Council has threatened to close.  How much money are the Council wasting on working up 'local solutions/alternative delivery models' etc only to back down?
7. Will anyone believe what the Council say ever again?

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Cornwall Council should get real: the number of councillors is going down

Although Cornwall was right at the top of the Boundary Commission's list for falling foul of its principle that every person's vote is worth the same, the Council has persuaded the Boundary Commission to put off reviewing this in time for 2017 local elections.

But the Commission still intends to sort it out in time for 2021 local elections.

The first stage is for the Council to express a view on what number of councillors Cornwall should have in 2021.

The Panel working on this first met yesterday.

Their first step was to go through the paperwork studiously crossing out any implication, express or implied, that the number of councillors would be reduced.

Apart from the public's views on this, there are at least two reasons why this approach is totally unrealistic.

First, committing to a smaller number of councillors was part of the Devolution Deal for Cornwall (which the Council approved last July).  It was a compromise to avoid having a mayor for Cornwall.

Second, as the divisions currently have so few voters that relatively small population changes make them unequal to a significant degree, the current number of councillors is not viable.  It means that the Council will for ever be spending time and public money reviewing and reworking the boundaries of its electoral divisions.
The last boundary review for Cornwall Council was described by the Boundary Commission as 'appalling' and 'the worst ever seen'. 

The recommendations from the panel will be influential in determining the outcome of the review but with public toilets, libraries, leisure centres and public spaces being devolved to other local organisations can Cornwall councillors reasonably resist reducing their own numbers?

Report to Truro City Council

Please give my apologies for this evening.   I am attending a school drugs awareness talk.

New junction into Penn An Dre, Highertown
I am told this should now be finished by 4th April. It has run over its schedule due to problems with SW Water relocation of equipment, where the Council's trial pit did not reveal the true depth of SW Water equipment (which varies).
The interim arrangements for pedestrians crossing the road outside All Saints Church have been very unsatisfactory .

Parking Survey : Next steps
The results of the survey in Truro and other towns will be reported to the Transport PAC in May.
Proposals will be considered by the Transport PAC at their meeting in July.
The Cabinet will make a decision on what proposals to implement in September.
Disappointing that progress is so slow.

Stadiums etc
I am concerned that the fact that too many permissions have been granted for retail in Truro will mean that that those applications granted will end up not having the wherewithal to provide the infrastructure promised. For example, Peter Masters of Truro City Football Club) is reported last week as saying that there are arguments just now about what goods can be sold at Treyew Road Retail Park. This is a sure sign that there are issues with getting tenants.  All these applications should have been brought back to Committee and not given another 6 months to sort out their Section 106 agreements.  Members would then have had the opportunity to look at this again, given that the retail market has further contracted since they were granted.

Bus station public conveniences
I had a complaint that these were not in an acceptable state. Cllr Wells kindly agreed to follow this up.

Pine Needles, 12 Higher Trehaverne
I doubt that this application will be referred to the Central Planning Committee as it is very similar to that approved already for No 11.

8 St Keyne Close
I have asked for this application for an  extension to be referred to Committee as over development/unneighbourly.

Tree cut down recently behind Trehaverne House
The tree was in fact in the garden of the Dingle and not protected by a TPO or in the Conservation Area.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Residents' Parking Survey Update

Cornwall Council plan to analyse the results of their recent survey on parking and report to Council's Transport Portfolio Advisory Committee (PAC) in May.

They say a draft parking policy will then be considered by the PAC in July.

Recommendations will then go to the Cabinet in September.

Members of the public may ask questions at the beginning of each of these meetings. Procedures for doing so are on Cornwall Council website.

Nearly 6000 responses were received from accross Cornwall.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Cornwall Council find £600,000

We know about the £60,000 'bus lane' but what about £600,000 recently found 'left over' by the Council, which communities are now being invited to bid for new projects?  

Management time at the Council will be found, in addition, to administer the bidding process for new money.

Lovely to have new money for new projects. But how can the Council explain it in a year in which it intends to dump the libraries on the parish councils, walk away from its leisure centres (apart from Penzance, where it cannot, as it is funded by PFI) and cut to nil its budget for public toilets?

The most annoying aspect is that the applications for money that members were invited to make (by February 2014) for their priorities for highway  problems in their divisions have all been rejected.

Is this the Council's version of localism in action; reject what local people want and ask them to bid for money for something completely different?

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Why so slow: the Stadiums and other applications to the west of Truro

When the large applications for the west side of Truro were granted last year, the Head of Planning was given three months to negotiate the 'planning gain' (Section 106) agreements. There has been an understandable delay due to the need to refer the applications to the Secretary of State.

But in all cases that process ended 3 months or more ago. Under pressure from another developer (miffed having submitted the only retail application turned down for the corridor) , officers took the applications back to the Strategic Planning Committee to get an extension of time.

They blamed the Government, as Cornwall Council are wont to do. But the new rules complained off, by the Council's own admission, came in last April, so not that new.

The Council also said that the Section 106 agreements were now concluded but, bizarrely, they asked for an indefinite extension of time to complete the agreements. And for future occasions they said they would draft reports for the Committee so that they could take as long as they wanted and not come back to Committee.The Committee granted them a 6 month extension.

So, in summary, the Council claimed that 3 months was adequate but when it came to it, needed at least an extra 6 months.

This looks incompetent.

But the Chairman did not allow me to speak. I have been asked what can anyone do.  I can only suggest that you get in touch with Cllr Nolan, the Chairman of the Committee or take the Council's decision to judicial review.

Reply to comment below:

Try the Cornwall Council planning application comment link. Search for "Langarth". On the right hand side you can enlarge a map of the area until you see the areas surrounded by red (lots of it!). Filter on 5 years and zoom in to a specific area. Double click and it should bring a pop-up of all the relevant applications in the last 5 years.

It should look something like this:

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Malabar Bus Timetable

Bus timetable information is available from the following sources.

The timetable can be downloaded here for the 47 BUS

Information is available at
the First Kernow website at or telephone 01872 305950

at the Traveline website of or telephone 0871 200 22 33

or the Cornwall Council webpage of or telephone the Passenger Transport Unit on 0300 1234 222.

Plus of course, the timetables have been attached to local bus stops.