School Crossing Patrol on Meneage Road out for Public Consultation.

In a previous blog I said Cornwall Council had agreed to place a school crossing patrol on Meneage Road, Helston. This is one step closer to reality with the formal public consultation now taking place.

The reason for this school crossing is because number of children attending Nansloe school has increased over recent years and a higher number of children are crossing Meneage Road.  High traffic volumes mean that it is sometimes difficult to cross the carriageway.  A patrol will be able to supervise children crossing the carriageway.

As part of the plan, there will be a series of patrol signs and flashing amber lights to warn of the school crossing patrol site. The lights will operate at the beginning and end of the school day.

The consultation documents can be found HERE. In many consultations, people only seem to comment when they have a concern or want to object. However, this time it is important to give a view of support too. Please email you views and quoting Ref 1639 to: traffic@cormacltd.co.uk

The consultation period starts today and runs till the 13th June. It is hoped that work at the site will be implemented in time for the new school term in September.

Consultation Map

Consultation Ma

 

Porthleven is awarded £75k for new skate park from Sports England

Christmas has come early for those behind the wheeled sports facility (skate park) with the award of £75k from Sports England. In a highly competitive process, with over 600 applicants, Porthleven Town Council today was officially told it had been successful.

Young People hear the good news about the great news


The £120k project is made possible with matched funding of £20k by Porthleven Town Council, a staggering £22,120 raised from within the community with Porthleven Surf Club, Cober Valley Rotary Club, Porthleven Food Festival and Helstonbury all raising over £1000, and now the £75k from Sports England. This leaves £5,800 to raise.

The lead bid writer, Zoe Davies said: the award of £75k allows us to finally realise our dream of a much needed modern skate park in Porthleven. When the Skate Park Funding Raising Committee was set up, we knew the £120k total was realistic because we had the whole community with us.

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The Mayor of Porthleven signs the funding acceptance form.

This statement was supported by the Mayor of Porthleven, Councillor Barbara Powell who commented that the young people deserve this new wheel sports facility. It has been made possible because everyone had worked together to make this happen. The Mayor had the pleasure of signing the official offer letter on behalf of Porthleven Town Council and the fund raising committee.

Mark Adair who is leading the charge on raising the remaining money said, we are confident that we will raise the remaining £5,800 in no time at all, the support we have had so far has been unbelievable, so we feel we can push on and raise the rest. The committee have been working on a number of ideas which we will start to put into action over the coming weeks, join our Facebook group “Porthleven Skate Park Project” to see how you can get involved. If you would like to make a donation you can via our website www.porthlevenskatepark.co.uk.

When I was informed of the successful bid by Sports England I could hardly believe it. The competition for funding was highly competitive and Sports England liaison officer said the Porthleven bid was a very strong one. For me, this bid is down to the hard work of Zoe Davies, Naomi Osmond, Dai Lawton and Mark Adair who have spent many hours making sure this bid was perfect.

Well done to everyone who has made this happen.

 

 

 

 

Cornwall Council’s current position on unaccompanied child refugees

On the 4th of May the Government agreed to resettle unaccompanied child refugees who are currently in Europe to the UK. The Minister for Immigration has confirmed that the Government will consult with local authorities in due course before specifying the number of children it will seek to resettle from within Europe.

Cornwall Council is committed to providing support to unaccompanied child refugees and has already supported accompanied children as part of existing Syrian refugee resettlement scheme. We are already talking to foster carers and supported lodgings providers to make sure we are ready if/when we are asked.

It is important that the views and wishes of the children and young people are taken into account when allocating them to local authority areas. Many already have family and friends in the UK and would prefer to be near them or to communities that share their language, heritage and culture. However, Cornwall has a good track record of making people from different backgrounds welcome and this is no different.

Cornwall Council hopes that the Government takes into account the resources available to local authorities when allocating children. We will need a little time to match these children carefully to experienced foster carers who are skilled in caring for children who have experienced trauma, separation and loss.

Therefore, Cornwall Council welcomes expressions of interest from the public in providing foster placements and would ask them to get in touch with our foster carer recruitment team. It is important to note that a fostering assessment can take 4-6 months. Please contact the team by email fostering@cornwall.gov.uk  or by phone 01872 323638.

 

If you are registered to vote, you do not have to re-register to vote in the European Referendum

I have seen many Facebook messages saying people have to re-register to vote in the European Referendum due to take place in six-weeks time. The simple fact is if you are already registered to vote then you do not need to do anything else at this time. You can vote in the referendum.

If you have not registered, and you want to vote in the EU Referendum, you need to register to vote by Tuesday, 7 June. If you do not, you cannot vote.

If you have not yet registered to vote, then you can apply online HERE . You can also use this website to check whether you are on the electoral register, update your name, address or other details or arrange to vote in person or by post. The process usually takes about five minutes to complete.

I know that some people have been confused by the information being sent out nationally and think they need to specifically register to vote in the EU Referendum. You do not.

If you are a British, Irish or Commonwealth citizen and registered to vote in local government and/or parliamentary elections you will be able to vote in the Referendum.

The confusion surrounding ‘can I vote’ has led to nine out of ten applications received at Cornwall Council over the past few weeks have been from people who are already on the electoral register.

This has led to an enormous increase in the workload of the elections staff who have to write to each one of these duplicate applicants to let them know they do not need to apply again.

However, there are still around 14,000 people in Cornwall who have not returned their application forms, despite numerous reminders from the Council’s elections team.

When the revised electoral register for Cornwall was published in December 2015, there were 396,474 voters on the register. This number increased by nearly 18,000 to 414,461 in time for the Police and Crime Commissioner elections.

With the intense publicity around the EU Referendum it has led to a further flurry of applications to the Council’s elections service over the past few weeks from people wanting to register to vote. As of this week the number of people on the electoral register is 415,645.

For more information on the European Union Referendum.

School term time absence, the High Court and Cornwall.

Following the recent High Court decision over penalty notices I wanted to share my views on the issue and explain the situation in Cornwall.

The recent High Court case between the Isle of Wight and Mr Platt centred on the issue of ‘reasonable attendance’ and whether the father had failed in his duty to ensure regular school attendance (under section 7 of Education Act 1996). As he was able to show that his daughter had a 93% attendance rate at the time the FPN was issued, with a 100% attendance rate before then, this was accepted by the court and the case was thrown out.

This judgement was supported by another case in Swindon, where the court ruled the parents had not failed in their duty, as their child had achieved regular attendance over a 6 month period. This was despite the fact that the child’s attendance level over the three-period used as the basis for the prosecution was 87%.

As I have said previously, Head teachers decide whether to issue a penalty notice – not the Council. Head teachers are also responsible for deciding on whether to authorise term time leave.

A FPN is only issued when certain criteria is met. The Council issues FPN on behalf of schools – this helps ensure that the criteria for issuing penalty notices is applied consistently and fairly across Cornwall.  It is also the Council which takes a case to court of parents fail to pay a fine.

We have historically taken a pragmatic approach to this issue. Where some local South West authorities have issued over 1600 fixed penalty notices since 2013 we have issued a total of 63 FPN.  11 of these were subsequently withdrawn.

During 2015/16, only 35 of the 51 notices issued were for so called “holiday absence”.  The increase followed a review of our Code of Conduct policy following a request by some schools which had experienced parents taking their child out of school in the summer term and then again in the autumn term.

Our previous Code of Conduct required at least 20 unauthorised absences (10 days) within one academic year, providing the parent has been warned within that year or had a prior offence. The new Code now requires 10 unauthorised session absences (5 days) within 100 sessions (10 weeks), but the warning / prior offence should be within a calendar year.

A key issue is that the courts base their judgement on the legislation, not on our Code of Conduct or on our definition of low attendance.  The Government talks about a 90% figure but this is not set in law. The courts have the final decision on what is classed as low attendance and, therefore, whether a parent has failed in their duty under Section 7.

Our Code of Conduct ensures that over a period of 100 sessions, a child would have attained only 90% or less attendance to meet the threshold for issuing a FPN. We also ask schools to submit attendance data for two terms prior to the offence, so we can be sure that the fixed penalty notice would not be issued against a parent whose child normally attends perfectly well.

We advise schools to treat such cases as first offences and to warn parents before taking the case to court. If we do go to court, we would provide evidence of up to 6 months of attendance to demonstrate failure in their duty over a longer period.

The Government says it is now going to change the law.  I see this as a knee-jerk reaction in a case where Mr Platt had proved in court that he had not failed in his duty under section 7.

We all know children should attend school. However, there are perfectly valid reasons as why to it might be in the best interest of the child to be granted leave in term time, which a head teacher can allow.

We have a fair and balanced policy in Cornwall and always try and work with parents before issuing penalty notices or going to court.  But we will use these options if we need to.

The new Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Porthleven 

Porthleven Town Council has elected its Mayor and Deputy Mayor for the 2016/17 civic year. The new Mayor of Porthleven is Barbara Powell (who was deputy for the last two years, and yours truly has the honour to be the Deputy Mayor of Porthleven.

The new Mayor said on her election to office: I feel very privileged to have been elected mayor of Porthleven. It all seems rather unreal but I will work hard for our little town. I want to include everyone in caring and improving where we live making it the thriving community that it is, a wonderful place to live.

Furthermore, Barbara said she will rely on Daniel William’s good sense and support and experience of being mayor.  Having Andrew Wallis as my deputy will be a great asset as he also brings being a County Councillor to the job. Thank you to the town Councillors who elected me, for their wide range of skills and good humour they bring to the monthly council meetings.

I am very grateful to Members of Porthleven Town Council for having faith in me and electing me to the office of Deputy Mayor of Porthleven. I very much look forward to supporting Barbara Powell, as Mayor of Porthleven in the coming year. I must pay tribute to Daniel Williams who has led Porthleven Town Council for the last two years. He has carried out this role brilliantly, and has raised the profile of Porthleven both near and far during his term of office.

 

Cornwall Council re-affirms its commitment to the Armed Forces Cornwall Community Covenant

Yesterday, Cornwall Council held a special ceremony to re-affirm and improve the Council’s commitment to the Armed Forces Cornwall Community Covenant.

The Covenant is a voluntary statement of mutual support between the civilian community and its local Armed Forces Community, the Community Covenant is intended to complement the Armed Forces Covenant, which outlines the moral obligation between the Nation, the Government and the Armed Forces, at a local level.

The Leader of Cornwall Council, John Pollard asked me if I would become the Council’s Armed Forces Lead Member. Which I was honoured to take up. As an Armed Forces veteran myself, I wholeheartedly welcome Cornwall Council’s commitment to The Covenant with the re-pledging ceremony.

The ceremony was attended by the Leader of Cornwall Council; Rear Admiral Alastair Ross CB, CBE – Chairman of SSAFA Cornwall;  Steve Lewis – Chairman of the Royal British Legion Cornwall; Commander Ian Fitter – RNAS Culdrose; Commander Sean Brady- HMS Raleigh and Wing Commander Guy Bazalgette – RAF St Mawgan.

Military Declaration Signing 2016-8

Back row L-R Rear Admiral Alastair Ross CB, CBE Chairman of SSAFA Cornwall; Steve Lewis – Chairman of the Royal British Legion Cornwall ; Andrew Wallis – Cabinet Member for Young People and Armed Forces Lead Member and Commander Ian Fitter – RNAS Culdrose Front Row L-R -Commander Sean Brady – HMS Raleigh; John Pollard – Leader of Cornwall Council and Wing Commander Guy Bazalgette – RAF St Mawgan

The purpose of the Cornwall Community Covenant is to encourage support for the Armed Forces Community working and residing in Cornwall and to recognise and remember the sacrifices made by members of the Armed Forces Community which includes serving and former armed forces personnel, veterans, their families, widows and widowers in Cornwall.

From this re-affirming ceremony, and working with the Armed Forces, RBL and SAAFA we will make sure no service person, their family, or those veterans will be put at a disadvantage. This is the least we can do to recognise contribution to our Nation.

Me signing the Military Declaration Signing 2016-7

 

Porthleven and Helston to get major road resurfacing in the next few months

You will be pleased to know, Porthleven and Helston is set to have major road surfacing, patching and surface dressing works starting this month and should be completed in a few months. Porthleven is not the only area (whole Duchy) which is receiving this work. Hence, why it is taking a few month to complete.

This will result in some roads being closed, or restricted us. I hope you understand why.

The roads in questions will be:

  • Penponds Road Porthleven Porthleven  – full length of road will be affected;
  • Mill Close Porthleven Porthleven – full length of road will be affected;
  • Loe  BarRoad Porthleven Porthleven – from The Car Park next to Dolphin Cottage, to outside Sea Pinks;
  • Road From Torleven Road To Squires Lane Porthleven – full length of road will be affected;
  • Penrose Hill Porthleven –  Porthleven/Helston – full length of road will be affected;
  • B3304 Between Porthleven Road And Penrose Hill Penrose Porthleven/ Helston – full length of road will be affected;
  • Porthleven Road Helston Porthleven/Helston – full length of road will be affected

In Helston roads that will be affected are:

  • Godolphin Road Helston Helston From The Junction With Clodgey Lane to its junction with Shute Hill
  • Wendron Street Helston Helston – full length of road will be affected
  • Penzance Road Helston Helston From Outside Kingdom Hall to the Junction with Porthleven Road
  • St Johns Road Helston Helston Affected Road: At the junction with Penzance Road
  • Penview Crescent Helston Helston full length of road will be affected

 

 

 

We are asking for parent’s difficult to answer questions about sex!

Cornwall Council via its Public Health Team is asking parents and carers to send in those difficult questions they worry their children will ask about relationships, sex and growing up.

The Sexual Health and Teenage Pregnancy Team have made an online resource for parents that will help them to answer the questions you may struggle with answering. Rather than saying “go and ask your mum”, or “that’s one for your dad to answer”, or even “Google it”, the team want to help you talk about relationships, sex and growing up in an age appropriate way.

Evidence shows that children and young people who have on-going and open conversations at home with their parents about relationships and sexual health initiate sex at an older age, have less sex during their teenage years and use condoms more consistently than their peers. It is very hard to control the flow of information into our children’s lives…. We need to make sure they are getting the right information from us.

Young people tell us time and again, they want to talk to reliable adults about relationship, sexual health and growing up. This is why we want to support parents to be positive and confident sources of relationships and sex education for their children.

A short video has been produced for social media – showing some examples of difficult questions, and encouraging parents to submit their own using an anonymous form. The more questions the team receive the better the resource they will be able to create.

Film below (please have the sound on):

Difficult questions from Cornwall Council on Vimeo.

 

For me, I am fully supportive issues like this are being highlighted. It is really important that we speak honestly to our children about relationships and sexual health in an age appropriate way whenever they ask. Fobbing them off or dodging the questions will only create more difficult issues to deal with as they get older. I know I have had those difficult questions asked, and have after the initial shock, have sat down with my son and talked about it.

Furthermore, we have reduced our teenage pregnancy rate in Cornwall by more than half since the national reduction strategy began, and we want to ensure that we continue a downward trend.

As parents we can often be caught off guard by our children’s inquisitive nature.  But, if we get this right from a young age, by encouraging our children to come to us as a reliable source of information we are establishing great building blocks for their future. If parents do not answer their children’s questions they may turn to a far less reliable source.

Talking about sex does not encourage young people to have it either! Not talking about sex means young people have to find things out from sometimes far less desirable sources. It is very hard to control the flow of information into our children’s lives…. We need to make sure they are getting the right information from us.

Young people tell us time and again, they want to talk to reliable adults about relationship, sexual health and growing up

Parents can submit the difficult to answer questions they’ve been asked, or are worried they might be asked, online at www.cornwall.gov.uk/teenagepregnancy

Studies have found:

  • Young people who talk to their parents were more likely to wait longer before having sex.
  • Young people who had recently had a ‘good talk’ with a parent about sexual health were twice more likely to use condoms than those who hadn’t.
  • People who have conversations with parents about sexual health are more likely to use contraception every time they have sex.
  • People who said school and parents were their two main sources of information about sex are less likely to have unsafe sex and less likely to be diagnosed with an STI.

Whilst most parents and carers want to be a good source of relationship and sex education, many admit that they are not talking to their children. This can be for many reasons such as embarrassment or simply not knowing what to say. Likewise young people say they want to have these very important conversations with their parents and carers but often don’t know how to initiate them and so look for information from less reliable sources such as the internet or friends.

We want to support parents so they not only have the knowledge and confidence to answer those difficult questions but to raise the subjects in the first place. Supporting parents to be positive sources of relationship and sexual health is vital to supporting children and young people to develop into healthy, happy individuals.

If Young People are able to have difficult conversations at home with their parents, it enables them to build the skills they need to have good communication with their partners about relationship and sexual health in later life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The office for the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cornwall and Devon stays Blue.

The Police and Crime Commissioner elections are now done and dusted. The turnout for this election was just over 22%, which in my opinion is a pretty poor turnout for such and important role. However, it was an improvement from the previous election.

After the first round of counting, the total number of valid first preference votes cast for each of the candidates is as follows:

Name  Description of Candidate  Votes
DERRICK Gareth Gwyn James Labour Party Candidate 66,519
HERNANDEZ Alison Selina The Conservative Party Candidate 69,354
MORRIS William Independent 22,395
SMITH Jonathan Leslie UK Independence Party (UKIP) 49,659
SPENCER Bob Independent 41,382
YOUNGER-ROSS Richard Alan Liberal Democrats 35,154
The number of ballot papers rejected at the first count is as follows:
Want of an official mark 1
Voting for more than one candidate as to the first preference vote 3,375
Writing or mark by which the voter could be identified 10
Unmarked as to the first preference vote 2,961
Void for uncertainty as to the first preference vote 3,183
Total rejected papers at the first count 9,530
The total number of ballot papers verified is 294,120
The turnout of the election is 22.80%

No candidate received more than 50% of the valid first preference votes. A count therefore needed to be undertaken using the second preference votes for the candidates who are not eliminated from the contest.

This left two candidates in the running to become the Police and Crime Commissioner. There were Labour’s Gareth Derrick and the Tory candidate Alison Hernandez.

The total number of valid second preference votes cast for each of the remaining candidates are shown below:

Name  Description of Candidate  Votes
DERRICK Gareth Gwyn James Labour Party Candidate 20,723
HERNANDEZ Alison Selina The Conservative Party Candidate 21,682
The number of ballot papers rejected at the second count is as follows:
Want of an official mark 0
Voting for more than one candidate as to the second preference vote 161
Writing or mark by which the voter could be identified 0
Unmarked as to the second preference vote 20,249
Void for uncertainty as to the second preference vote 816
Total rejected papers at the second count 21,326

From this, the first and second preferences are added together. As follows:

The total number of valid first and second preference votes cast for each of the remaining candidates is as follows:
Candidate First preferences Second preferences Total
DERRICK Gareth Gwyn James 66,519 20,723 87,242
HERNANDEZ Alison Selina 69,354 21,682 91,036

Therefore, the new Police and Crime Commissioner for Cornwall and Devon is Alison Hernandez. Exeter City Council details.

Alison

The Cornish Guardian has run a story on Alison’s ‘five pledges’

  1. To work as a team with MPs and the Government to get the best funding deal for the people of Devon and Cornwall. The way Government decides how much each force should get is being reviewed. So it is vital we put a strong case for the challenges of our large geography with urban, rural and coastal aspects, along with the influx of visitors during the summer.
  2. Put policing at the heart of communities both on our streets and online.

(a) Safety on our streets: A visible uniformed presence will never be lost during my term of office. It’s so important to respect the diversity of our communities and ensure they receive the policing they need. There is a lot of innovation in Cornwall from working with the other emergency services to greater effect such as the pilot in Hayle. This tri-service station where Police, Fire and Ambulance work as one could be expanded. I’m impressed with the Newquay Safe model and how that can work in other places along with the Streetnet scheme which helps to cascade information about incidences to individual streets.

(b) Safety online: I’m planning to develop policing online specially to protect the young from cyber bullying and online grooming. I want there to be an opportunity to chat to a Police Officer while online. Businesses told me cyber crime was their number one concern when I toured the Royal Cornwall Showground in March and when I visited many towns in Cornwall and they wanted help to learn more how to protect themselves.

  1. Support those affected by crime: victims, witnesses, businesses and the most vulnerable in our community need to be able to better access the Police and supported to put their lives back on track. Victim care is the responsibility of the PCC and I will ensure a strong focus on this. I aim to expand the Safe Place Scheme for people with learning disabilities and the Purple Angel Scheme for people affected by dementia. Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly will become known as THE Safe Place to live, work and visit. I will produce a Business Crime Action Plan to better support those who contribute greatly to our community and encourage better practice for keeping employees and customers safe too. I aim to hot desk in high crime areas, support the expansion of Neighbourhood Health Watch (www.neighbourhoodhealthwatch.org.uk) , safeguard children and young people in need and develop a better way to help those with mental health issues.
  • Improve crime reporting, especially 101. Waiting up to 45 minutes is unacceptable. I know work has started, one of which is the introduction of a new email to contact the team 101@dc.police.uk.

  • Review Police Station closures so that people don’t feel abandoned. Again working with the other emergency services is key for this. I want to see how we can maintain the equivalent of a Police Station front desk in some form in every community that wants or needs one. This could be within a partner agency’s premises or even a local business.

  • Though, it is not all celebration for Alison. As the BBC has run a story on calls she should stand aside’ over expenses probe in the recent General Election.

     

     

     

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