Porthleven Shipyard Application is defered for a site meeting

Today, Cornwall Council’s West Planning Committee met to discuss the controversial Shipyard Application. The Planning Officers recommendation was for approval. Yet this does not mean it automatically gets approved.

Speaking and objecting at the meeting were Porthleven Town Council and the Porthleven Fishermen’s Association. I also spoke against too. Mr Osborne was there speaking for the application.In a breath-taking moment of hypocrisy, Mr Osborne open his speech complaining about the use of social media and how that had been used against this application. Yet there was no mention, or more importantly, an apology or acknowledgement of his own staff inventing fake personas and granny on social media. It was like it did not happen.

In addressing the committee I reiterated the objection from the Fishermen’s Association  and highlighted this application had 120 objections from the community. The town council also strongly objects.

The people of Porthleven accept change will happen, but this change has to be sympathetic to our history, culture and environment. This building is not sympathetic to those important factors.

There is a statutory duty to preserve and enhance Conservation Areas that are designated under s.69 of the Act. This build does not comply with those documents. This area’s designation has the highest protection in terms of the adopted 2010 Management Appraisal for Porthleven and Local Plan (National Policy).

This application does not uphold those principles; as the building’s location, scale, form and design would fail to preserve or enhance the character and appearance Conservation Area.

This building does not comply with Cornwall Council’s own Maritime Strategy. From sections A to G, this building undermines this very Strategy. For example:

  • Protect the waterfront land
  • Maximise the opportunities for supporting and promoting sustainable local fisheries and aquaculture – you have heard from the fishermen and boat owners how this building will harm their operations
  • Improve functional connectivity between land and sea. This build blocks this connectivity
  • Maintain and enhance the distinctive character and settings of local coastal villages and ports

This building would also adversely impact upon the appreciation of other heritage assets, such as the church and the  landscape for future generations from prominent public viewpoints. As my picture of before and after will show

This important part of Porthleven will be eroded by this building, which is designed in a clumsy, bulky mass, will dominate Porthleven and will undermine the historic integrity of historic port forever. It is not like you can remove the building once you find it really harms the area.

During the meeting a committee member, Cllr Coad recommended refusal but then complicated matters by saying he liked the building. The planning officer explained to the Councillor you cannot refuse an application, but like it.

This opened up another round of debate and the committee settled on having a site meeting to look at the impact of this building first-hand. I see this as a positive move as it will show the committee the real impact of this building.

The date for this site meeting has not yet been confirmed. However, as this is a public meeting, member of the public are allowed to attend and give their views to the committee. After the site meeting, this application is reheard at the planning committee where they will make – hopefully – a decision of whether this should be approved or refused.

For those who have yet commented on the application, you can still and if you feel strongly about this, you need to make representation.

Lastly, special thanks should go to Councillors Martin and Duffin who were quite vocal on this application not being good for Porthleven. Thank you.

 

Staff at the Osborne Property Group create fake Gran stories and Facebook profile to influence planning

As a seasoned Councillor who has held public office for over ten-years, you totally accept people do not always agree with a stance you have to take when carrying out your duties. I totally respect the views of others who do not share mine. But at the end of the day, I make decisions on what is in the best interests of the area I represent by looking at all the evidence from all sides. It is only then I take a viewpoint and cast a vote. As the old saying goes, you cannot please all the people all of the time.

I always believe if you have something to say, put your name to it when you say it. However, with the advent of social media and its mainstream use, I have witnessed many online comments, including on my own social media accounts of people using aliases.

It has therefore saddened me that I have been professionally attacked, my position has tried to be undermined by member(s) of staff of the Osborne Group using fake accounts.

A senior member of The Osborne Group was this weekend caught or should I say outed of using a false internet persona trying to attack me, and in the process deceiving numerous Porthleven residents. The staff member in question, Miss Pace is described on The Osborne Group’s website as Development Coordinator on a number of projects across the UK including Cornwall and is clearly one of 6 leading members of their team, working closely with Mr Osborne.

Miss Sam Pace set-up a fake account called Maxwell Holbourne-Chartres to attack me personally and professionally. This fake account has been used previously to attack me on a different subject too. So they cannot claim it’s a single use. It was only when I publicly outed them did Miss Pace come ‘clean’ on her actions.

What is worse is the fake account claimed to have a lonely gran living in Porthleven. Miss Pace even said her gran was a former net maker and would be willing to give her memories a project that is capturing our rich history. They even asked if their gran could write a supporting letter to planning. This raises a serious question of are there other fake letters of support submitted to the planning authority?

Resident of Porthleven are a caring bunch and when ‘Maxwell Holbourne-Chartres’ or should we say Miss Pace said ‘his’ gran was lonely in the town, people rallied to offer support and help. Yet this was a lie. As there was no such gran; nor did they a come from Porthleven.

In what I can guess is a legalised damage limitation exercise, posted after being ousted, Miss Pace said

“I regret to say that I posted comments on FB in a friend’s name. This was a serious error of judgement on my part, although I absolutely stand by the comments made in their entirety. This post was made in a personal capacity, not as an employee of The Osborne Group

”.

However, Miss Pace has not apologised to me or more shamefully to the public they tried to dupe with their fake gran story to gather more sympathy and credence to their story. Furthermore, they have not apologised for setting up a fake account and ‘trolling’ myself and members of the community. In fact, Miss Pace’s statement doesn’t actually apologise. Interestingly, this fake account was deleted soon after the outing

It gets worse, as after outing Miss Pace, I examined other comments and I easily found out that other comments have been made by PR companies. I know those PR companies have connection to the Osborne Group. As I said before, I respect other people’s views, but to me this looks like a more orchestrated attempted at undermining the democratic process I have been elected to do.

The owner of the Osborne Group, Mr Osborne said in a recent press article that

“All I would ask for is feedback to me, and others, is constructive and fair. In particular, I hope that Andrew Wallis remains objective and professional in his role as Town Councillor’

I wish the same could be said for member(s) of Mr Osborne’s staff who have used unprofessional and deceitful actions to undermine someone’s viewpoint. Mr Osborne has even called me ‘hysterical’ when I rise legitimate issues of his company of breaking the law.

I have always have remained professional and objective in all manners of this and other applications. I have been totally fair and constructive, but in my view this Shipyard application is not in the best interested of Porthleven. I have come to this conclusion by examining all the information and evidence.  I therefore will, and have the right to make representations, comments both on and off-line on this application. I will also be making comments to this application at the forthcoming planning committee.

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The Ego has Landed – the Porthleven Shipyard Building – Progress or Folly?

The new building being proposed for the Shipyard in Porthleven has split public opinion, As if you look at the number of objections and supporters on Cornwall Council’s planning portal there are 27 objections and 26 supporting the application – details can be found HERE. It is important to note, it is not too late to make comment.

The current view

This building will change Porthleven. I firmly believe this change will not be for the better. The building is huge, it will dominate the area, and will have a very negative impact on the very fabric which makes Porthleven Harbour so special.

In trying to defend this huge building, the applicant, Mr. Osborne says this building only takes up 7.8% of the overall Shipyard. This is wholly misleading, as much of the shipyard is already developed, cannot be developed due to restrictions by South West Water or is used by existing businesses. Therefore its impact is far greater than if it was an open space. The development is a substantially higher proportion of the actual free space in The Shipyard.

In previous blog posts I highlighted just how big this building will be. I measured out the site and showed the height – in a rather crude way – but it did nonetheless show just how big this building will be. I have now commissioned an architect  to draw me the building in scale, using the measurements and elevations in the submitted plans to show the true impact of this building. It is massive and blots out St. Barts.

Now you have seen the building institu (colours might not be 100% accurate) is this something you really want? If you do not want to see this built, you need to make comment to Cornwall Council.

The application number is PA17/00573. You can make comment by emailing planning@cornwall.gov.uk quoting the planning reference in the title. Or using the online portal to make comments. This can be found HERE 

One of the issues with this plan is the serious lack of parking provision on this site. Anyone will know parking spaces are at a premium in Porthleven. The car park nearest the harbour is well used and full during many parts of the year. Plus, it is a known fact commuters will not pay for parking daily and will seek to park elsewhere for free.

Mr Osborne’s response to mitigate the lack of parking is he will build a new car park at Tolponds. However, this fictional car park is over half a mile away; has no formal planning application, or even an application submitted for a car park. Or even a guarantee it will even be built.

Furthermore there is no guarantee any planning application would be granted. You cannot base one planning application on another that has not even been submitted or granted to mitigate against this large and wholly inappropriate building that will have long lasting consequences on the fabric of what makes Porthleven so special.

If somehow all the hurdles of a car park application are overcome, it would also need substantial and costly highways improvement to make pedestrians safe. As the road linking the car park and the settlement is a 60mph zone and there is no pathway linking it to the main settlement of Porthleven – just road. It is inconceivable pedestrians would use this car park as it would not be safe to walk to and from it. Therefore, this car park cannot be used a mitigating factor on the lack of parking facility in the Shipyard.

If this building is built, it is the end of the Shipyard, there is no real way back for it. The next question is where do the boats go? Yes, Mr Osborne has a plan, and that is to use the ‘new car park’ for boats. This raises an interesting point. Is this a car park to mitigate the lack of parking in the building proposal or the removal of well used and needed boat storage and maintenance? To accommodate both, this car park will need to be massive, far bigger than the land available along Tolponds.

In an idea to link the car park and town Mr Osborne suggested a scheme like Boris’ Bikes in London. This cannot be taken as a serious mitigating factor as this type of facility could not be accessible to all. For instance, those with disabilities, young children and older people would find it difficult and people would be unlikely to use this if there was a charge.

Would every visitor to Porthleven have to bring cycle helmets and high-vis clothing, or would this be supplied too? Think of the danger posed by hundreds of inexperienced cyclists on this already busy, fast and totally unsuitable road. It is a recipe for a tragic incident

I urge people to act now before it is too late and make their views known. Otherwise ‘Project Porthleven’ will happen and we will have to live with many monstrous buildings -like the building proposed on Shute Lane – which will change Porthleven forever. I am all for progress, but this progress should not be down to one persons vision – who lives elsewhere too.

 

 

Porthleven Torchlight Procession 2017

No matter how many times I see Torchlight, it fills me with the same pleasure and delight as I did when I first saw it take place. It is truly a great community event that is shared by both residents and visitors alike.

Getting ready for the off

The procession heading down from Gibson Way

This event is organised by the Porthleven Community Group and its small committee. However, the event would not be the success it is without the fine support from Porthleven Town Band, the Town Warden, volunteer marshals from the town council, residents and Cober Valley Rotary Club. Thanks also must go to Porthleven Town Council and Coastline Housing for their grants to keep this event running. 

A massive thanks goes to those who took part, either in the procession or turned out to watch the procession weave its way through Porthleven.

For me it was great being involved as one of the committee members, but leading the procession as the Mayor. A great honour.

Action to be taken against yellow lines on Commercial Road, Porthleven

Let’s be clear, this is not about whether there should or should not be yellow lines on Commercial Road, Porthleven. This issue is about the a lawful process of placing parking restriction and a proper consultation via a Traffic Regulation Order. Here is the previous blog HERE

This would have given the public and official bodies such as Highways the ability of discussing the merits and disadvantages of placing lines along this stretch of road. From this, if there was a requirement of placing parking restrictions along this stretch of road, it would have been done legally and with the proper process and then enforceable.

No-matter who you are, you have to follow the law and people do not have the right to just paint yellow lines wherever they think they can. We have rules for a reason.

In discussing this issue with Highways and Cornwall Council’s legal department and because there has been a clear breach of the law, Cornwall Council is taking action against the Harbour and Dock Company. This is something I welcome.

Cornwall Council has written to Harbour and Dock clearly pointing out the legal breach under Section 132 of the Highways Act 1980. It has given Harbour and Dock two options.

The first is make a formal application for a TRO to regulate, if appropriate, the yellow lines currently in place. This application will ensure that all the relevant aspects of traffic management are considered and provide the opportunity for the public to make representations. The Harbour and Dock Company has one month to comply and submit an application.

The second option is if the Harbour and Dock fails to submit an application for a TRO, then the Highways Authority will remove the unauthorised lines and recover the costs of doing so from Harbour and Dock.

I believe this is a sensible way forward and one that I very much welcome. This could all have been avoided if the proper process was followed…

It should be noted that placing parking restrictions on a stretch of highways doesn’t necessarily stop parking for a couple of reasons.

Those with Blue Badges can park on double yellow lines for up to three hours (so you just replace parked cars with another type of parked car). If you ‘double clip’ a yellow line which means no parking at any time, you do stop parking, but you also stop any delivery vehicle stopping to unload/load as it is an offence and will result in an instant parking ticket. To overcome this, you then need a loading bay. As you can see, placing parking restrictions without proper thought, just causes more problems.

 

Help for those businesses who saw a large hike in rates

I know a number of businesses in Porthleven and the surrounding area saw some eye-watering increases in Business Rates after the Valuation Office Agency (part of HMRC) reviewed the current tariffs. In a process that is little better than rolling a dice and multiplying the figure by that number thrown, the method of justifying an increase is if an area is successful in terms of shop space demand, and doing well, then the Valuation Office Agency can charge more. 

In combating these hikes, I am pleased to say Cornwall Council is going to use a £2.72 million business rate relief fund to help as many businesses as possible. This funding is Cornwall’s share of a national business rate relief fund announced in the March Budget to support businesses facing a steep rise in their rates as a result of the 2017 revaluation

It has been agreed to assist all businesses with a rateable value of less than £200,000 whose business rates have increased by more than 12.5% following the revaluation. This will provide 50% discretionary rate relief on the increase in rates in 2017/18, decreasing over the following three years on a pro rata basis as funding is reduced. The scheme is expected to help 875 businesses.

Qualifying businesses will see the relief awarded against their gross bull after any other reductions have been taken into account. My suggestion would be for anyone who believes they should get this help is to contact Cornwall Council’s Business Rates dept.

 

 

Proof of ownership requested by the Harbour and Dock Company for the Moors Playing Field

At last nights town council meeting during the Mayor’s report, the town council were informed and updated on a situation that has arose in reference to the Moors Playing Field (aka Bottom Park).

Porthleven Town Council has received a letter from the Harbour and Dock Company (H&D) informing the council that a caution has been lodged with Land Registry by the H&D against the Moors Playing Field.

The caution is as follows:

“Is to establish quite clearly that it is the Porthleven Harbour & Dock Company which has the benefit of the restrictive covenants and also rights of access over the property”.

Furthermore, the Council has received a request from the Harbour and Dock Company for proof of tenure/ownership of the Moors.

In consultation with the town clerk, this matter has been handed to the Council’s solicitor who will advise on the best course of action and a report will come back to the September meeting of the Council.

In the documents held by the town council and previous legal advice it is clear the town council are the rightful legal trustees of the Moors Playing Field

Below is a map of the area.

Helston Library is set to move temporarily

As many will know, the future of libraries and One Stop Shops (OSS) in Cornwall has been well debated with many being taken on by local town councils. In Helston’s case, I and my other two former Cornwall Councillors, Judith and Phil, with support of the other local members in the Community Network Area fought hard to make sure all out services stayed open.

The good news for Helston and the surrounding are is the OOS, Library and DWP office would relocate under one roof in a refurbished Helston Library. Therefore, safeguarding future services which have been under immense pressure from cuts in funding. Readers can remind themselves HERE.

However, before that refurbishment can take place, Helston Library has to temporarily relocate to the OSS at Isaac House. Helston Library will therefore be moving to Isaac House on the 16th and 17th of August and will be open for business on the 18th of August.

The opening hours from Monday 21st August will be:

  • Monday, Wednesday and Friday – 9:30am till 5pm
  • Tuesday and Thursday – closed
  • Saturday – 10am – 1pm

I have been informed the new co-located services will be open to the public by the end of November.

 

HRH The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall to visit Porthleven on Wednesday 19th

In the last week or so, there has been a rumour that HRH the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall will be visiting Porthleven. I can officially confirm today, that this rumour is indeed true, and Porthleven will have the honour of hosting the royal party on the morning of Wednesday 19th July.

This visit has been in the planning for many months will lots to organise. I want to thank the staff at Cornwall’s Lord Lieutenancy office and Clarence House for all they have done to make this visit possible. Also to Cornwall Council for swiftly granting the road closures. Thanks to the Police too for all they have done. 

During the visit, The Duke and Duchess will be introduced to many groups in Porthleven including the Porthleven Lights Committee, the RNLI, Porthleven Fishermen’s Association, Porthleven Community Group, the people behind the very successful Great Baulk Auction, the Gig Club, Porthleven CIC, the Porthleven Coastguards, the town council and its town warden. I know not every group in Porthleven can be introduced to the royal party, but everyone can come and see the visit take place.

Porthleven School’s Signing Choir will also be performing in front of the Duke and Duchess. Liaising with the head-teacher of Porthleven School, all the remaining school children will be able to come down and see the visit take place. The town council has bought every child a flag, both Cornish and the Union Flag.

For security reasons, I am not allowed to confirm the official time they will be arriving, but anyone who wants to see the royal couple will need to be near Commercial Rd and the Harbour Head/Fore Street by 9:30 am. There will be a road closure in place from 9am till 12 noon on Commercial Rd, Fore Street and Harbour Head part of the B3304

This is a great honour for Porthleven to receive this royal visit. I am sure the residents of Porthleven will give the Duke and Duchess a warm Porthleven welcome.

The legality of the Yellow Lines on Commercial Rd, Porthleven

The recent changes and the introduction of Yellow Lines to Commercial Rd, Porthleven are leaving residents and visitors confused and annoyed. Therefore, I want to clarify the legality of those lines.

In simple terms, the Yellow Lines on Commercial Rd are not legal, and have no legal standing and no enforcement can take place by official Civil Enforcement Officers, the Police, or anyone else.

To make Yellow Line legal, a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) has to be undertaken. This is subject to a full public consultation, and only after that, and the work has been deemed necessary, a TRO can be made law and enforceable.

Commercial Rd is a private road, but under Highways legislation, it has full public access both pedestrian and vehicular. Therefore, the owner of the said land cannot just do anything and any changes like adding Yellow Lines have to follow legislation.

Harbour and Dock have been advised by myself and Cornwall Council of the correct procedures; with the latter saying no such work should take place until the proper processes have been undertaken. In fact, Highways wrote to the Harbour and Dock asking for all work to stop until this matter had been resolved legally. The Harbour and Dock ignored this advice.

I have been speaking to Highways on this matter for several weeks and only last Friday, they still were not happy with the work that has been undertaken. If the Harbour and Dock had engaged with the statutory highways agency, they would have advised the best course of action which would have avoided the chaos that is now happening along this road. Pedestrian and vehicle safety could have been improved by doing this properly.

Of course, the Council can take legal action against the Harbour and Dock, but this would cost tax-payers a considerable amount of money.

Summing this up, a person can park their vehicle on this stretch of road and no enforcement will be undertaken. Of course all other Yellow Lines in Porthleven are legal – just to stop anyone thinking it invalidates all other lines. Enforcement officers has been informed too.

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