Coronation Park transferred to South Kerrier Alliance

The official transfer of Helston’s Coronation Park to South Kerrier Alliance (SKA) has finally happened. I started this project near five-years ago when I felt this area would be better if it was run and managed more locally. It has been a bumpy road, but one that has been worth it.

SKA will take on a 99-year lease of the park from Cornwall Council with the Council contributing £109,000 towards capital works improvements.

This is not the only money has received as the SKA is also be supported by funding from the Helston Downsland Charity and grant monies of £81,447 from West Cornwall Local Action Group through the LEADER programme. With additional money pledged directly by SKA, this will create a £300,000 investment fund for the Park.

 

This £300,000 will be spent on improving the boating lake, paths, play park and general repairs as well as making a significant contribution towards a new skate park. Additional funds will be needed to fully replace the Park’s skate equipment but the SKA team is confident that with help from the community a new skate park could be up and running before the end of 2018.

The Gang who have all made it possible – Maxine Hardy (Cornwall Council), Me, Vicki Mathews (SKA) Tim Grattan-Kane (Downsland Trust), David Turnball (SKA) and Julian Rand (WLAG Leader).

I am very happy SKA will be running this site from now on. They have some exciting plans for this area that will make this area the jewel is deserves to be. We all know the areas is in need of refurbishment and with the SKA in control, there are more funding opportunities open to them than if it was a Cornwall Council asset.

I have to finish by saying thank you to everyone who has made this happen. It has been a long road from start to finish, but I am glad we are finally here with the official hand-over to SKA.

Public Meeting with Derek Thomas MP

On Saturday, the Derek Thomas MP held a public meeting at Out of the Blue. I was invited as Mayor and Cornwall Councillor.

This was an open meeting with any subject up for grabs. However, the vast majority of the meetings was about parking and traffic in Porthleven. To be clear, there is no silver bullet that will solve all the issues or meet with everyone’s expectation. But some sort of solution needs to be found. And any solution will not happen overnight either.

Any solution has to be holistic; as there is no point in just addressing one or two streets as this just pushes the problem onto another street. Furthermore, it is no good just putting yellow lines down without proper enforcement. As people will soon ignore any restriction like they currently do.

Finally no amount of lines will address people’s inconsiderate attitude of ‘who cares where I park’. In truth many of Porthleven’s parking and traffic problems will be solved by people being more considerate and actually thinking of where and how they park, rather than abandoning their car like they are a get-away-driver.

Moving this issue(s) forward, I will be organising along with my fellow Town Councillors a drop in session at the Public Hall where people can give their views on what they would like to be done, including adding/removal of yellow lines, other parking restrictions and looking into the cost of employing a dedicated parking enforcement officer to name but a few areas. This meeting will take place before the 1st week of July subject to room availability.

From this the views will be collated and the town council will invite officers from Cornwall Council’s Highway Dept to see which options can be taken forward and included in a Traffic Regulation Order.

I would like to thank Derek for his time on Saturday as he has offered all the help he can do in solving these issues. Thanks also to my fellow town Councillors for attending (and the mountain of work this will entail) and for the 25 or so residents who took the time to attend this meeting.

Details on this meeting including the location will be published once they are finalised.

Ducks take to the water in the annual Porthleven Duck Race

The Porthleven Duck Race now in its 4th year is firmly in the calendar of events that takes place in Porthleven. The aim is to have lots of fun seeing homemade ducks take to the water in both children and adult races and raise a little money for a worthy cause.

It starts a week before the race where people come to the public hall to make their ducks. There is one rule, the duck has to be homemade. The rest is up to a persons imagination and artistic skill.

From construction it is off to the races the following week.

Not only are there prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the children’s and adults races, but for the best dressed duck. The latter is always hard as being Mayor too, you have to pick one out of so many!

As a reward for this, and by tradition, the Mayor gets their own personal duck to race. A highlight in your term of office.

This year’s charity for the event was Cornwall Air Ambulance. The event is free to enter, but people can also buy a little plastic duck for the charity race as well as bid in an auction for a couple of specially made ducks for the event. This year a whopping £220 was raised for the Air Ambulance.

Well done to all who took part. Huge thanks to the Porthleven Community Group for organising this event.

Parking enforcement set to be introduced by Harbour and Dock on land behind Commercial Rd and land near the Moors

A letter has been sent to the Town Council informing of a private enforcement company being employed to enforce certain areas in Porthleven.

The land in question is the area between Costcutters and the Moors; and the land behind Commercial Rd.

As follows:

A landowner is well with their rights to take action on land they own or is in their control. However, both areas have some interesting points to them.

Firstly, the land behind Commercial Rd is not wholly in the ownership of H&D; as St Austell Brewery own parts (as I have seen these documents) and therefore, enforcing on land not within your control is not possible unless permission has been granted.

The other land in question is owned by H&D, but restricting use brings in the issue of fishermen having rights to use this land ‘for the drying of nets’ etc. and storage which I believe includes boats.

I am sure there will be some interesting dialogue in the next week or so on both practical and legal points of enforcement.

As it say’s in the letter, I am making people aware.

And I am sure it is a typo where it says ‘Penalties for Authorised Parking’. Or I hope it is…

Porthleven Town Council supports industrial units along Methleigh Bottoms

The Harbour and Dock Company has in the last year submitted a series of Pre-apps or planning applications for certain areas to be developed. The latest is the planning application for a series of industrial units and parking spaces along the Methleigh Bottom road.

The Town Council as part of the planning process has studied this site and it the plans for it to see whether it should be supported in full, supported subject to conditions, or refused.

The plan for the two cleared fields.

As you can see from the three pictures, the first being the site layout, the second and third the design of the buildings, this is a large development of an area which has been used a fields for the last 80 plus years.

Whilst people might wish for this area to remain in its natural state, the Town Council has looked at this site on whether changing its use will be of a benefit to Porthleven in terms of employability without an undue harm to the environment.

For any settlement to be successful it needs to have an economy that is varied and can weather any change. Porthleven is well-known as a great place to live and visit, has amazing shops, eateries and a stunning environment. But this is mostly within one sector. With this in mind, this proposed site strengthening another sector of light industrial. Which means more opportunities for employment outside the current sectors.

The Town Council has spent a lot of time looking at the proposed plans, it has looked at the evidence for both positive and negative impact to the area, listened to the reason why this is being built and has to come to a conclusion to support this application in principle, subject to a series of conditions.

These conditions are:

  • Screening – conditions set to ensure adequate screening is put in place, screening of deciduous trees preferred. Request that the mature trees on site are protected. This includes the rear of the site to enable the residents of the area to soften the impact of buildings;
  • Boat storage – adequate secure provision for boat storage / repair facilities, including water and electrics, offered all year round. In the current plan, the applicant has only offered this in the winter months);
  • Health & Safety – sprinkler system to be installed (at requested by the Fire Brigade);
  • Traffic Road Order entered into to reduce speed limit from 40mph to 30mph from sewage works towards Porthleven on the B3304. To include ‘dragon teeth’ markings to further identify the new speed limit;
  • Detailed travel plan to be submitted, including more details on the exit/entrance points – request that the Town Council are a consultee;
  • Footpath installed for approximately 20m towards Mill Lane to allow for safe pedestrian crossing on the B3304;
  • Design / building materials sympathetic to the area using traditional materials so that the proposed has a positive impact on the area;
  • Details of bike storage facilities in Porthleven required (to avoid bikes be abandoned around the main settlement area).

If these conditions are not met to the satisfaction of the Town Council, the Council has the right to change its support to one of not supporting and seeking the planning authority to refuse this application. It should be noted, this application subject to the aforementioned conditions was supported unanimously by the Council.

The issue of drainage and flooding has been identified by the Town Council, but other than the use of SUP within the site and the details contained within the proposed plan, this will be covered by the statutory bodies such as the EA, SWW etc. in the planning process. In the submitted documents, there is a substantial flood risk assessment that has been undertaken.

I know some people has raised the issue of costs of units. This is something that the Town Council has no control over or has the power to ask for conditions to be placed on the units. Likewise for the type of business there. The applicant has made some suggestions of what type of business go there, but again the type of use outside of the building classifications cannot be conditioned and is at the end-of-the-day up to the applicant to fill.

For more details on the application, or to give your viewpoint, click HERE

 

Loe Bar footpath – update

The official footpath that connects Porthleven and Loe Bar suffered a major collapse recently which resulted in the footpath being closed. Since this collapse there has been a lot of planning of what to do next. It is also not the first-time a collapse has happened as large scale erosion was part of the reason why the new footpaths at Highborrow were constructed.

In speaking to the National Trust and the trust updating the town council, it is clear this area of the footpath will not be repaired. As any repair to this area would be futile due to this area being prone to large-scale erosion. Any repair could disappear the following day.

The plan is for the footpath to be re-routed. Work is underway to establish the best route for this new footpath. At this stage, it is looking like the footpath will come behind Bar Lodge. This will give the footpath the best chance of longevity. The new route hasn’t been confirmed as there is a lot of work to be undertaken prior to a new route being established.

There will be some changes to the status of the footpath. Currently, the ‘old’ footpath is a bridleway. The plans for this new access is for it to be a footpath only. Fear not horse and bike riders, as the other parts of the connecting footpaths are bridleways and you will still be able to access the area. Just not on this new stretch.

As these fields are in use for cattle, the farmer will be involved. Speaking to the farmer he asks people not to just wander around any field as they see fit. Which is happening. I know you might think I will just take this shortcut, but you will be surprised how quick a heifer can move.

The issue of money will come into play as putting in a new permanent footpath is not a cheap endeavour and money will have to be found. I know the NT are seeking out the required funding.

The NT are planning a series of updates as and when they have more details. As soon as I have more details, I will update you too.

The Penrose NT has a great website for information HERE.

Electoral Boundaries for Cornwall Council set to change

For the last few years, Cornwall Council has been undertaking a boundary review of its divisional area. Currently there are 123 elected councillors in 122 divisions. From 2021 this is set to change. Change is sometimes good and it is right to look at how people are represented and the boundaries to reflect a community. However, Cornwall has been so many boundary changes since 2009. You could almost say no one election has been fought on the same boundary lines.

This boundary review is in simple terms being inflicted upon Cornwall. It is not about how best Cornwall Council can represent the people, rather than the Boundary Commission coming up with a figure and telling the Council to make it work.

The council has spent a lot of time arriving at a figure (99 Councillors) that not only reduced numbers, but also brought equity to the number of electors per division. However that was dismissed by the Commission as still too high. Basically, the Boundary Commission want no more than 88. It would have just been simpler if the Commission had just said a figure at the outset, rather than the ruse of thinking the Council could have some say in the numbers.

With such wholesale boundary changes, electoral divisions such as Porthleven and Helston will see a massive change. With the plan for 87 Councillors, Porthleven will no longer have part of Helston within its division, but instead will be joined with Breage, Germoe and Praa Sands to form one division called Porthleven, Breage and Germoe.

As the following picture (11) shows the new boundary for the electoral division of Porthleven, Breage and Germoe

Helston will have two electoral division of Helston North (13)

and Helston South which will include Meneage (14)

As you can see, there is wholesale changes to the boundaries with settlements being put together that have limited connection apart from being geographically close.

No scheme is going to be universally supported and with any review there will be changes. but the problem with this is Cornwall has been given a number and the new divisions have been created on trying to achieve that number, rather on what communities want.

Even though Cornwall Council officially has supported the 87 number formed into the following divisional boundaries (HERE), the Boundary Commission can totally ignore – as it has on other submissions – and come up with its own figure and its own boundaries. And there is little anyone can do as the Commission answers to no-one.

Award of Town plaque to clock-winder of 40 years

As Mayor, you get to do some great things. Sometimes you had to make tough choices too. But the greatest honour is to award a Town plaque to deserving individuals or organisations.

For those who do not know, Porthleven has an official clock-winder. There has been a clock-winder for maybe 100+ years.

On Thursday I invited the current title holder, Jeremy Mitchell to the Town Council meeting to give a history lesson about this role. But really, I wanted to award a Jeremy a Town plaque for his long and dedicated service. He didn’t know this was happening.

You see, Jeremy has been the official clock-winder for 42 years. Yes, for 42 years Jeremy has been on hand to not only wind the clock weekly, but to make sure it keeps to time and works. Before the presentation, Jeremy gave an insight and history lesson to those gathered.

Jeremy talk was really fascinating with stories like back in the day, there were no ladders to get to the machinery. It was just small steps attached to this tower walls with a sheer drop in the middle. Not for the faint-hearted. In days before Health and Safety, Jeremy used to be sent up as a boy by his grandfather. Jeremy also told how he was stopped as a young man by the police asking where he was going with the two clock-face arms. Luckily, he was just sent on his way by the police.

Jeremy is not the first in his family to carry out the duties as the clock-winder His grandfather held this office too. And Jeremy’s son steps in to cover if he is away and it’s probably being lined-up to take over the role if and when Jeremy wants to stop.

The institute is an iconic building, but the social history of the building is equally important. People like Jeremy really add to the rich tapestry that makes Porthleven so special.

It was a great honour to present Jeremy with his Town plaque. It was thoroughly deserved.

Cornwall’s waste collection set for a big change

How household waste is collected is to change by 2020 when Cornwall will have be a new waste contract in place. Currently residue waste (black bag) is collected weekly, kerbside recycling is fortnightly as is green waste.

The change to how waste is collected is due to both EU and Government strategies on waste collection and recycling. The Government sets national targets of recycling at least 50% by 2020 with EU at 65% by 2030. The latter is likely to be adopted by the Government in the Brexit process.

In Cornwall, we recycle around 37% of waste, with the average kerbside collection of recycling materials around 27%. Though this widely – and I mean widely – fluctuates from town to town. Currently, Cornwall Council spends around £57m per year on waste management. This budget is set to rise to over £58m.

In getting ready for the new waste contract there have been a series of meetings and consultations, including some house to house surveys to seek the views of residents. Like most things, everyone will have an opinion. With those opinions in mind and the pressing need to reduce landfill and increase recycling, Cornwall Council has put forward a plan.

This ‘in principle’ plan for waste collection for 2020 as approved by Cornwall Council’s Cabinet, and will be subject to a full public consultation is as follows:

  • A weekly collection of segregated recyclable materials;
  • A weekly separate collection of food waste (carried out at the same time as recycling);
  • A fortnightly collection of residue waste (black bag) which cannot be recycled, limited to 180lt with no side-waste collection.

There is new waste strategy called ‘It’s in our hands’ can be found HERE. In this 16 point delivery plan, there are some bold targets and some welcomed changes that include Household Waste Recycling Centres (the dump to you and I) having a more re-use function, rather than just a dump.

Of course there are many – as yet answered – questions such; the type of receptacle for the waste, how many we will have, will it be a wheelie bin for residue and recycling and whether there will be any punitive approach to anyone not recycling and just throwing it all in to the residue waste.

Time will tell how this will all workout, but I for one welcome many of the changes as we can no longer just throw everything out in a black bag and think someone else will deal with it.

Of course, if manufacturers took more responsibility by trying to standardise and cut down on the multiple plastic types, including a reduction of materials used to make something more appealing, we would be a long way forward in cutting down waste and increasing recycling. Rather than rely on the resident to sort it and trying to make head or tail or which material can or cannot be recycled.

A packed public meeting to hear about amended plans for the Porthleven Shipyard

The dust has settled from Monday night’s public meeting where over 130 people gathered to hear about the amended plan for the recently refused building in the Shipyard.

The plan for the event was for the planning officer to outline the amended plans and then the applicant to give their reasons as to why the application – when it is submitted – should be supportive.

The planning officer was quite quick with his part and then it was over to Mr. Osborne to give us his vision of Porthleven, including his achievements for over 40 years. There is no denying Mr. Osborne has helped create a vibrant place, but he hasn’t done this single-handedly and as it was pointed out by at least one resident, it is not buildings that make a place, it is people.

Everyone will have a viewpoint on the building and those views are subjective depending on how you see things. My view (and I’ve been involved in planning for near 12 years) is I find the design disjointed and with no clear rationale of what it is trying to be. It is a tower loosely attached to a box. In merits of design, rather than complement the area which a bold building can do, it lacks the sympathy and understanding of this historic area of Porthleven.

The footprint of the proposed building is smaller as is the height – slightly. However, the access entering the site and through the site hasn’t really been addressed and the previous concerns still stand. A positive in the reduction of the footprint is there looks like more room for boats to be secured/de-rigged prior to launch/retrieval. Which is good news for boat-owners and was a major concern.

Whilst it can be good to have a different style of building, its use and the longevity of the building is as important as the design.

This building has no clear or firm use. The buildings journey has been a coffee manufacturer, cafe, bar/food place, Art studios (were people were offered space for support), gallery to now an innovation hub. What happens next week or if planning consent is given, will this use change again? There are no guarantees what we have been told so far will actually be delivered.

This is why I raised the issue that some sort of economic impact assessment should be carried out to prove the use of the building which could also highlight rents (as a young artist pointed out at the site meeting would be too expensive to rent) and whether there the need for a certain business type. Do we really need another restaurant or art studio if the latest use of an innovation hub does not materialise?

For those who are not aware what an innovation hub is, these are generally used to allow start-ups to thrive for a couple of years before they move into bigger premises. They are not long term rentals and they generally have to be subsidised by grants. Yes, used right, they are great, but they come with lots of risk and many of these hubs no longer carry out their original function.

The objection from the Porthleven Fishermen’s and Boat-owners Association was – loosely – covered by Mr. Osborne when he announcing the Association was now in support of the amended plans. It did have to be pointed out to Mr.Osborne whereas in fact, the truth is the Association has not given support, but has said it would not object to the plan if certain conditions on access and boat launching/retrieval were in place and conditioned in legally binding planning terms. That is anyone’s book is a vastly different to supporting.

However, this sudden acknowledgement of the ‘support’ of the Association goes totally against the recent letter I have seen where Mr Osborne no longer officially recognises the Porthleven Fishermen’s Association. In fact he wanted to set up his own association, but I hear no-one wanted to join. You cannot really claim support from an organisation when you have refused to acknowledge its existence a few weeks beforehand.

Mr. Osborne highlighted the new toilet faculties and bus stop and was critical of the Shute Lane toilets and how his new facility would be so much better. A new toilet is better, I would support more toilets in Porthleven. But who would pay for them?

The simple answer is Mr. Osborne wants the town council to pay for them. I know this, as he asked me (I told him he needed to officially request it as this is a town council matter) if the money spent on Shute Lane could be transferred to his company to run these toilets. If this happened, then there would be no need to run Shute Lane and they could close as they would be surplus because we have new shiny ones. As part of the deal the old block could be transferred to Mr. Osborne. It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes know why, but if you cannot guess, it might have something to do with his planned development of this area HERE. It will be a little hard to do when you have a large toilet block in the way which is not in your ownership.

Lastly, there is still the issue of the previous application. The applicant has six-months from the refusal decision to appeal. As yet nothing has been submitted. But if this latest plan is granted, what is to stop Mr. Osborne from submitting the original as the principle of planning has been established and its a lot harder to refuse something when a similar building has been passed.

I am pleased this public meeting took place as it gave the platform to hear the views of everyone who wanted to say something in a respectful manner. Thanks to Cornwall Council’s Planning Dept. for running this meeting. This blog post is my view and how you need to look at this more strategically and be wary of promises.

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