Porthleven and Helston voter turnout for the EU Referendum

No matter which side you voted for on the EU Referendum, there was one winner – democracy. Over 33 million (72.2%) eligible voters took part in this Referendum. Some may not like the result, but a quote attributed to Churchill sums the democratic process up well – Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all others.

So what was the turnout like in Porthleven and Helston?

Porthleven – 76.1% with 1577 people voting at the Public Hall

Two Polling Stations cover Helston West with 71% with 956 people voting at Culdrose Community Centre and  68% with 467 people voting at the Old Cattle Market

Two Polling Stations cover Helston North – 72% with 609 people voting at the Light and Life Chapel and 75% with 1514 people voting.

Two Polling Stations cover Helston South – 60% with 583 people voting at the Wesley Chapel and 66% with 675 people voting at the Wesley Chapel.

I am unable to give you the details of how people voted at this level, but I can for the whole of Cornwall – see below.

Good Paper Totals
  Remain Leave Spoilt Total
South East Cornwall 22,972 32,067 56 55,095
North Cornwall 21,669 31,848 32 53,549
St Austell 22,620 37,508 28 60,156
Camborne & Redruth 23,704 30,827 48 54,579
Truro & Falmouth 28,470 25,393 35 53,898
St Ives 21,105 25,022 38 46,165
 Total 140,540 182,665 237 323,442

With the local turnout and the result for the whole of Cornwall, these do not count the number of postal votes as although the polling station ballot boxes were verified by constituency, the postal votes, which came from all areas of Cornwall, were distributed evenly across all six parliamentary constituencies.  So this means that the Council cannot say exactly how individual constituencies voted.

 

Looking to securing the future of Helston’s Coronation Park

Cornwall Council is offering a lease to run and manage Coronation Park in Helston, with a peppercorn rent.  The tender opportunity for the site, includes the park, lake, events square and café – with an existing tenant, river Cober and the former cattle market car park. The tender does not include Penrose car park (Fairground car park).

The new agreement for the events square will include the public toilets and the landlord role for the boat and cycle hire franchise.

This exciting lease opportunity, which will begin by winter 2016 / spring 2017, is only being formally advertised via the Government’s Contracts Finder website. The deadline for submissions is Friday 12 August.

The direct link to the tender opportunity on Contracts Finder, where all relevant documentation is available to view and download, is: www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/014586bb-8b02-4ec4-9b10-d5663f65db8e

Lake with cafe in background

I support Cornwall Council’s aim of looking for an organisation to be able to invest in Helston’s flagship park. The popular facilities are well used and with the café open daily serving a wide variety of refreshments – we hope to attract some high quality proposals, hopefully from community led organisations to take on the running of this area. We are offering a 99 year lease, but the Council would consider a different length.

For me, I want to explore opportunities for enhancing and maintaining the very special historic Coronation Lake that is at the heart of the park; the Lake has boating, seating, a water wheel and footpath around it to be able to watch and admire the resident wildfowl. At the town centre end of the park the skate park, café, public toilets, events space, avenues and car parking, offer very special views and entertainment for the parks’ many visitors. I cannot convey enough how important the park and facilities are to Helston, and the wider community.

Therefore, this is about securing the long-term future of this area, including much-needed investment to bring it back to its former glory; and giving the community more control over how this area is operated for the benefit of residents.

In the past this area has had considerable investment, but needs more now, which in the current financial climate the council cannot commit to. Furthermore, with a non-council organisation running the area, there are more grant opportunities available. As many grant funding pots, the local authority cannot apply.

 

Cornwall Council Children’s Social Care Services rated Good by Ofsted

Today I can officially confirm that Cornwall Council’s children’s social care services have been rated as ‘Good’ in the most recent Ofsted inspection. This puts this service in the top 25% of children’s services in the country that have been inspected under this tougher new inspection framework.  Only 12 local authorities have improved to ‘Good’ under this inspection regime and Cornwall is the only authority rated as ‘Inadequate’ between 2010 to 2011 that has now improved to ‘Good’.

The final report from the team of 12 inspectors published today (27 June) gives the Council an overall rating of “Good“, with four of the key areas of the inspection also being rated as ‘Good’ – Children in Care and Permanence; Adoption; Care Leavers; and Leadership, Management and Governance.

Gathered for the announcement this morning

Gathered for the announcement this morning

The report highlights numerous strengths of the service, including the skills and enthusiasm of social work staff; the “consistently good service” given to children in care and care leavers and the support provided to foster carers; the work of the adoption service; strong partnership working, and the quality of practice in early help services.

The report gives special mention is given to some of Cornwall’s most innovative services, including the Multi-Agency Referral Unit (MARU) and Early Help Hub developed jointly with health partners, as well as multi-agency teams like Teylu (Cornish for Family) which is the specialist pre-birth and parent & child assessment team, and Gweres Tus Yownyk (Cornish for Helping Young People) which is the specialist adolescent service supporting young people on the edge of care.

The report notes the significant increase in the number of children receiving Early Help in Cornwall from 200 in 2011-2012 to 2,700 in 2015 – 2016, with early help now seen as everyone’s business. Early help provided by the Council was described by the parents and carers who met with inspectors as “amazing” and “brilliant”.  Parents praised the help they were receiving which, they said, had brought about real improvements in the lives of their children.

The report concludes that services for children and young people in Cornwall are now in a much stronger position and more effective than they were in 2013.

I am extremely proud of the commitment, expertise and achievements of everyone who works so hard to keep children and young people in Cornwall safe and well.

We have come a long way but we know we have more to do.  That will always be the case, especially as we address emerging risks to children such as online child sexual exploitation.  We are already working with our partners to build on the progress we have made over the past five years and we will ensure that we will also get to ‘Good’ in this area at the next inspection.

This achievement is down to the dedication, hard work and skill of staff working on the front line, many of whom go way beyond what is expected of them to help and protect the most vulnerable children of Cornwall.  It is also down to strong partnership working and it is good that the inspectors recognised this.

Our ambition is still the same, to become one of the best children’s services in the country.  The children of Cornwall deserve nothing less.

This results shows that local authorities working together effectively with their partners can turn around Children’s Services. Unlike some in the Government who believe outsourcing Children’s Services is the best way forward.

 

 

 

The EU Referendum – elation and anger

I was not going to stay up and watch the EU Referendum results, but I did. Fascinating stuff and that was before the result was declared. The ‘Exiters’ won the vote by 51.9%. The only really thing the pollsters got right was it was a close result.


Nearly three-quarters (72.2%) of the Country voted on what they thought was right box to tick. It just shows people can be motivated to vote.

In Cornwall 323,442 voted from 419,755 eligible voters. A 77.07% turnout. Cornwall voted to leave.

  • Remain 140,540 (43.45%)
  • Leave 182,665 (56.48%)
  • Rejected papers 237

I had hoped both campaigns would be run on honest facts and reasons. However, both referendum campaigns were full of half-truths, manipulating figures and lies. No side has come out of the campaign looking particularly good.

Yet two days after the results, I am surprised at the comments being made on social media with even a petition calling for the referendum to be held again.  We live in a democracy. More people voted out than in this referendum. That is what happens in elections, surprise surprise the winner is the one with the most votes. Be disappointed, with the result but let’s keep it in perspective.

A decision has been made; we need to get on with it together. It is that simple. It really is un-British to have this venomous back-biting and hatred.

As for the petition, would the same people be calling for a re-run if remain had won? No they would not. In fact they would be crying foul and saying that it is undemocratic. A democracy is not asking you to vote and re-vote until the vote goes your way.

Though you might not know, this referendum was not what you call a ‘binding’ vote (unlike the AV referendum). The Government could/can ignored it. But that’s highly unlikely, more so with the PM stepping down post the result.

Maybe the disappointment should be levelled at the political elite in the EU. Both sides of the referendum campaign have said the EU needs reform. The EU would not reform. It took the attitude of we do not have to. I bet those elites wished they had now. Or had been more receptive when the PM asked for reform. Instead the EU shut the door on his face. If the EU had showed it was willing to reform, I doubt this referendum would have taken place.

This Country, Great Britain is in unknown territory. But have faith, we will find our feet. It might be a bumpy journey, but we will get there and survive. It is not the end of the world as some are predicting.

I will leave you with this. Maybe we should heed Oddball’s advice

Primary school children take part in the 10th Greenpower event at Newquay Airport

Today, I had the pleasure to attend the 10th Greenpower event at Newquay Airport. This event is run by The Cornwall College Group, with the aim of helping to inspire and of young people of primary and secondary school age in learning through science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

The event today (secondary schools tomorrow) gave primary school children the opportunity to design, build and race electric cars, which hopefully, introduces them to potential STEM careers in a fun and memorable way.

Just some of the electric ‘cars’ ready to race.

 

I am told over the two days over 60 schools and 70 electric cars will race in a series of events that include drag and slalom races, and the more traditional grand prix type of race. It was fantastic to watch these young people take in something they got a real kick-out of. Also on offer, was a huge marquee full of STEM related activities which were far from being the ‘boring’ science experiments.

Huge credit to all those behind the event. I certainly enjoyed being there.

Electric cars take part in the straight line drag race

 


It was good to see two schools from Helston – Parc Eglos and St Michael’s – taking part in today’s event. Sadly I could not catch the St Michael’s team to wish them luck.

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Parc Eglos’ two cars at today’s event

In something of a surprise to those gathered, the new HM Coastguard helicopter made a visit to the event after an operation. For a short time the young people could have a closer look at this SAR helicopter after it was ‘shut-down’ before the crew were tasked with another job. Those gathered really appreciated this visit. Thank you.

Planning Inspector give his early findings on Cornwall’s Local Plan

The Inspector who has been tasked with looking at Cornwall Council’s local plan has given his initial thoughts, officially called ‘Schedule of Post Hearing Changes for Consultation’ on the resubmitted plan. Previously, the inspector said our housing numbers was too small and needed to be increased to take into consideration dwelling not in full-time use, i.e. second homes and those in the churn of selling/probate.

The main key message is the Inspector is happy with the overall target of 52,500 dwellings However, to be clear over 22,000 already with permission and 11,500 already built which leaves around 30,500 yet to come forward. This figure was proposed by Cornwall Council in December.

I must point out this being a minimum figure in line with the NPPF. However, the good news is on the basis of the figure of 52,500 the Council believes it can now demonstrate a 5 year land supply

Another of the Inspector’s key change is to redistribute 300 dwellings from the allowance during this plan period for the Eco-Community at West Carclaze to the built area of St Austell. This is a response to reflect past development of the town in the adjoining Community Network Area and consideration of past delivery rates. This also includes a need to review the delivery of the Eco community if there is no progress within two years of the Plans adoption

The other changes include the threshold for negotiation for affordable housing has been brought into line with the Ministerial statement and upcoming national guidance i.e. above 10 units generally and over 5 units in designated rural areas and the AONB.

The next stage of the plans journey is the proposed changes will be published for consultation probably at the end of June for a six-week period with responses provided to the Inspector for his further consideration. Unless he considers there are any new issues raised about the proposed changes (he is not looking at the whole plan) he will issue his final report and recommendations to the Council towards the end of September.

The Plan and the inspector’s recommendations would then be presented to full Council ultimately to decide if it is happy to accept his proposed changes /recommendations and so move towards formally adopting the Plan or does not wish to proceed to adoption.

If we do not adopt a plan, we leaves ourselves open to not being able to show a five-year land supply and far worse, the Government imposing a plan on Cornwall.

Porthleven Neighbourhood Plan questionnaire – have your say, not moan about it later

The team working on the Porthleven Neighbourhood Plan have released a second questionnaire asking residents a series of question that includes housing numbers, landscape assessments and renewable energy ideas.

The information collected in the questionnaires will feed into the overall Neighbourhood Plan for Porthleven.

This questionnaire follows on from the previous one where 662 people responded. A summary of this previous questionnaire showed that:

  • The environment in and around Porthleven is important to people;
  • Porthleven needs additional facilities for young people;
  • Community is important to the people of Porthleven;
  • Portheven needs more affordable housing.

Below is a map of land around Porthleven which has been assessed as the most and least suitable for any potential development.


The questionnaire can be completed in two  ways; online, and the pen and paper approach. Every household in Porthleven will have a questionnaire  delivered through their door. There will also be hard copies of the questionnaire available

Each person in the household can and really should complete a questionnaire. After all, we want everyone’s view, no matter how old or young you are.

The deadline for returning the questionnaire is the 22nd July 2016.

The online version can be found HERE.

As I said in the title, I urge you to complete the questionnaire. If we do not have a robust and evidenced based plan, Porthleven is at the mercy of the planning system, Government whims on housing numbers, and give greater protection to areas which we want to see no development on.

By having a Neighbourhood Plan, Porthleven can influence where planning takes place and in what numbers.

Porthleven Community Group’s Big Lunch a success

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The annual Big Lunch organised by Porthleven Community Group took place on Sunday on the Moors playing field. At first, the was concern the weather would not be kind to the organisers, but after a brief shower during the setting up of the event, the weather turned out lovely.

It was good to see so many families turn up and enjoy the afternoon. During the three-hour event, people were entertained by Porthleven’s own signing choir.  Children could bounce their hearts out on the free bouncy castle.

The Mayor of Porthleven, Cllr Barbara Powell shows off her hula-hooping skills (and yes, she was good).

Anyone who attended had the chance decorate a cupcake with help from the owners of the Twisted Current, with over 70 cupcakes being decorated and eagerly devoured. For those who were more energetic, you could learn or brush-up on your Hula-hooping skills.

Also held during the event was the postponed duck race with 100 ducks being launched in to the river to help raise money for the skate park. This raised over £120.

Well done to all who helped make this happen.

The Porthleven Community Group setting up the event.

My decorated cupcake

And they are off. 100 yellow ducks race to the finish line in aid of the skate park projec

The possible future use of the Bickford-Smith Institute

At June’s Porthleven Town Council meeting, the Institute working group shared with the wider membership of the town council their proposals for the future use of Porthleven’s most iconic building. These proposals have taken into consideration the feedback from the open day with the aim on to how best how to renovate this iconic building.

 

As you see from the pictures above, this building has a lot of potential. However, due to the sheer scale of money needed which will be in excess of £600k, and may be closer to the £1m mark, the working group have put forward what will be seen as a controversial use. Namely to turn a part of the building into a holiday let. The part which is a proposal to turn into a let is the former caretakers home – which currently home to the town clerk’s office and the council meeting room.

The principle behind this is because whilst some of the money needed to renovate this building will come from grants, not all the money will be found this way. This means the town council may have to take out a loan as part of the project. Of course, this loan has to be paid back, and instead of just adding the repayments to the town council precept ie. the tax payer, the proposal is to turn part of the building into a holiday let to give an income to repay any loan or costs for renovation.

 

I am not part of the working group, so I have had no input on the direction, but for me the renovation and preservation of the building is paramount. The sheer scale of funding needed has I believe pushed the working group into looking at the holiday let option. The question is, is this the right option?

As I said before, I want the Institute to have a long future, but I am not sold on the idea of turning parts of the building into a holiday let. Holiday lets are a controversial subject in Porthleven. So is it right for the council to turn part of its building into a holiday let? Maybe instead of a holiday let, income could be raised renting it long term? 

However, is the holiday let option the only one that will give enough income to pay for/support the Institute for its renovation?  After all, the majority of the building will still be used for the community. Any idea including holiday let, long term rental or other business use will have to be costed to make sure it stacks up. Only then will there be a firm idea of what works and gives the income needed. 

Furthermore, I was disappointed in the update did not confirm a place for the snooker club, which I believe they should be part of the institutes future. Rather the update said:

“The consultation to date indicates that there is a call for a Snooker Club in Porthleven. The Working Party recommends that consideration be given to the Snooker Club in order to arrive at an amicable solution, with the possibility of relocation being discussed, and further meetings and consultation will be undertaken”.

The important part of all this is the proposals shared at the meeting are not set in stone. There will be a further round of public consultation where people can have a further say. So a lot can and no doubt will change from now and the final plan.

Government has extended voting registration to midnight 9th June

The UK Government has today announced that it will be extending the deadline to register to vote at the EU referendum to midnight 9th June.

So if you have yet to register, you still have chance to register and take part in the most important vote this County has had in a very, very long time. However, if you are already registered, please please do not try to re-register. As you are already eligible to vote and all you are doing is creating more work for Electoral Services.

The Electoral Commission have released a statement in response to the announcement.

 

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