Even Blind Pew would have noticed the snow and cold spell that we have been subjected to these last 4 weeks. I was trying to find how long ago we had weather like this and came across a reference (click HERE) going back to the 1600′s. Of course, those Northern climates get snow every year and lots of it, but it is fairly rare for Cornwall to get a huge dusting of it before Christmas.
Cornwall Council is responsible for over 4,530 miles from major principle roads, to narrow country lanes. In other words, all roads in Cornwall apart from the A30 and A38. That is a lot of roads to cover with 24 gritters. Last year (including the cold spell in Jan) Cornwall Council spent an extra £500k on salt and grit. The average salt usage in the previous last 4 years was 5,500t, last year it was 18,000t. That is a huge increase in tonnage compare to the previous years.
So far this year Cornwall Council has used around 8,000t of salt compared to last year, and has spent an additional £200k having undertaken more pre-salt treatments. In 2009 this was 18, to date it is 48. Of course in an ideal world all roads would be salted, even the narrow back lanes, but this is just not going to happen unless we at least double our fleet of gritters and spend more money on salt. So let’s stop for a minute before we demand all our drives to be cleared as I doubt many will be happy to suddenly find we have a ‘winter’ tax added onto the Council Tax bill to pay for this.
What we should be saying is well done and thank you to all those in the Highway Department who have worked around the clock trying to clear the roads, and acting as quick as possible to each case. I for one have seen far more gritter lorries trundling around our roads than I can remember. So from me, I would like to say a big thank you to all those in Highways who have worked so hard in keeping our roads open. Maybe people might like to write a letter or two to this department to say thank you. It will make a nice change from the ‘My road is this.. etc’
Of course maybe if we do not want to spend more, or have a ‘winter tax’ then maybe every citizen could help out like the picture below (Disclaimer – I am joking)
In August, (Click HERE to refresh yourself) I blogged about the amount of money that was owed to Cornwall Council by various companies and developers by means of Section 106 orders. So I enquired as to the current state of these obligations. These are the responses I got from the 3 Planning Areas and are from May 2010 to the present date.
Admin fees received: East 1 £4950.00 – East 2 £3750.00 – Total £8,700.00
Admin fees outstanding/due: East 1 £1750.00 – East 2 £1500.00 – Total £3,250.00
Obligations paid: East 1 £100,133.11 – East 2 £64,340.68 – Total £164,473.79
Obligations outstanding/due: East 1 £15,070.00 – East 2 £0 – Total £15,070.00
Admin fees received: Central 2 £5,575.40 - Central 1 £22,545.71
Admin fees outstanding/due: Central 1 £200.00 - Central 2 £4,750.00
Obligations received: Central 1 £66,072.08 - Central 2 £1,530,312.64
Obligations outstanding/due: Central 1 £188,732.60 Central 2 £139,756.38
Case with litigation: – 2 Amount outstanding £65,000.00
No details received as yet.
I would like to thank those Officers who sent me these details, and more importantly the work they have done in chasing up all the outstanding payments. I was told that after I blogged about Wainhomes and the amount they had outstanding, a cheque suddenly appeared for near the outstanding amount. My only concern is as with the August details, the West Area has no firm details, or it just could be a case of them not being sent to me.
It has been quite a few months since I last posted on this subject; mainly because I had been working behind the scenes with Highway Engineers to come up with a plan that works, and more importantly, have the money to pay for it. I am happy to now announce that I do have a scheme, and the money to pay for it from my Members Highway Grant.
As anyone who knows this area the crossing is going to be situated between a large free car park and Coronation Park which includes the well used Skate Park, Children’s Playpark and Boating Lake. I had hoped that this was going to be a full pedestrian crossing with either lights, or beacons, but due to the location of the crossing it would have just been unaffordable due to the utilities that would be required. In the end I opted for a refuge type crossing, rather then bin the whole idea. I feel some sort of crossing is better than what is currently there, which is nothing.
Below are the drawings of what is planned. The date for all this work to start is mid January and it is hoped to be completed within a few weeks after that. Of course, this date could slip right, but I am hoping the weather will be kind enough for this to take place in January.
Scheme with road markings:
Here is yet another post on CCTV; this one is a follow on from where I last left off about the contributions from the 11 Town Council’s in the West and Mid of Cornwall. Last night, at the monthly meeting of Helston Town Council, they discussed their contribution towards CCTV. During the discussion it came to light that the Town Council was not aware of the latest Cabinet meeting, or the proposals surrounding CCTV.
During the debate, reference was made to the other Town Councils that had been asked to contribute. It was said during the debate by the Town Clerk, though I can’t 100% confirm it is correct, that Penzance, Falmouth and Redruth had all said no, with Camborne asking for more details before they decided. That is a lot of towns to say no, especially as it was only discussed at Cabinet a couple of days before. A question is how much Cornwall Council knew of the reluctance to paying before this was presented to Cabinet.
In the end, Helston Town Council passed a motion that they would not contribute to this scheme because they felt that they would not pay more for a reduced service. So if the other towns I mentioned have indeed said no, then the likelihood of any monitoring of CCTV is very remote. I wonder how the news of Helston Town Council no vote will be received at Cornwall Council?
Maybe the question is now; what is the point of having CCTV if it is not monitored?
Over the last few weeks Cornwall Council’s Budget has been subject to claims and counter claims on the merits of going early, waiting, or just ignoring it and hopefully it will all go away in the morning. I have myself pondered these merits (except the last one) and would have personally liked to have waited till the Government released the details before making the decision, but that was not my choice.
Last week, the Government did release those figures, as with all announcements from Government, it is about as far away from plan English as you can get. Most mortals just want to know how much it is, not some complicated formula that would have a maths prodigy scratching their head. This meant that us Members who asked how much the settlement is, got the reply “It’s complicated and will get back to you in a week or so”
Yesterday at Cabinet, those present were handed a piece of paper with those settlement figures, or should I say, what finance had interpreted as to what the Government had said. This, depending on your standpoint, (as I mentioned in my first paragraph) was either “We told you so”, or silence.
Currently, 2010-11 we receive from the Government £325 million in various grants. The predicted budget as voted on last week by Cornwall Council made the predicted settlement to be £270.7 million. That is a reduction of £54.3 million or a 16.7% (for those who like percentages) from what is currently received. The provisional settlement after the maths prodigies had finished is £271.3 million. That is a drop of £53.7 million or 16.5%.
The difference between what was predicted and the provisional figure is 600k. If these figures are correct, then hats off to those in finance for getting so near. As I have said before, if there is spare money, then this should be reassigned to the most needed areas of the Council.
The Web-casting Working Group met today to look at how things are going, and to prepare a report to full Council in February. Whilst the viewing figures will not give concern to the makers of Coronation Street they are still pretty impressive in Council terms.
These figures are that are the total of live and archive viewings for 2010
Council (main meeting) 3rd December - Total =2920
Cabinet 17th November – Total = 661
Cabinet 27th October – Total = 5915
Council (main) – 7th September – 216 (live) – 473 (archive) Total = 701
Council (main) – 27th July – Total = 2445
Council (main) – 15th June -Total = 14715
Council (main) – 11th May -Total = 10992
It is hoped that other meetings could be web-casted when this report with any further recommendations are presented to Cornwall Council. I really believe in allowing broadcasting of our meetings has made the Council more open and accessible.