Inquiry Day for Concessionary Bus Fares

There will be an inquiry day to look at Concessionary bus fares on the 19th August at County Hall, Truro. This is likely to be an all day event starting at 10 am.

This has come about from a recommendation from the Environment and Economy Scrutiny Committee which took place on the 27th July.

It is likely to be a lively affair and one I hope will be webcast due to the controversial nature of the subject.

Furry Youth Cafe is Opened

The Furry Youth Cafe was officially opened last night at the former Warren’s Cafe; which is above the bakery. As Charlotte Chadwick said last night “it was a bumpy two year process, but we are here now”.

Many people from all different private and public organisations were involved, but without Charlotte driving this project forward I doubt it would be a reality that it is today. She even secured a rent free period of five year’s from Warren’s Bakery.

The project was finally kick-started by winning £50,000 from the Peoples Lottery in November 2010. This was not the only funding given, as many companies donated, or offered free to equipment and/or their services free to get the building ready.

The Cafe will be open on Wednesdays, Fridays from 6pm-9pm and all day Sunday. For more details you can visit the Cafes website HERE

Below are some pictures from the opening event.

Revoking a Premises Licence

On of my other roles as a Cornwall Councillor is Licensing. I am currently the Vice-Chairman of the Licensing Act Committee. One of the Committees roles is to administer the Licensing Act 2003 by means of Hearings. These Hearings consist of three Councillors trained in Licensing. We can grant, refuse, suspend, or in some cases revoke a licence.
Today one of those Hearings took place for ILL Gatto Nero, Camborne. This Hearing (Review) was brought about by Cornwall Council’s Environmental Protection, Police and Interested Parties (residents). You can find the Agenda and all relevant information HERE.
All sides present their case, and once that has been completed the panel retires for deliberation. Today we revoked the licence because there was clear evidence from Environmental Protection, Police and Interested Parties that this premises was not run to the satisfaction of the Licensing Objectives in the Licensing Act 2003. 
No one likes to remove a licence, but we will, if it is shown that a licensee cannot, or will not, run an establishment correctly.

Will Flybe’s New Routes be the Saviour of Newquay Airport?

After my blog about Southwest Air stopping flights from Newquay later this year the future of the airport looked less than healthy. Today however, Flybe has announced new flights from Newquay to Manchester.

This four times a week service will run from 30th October and will fly on Mondays, Thursday, Fridays and Sunday’s. Let’s hope this new route will be a success and will lead to more flights to and from Newquay.

Have Your Say at a Public Hearing on ‘Devonwall’

The public will get a chance to have their say on the proposed boundary changes. These Hearings will be taking place arounds the country at various locations, as it will not just be Cornwall that will be effected by these proposed changes.

For Cornwall that Hearing will take place on the 10th and 11th November 2011 at the Alverton Manor. For more details click HERE

For those who like numbers; the link for the numbers for the electoral divisions for Parliamentary and Unitary can be found HERE

Will two days be enough for those in Cornwall to air their views in public?

“Cornwall should be seen as a California, not a Florida”.

Opening up my emails this morning I received a briefing note on Cornwall’s LEP from the Portfolio Holder of Economy. After reading it, I think it needs to be translated into plain English. Talking to my colleagues at County Hall, they are equally perplexed to the briefing note. Feel free to translate.

If you can translate it you will win a prize. How about one of those rare Cornwall Council ties, everyone’s must have fashion accessory.

I will though put the conclusion first, as that might save you from enduring the whole document

5. Conclusion
Cornwall has changed considerably over the last two decades and is still changing, but this is not fully understood by external audiences. The adoption of a “competitive identity approach” will enable a focused and coherent series of mutually reinforcing, cost effective communications and promotions to be undertaken. This will raise the profile and build on the excellent reputation of the existing successful sectors to drive greater awareness and recognition of the emerging/hidden growth industries and thereby assist in its economic development and building on the real pride and self determination of those that live and work in Cornwall

(Those brave enough please feel free to read the whole document)

The Title of the paper is: Cornwall – Competitive Identity “Cornwall should be seen as a California, not a Florida”.

1. Introduction

The paper details the background and rationale for developing a focused and integrated approach to raising the profile of, and changing the perception of Cornwall, in the rest of the UK as well as building a higher profile in Europe and target countries in the rest of the World.

2. Background

The Perception of new/ potential customers and investors is a critical success factor for any city or region. Over the past two decades many cities in the UK have completed a transformation in ‘perception’/profile terms by a combination of economic and physical regeneration combined with effective, targeted profile raising and marketing. Notable examples of cities that have achieved this profile/perception transformation include Manchester, Newcastle and most recently Liverpool (greatly assisted by the European City of Culture).

Over the last two decades, Cornwall has had the benefit of substantial amounts of public sector investment from the EC objective 5b, One and Convergence Programmes, as well as UK programmes, in addition to significant investment from the private sector.

In the last two decades, Cornish food and drink has grown in value and reputation and is now widely recognised as premium products. The tourism sector has invested and evolved into a multi award winning inspirational leading destination which is regularly endorsed at national and international level.

However, the perception of other sectors of the economy of Cornwall has not substantially changed in line with its transformation.

The challenge is now to build on the high profile, recognition and status of our leading sectors and use these positive values as a foundation on which to increase the focus and impact of raising the profile of the other less well known high performing and emerging businesses and sectors. The overall message being that Cornwall is a great place to work/advance a career, start/expand a growing and successful business, invest in, buy products and produce from, as well as visit and enjoy.

Cornwall should be a place where talent and investment returns, or “runs to” rather than a somewhere to go when “running away” from the “rat race”.

3. Branding vs. Competitive Identity

All too often, branding of a region/destination is associated with the creation (and then an obsession with) a ‘logo’ and even worse, brand values that people want to aspire to, rather than the ‘brand’ reflecting on honest communication of the region’s identity and this approach has been promoted by one of the leading branding experts , Simon Anholt.

Competitive identity is how the rest of the Country/World perceives your region and/or the reputation it has. The essence of a competitive identity strategy is based on the projection of an honest image and related communications reflecting the truth strength and weaknesses of a region.

Although competitive identity is in effect “branding”, it is not focused on logos and brand values (which for Cornwall could not be effectively policed) and more on the effective honest communication of the opportunities Cornwall has using a multi layers messaging and reinforcing approach.

A competitive identity is created by six interrelated areas of activity, namely:

– Tourism Promotion and tourist’s first hand experiences.
– Export promotion activities.
– Inward Investment initiatives and promotion.
– Policy decisions/reputation of the regions ‘governance’ key/body (ies).
– Food & drink produce in the case of Cornwall.
– Cultural activities and exchanges.
– How people of the region, from high profile figures/leader, sports stars behave as well as the population as a whole.

It was proposed to and agreed by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership that Cornwall adopts this “competitive identity approach” in all its external promotion/profile raising activities by use of a ‘signature’ for Cornwall, as the name itself is very powerful in marketing terms and very well known within the UK with a growing reputation in certain international markets.

It was also agreed that the relationship with the Cornwall brand and the Isles of Scilly brand should be reviewed and that consideration should be given to see where there are mutually supporting and reinforcing actions for shared benefits.

4. What are the next steps in developing a more comprehensive approach to a competitive identity for Cornwall

The next step will be to develop a project plan and identify talent within Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly in order to establish a project team who will develop a clear plan and deliver the work which will include:

1. Establishing a cross sector (including the third sector) stakeholder group to advise and support the project

2. Agreeing a set of core value/messages/descriptive words/messages that honestly reflect the values and practices of that service or product for the following target markets:

o Renewal Energy
o Tourism
o Creative Industries
o Knowledge Economy
o Food & Drink
o Niche Manufacturing
o Inward Investment
o Education and Research
o Cultural activities

Producing the overall multi layered communication strategy and a three year delivery plan. The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership will oversee and champion this project.

How Much Money is in Tobacco?

My blog about Cornwall Councils pension investment in tobacco companies got me wondering on how much money is in tobacco. I knew the returns would be quite good, but I was staggered at how much really can be made by investing in this sector.

Take for example British American Tobacco (BAT). Their current share price is £28.22 and has given an increasing yearly dividend. In fact, this dividend has risen from 32p in January 2001 to 114.2p in December 2010. Click HERE for the BAT 2010 Annual Report. In the last 10 years the dividend has only risen.

It is only when you compare investment in tobacco companies with other sectors you really see how much money is to be made. If you took the starting date of 1st January 1986 till December 2010 the returns (approx) for the following sectors are as follows*

Non-life Insurance – 500%
Technology – 500%
Food Retail – 900%
FTSE – 1000%
Banks – 1500%
Oil and Gas – 2500%

Tobacco – over 9000%

Yes, over 9000% return. That is, a totally staggering return. In fact if it was not for the ethical reasons behind investing in this sector I would be saying Cornwall Council should be investing in more than 2% of its pension fund. There is not another sector that has this type of return. If you took out the ethical side, you would be saying as an investor put my money in tobacco.

It does get back to the original point of should Cornwall Council have an ethical policy for investments, or should profit/return comes first. If it’s the later, then stop breaching ‘healthy messages’ if you are going to invest in something that contributes to death.

*have original source

The Masses Turn Up at Helston Town Council

Last nights Helston Town Council meeting was a full house. I counted at least 35 people who had turned up to complaint about the stance Helston Town Council had taken over A-boards. The spokesperson of the traders group handed over a petition that had around 1200 signatures.

Normally, there is only 15 minutes for public participation, but credit should be given to the Mayor who extended this. In fact public participation took just over 45 minutes.  I believe everyone who wished to speak did so. They all spoke with passion and made very sensible points. One trader said work with us (traders) not against us.

Now what will happen is a meeting will take place between the Cornwall Councillors, the Town Council, representatives of Helston’s businesses and Cornwall Council. Furthermore, no clean sweep will take place until this meeting has taken place, nor I think will it happen in the future. Unless it is in the public interest, and all parties agree.

Last night we saw democracy at work.

Blue Buoy Steps Porthleven

I have had a few requests from residents of Porthleven for a railing to be fitted at the bottom of Blue Buoy Steps. Theses steps leading onto the beach are steep, but are also well used. One reason for their high usage is these are the only steps that you can access the beach whilst the ban of dogs on beaches is active.

An early meeting this morning (8:15) with an officer from Cornwall Council has produced a result. It has been agreed that a railing will be fitted to these steps. The railing will be fitted as soon as it can be placed into the work plan. I hope this should not take more than six weeks.

I am grateful to the officer in coming out so early, and more importantly, agreeing with my request.

Cornwall Council and Ethical Investments?

My fellow Cornwall Councillor Alex FolkesThe Packets Skipper and the West Briton have blogged/written about Cornwall Council’s investment in tobacco companies. It is not a small amount either; the total investment in the pension funds is £24.5 million. 
I do understand the need to have a balanced portfolio in the pension fund to safeguard against any disaster. Yes, it only equates to 2% of the total fund, but still!
Cornwall Council regularly promotes via schools and its own in-house departments healthy living, eating and lifestyles. This is to be welcomed as it can help educate people to having a more balanced lifestyle which can lead to less long-term issues/illnesses. Still, to say on one hand to look after yourself and still invest in tobacco companies is hardly practising what you preach.
I believe Cornwall Council as a public body should have a more ethical policy towards investments, and the council should look at alternatives of investing this £24.5 million. A bigger question is what other ‘less’ ethical investments does Cornwall Council invest in?
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