With little more than a few hours to go until we enter a New Year, I thought I would reflect on a very interesting, and in many parts, challenging year. Looking back on some of the blog topics it budgets, cuts (or re-organising if you are the Leadership) have featured heavily. Planning has also been a busy with some very large applications being dealt with over the year.
Budgets are likely to feature heavily again, especially in the first few months of 2012 when Cornwall Council sets its precept for council tax. The main topic on the budget will be on accepting the one-off grant from Mr Pickles to freeze council tax for the period of 2012/13. I am still unsure if this is the right course because I fear we would have to raise council tax quite heavily in the 2013/14 period to make up the shortfall.
The services Cornwall Council provides are no doubt going to be under more pressure. This will no doubt lead to some being scaled back, stopped, or town and parish councils having to take them on. The issue of the public toilets still has not be solved, just postponed. Other areas like open spaces, and ‘land surplus to requirements’ will also be discussed in the coming year.
Sitting on Strategic Planning has resulted in some huge decisions having to be taken. The Hayle supermarket battle was very interesting. At the start, Hayle had a poor deal, but I really believe by the end of the process Hayle got the best deal. Supermarkets have been prominent in planning applications during 2011, and no doubt they will feature heavily again in 2012. The stadium, The Eastern District, and other large-scale planning applications in and around Truro are going to feature a lot.
A great pleasure has been working with Porthleven Town Council. This group of people really do try to get what’s best for Porthleven. It is not easy, but they are willing to stand-up and be counted when they have to. They showed great courage in resisting the heavy-handed way Cornwall Council was treating them over the public toilets. As like in 2011, I am looking forward to working with the town council in 2012.
I have not won every battle/issue over the last year, but those I have won has had an impact for the better for Porthleven and the areas of Helston I serve. I am still really disappointed on not getting the £100,000 for Porthleven in the Seaside Town Program, but not all is lost, as the working group will still press on with the plan during 2012. I am confident the long, and frustrating battle to raise funds for the Bulwark play park could be over in the first six months of 2012 resulting in the park being built. As the park stands a very good chance of being funded from two pots of money. Let’s hope it does pay off.
I am still amazed at how many people take the time to read this blog. It was great to be voted so highly on the annual Total Politics Blogging Awards. Being placed above so many professional bloggers was really a highlight. I know not everyone agrees with what I say, and I think that is a very good because I like the various debates that have taken place in 2011. I am though very grateful for people taking the time to read what I have to say. I again look for the same in 2012.
So finally, I would like to wish everyone who reads this blog a very happy New Year, and all the best in 2012.
See you in 2012!