Funding available for homeowners and businesses affected by the severe weather

Cornwall Council is publicising four schemes for financial assistance that are available to homeowners and businesses affected by the severe weather between 1 December 2013 and 31 March 2014.

1. Council tax discount

Householders, whose house has been affected by the severe weather, can apply to Cornwall Council for a three month discount from their council tax.

The qualifying criteria is:

  • Flooding must have occurred between 1 December 2013 and 31 March 2014
  • You can only make one claim per property affected
  • The property has been flooded in whole or in part as a result of adverse weather conditions
  • The property was the sole or main residence of the householder on the day of the flood
  • As a result of the flooding the householder was adversely affected
  • To establish whether a property qualifies for a discount due to flooding we need the following information:

  • Name and address of the property affected
  • Date the flooding occurred
  • Details of how the property was affected by the flood
  • Supporting evidence to help us with your application
  • Applications can be made by phone, email or in writing. Phone: 0300 1234 171; email: revenues@cornwall.gov.uk; in writing: Shared Services (Income), PO Box 676, Threemilestone, TR4 9LD

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    1. Business Rate Relief

    Businesses, affected by the severe weather, between 1 December 2013 and 31 March 2014, are able to apply to Cornwall Council for a 100% business rate relief for three months.

    100% rate relief will be awarded for those properties which meet the following criteria:

  • Flooding must have occurred between 1 December 2013 and 31 March 2014. You can only make one claim per property affected
  • The property has been flooded in whole or in part as a result of adverse weather conditions
  • On the day of the flooding the property was occupied and subject to occupied business rates
  • As a result of the flooding the business activity undertaken at the property was adversely affected
    The rateable value of the property on the day of the flooding was less than £10 million

    To establish whether a business qualifies for business rate relief we need the following information:

  • Name and address of the property affected
  • Date the flooding occurred
  • Details of how the property was affected by the flood
  • Supporting evidence to help us with your application
  • Applications can be made by phone, email or in writing. Phone: 0300 1234 171; email: revenues@cornwall.gov.uk In writing: Shared Services (Income), PO Box 676, Threemilestone, TR4 9LD

    3. Repair and Renew grant

    The Government has announced new ‘repair and renew’ grants of up to £5,000. The grants are to help households and businesses pay for repairs, over and above what would normally be covered by insurance, which improves a property’s ability to withstand future flooding. The grants will not cover standard repairs or provide compensation.

    We are expecting the Government to publish details of eligibility and criteria soon. We will provide details of how to apply as soon as we can.

    4. Business Support Scheme

    The Government has announced a new Business Support Scheme for small and medium sized business premises, physically affected by coastal and inland flooding. Eligible businesses will be able to claim for costs, initially up to £2,500, which could include: immediate clean up costs and repair, replacement of stock or equipment, additional staff costs, structural surveys and non-recoverable insurance excess.

    An application form to apply for a grant from the Business Support Scheme will be available by Monday 3 March.

    Further contacts are:

    West Cornwall Community network team: Mark James – mjames2@cornwall.gov.uk

    East Cornwall Community network team: Steve Foster – stephen.foster@cornwall.gov.uk

    Town centres/small businesses:Town Centre Management Specialist Guy Thomas -Guy.Thomas@cornwall.gov.uk

    Agricultural and fishing:Business Development Consultant Peter Holland – peter@investincornwall.co.uk

    This information, along with other available schemes and assistance, is on our website: www.cornwall.gov.uk/floodrelief

    Drop me an email, tweet FB message, email, or phone me if you want more information or support (Porthleven and Helston West area) for your application.

    Cornwall Council passes a budget with a 1.97%* rise in Council Tax

    For the first time in nearly four years the Cornwall Council element of the Council Tax will rise. For those who do not know the Council Tax is made up of three elements – Cornwall Council, town and parish precepts and Devon and Cornwall Police precept.

    For 2014/15 period for the Devon and Cornwall Police precept will rise £166.16 (1.99%) per year for a Band D property. For town and parish councils, the average increase will be £77.30 (10.86%) per year. Again on a Band D. The Cornwall Council element is 1,512.38 (1.97%) per year on a Band D.

    When you add it all together, the increase for a Band D property for 2014/15 is £35.32 per year, or 67p per week. For the eagle-eyed readers, the actual increase is 2.39%*, but this includes all the elements of the Council Tax with two elements out of the control of Cornwall Council.

    Some would argue to protect service, there should be a bigger rise. However, the Government has restricted primary LAs from rising their element of the Council Tax no more than 2%. Anything over, will require an expensive referendum. So in a true sense, the 2% max is a cap imposed by Government.

    After a shorter than expected debate, and no alternative budget from the Tories, – though one was submitted, but then pulled by their Group Leader yesterday, or anyone else for the matter. A vote was taken, and the budget was passed 71 for, 35 against, with one absenstion.

    Full budget documentation HERE

    Advice and funding for those who have suffered flood and storm damage

    Now we have had a few days respite from the onslaught of the weather and take stock of the damage it has caused, the question by those affected is there any help from the Government and the Council. The short answer is yes, but as you would imagine, it not straight forward. For my area, Porthleven, I am collating details on the damage and the cost of repair so it can be included in any Council bid – like the Bellwin Scheme.

    The Government has set up a helpline to provide comprehensive advice and support to small and medium size enterprises (SME). The helpline offers a free one hour call with a dedicated business support advisor to help businesses get back on their feet. As well as providing free dedicated business advice, information is also available via the helpline on who to contact about pay, tax, employment rights or disputes, company registration or insolvency.

    The number for the advice line is : 0300 456 3565

    There is also help from the following:

    UK Storm Business Relief Fund

    Set up by NatWest and RBS Banks with a £250million fund to issue interest free loans to small businesses affected by the storms and floods. Loans are available to any business affected, that do not need to be customers of either bank, and is on a first come first served basis. UK Storms Helpline: 0800 529 8544. Help is also available in your local branch of NatWest or RBS banks from their Relationship Managers. More information is available online at www.business.natwest.com and www.business.rbs.co.uk

    Government Business Support Scheme

     The Government has announced a new Business Support Scheme worth up to £10 million. The scheme is in addition to the three-month rate relief and the £5,000 ‘Repair and Renew’ grants. Details of eligibility, criteria and how to apply will be published I am told very soon, maybe this week.

    Government ‘Repair and Renew’ grants

    There is a new grant scheme to help homes and businesses affected by the winter storms. Individual grants of up to £5,000 are available to help pay for repairs, not covered by insurance, which improve a property’s ability to withstand future flooding. More information and advice on applying for a Repair and Renew grant is available online www.gov.uk

    Business rate relief

    All affected businesses will be able to apply to their local authority for three months business rate relief. Details on the application process and eligibility will be announced by the Government shortly and more information is available on the Government website: www.gov.uk/government/news/new-measures-to-help-communities-hit-by-flooding#business-relief

    Help for fishermen

     

    The Fishermen’s Mission has launched an urgent appeal to raise funds to help fishermen who have been affected by the storms. More information is available on their website: www.fishermensmission.org.uk. I am told there is £50,000 available.

    Help for farmers

    The Government has announced it will make up to £10 million available for a one-off grant scheme designed to support farm businesses. The scheme is to restore flooded agricultural land and bring it back into production as quickly as possible. More information is available on the Government website: www.gov.uk/government/news/new-measures-to-help-communities-hit-by-flooding#farmers-fund

    More information about grants to help people and businesses affected by storms and flood damage is available on Cornwall Council’s website: www.cornwall.gov.uk/floodfunding

    I will update as I know more.

     

    State-funded (Academy and LA) Schools in Cornwall

    I thought it would be interesting for people to know the types and numbers of state-funded schools in Cornwall. This includes the pupil population taught under the different state-funded set-ups in Cornwall. I have the portfolio which education comes under, and for me there is no difference in school type; as long as those young people who attend these schools are getting the very best education.

    In total there are 272 schools in Cornwall. This is made up of 32 secondary which includes one Free School; 236 primary schools; and four special schools.

    From this 272 schools 73* (27%) of them are academies. Out of this 73 schools, 16 (50%) are secondary including one Free School, 57 (24%) are primary and one (25%) special school. These figure do not include those who are in the process of academy conversion.

    The total pupil population that are currently being taught under the academy system is 29,377 (42%); or if you like 58% are in LA maintained schools. This is broken down further with the number of pupils being taught under the academy system in for the following: 

    • Primary 11,843 (31% of total pupils);
    • Secondary 17,423 (56% of total pupils);
    • Special Schools 111 (30% of total pupils)

    You might not know this, but all academy conversions are carried out on the first of each month.

    *(Figures are correct as of 1st Jan 2014 – and I have rounded the percentages)

    Fundraising and Donations tops £10,000 for the Porthleven Fishermen’s Association

    The almost never-ending storms which have smashed into Porthleven and other parts of Cornwall have taken their toll on communities and infrastructure. The scene in Porthleven of the Baulks that protect the inner-harbour giving way under the pressure of the waves; which then allowed the sea free to run-amok on the once protected boats will not be forgotten in Porthleven. In total 10 boats were sunk, with at least two un-salvageable.

    From this tragedy, the community and businesses of Porthleven, businesses of Cornwall and visitors to Porthleven both near and far have acted with fantastic generously. In a short space of time, a staggering £10,000 has been raised for the Porthleven Fishermen’s Association. The total amount raised is still climbing, as more and more people come forward with help. Cheques are being sent from around the country from people, who visit Porthleven; some who have just visited once or twice, and those who visit more frequently. They understand the magic of Porthleven and want to help.

    The weekend of the 15th/16th, saw a series of fundraising events. On Saturday The Atlantic Inn held a coffee morning and then in the evening a raffle and auction. Both Leigh and Adrian – the landlady and landlord of the pub – should be highly praised for all the work they have done in organising these events. The amount raised from the coffee morning, raffle and auction – plus some other donations – was a whopping £7251! This is a truly staggering figure.

    Praise should go to the many business that donated prized for the raffle and action. These were not just Porthleven business, but business from across Cornwall. I will get a full list and update this post, so each business can be publicly credited for their support.

    Other donations have come from Porthleven Surf Club – £300; Porthleven Town Council – £1000; My Cornwall Council Community Fund – £500; The Boat House in Falmouth who raised £750 during a recent charity event; and Skinners Brewery who will be donating 5p for every pint of Porthleven Beer sold in February.

    As I said more money is coming in, so the total amount raised will be a lot higher. Especially as more fund-raising events are set to be held. This money will enable the association to replace and repair various items that includes fishing equipment and the ice house machinery.

    Get in contact if you would like to help.

    Porthleven rallies to clear up the harbour

    Sunday saw a couple of hundred people gather and help remove the tons of tangled fishing nets, rope, a sunken punt and other debris from the inner-harbour. I was amazed how many people – including many children – turn up and help.

    In a few hours the mess left by the recent storms had been removed from the inner-harbour and carried off for disposal. Some of the debris was so heavy, it took several men to drag it up out of the harbour. In some cases, a dumper truck was used to drag the debris away due its weight.

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    The community spirit did not just end there. As Porthleven Gig Club provided hot drinks, biscuits and cake to the helpers. Then at the end of the clean up, the owner of the bar ‘Out of the Blue’ provided a keg of ale. If that was not enough, one of the local residents’ Amanda (nee Strike) had managed to get hundreds of rashers of bacon (I believe Tulip) and supply bacon sarnies to everyone too.

    Talk about a great community spirit. It certainly makes you proud to live in Porthleven.

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    Valentine’s Day Storm hits Porthleven

    With each storm that hits Porthleven, the intensity of the weather is off the scale. The Valentines Day storm is the most powerful – so far – to hit. It was not just the monster sea, but wind so strong it tried to knock you off your feet.  You could not help watch in awe of the savagery of the waves as they crash ashore.

    The weather forecaster had predicted heavy rain, but luckily did not materialise. A good job really, as that would have made things in Porthleven very difficult. For a precaution to the heavy rainfall, I requested a delivery of 50 sandbags to the area in Porthleven most at risk from flooding. There was also a further 800 sandbags delivered to Helston Coronation car park for public use. Credit must go to Cormac who moved swiftly to deliver the sandbags.

    As for the storm it was like a light being switched on, when one minute the weather went from almost benign to a deadly mass of water. This all happened an hour before high-water. Now with the seas crashing over the harbour walls, roads were shut, however, for one unlucky car, it was too late and the sea like it was a cat playing with its victim, tormented this car with wave after wave smashing into it and trying to drag the car to a watery grave.

    [KGVID width=”568″ height=”320″]http://www.cllrandrewwallis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/IMG_2847.mov[/KGVID]

    This was just the start of the storm, as minute by minute the intensity of the storm grew; wave after wave smashed into the harbour walls, quays, the pier and the iconic Bickford-Smith Institute building. The canons which ‘guard’ Porthleven and stand on the outer-harbour quay disappeared under the mass of water.

    The outer quay and cannon engulfed

    The outer quay and cannon engulfed

    The now closed road which leads to the Institute was also under a mass of water as the tide surged forward. At times, the road was as one with the sea as water could not drain away before more waves crashed over the walls.

    road

    The Harbour Road

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    Looking back over the outer harbour

    Porthleven’s pier did not escape the sea from being submerged as the next series of photos will show how the pier was lost in a mass of water. In fact it was hard to tell how big some of the waves were, as the seas were just a mass of water bubbling away in a white-mass.

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    The Porthleven Pier

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    Submerged under the waves

    The main road in Porthleven runs in parallel to the head of the harbour became a sea-of-foam which was in some places, knee-deep.

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    It is hard to believe, but the following day, the sea had returned to an almost calm like state and the previous evening had never happened. I have to say, I have lived by the sea since I was a teenager, and have served at sea in the Royal Navy, however, I have never seen the sea ‘act’ with such intensity and savagery that I have witnessed over these last few weeks.

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    The following day after the storm

     

    Porthleven Town Council give financial support to Fishermens Association

    Last night, at the monthly meeting of Porthleven Town Council, the Council unanimously supported a request from the Porthleven Fishermen’s Association for financial help.

    The ‘standard’ grant is for £50, but for this occasion, the Council decided to give £1,000 to the association to enable them to get back on their feet.

    I have also agreed to give at least £500 out of my Community Fund. Both these amounts of money will not cover the huge cost the association has incurred, but will go some way to help. Plus, these grants can be used for matched-funding to other pots of money.

    Futhermore, there are various fund raising events in Porthleven this weekend. Two are at the Atlantic this Saturday, with a coffee morning and then auction with more fundraising in the evening.

    It is fantastic that Cornwall’s Skinners Brewery will be donating 5p for every pint of Porthleven Beer sold in February and this money will all money going to the association. Not going to encourage people to drink more, but if you see Porthleven Beer, please drink it instead of your normal tipple.

    I am also getting inquiries from regular visitors and holidays makers to Porthleven who also want to donate. This is heartening as it is not only the residents who love and feel a sense of community, but also those who visit want to help too.

    If anyone wishes to make a donation, please send it to the Atlantic Inn, Porthleven.

    The Prime Minister visits Cornwall to see the damage of the weather

    The Prime Minister visited Cornwall to see for himself just some of the damage the storms and flooding has had in Cornwall. The damage bill to date is £21 million, and could easily rise if the adverse weather continues. However, and this is important, the message being sent out is ‘Cornwall is still open for business.’

    During the visit, the Prime Minister has ‘offered’ help with the repair bill.  One way is via the Bellwin Scheme. The current threshold for claims will be lowered, and in Cornwall’s case, instead of the 85% maximum payout, it will be 100%. This I very much welcome as without the help to carry out the repairs, the money would have to be found via Cornwall Council’s own budget. And we all know that is under real pressure.

    Though my understanding of the ‘offer’ is the only for the emergency repairs and not the full repairs. That means Cornwall Council could still have to find at least £17m to repair the damage fully. As always, the devil is in the detail.

    With no mainline rail to link Cornwall and the rest of the UK, flights out of Newquay will be reduced by £5 for two weeks. This will start on Wednesday 12th February. Also reduced are rail fares by I believe 20%. Less hope the rail line at Dawlish is repaired quickly, but I think it will take a while longer than the six-weeks currently being said. Especially if the sea decides to have another go at this stretch of coastline.

    Now Cornwall Council has had a respite from the weather, it has given the Council time to look at the damage. The Council has come up with some estimated repair costs for the worse hit areas.

    For Porthleven where there has been damage to coastal defences, with up to 40 properties at risk from coastal flooding, a breach of the river defences and significant damage to the fishing fleet. The cost of damage is

    • Interim repairs to coastal and river defences – current estimated costs £105k
    • Capital repairs to harbour (privately owned) to be estimated. I am seeking clarification if any money from the Bellwin Scheme can be used for the Harbour due to it being in private ownership.

    For the rest of Cornwall and those affected areas, the cost of repairs is:

    Portreath Harbour where there has been severe damage to the pier. 

    Cost of damage

    • Interim repairs – current estimated costs £51k
    • Capital repairs – current estimated costs £800k

    St Ives where two piers have been damaged.

    Cost of damage

    • Interim repairs – current estimated costs £22k
    • Permanent repairs – current estimated costs £22k

    Newlyn to Marazion where damage includes a breach of coastal defences at Eastern Green and Long Rock threatening the Paddington/Penzance railway line, residential and commercial property, South West Coastal Path; damage to South Quay, Penzance, threatening the link to the Isles of Scilly and damage also to Penzance promenade, Jubilee Pool, Newlyn Green.

    Cost of damage

    • Interim repairs – current estimated costs £0.68k
    • Permanent repairs -current estimated costs £5.6m

    Newquay Fistral  –where there has been damage to coastal defences and undermining of the Fistral Surf Centre; the removal of sand led to undermining of the Fistral RNLI training base and damage to the sand dunes led to damage to several accesses to the beach.

    Cost of damage

    • Interim repairs – current estimated costs £15k
    • Capital repairs – current estimated costs £500k

    Mullion Harbour  – (National Trust  Property) where there has been structural damage to Eastern Breakwater.

    Cost of damage

    • Estimate awaited from National Trust 

    Newquay Towan and Harbour where there has been damage to the road access to Blue Reef Aquarium, damage to the Towan Promenade and beach huts and damage to harbour assets and harbour masters office.

    Cost of damage

    • Interim repairs – current estimated costs £22k
    • Capital repairs – current estimated costs £335k

    St Mawes  where there has been damage to highway, damage to coastal defences at Summers Beach and damage to privately owned quay.

    Cost of damage

    • Interim repairs – current estimated costs £108k
    • Capital repairs – current estimated costs £12k
    • Estimates for damage to private pier being prepared

    Bude  where interim repairs to Bude Canal and coastal defences have now been completed.

    Cost of damage

    • Interim repairs – current estimated costs £59k
    • Capital repairs – current estimated costs £130k
    • Further damage to be estimated

    Calstock where the failure of a highway wall resulted in the collapse of the road.

    Cost of damage

    • Initial response – current estimated costs £0.1m
    • Capital repairs – current estimated costs £0.5m 

    Looe where there has been damage to harbour assets and to the coastal defences at Hannafore.

    Cost of damage

    • Interim repairs  – current estimated costs  £80k
    • Capital repairs – CC – current estimated costs – £20k
    • Looe Harbour Commissioners are preparing estimates

    Kingsand / Cawsand where there has been significant damage to coastal defences and residential properties and to the structural integrity of the institute and the clock tower.

    Cost of damage

    • Interim repairs – current estimated costs £20k
    • Capital repairs – current estimated costs £585k

    Seaton  where there has been significant damage to beach profile and local businesses and the loss of wall at the rear of the beach.

    Cost of damage

    • Interim repairs – current estimated costs £70
    • Capital repairs – current estimated costs £575k

    As you can see, the list is long. Lets just hope the Government actually comes through and actually pays the full bill and not just the emergency repairs

    Porthleven attracts hundreds of wave watchers

    The storms in which Porthleven has been subjected to has attracted the attention of the national and international media as well as our own local media outlets. No-one will forget the sight of boats becoming overwhelmed by the sea and sinking in Porthleven.

    So when weather forecasters predicts another mother-of-all storm, the scene is set for people wanting to see how it plays out first hand or via the media.

    Friday night the wind steadily got stronger and stronger and continued into Saturday. With high-water set for 11:24 am, the timings of everything happening was ideal for those who wished to watch the sheer power of the sea pound Porthleven. Thankfully Saturday’s high-water was a good metre and a half lower than the tide which do so much damage on Wednesday. It might not sound much, but believe me it is when you add in very strong winds and large waves you do not want a spring-tide.

    It is still a strange and eery sight to see the inner harbour without any boats. I am told the last time the inner harbour was completely empty is at least 100 years ago. The date I have heard repeated is 1903. 

    Without the protection of the Baulks, the inner harbour was a bubbling cauldron of seawater. Which now free to act, surged through the Gap to pound the inner harbour.

    Porthleven's inner harbour and bubbling cauldron of water

    Porthleven’s inner harbour a bubbling cauldron of water

    As I said before, Porthleven has had a lot of media coverage and with that, I expected a good turn out of wave-watchers. However, I was unprepared for the amount of people who came to watch the sea. Hundreds upon hundreds of people came. So much so, it was hard to find a space to watch the waves. It was not just the public who came to watch the seas as you could almost trip over the number of film crews filming. At one stage a helicopter  – with camera ball – was flying low-level around Porthleven.

    With the large numbers of people who travelled to Porthleven, it was hardly surprising the road network would struggle; especially as the Porthleven Road is closed due to major repairs. This resulted in the Police restricting access to Porthleven for a period of time due to the numbers of vehicles trying to get in and out of Porthleven.

    Taking unnecessary risks for the perfect picture

    Taking unnecessary risks for the perfect picture – credit to my friend Miguel Belert for use of picture.

    Furthermore,  for safety reasons, the Police and Coastguards stopped access to some of the more exposed roads in Porthleven. Safety while watching the waves is paramount. Most people understood the danger of the sea and the power of those huge waves and acted accordingly. However,  these two people decided to take unnecessary risks to get that ‘perfect picture.’

    Luckily, no-one came to harm, but when it does go horribly wrong – which has happen recently – and that risk does not pay off, and the Coastguards, RNLI, 771 SAR and other emergency services put their lives at risk to save you. Watch the waves, but please do this from a safe distance.

    High-water arrived, with the seas battering Porthleven’s harbour and buildings. The iconic building, the Bickford-Smith Institute that has stood proud for 130 years, definitely stood against the sea; no matter what the sea could muster and throw at this building. And boy, it has had some huge storms and waves smash into it over the century.

    Bickford-Smith Institute stands proud for 130 years

    Bickford-Smith Institute stands proud for 130 years

    The best picture I took of the day was of a local resident; who with a great sense of humour was holding up a sign in reference to the parking problems that had arisen due to the numbers of people visiting Porthleven, and trying to find somewhere to park. It really made me smile.

    Humour

     

    It might not be over either, as more stormy weather is forecast for next week. You got to wonder how much longer can coastal areas like Porthleven can withstand without more serious damage the continuing onslaught of the sea.

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