The CAMHS Service in Cornwall and why it must improve

CAMHS or to give its full title, Children and Adolescence Mental Health Service is an extremely valuable service. CAMHS exists to promote the mental health and emotional wellbeing of children and young people and the prevention and early intervention of mental health issues. There are four tiers to CAMHS and they are:

  • Tier 1: consists of school nurses, youth workers, teachers, GPs and health visitors
  • Tier 2: consists of specialised Primary Mental Health Workers (PMHW’s), educational psychologists, counsellors and social workers
  • Tier 3: consist of clinicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, mental health practitioners
  • Tier 4: consists usually of specialised inpatient units

However, since taking on the responsibility as Portfolio Holder for Children and Young People, I have been concerned with the provision of the CAMHS service. From evidence going back to 2008 there has been a lack of demonstrable improvement in the whole service. This has been backed up by inspections and two critical reports. I do acknowledge CAHMS is a complex area, with a greater demand on the service, and nationally there are similar issues like those faced in Cornwall, but for me more has to be done to improve this service. It was not only I who had concerns, as the feedback I was getting from many sources which included schools, young people, practitioners and clinicians raised similar concern too. So when this many people are telling me the service provision is patchy, not delivering and young people not getting assessed quickly, then I have to look into this to see if the concerns are true.

I was also frustrated with the lack of data and more concerning, a clear and up to date strategy to deal with the many issues surrounding CAMHS. You just cannot commission services properly without a clear strategy on how you are going to provide services, and you cannot have a strategy without good data.

So to address the issues I had, I asked the Council’s Health and Social Care Scrutiny Committee – who has statutory functions – to investigate my concerns. One of the powers the committee has is to convene a select committee. This is like those select committees in Parliament like the banking and the Murdoch hearing. This formate would then fully investigate the issues I had raised.

This select committee was established and a two-day hearing was held to gather views and information from service commissioners, schools, users, voluntary sector, officers of the Council and health agencies. The committee asked tough and searching questions to those who gave evidence, and I myself was grilled for over an hour on the provision by the Council.

The Scrutiny then collated all this evidence into a report. The full Scrutiny report can be found HERE.

This is an excellent report which gets to the bottom to the many of the issues in Cornwall’s CAMHS service. In many places of the report it is not an easy read, and many areas is critical. There is no point in asking for something to be investigated if you only want to put a sticky plaster over the cracks. To solve issues you need to fill in those cracks, and the only way to do this is to deliver a hard-hitting report highlighting those cracks.

However, it is easy to point finger of blame, but this solves nothing. And this is certainly what the report is about. This report is about solving these long running issues in the CAMHS service. From this report all agencies and organisations involved in CAMHS must acknowledge the report, but more importantly, start to address those action points contained within the report.

There is no point in looking back; we must look forward if we want to have the best CAHMS service. This looking forward approach has already begun as speaking to our other partners and organisations, there is a will to all work together and address the issue contained in the report. It is not going to be an easy task, but if the will is there, then we will succeed – together. Failure not to address the issues in the report is not an option, as failure will fail our young people who need this service.

I will finish by congratulating the Health and Social Care Committee and those members who formed the select committee. I will also give my thanks to all those who took part in the two-day hearing either in person and/or submitted evidence. I know it was a tough process.

Further information on the CAMHS can be found HERE and Cornwall Council’s Family Information Service HERE. There is also this excellent website from Invictus Trust which offers guidance and advice. This can be found HERE

Cornwall Council hosts a member of the Falkland Island Government

It may seem unusual, but Cornwall Council has established links with the Falkland Island Government that go beyond a polite nod to each other. For the last few years, the two authorities have run a small exchange programme.

Recently, the Falkland Island have sent one if their senior democratic services officer to Cornwall and Cornwall Council has sent a senior lawyer to the Islands to help bring in legislation on Children’s Services. I shouldn’t have to say this, but the cost were covered by the Falkland Islands.

This relationship took one step further when last week I hosted a member of the Falkland Island Government whose responsibility covers Children’s Service on the Island. The four-day visit by Dr Barry Elsby was to see first hand how a large children’s service is delivered and if any of the current processes and strategies could be adapted for the islands. In the words of Dr Elsby, there is no point in reinventing the wheel, when you can use the experience of others.

During Dr Elsby’s visit he saw first hand the excellent work being carried out by the Council. I was very proud as the portfolio holder when Barry congratulated the Councils children’s services and its dedicated officers who happy took the time to show various aspects of the service. It is good to get such positive feedback on the service and I hope Dr Elsby will be able to use the information he gained during his visit back on the Falkland Islands.

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HRH The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester visit Porthleven

Porthleven welcomed the HRH Duke and Duchess of Gloucester to came to see for themselves the storm damage and lately the repair work carried out in theaftermath of those violent storms. It was also the chance for the Duke and Duchess to meet those who had played a hand in keeping people safe, and had been part of the clean up post the storms.

The royals were met by the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Porthleven who with The Lord Lieutenant, expertly guided them to the various meeting points.

The Duke and Duchess also met many of the community groups, clubs and organisations in Porthleven. They were also entertained by the Porthleven Town Band. The royals also browsed a few of the local shops as part of the visit. It was a real community event in which the both the Duke and Duchess spent a great deal of time chatting to people and stayed longer in Porthleven than was originally planned. All in all, this was good for Porthleven.

The last port of call was a small cream tea reception in the Bickford- Smith Institute. During this reception both the Duke and Duchess spend time talking to the assembled guests. They were also treated to a Cornish cream tea. The was provided by one of the local restaurants Amelie’s – who also provided refreshments during the clean up. It was great to see both the Duke and Duchess chat to all the guests.

You really could not asked for better weather. With a clear blue sky and the harbour twinkling in the sunlight at high water. You really could not set a better scene which showed Porthleven off in all its glory.

Lastly, the Mayor of Porthleven presented the Duke with a town plaque and the Duchess was given flowers from one of the children from Porthleven primary school.

Of course no event is without pictures and here are a few taken from the day.

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The Duke and Lord Lieutenant escorted by the Mayor

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The Mayor and Deputy Mayor escort the Duke and Duchess through Porthleven

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The Duke is introduced to local fishermen and their families

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The Duke is introduced to the staff who work for Harbour and Dock

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The Duke treated to a Cornish cream tea by Sam, owner of Amilie’s

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Porthleven’s Coastguard Search and Rescue Team chat to the Duke

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The Duchess meets local fishermen and their families

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The Mayor presents the town plaque to the Duke

The swings and voting share from the euro elections

The 2014 European election is now over and the party machines are now wondering how they are going to convince the public their party is the best for the county in next year’s General Election. Of course this forthcoming election could also be the last UK wide election if Scotland decides to go alone. The political pundits and party strategists will now be trawling through the euro results to see how UKIP topped the polls and won this election.

For those of us who do not have access to detailed voting patterns or who would lose the will to live if presented with reams of electoral data spreadsheets, the BBC’s news graphic team has produced a set of infrogram clearly showing the voting shifts by the European electoral regions. Good work BBC.

It is clear UKIP’s win was down to increased vote share. This went up in all regions and only in Scotland and London did this stay in single figures. Labour will be pleased and relieved they came second, but not far behind were the Conservatives. For a party who is in government, they were not punished as much as I thought they would be. But they lost ground in all the regions which must be worrying with a general election in 345 or so days

I would say the Green Party held is ground overall nationally, but made a breakthrough in the South West by adding another MEP bringing their total up to three. So if I was the party leadership I would take this as a win. SNP stood ground and did not get the third MEP they targeted. Plaid retained its one MEP against a strong Labour and UKIP vote.

However, the real loser in this election was the Lib Dems. They had a shocker. losing 10 MEP’s must be hard to take. This follows on from a bad local government election where they lost 300 odd Councillors. I do not think you can write-off the Lib Dems, as it has shown in the past they can come back. However, I do think this will be their biggest test to date and definitely looking down the barrel of a shotgun with a finger firmly on the trigger.

How these result will play out in the General Election is anyone’s guess. The news is awash with the main parties talking about dealing with UKIP. However, and this is the subject of my next blog, is instead of obsessing over UKIP, those parties should be trying to figure out how they will not only engage the 4 million odd who voted for UKIP, but the issue of the 40 million people who did not vote. That reader is the real issue.

UKIP

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A seismic shift felt in the UK European Elections

Politics is a funny old game. They say a week is a long time in politics, but 24 hours can, and as the results of the European election has shown, seen a seismic shift in voting patterns from that of the local government elections. As I said  in my previous post At the local election, UKIP made small but noticeable gains. Unlike the Cons and Lib Dems who had their numbers of Councillors cut.

The European elections returned a completely different picture with UKIP winning this election. It is being said this result is the first time since 1910 when the two main parties have not won a national election.  This is a huge shockwave which is reverberating across the country. These results might not be an earthquake, but tea cups and windows are certainly rattling in response.

In Cornwall  – who elects six MEPs – we saw UKIP top the polls. However, they were unable to add to their existing two MEP’s. The Conservatives lost one seat, and now have two. Labour and the Greens took the remaining two places with one MEP apiece. The Lib Dems where Cornwall is seen as one if not their power base (three MPs and  jointly running the local authority) came third in Cornwall and fifth in the South West. The overall South West result saw the Lib Dems lose their MEP who has held his seat for the last 20 years.

The results for Cornwall with a turnout of 36% are:

  • UKIP – 53,943
  • Conservative Party – 37,698
  • Lib Dems – 17,840
  • Green Party – 16,398
  • Labour Party – 16,122
  • An Independence from Europe – 2,530
  • English Democrats – 1,323
  • BNP – 1,106

The results by total numbers of votes for the whole of the South West are:

  • UKIP – 484,184
  • Conservative Party – 433,151
  • Labour Party – 206,124
  • Green Party –  166,447
  • Lib Dems – 160,376

Compare this to the results from 2009 ( 3 Cons, 2 UKIP and 1 LD) the changes in percentage terms are: UKIP: +10.6%; Labour Party: +5.6%; Green Party: +1.7%; Lib Dem: -6.1%; Conservative Party: -o.6%

The national picture sees UKIP taking the largest share with 24 (+11) MEPs this is followed by the Labour Party 20; the Conservative Party 19; Lib Dem 1; Green Party 3; SNP 2 ; Plaid 1.  It is clear who the winner was with 28% of the vote. It is also clear who was the greater loser; with the Lib Dems having a disaster by losing 10 MEPs and now has a solidity one MEP. Though to be fair the Conservatives lost 7 MEP’s and have the first time in history came third in a national election. So it was not a good night for the two government parties.

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UKIP vote change

I am no political pundit,  and you can dismiss my waffle, but it is clear people’s voting pattern changes depending on what they are voting for. The local elections saw people voting along the main party lines. However, the European election saw this turned on its head with UKIP winning the day. The question is why?

Is the European vote seen as a more protest vote to warn the main parties you need to talk about the issue that concern the masses? Even if some of those issues are on immigration and the perception of a federalist Europe? Maybe the rise of UKIP is because the main parties had fudged the issue of Europe and people want to have a say. I have heard both the out of Europe and pro-Europe camp say let’s have a proper debate and vote. Then the country can just get on with it in or out of Europe.

It is funny how both the Scottish Government and Westminster are supporting a vote on independence and the possible break-up of the Union, but neither will allow a vote on membership of Europe? Something is wrong and looks like politicians do not trust the public to make an informed choice and vote accordingly on the issue of Europe. It is the fear factor the political elite might not get a result they like? Maybe this is the reason why the election is returning these results.

A surprise result is UKIP have an MEP in Scotland. This is more of a surprise because UKIP do not have anyone elected to the Scottish Government, or even a Councillor in local government. In Wales, a Labour heartland,  we saw UKIP narrowly beaten into second place by 0.62% of the vote. It is clear UKIP are not seen just as an ‘English’ party.

Across Europe many of the more anti-federalist parties have made gains. Denmark and France are the most prominent right-wing winners; the latter saw the National Front taking 25% of the vote. It is being reported that 30% of the under 30’s voted for the National Front. The ruling French party was beaten into third place.  It is not only right-wing parties taking the honours, Greece has voted for a far-left party. The thread of many of the results is more on self-determination by ‘mother parliaments’ and less on federalism. Again to be fair and balanced,  the majority of the MEP’s both left and right are your more pro-european than anti. So I doubt we will suddenly see a huge change of direction in Europe.

I would say the most shocking part in all this and the local election is the poor turnout. For the UK, we are looking like a 35% turnout. One figure I saw was for Poland who are reporting a 23% turnout. They say you get the representation you vote for. I say it is more like you get the representation because the majority do not vote.

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Something must be done about the poor turnout. It is hard to look at the voter turnout for local elections as boundaries have changed. But you can look at the results of the general election when in 1950 the turnout was 83.9%  and has dropped to a turnout of 65.1% in 2010. The 2001  General Election saw the worse result with a turnout of 59%. And let’s not get started on the Police and Crime Commissioner Election when we saw a 15% turnout. My plea is use your vote, and make it count.

Lastly, I talked about the knives being out in my last blog, but before the European results it was more of butter knives. Now, it seems some real sharp knives are being wielded which will cut. How deep these knives will cut will come apparent in the next few days and weeks. But from the news today it looks like sharp knives are being openly wielded.

 With the General Election a little over 350 days away there is a lot to play for especially in Cornwall where all six parliamentary seat are marginal and could go either way. So I expect a lot of soul searching and campaign planning in the coming months.

Political earthquake, tremor, or just hype?

You cannot open a newspaper, turn on the tv, or listen to the radio not to be bombarded by stories of the recent local government and European elections. Words of earthquake, and other hysterical type of words are being bandied around. A few days after the polls have closed, we now have the calls for Leader X and Y to stand down; or pacts and deals to be made. It seems you cannot have an election without a bit of backstabbing, blame game and leadership assassinations.

Maybe if more effort was made getting people to vote, rather than dissect the results to a microscopic level, we would get a greater turn out of people voting. Is it really good enough that 65% of the electorate did not vote at these elections? My answer is no it is not. In fact, it is embarrassing and a sad reflection of voting in this country.

For instance I went out last night to celebrate a friends 25th wedding anniversary, and in the general chit-chat many of the responses on the recent elections were: ‘what’s the point’, ‘they never listen‘ or ‘my vote would not change anything.’ I got to the point of stopping explaining why it is important to vote. Is this apathy, or just disengagement with the political establishment? The answer probably includes both. However, it was interesting to hear people saying we voted for you because we know you. Maybe thats one of the answers, people to know the real person behind the political spin.

Anyway the point of this blog is to also look at the political make up of Local Government in England post this election. And which party has the bragging rights to the most Councillors. The following figures comprises of Councillors from primary authorities – County, Unitary, London Boroughs, Metropolitan Boroughs and District Council’s. These figures do not include town and parish councils.

For at bit of trivia*, there are roughly 21,000 democratically elected Councillors (England and Wales). With 11,000 town, parish and community councils plus the 468 local authorities in the UK.

The total number of Councillors in England**by political party is as follows:

  • CON – 8,076
  • LAB – 6,152
  • LD – 2,117
  • UKIP – 368
  • Green – 156
  • Other – 1,179

  election

This is broken-down further by those different primary authorities in England

  • County Council – Con 934; Lab 382; LD 253; UKIP 135; Green 19; Other 88
  • Unitary – Con 1190; Lab 1178; LD 390; UKIP 58; Green 37; Other 265
  • London Borough – Con 608; Lab 1033; LD 115; UKIP 12; Green 3; Other 32
  • Metropolitan – Con 368; Lab 1746; LD 191, UKIP 37; Green 30; Other 73
  • District Council – Con 4976; Lab 1813; LD 1168; UKIP 126; Green 67; Other 721

It is clear to see who the two largest parties are. It is also clear to see there is no sudden political break through of UKIP. But it should be acknowledged like in Cornwall Council’s case, and who in 2009 (Cornwall became a single tier Unitary in this year) had no UKIP Councillors to having six Councillors at Cornwall Council after the 2013 local election, that UKIP are gaining seats. It is going to be very interesting to see the European election results to see if UKIP win the day, or like in the local elections, make a small gain in the number of seats they currently hold.

The real mission should now be to convince as many of the 65% of voters who are not voting, to vote. Maybe politics should be less about the hype and soundbites, and talk about the subjects that matter to the people. And by people I mean not only those who make the loudest noise, but those who go about their daily business, but still have opinion and want politicians to listen to them. Which possibly why UKIP are now seen as the protest vote.

Burke’s quote rings true today as it did in the 18th Century:

“Because half a dozen grasshoppers under a fern make the field ring with their importunate chink, whilst thousands of great cattle. . . chew the cud and are silent, pray do not imagine that those who make the noise are the only inhabitants of the field; that, of course, they are many in number; or that, after all, they are other than the little,shriveled, meagre, hopping, though loud and troublesome _insects_ of the hour. 

Could this be the reason why people are voting the way they are? It is certainly no earthquake, but it is a small tremor and which politicians should pay heed to.

Information in this blog sourced from various places including:
*LGIU
 **much of the source from HERE

Suffrage and why it’s important

As someone who has been involved with local government for the last eight years, I can speak with some experience of why voting is important. I have also exercised my right to vote since I came of age. My first real memories of an election campaign was that of the 1979 General Election. Though to be honest, I never thought I would ever stand for election let alone be elected.

You might think the UK and it often name-tag ‘Mother of Parliaments’ has been an exemplar of democracy. It has not. Until 1832, only 10% of the population in the UK had the right to vote. After this date real reform started to take shape. However still in 1884, a man with the wealth of £10 could only vote. In today’s money you would have to have near £1000 (historic standard of living to buy household items like food etc) to vote.

Then in 1918, all men over 21 and women over 30 could vote. This changed in 1928 when the universal age of voting was set at 21. It was not until 1969 when the age of voting was reduced from 21 to 18. That’s a quick history, but now on to the point of the blog post.

I often hear why bother to vote. It changes nothing. This often comes from those who do not vote. I can tell you voting does change things. I know from my own experience how this happens. But one thing can be sure is not voting will not change a thing. Is that what people want? If so, then stop moaning.

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Sometimes when a person is giving me their opinions on the Government, town council and the local authority, I ask did you vote? When the answer is no, then I say why are you moaning when you having been bothered to take 10 minutes out of your day maybe once every few years and put a tick in one, or if you want ‘spoil your ballot’ which is seen as exercising your vote but not voting for ‘none of the above.’

Today in Cornwall we can vote in the European Elections, but for many parts of England there are local elections too. So take 10 minutes of your day, walk/drive to your polling and exercise your vote.

It might be stating the obvious, but others have given their lives both in the real sense and those who have and are still campaigning to make democracy work and allow people suffrage. Which sadly does not exist in many parts of the world.

Go Vote and make a difference

Housing in Cornwall and the Strategic Housing Framework

I think it is a given that people know housing and the lack of affordability is an issue in Cornwall. As of January 2014 the average price of a property in Cornwall was £180,797. This is a staggering eight times the average (median) income of £22,246. The demand far outstrips the demand. In Cornwall 35.6% of households have an income less than £15,000 compared nationally of 25.1%.

Currently population of Cornwall is 532,273 as per the 2011 Census a rise of 6.7% since the 2001 and is set to rise to an estimated 585,500 by 2021 (ONS population projection). So the issue of the lack of housing and its affordability is not going to go away, and is in fact, going to get a lot worse unless something is done about it.

The 2011 Census identified Cornwall has 258,883 dwellings. From that number, there are at least 2,000 empty homes* which could be brought back into use. However, that is not always easy, as some landlords are unwilling to engage. Compulsory Purchase is a difficult and is often a long and complex issue for a Council to undertake. Good news is the Council has been working with landlords and has been able to bring a stead number of empty homes back into use.

There is also the added impact of at least 5% of Cornwall’s housing are second homes*** which despite the Council wanting some planning regulations brought in to control the number of second homes, the Government is unwilling to help.

Mortgage lending a lot tighter, and taking into account the average income of Cornwall, people will struggle to get an approval for a mortgage. Hence why affordable housing is key to making sure we have enough housing for residents. Cornwall also has a high proportion of privately rented accommodation. These private rents are often at the peak of the market prices. Unlike affordable rentals owned by either an RSL and/or the LA are set up to 80% of the local market rent.

Housing affordability is also an issue when you take into account the Welfare Reform, which the full impact of the reform has yet to be fully understood. Furthermore, 19% of households are in fuel poverty. A household is said to be in fuel poor if it needs to spend more than 10% of its income on fuel to maintain a satisfactory heating regime – 21 degrees for main living area.

Currently, there are 28,000 households on the Homechoice register. From that register there are 2,000 lettings per year. This means someone on the register has a less than 1 in 10 chance of being successfully housed.  For the period of 2010-13, 2,262 affordable houses were completed. It is estimated** the need for a further 2,240 to be built over the next five years. So there is some good news on affordable housing being provided, but this is not enough.

One way to start to address the issue of affordable housing is the recently approved Strategic Housing Framework 2014-19. This document sets out the Council’s aspirations and priorities for housing four the next five years. It has been designed to complement the Local Plan, Strategic Economic Plan and the Health and Wellbeing Strategy. Key to the housing framework is this is not just about the Council, but the Council’s partners too.

By using this plan will allow Cornwall Council with its partners to address the housing issues Cornwall faces now and is going to in the future in nothing is done about affordable housing in Cornwall.

Sources:
*Empty Homes Register 2013
**Strategic Housing Market
***Council Tax Register 2012

First Forum Meeting for the Porthleven Neighbourhood Plan

Saturday saw the first meeting of Porthleven’s neighbourhood plan forum. The meeting consisted of interested residents, landowners,  groups and organisations in Porthleven. The turnout was good and had a good and balanced representations from the groups invited. The aim of the meeting was to establish if a Neighbourhood Plan was supported, and therefore could be progressed.

The reason why a Neighbourhood Plan is so important for Porthleven is because there is the opportunity to create a positive vision for the future of Porthleven. The plan will help the community to influence the extent of development within Porthleven. It cannot stop development, but it can ensure growth and development are built-in the right places first. Without a Neighbourhood Plan, it could see Porthleven at a disadvantage due to the Governments recent relaxation of  planning laws which can seen to be  in favour of developers. Though, no doubt developers will see this as ending a lot of bureaucracy.

The forum listens to the presentation on the NP

The forum listens to the presentation on the NP

 The presentation on the NP was delivered by the Chairman of the NP working party Cllr Alan Jorgenson. In his presentation is highlighted the benefits of Porthleven having a plan. There was also the chance for all those gathered to ask questions. The final act of the meeting was to decided if Porthleven needed a plan. I am very pleased to say the vote to proceed with the plan was unanimous. From this positive vote  the following process will be followed.

  • Make the decision to prepare a neighbourhood plan  -10wks
  • Identify the issues  -16wks
  • Develop a vision and objectives  -18wks
  • Generate realistic and achievable options  -10wks
  • Build the Evidence Base  -10wks
  • Write the Neighbourhood Plan  -17wks
  • Consultation and Submission  – 8wks
  • Independent examination  – 7wks
  • Referendum and Delivery  – 8wks

Once all this is done,  the plan will be put to a public referendum. Which for the plan to be adopted, it needs at least 50% of the vote to support the plan. This is why during the process leading up to the referendum public engagement will be so important and will enable to working group and forum to put this plan together on what the residents of Porthleven want.

The referendum is set to take place November 2015. That might seem a long way away, but this plan needs to be done right, and cannot be rushed.

More details on what is a Neighbourhood Plan is HERE

The Current Position on the Shrubberies Hill Development in Porthleven

Anyone who has passed Shrubberies Hill will have noticed work has started on the site. The first stage of the development is an archaeology survey on the site to see if there is any long-lost ancient settlement located on the site. After this has been carried out, work will then progress on building the houses.

The good news is the rental and shared ownership properties will start to be built at the end of June, with the completion of the first batch at the end of 2014. All the rental and shared ownership dwellings will be completed by September 2015. In total there will be 27 shared/rental properties on this site. There will be 36 local needs including the discounted sales, rental and shared-ownership properties

There will also be nine discounted sale dwellings. These will be sold at a 50% less of the market value. For example, if the market value of a three bed is £200,000, then a three-bed on this site will be £100,000. I expect the three-bed to be sold for between £98,000 and £120,000. The discounted sale will be sold via a local estate agent. As yet, not local agent has been signed up to sell these properties. To buy one of the discounted properties, you will still need to meet the local connection requirement as you would for a rental or shared-ownership properties.

The Shrubberies Hill Development. Thanks to Wendy James for the picture

I have been contacted by many people asking how they can apply for one of the 27 rental/shared-ownership properties. The first thing you need to do is to make sure you are on the Homechoice register. If you are not on this, then you will not be able to apply for one of the properties. I would also suggest if you are considering one of the shared-ownership properties, you need to start to look at getting an in-principle mortgage offer. It does not rule you out if you don’t, but it makes it easier if you know you will get a mortgage. The same goes for one of the discounted sales. You don’t want to find yourself being offered a house only to find out you cannot get a mortgage.

Now onto the rumours. again people have contacted me saying “they have heard” or “I have been told” someone has been allocated one of the new properties. Let me make it clear, no-one has been allocated one of these dwelling for a few reasons.

The first one is for a house to be allocated you need to have Registered Social Landlord (RSL) in place. Officially  and as of last week, the RSL has not been appointed, though the likelihood this will be Coastline once contracts are signed. You need a RSL in place for any house to be occupied.

The second reason is the Local Lettings Plan has not been completed. So the criteria to qualify for one of the properties has not been established. So again a dwelling cannot be allocated without first the criteria being established. This is being worked on, and will have a heavy local connection element as the first requirement to qualify for one of these properties. And for someone to be allocated has to be done in conjunction with the RSL and Cornwall Council.

I would also like to dispel the rumour this site has been sold on. It has not, I know this as I spoke with the developer last week and asked this very question.

For anyone interested in the open market properties, these like the discounted sales will be sold via a local estate agent. As yet, I there is no firm details on the prices, but once I do, I will let people know. There is no qualifying criteria for these properties. It is basically you have the funding, you can buy one.

The last thing that needs to be sorted is a name for the site. I like the name – The Shrubberies. However, the final name will be decided by Cornwall Council in conjunction with the developer and town council. Any sensible suggestions for a name?

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