Dismaland is truly an experience

In something that is still political and topical, I thought I would blog about my recent visit to Banksy’s Dismaland. There has been a lot of media surrounding this ‘bemusement park’ and you have to wonder if it is media hype, or is the site worth visiting?

Is Dismaland worth a visit? The simple answer is yes it is. For an entry fee of £3 per person, a three-hour drive from Porthleven to Weston-super-Mare, and only six-week period of being open, you have to visit.

I visited when it was raining. It added to the desolate feeling of the place. As you step in the many puddles you feel that they were placed there as part of the park, rather than just formed from the rainfall.

As you enter the site and ‘clear’ security you are visually hit not only by the sights, but the music playing and the odd bit of commentary over the load-speakers.

Like Disneyland the centre piece of the theme park is the castle. Far from its former glory and in a sorry, if not captivating state. You can enter the castle too. The exhibition inside the castle was my favourite piece of the whole site. I will not spoilt it for those who will visit, but it is clever and tragic at the same time.


pano shot of Dismaland

Along side the castle is a big wheel (which you can ride on) and in front of that in the castle moat is a police riot van spraying water like it is some sort of water fountain.

The 'faiytail castle'

The ‘fairytale castle’

You can then wander around in any manner you like. Like in other theme parks or fairgrounds, there are many stalls to play on. Each with the same message. You will not win, it is fixed. Yet the irony is people still hand over money to play. Just like you would in real life.


One of the many staff all wearing Mickey Mouse ear and wearing pink surcoats

The staff are brilliant, always in character being miserable and surly. They really help make this park an experience.

There is some close to the knuckle bits of art work, but done in the right way to highlight the message. Very topical and covers subjects like the banking crisis; war; terrorism or if you see it from the other-side, freedom fighters; pay-day lenders and consumerism.


Banksy’s highlights the toilet that is Sea World.





Damien Hirst’s piece


The death of Cinderella with the media more interested in taking a picture, rather than helping. Only the two bluebirds were helping

There is just so much to see your brain works overtime in trying to keep up with what you are seeing and what you have seen 10 minutes ago.

Many parts of the theme park are a parody of the seaside playing Mini Gulf or the old fashion Victorian games, that instead of two fat ladies, are ISIS or pirates. Just about everything is interactive.image



You can pay a pound to drive around refuges, or the gunboat. There are even refuges floating face down in the water. The artist is Jimmy Cauty

There was also a strong anti-war message and how people should never forget that for many the fighting does not stop when the bullets and war stop. It clearly highlighted by these two Action Man figures



highlighting the recent horse meat scandal by using a merry-go-round which you can ride on


Exhibition by Caroline McCarthy on ‘growing’ ready meals


Enough said…



image image


I took so many pictures this blog would be massive. I also do not want to spoil the visual experiences if you go yourself. As I said, if there is one thing you do in the next six-weeks, and no matter if it is raining or sunny, take the time and go visit this Bemusement Park. You will not regret it.


Tory’s take Camborne Pendarves from UKIP

In the latest Cornwall Council by-election, this time for Camborne Pendarves electoral division, UKIP has failed to hold on to the seat they won in 2013.

The seat was won with 350 votes by the Tory’s and I would like to congratulate (as I would all winners) John Herd for his win and welcome him to Cornwall Council.

It was a close contest with the Lib Dems coming a close second, with 14 votes behind the winner. Labour came third (220); UKIP forth (89); MK fifth (85); Green sixth (31); and the Independent candidate seventh (13).

Looking at the 2013 election to this by-election, the Tory’s gain was 0.5%; a gain of 29% for the Lib Dem’s; Labour gain was 1.8%; UKIP down 23.5%; MK down 11.8%. The Green’s gain of 2.9% and Independent 1.2% gain.

The vote share was:

Tory – 30.3%

Lib Dem – 29%

Labour – 20.5%

UKIP – 8.3%

MK – 7.9%

Green – 2.9%

Independent – 1.2%

Kresen Kernow secures £11.7m investment thanks to National Lottery

It has taken more than 10 years in the planning, but now Kresen Kernow is set to become a reality with the award of £11.7m from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

artist impression of the new archive centre in Redruth

artist impresion of the new archive centre in Redruth

Kresen Kernow is a new archive centre on the site of the former Redruth Brewery. This new archive centre which would host the world’s largest collection of manuscripts, books, maps and photographs related to Cornwall.

At the heart of the project will be the extensively refurbished historic brew house with a new environmentally sustainable extension for archive storage and care. The design takes advantage of the unique heritage features of the brewery buildings and carefully integrates contemporary archive and learning facilities.  Work will begin on construction in 2016 with the centre due to open in 2018.

This is great news, as residents and visitors to Cornwall will be able to explore the rich culture and history of Cornwall in this new purpose-built archive.

Well done to all who made this happen. You can read more about this project HERE



Cornwall Council helps to win a Judicial Review on the threshold for affordable housings

Planning is a roller coaster ride of emotions, no matter which side of the fence you sit on. There is a feeling with councillors and the public that the Government has deregulated planning policy so much that the system favours the developer.

I highlighted a huge concern in a previous Blog on the thresholds for affordable housing and how changes to the rule would affect the desirability of affordable housing.  So much so joined a Judical Review by providing evidence in support of a JR brought by West Berkshire Council and Reading Borough Council.

The changes to the policy would have stopped any contributions either financially or by means of a percentage of affordable housing will be sought from developments of 10 or less.  In Cornwall 26% of previous permissions were on sites under 10 units.

The good news is this Judical Review was successful and following the successful challenge the Government has now removed those new limits from national planning policy guidance. This judgement means that the affordable housing threshold reverts to 2 rather than 10.


Porthleven CIC Withy FIeld car park is officially opened by the Deputy Mayor of Porthleven

The Directors of Porthleven CIC are delighted to have completed their third project with the official opening of Withy Field car park, Mill Lane, Porthleven.

The car park was officially opening by the Deputy Mayor of Porthleven, Cllr Barbara Powell, with representatives from Porthleven CIC, Coodes Estate, Porthleven Town Council, Porthleven Football Club, Mitchells Builders and Harbour and Dock Company.

Directors of Porthleven CIC, Deputy Mayor of Porthleven and partners in the project celebrate the opening of the new car park

Directors of Porthleven CIC, Deputy Mayor of Porthleven and partners in the project celebrate the opening of the new car park

Porthleven CIC was awarded £99,750 from the Coastal Community Fund in 2013 to deliver five projects. These are: the community marquee hire business, up-lighting the Bickford-Smith Institute, Porthleven Town Trail, website and car park. The three projects which have been completed are marquee hire business, up-lighting and car park. The remaining two projects will be completed within the next six months.

This 72 space car park has been achieved through a partnership between Coodes Estate, Porthleven Town Council and Porthleven Football Club. All the profits from the car park and the community marquee hire business will be used to help fund further community projects, therefore giving Porthleven a sustainable form of funding.

The name of the car park was chosen as it is located on one of the areas previous used for growing willow from which the withy material was taken for making crab and lobster pots – a fitting tribute to this traditional craft.

Early construction of the site

Early construction of the site

Work well underway

Work well underway

Porthleven is a popular visitor destination, but suffered with a lack of suitable parking. This new car park, within five minutes of flat and safe walking from the town centre will help address the parking, and allow visitors to experience the charm and character of Porthleven.

The directors would like to thank Mitchell’s Builders of Porthleven for the excellent construction of the site; Chris Strike of RA Design who gave much of his time for free in the planning stage and Simon Stone from Out of the Blue.

The finished car park

The finished car park


The directors have agreed that the car park will be free for the next week for Gig Day and Porthleven Lifeboat Day in celebration of the opening. From next week a charging structure will be introduced with the tariff set at £1.40 for up to two-hours and £3.50 for 24 hours. Furthermore, there is parking for motor-cycles and long vehicles.


Appeal allowed for Helston’s ‘HX1’ outline planning application

In a blow to those against HX1 planning applicaton and Cornwall Council, the planning inspector has allowed the appeal against Cornwall Council and has granted outline planning permission for up to 340 dwellings (including at least 40% affordable homes) and a building for use for B1 offices and a medical practice on the HX1 urban extension site, west of Trewennack, Helston, Cornwall.

From reading the inspector’s report, the planning inspector took into account the Helston Town Framework Urban Extension Assessment and the emerging  Cornwall Council Local Plan. In a blow to both these plans, the planning inspector said “Neither carries significant weight as a policy document”

Why the Local Plan carries little weight is because during the examination of the emerging Local Plan the inspector of the Local Plan recommended the plan should be suspended for various reason including insufficient housing numbers. In response to this recommendation the Council has suspended the Local Plan process. In the report the planning inspector made comment about the housing requirement in the Local Plan submission for 47,500 dwellings over the plan period is inevitably going to rise. The Local Plan Inspector found the need for a 7% uplift to cater for second and holiday homes. This means Helston’s requirement would increase due to the additional requirement for more dwellings.

This is further complicated as only three sites in Helston were taken forward as suitable for development. One HX3 has not, and unlikely to progress further fully due to land ownership. That leaves HX1 and HX2. Neither of which can individually accommodate the required number of dwellings for Helston. Put simply, the Council cannot demonstrate a five-year land supply. In the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). If a Council cannot demonstrate the five-year land supply, then planning should be granted.

So what does this mean for the site, well before the diggers can move in, a full planning application has to be submitted. But as it stands with this appeal decision, planning is acceptable in this area, and it would be highly unlikely for full planning not to be granted.

Furthermore, Cornwall Council also had costs awarded against them will have to pay the applicant, Jackamax Limited the costs of the appeal proceedings described in the heading of this decision.