Action to be taken against yellow lines on Commercial Road, Porthleven

Let’s be clear, this is not about whether there should or should not be yellow lines on Commercial Road, Porthleven. This issue is about the a lawful process of placing parking restriction and a proper consultation via a Traffic Regulation Order. Here is the previous blog HERE

This would have given the public and official bodies such as Highways the ability of discussing the merits and disadvantages of placing lines along this stretch of road. From this, if there was a requirement of placing parking restrictions along this stretch of road, it would have been done legally and with the proper process and then enforceable.

No-matter who you are, you have to follow the law and people do not have the right to just paint yellow lines wherever they think they can. We have rules for a reason.

In discussing this issue with Highways and Cornwall Council’s legal department and because there has been a clear breach of the law, Cornwall Council is taking action against the Harbour and Dock Company. This is something I welcome.

Cornwall Council has written to Harbour and Dock clearly pointing out the legal breach under Section 132 of the Highways Act 1980. It has given Harbour and Dock two options.

The first is make a formal application for a TRO to regulate, if appropriate, the yellow lines currently in place. This application will ensure that all the relevant aspects of traffic management are considered and provide the opportunity for the public to make representations. The Harbour and Dock Company has one month to comply and submit an application.

The second option is if the Harbour and Dock fails to submit an application for a TRO, then the Highways Authority will remove the unauthorised lines and recover the costs of doing so from Harbour and Dock.

I believe this is a sensible way forward and one that I very much welcome. This could all have been avoided if the proper process was followed…

It should be noted that placing parking restrictions on a stretch of highways doesn’t necessarily stop parking for a couple of reasons.

Those with Blue Badges can park on double yellow lines for up to three hours (so you just replace parked cars with another type of parked car). If you ‘double clip’ a yellow line which means no parking at any time, you do stop parking, but you also stop any delivery vehicle stopping to unload/load as it is an offence and will result in an instant parking ticket. To overcome this, you then need a loading bay. As you can see, placing parking restrictions without proper thought, just causes more problems.

 

Help for those businesses who saw a large hike in rates

I know a number of businesses in Porthleven and the surrounding area saw some eye-watering increases in Business Rates after the Valuation Office Agency (part of HMRC) reviewed the current tariffs. In a process that is little better than rolling a dice and multiplying the figure by that number thrown, the method of justifying an increase is if an area is successful in terms of shop space demand, and doing well, then the Valuation Office Agency can charge more. 

In combating these hikes, I am pleased to say Cornwall Council is going to use a £2.72 million business rate relief fund to help as many businesses as possible. This funding is Cornwall’s share of a national business rate relief fund announced in the March Budget to support businesses facing a steep rise in their rates as a result of the 2017 revaluation

It has been agreed to assist all businesses with a rateable value of less than £200,000 whose business rates have increased by more than 12.5% following the revaluation. This will provide 50% discretionary rate relief on the increase in rates in 2017/18, decreasing over the following three years on a pro rata basis as funding is reduced. The scheme is expected to help 875 businesses.

Qualifying businesses will see the relief awarded against their gross bull after any other reductions have been taken into account. My suggestion would be for anyone who believes they should get this help is to contact Cornwall Council’s Business Rates dept.

 

 

Proof of ownership requested by the Harbour and Dock Company for the Moors Playing Field

At last nights town council meeting during the Mayor’s report, the town council were informed and updated on a situation that has arose in reference to the Moors Playing Field (aka Bottom Park).

Porthleven Town Council has received a letter from the Harbour and Dock Company (H&D) informing the council that a caution has been lodged with Land Registry by the H&D against the Moors Playing Field.

The caution is as follows:

“Is to establish quite clearly that it is the Porthleven Harbour & Dock Company which has the benefit of the restrictive covenants and also rights of access over the property”.

Furthermore, the Council has received a request from the Harbour and Dock Company for proof of tenure/ownership of the Moors.

In consultation with the town clerk, this matter has been handed to the Council’s solicitor who will advise on the best course of action and a report will come back to the September meeting of the Council.

In the documents held by the town council and previous legal advice it is clear the town council are the rightful legal trustees of the Moors Playing Field

Below is a map of the area.

Helston Library is set to move temporarily

As many will know, the future of libraries and One Stop Shops (OSS) in Cornwall has been well debated with many being taken on by local town councils. In Helston’s case, I and my other two former Cornwall Councillors, Judith and Phil, with support of the other local members in the Community Network Area fought hard to make sure all out services stayed open.

The good news for Helston and the surrounding are is the OOS, Library and DWP office would relocate under one roof in a refurbished Helston Library. Therefore, safeguarding future services which have been under immense pressure from cuts in funding. Readers can remind themselves HERE.

However, before that refurbishment can take place, Helston Library has to temporarily relocate to the OSS at Isaac House. Helston Library will therefore be moving to Isaac House on the 16th and 17th of August and will be open for business on the 18th of August.

The opening hours from Monday 21st August will be:

  • Monday, Wednesday and Friday – 9:30am till 5pm
  • Tuesday and Thursday – closed
  • Saturday – 10am – 1pm

I have been informed the new co-located services will be open to the public by the end of November.

 

HRH The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall to visit Porthleven on Wednesday 19th

In the last week or so, there has been a rumour that HRH the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall will be visiting Porthleven. I can officially confirm today, that this rumour is indeed true, and Porthleven will have the honour of hosting the royal party on the morning of Wednesday 19th July.

This visit has been in the planning for many months will lots to organise. I want to thank the staff at Cornwall’s Lord Lieutenancy office and Clarence House for all they have done to make this visit possible. Also to Cornwall Council for swiftly granting the road closures. Thanks to the Police too for all they have done. 

During the visit, The Duke and Duchess will be introduced to many groups in Porthleven including the Porthleven Lights Committee, the RNLI, Porthleven Fishermen’s Association, Porthleven Community Group, the people behind the very successful Great Baulk Auction, the Gig Club, Porthleven CIC, the Porthleven Coastguards, the town council and its town warden. I know not every group in Porthleven can be introduced to the royal party, but everyone can come and see the visit take place.

Porthleven School’s Signing Choir will also be performing in front of the Duke and Duchess. Liaising with the head-teacher of Porthleven School, all the remaining school children will be able to come down and see the visit take place. The town council has bought every child a flag, both Cornish and the Union Flag.

For security reasons, I am not allowed to confirm the official time they will be arriving, but anyone who wants to see the royal couple will need to be near Commercial Rd and the Harbour Head/Fore Street by 9:30 am. There will be a road closure in place from 9am till 12 noon on Commercial Rd, Fore Street and Harbour Head part of the B3304

This is a great honour for Porthleven to receive this royal visit. I am sure the residents of Porthleven will give the Duke and Duchess a warm Porthleven welcome.

The legality of the Yellow Lines on Commercial Rd, Porthleven

The recent changes and the introduction of Yellow Lines to Commercial Rd, Porthleven are leaving residents and visitors confused and annoyed. Therefore, I want to clarify the legality of those lines.

In simple terms, the Yellow Lines on Commercial Rd are not legal, and have no legal standing and no enforcement can take place by official Civil Enforcement Officers, the Police, or anyone else.

To make Yellow Line legal, a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) has to be undertaken. This is subject to a full public consultation, and only after that, and the work has been deemed necessary, a TRO can be made law and enforceable.

Commercial Rd is a private road, but under Highways legislation, it has full public access both pedestrian and vehicular. Therefore, the owner of the said land cannot just do anything and any changes like adding Yellow Lines have to follow legislation.

Harbour and Dock have been advised by myself and Cornwall Council of the correct procedures; with the latter saying no such work should take place until the proper processes have been undertaken. In fact, Highways wrote to the Harbour and Dock asking for all work to stop until this matter had been resolved legally. The Harbour and Dock ignored this advice.

I have been speaking to Highways on this matter for several weeks and only last Friday, they still were not happy with the work that has been undertaken. If the Harbour and Dock had engaged with the statutory highways agency, they would have advised the best course of action which would have avoided the chaos that is now happening along this road. Pedestrian and vehicle safety could have been improved by doing this properly.

Of course, the Council can take legal action against the Harbour and Dock, but this would cost tax-payers a considerable amount of money.

Summing this up, a person can park their vehicle on this stretch of road and no enforcement will be undertaken. Of course all other Yellow Lines in Porthleven are legal – just to stop anyone thinking it invalidates all other lines. Enforcement officers has been informed too.

Tory deal to form new administration rejected by Indi’s at Cornwall Council

The horse trading to form a new administration at Cornwall Council is proving problematic. The Tory’s have a new group leader, after reasons only known to them, they decided not to stick with John Keeling and replaced him.  The other is the rejection by the Indi’s of the Tory offer of a forming an administration. In truth, it was not a joint-administration offer, because the deal was not an equal partnership and therefore was prone to failure.

The Tory’s deal offered the Independents four of the ten cabinet seats, they would ‘consider’ an Indi Chairman of the Council and Deputy, plus they would be ‘more than happy to work with the Independents to come to an agreement on the matter of Chairs and Deputy Chairs of Scrutiny Committees’. And finally, the Tory’s ‘will require any Independents who work with us to agree in principle to the Conservative Group’s Manifesto commitments for the 2017 local elections.’

It does not take a lot to work out the answer to the deal, but for those who cannot guess, it was a resounding no to this offer. You almost get the impression they wanted the deal to be rejected with the inclusion of signing up to the Tory manifesto. Or worse, they were delusional in thinking a group of people elected as Independents, would suddenly sign-up to a political party’s manifesto.

This leaves forming a new administration in unchartered waters, as the Indi’s will be putting forward their own candidate for Leader. But like the Tory’s, the Indi’s do not have a majority to win a leadership vote without support from others, namely MK, Labour and the Lib Dems. The latter could put forward their own Leader contender to make it a three-way battle to be the next Leader of Cornwall Council.

Interesting times…

The new Porthleven Town Council

Thursday evening, the newly elected Councillors of Porthleven Town Council met formally for the first time. I was very honoured to be elected Mayor of Porthleven and Bev Plunkett was elected to the office of Deputy Mayor. I would like to congratulate all those now in office who are very keen to do their very best for Porthleven.

Your Councillors are:

Bev Plunkett (Deputy Mayor), Daniel Williams, Mike Toy, Alan Jorgensen, Liz Lane, Naomi Osmond, Mark Adair and Tom Harrison.

My first role in office was to thank all who had served on Porthleven Town Council since the last election in 2013 and May 2017. The former Councillors are:

Sue Johns, Liz Lane, Brian Michael, Julia Schofield, Robyn Davies, Sally-Anne Nieuwoudt, Dick Powell and Trevor Toms. And the two former Mayors of Porthleven, Barbara Powell and Mark Berryman.

I am very much looking forward to working with my fellow Porthleven Town Councillors over the next few years.

 

Cornwall Council’s political groups eye each other up to form a new administration

The Election is over, once enemies on the campaign trail now have to find a way to form a new Cornwall Council administration. This is in itself is no easy task because no one party or group has an overall majority to form a administration. This either means another ‘partnership’ or one group attempting to form a minority administration.

Cue the start of the political horse-trading. Some say the convention is for the largest group to have a go at forming an administration, but there is nothing in the rule book to say this has to happen. However, for the latter to happen there needs to be the will, and from what I have seen and heard, there is none.

The Conservative’s are the largest group of 46 Councillors. They are going through the motions of attempting to form an administration. But they know they do not have the numbers to guarantee their choice of Leader. The magic number is 62. So they must convince one of the other groups to support or hope – and it is a big hope – that the other groups and individuals do not vote against their choice for Leader is they attempt a minority administration. However, for any formal agreement to be made, Cabinet seats will have to be offered. How many is always a mute point, but I do not think it will be on an even split of 5/5. More like 7/3 with an outside chance of 6/4.

The Lib Dems seem to have taken the quick route to opposition. Though this is not official, but their appetite to seek an alliance with another group to form an administration is almost non-existent. It is still early days, but I cannot see a deal being struck with the Lib Dems looking to form/be part of an administration. They are more than likely to seek to take as many chairs and vice chairs of committees by working with other groups.

This leaves the Independents who form a strange group/alliance with each other. It is easy to tag Indi’s as closet Tory’s but whilst some are Thatcher loving fanatics, most are not. In fact for some working with the Tory’s in any form of administration is beyond-the-pale.

For the last four-years I have heard how bad the Conservatives have been and how they have not helped Cornwall, but then suddenly you hear, we must work for the people; for the greater good; the Tory’s are not that bad etc. This sudden epiphany is not for noble reasons, but for power and a Special Responsibility Allowances – more money for taking on other roles. If working with the Tory’s is a way to the silver, then all sorts of excuses will be found to justify it.

I guess this means the Tory’s and some Indi’s will find a way of forming an administration that will dance to the tune of the current six blue MP’s. If a deal were to happen being the Indi’s and Tory’s, I expect the current number of 30 Indi’s to be in a couple of groups or standing alone.

Thank you for the support

A few days have passed since the Election results have been called. Like any campaign it takes a few days for you to recover, and then, you have to get on with the job.

I want to say thank you to all supported me in both the Cornwall Council and Porthleven Town Council Election. It is always humbling to receive such support.

for those who are trying to contact me, I have a new Council email address (which everyone has). It is now: andrew.wallis@cornwallcouncillors.org.uk

I am without a phone for a few days, but will update as soon as I do.

In any campaign, there are winners and losers. Credit to those candidates who stood against me and campaigned hard. I always respect those who stand for election.

Thoughts and thanks must go to those who have held office and lose at an election. There are many reasons why someone loses, as many have given years of public service. You might not always agree with them, but they should be respected for standing and trying to do their best.

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