First day back and I am already cheesed off

I thought the first day back as a Cornwall Councillor would be hassle free and the chance to meet old and new Councillors to the authority. For the first hour, I was happy. However that soon changed when I heard news about the Community Network for Helston and the Lizard.

It turns out that while Councillors were on the campaign trail, the powers-to-be have decided to change the Community Networks around. What is worse is no consultation, or curtesy has been given to the Cornwall Councillors and more importantly the Town and Parish Council of the area as part of the decision. Has the Council not learned anything from the last four years?

What am I on about? Well, the Network Manager for the area, Charlotte Chadwick has been moved to the Camborne, Redruth and Pool area. As many will know Charlotte has worked very hard in the area, and has brought 10’s of thousands of funding into the area.

Yes, I understand people do move, but the area has lost someone embedded in the area and she has been replaced by someone who works part-time. I feel Helston and the Lizard will now get a lesser service.

Worse, projects in the area might stop because the resources and staff are not there. You would think the powers-to-be would have asked what projects are being run before they thought about the change. But no, the same old ‘lets do something without consulting’ is still alive and kicking at Cornwall Council. It is time to take a shotgun to this process quickly.

I really get the feeling this process was rushed and done during the campaign season. That way Councillors would not know before it’s too late. Not impressed at all!

Helston and Lizard Community Network Meeting

The Helston and Lizard Community Network met last night to discuss various issues. It was a good turn out with most town and parish council’s sending someone. On the agenda was transport, the future of Helston Museum and changes to Devon and Cornwall police.

On the issue of transport there was a good discussion on the limited provision of public transport, especially for those in the more rural locations. Whilst everyone agrees that the service could be improved this will not happen overnight. However, all present made the same points of the fares being far too expensive.

The plan from this meeting is to send a questionnaire to all the town and parish councils asking for their views. Also, going to the two secondary schools to see how the lack of public transport effects the youth. Then, once these details have been collated funding can be applied to target those areas more in need of better transport.

As for the Helston Museum I will make it clear. The museum is NOT closing down, but a different delivery model on the lines of a trust will need to be formed. Again, all those present agreed that the museum is not just about Helston, but the whole area, and this point should be reflected in any future management board. There is a public meeting planned for next month where the public will have their say on the museums future.

Devon and Cornwall Police are facing huge cuts in their budgets which will have a knock-on effect on policing. Last night the Sector Inspector for the area outlined her concerns, and how the force was adapting. It was good to hear these thoughts, and more importantly, see how the police are adapting in a positive way.

The last item on the agenda was the agenda for the next meeting. One of the subjects for the next meeting will not surprise anyone. It is on public toilets. A short, but emotive debate broke out. Everyone present agreed that the proposed plans to cut funding for 114 toilets is mad. There is real anger in the area that no-one consulted on the issue. It was agreed that a strongly worded letter would be sent to Cornwall Council spelling out the Community Networks unhappiness on these proposals.

It is good to see the Community Network united in this area, and I hope this united support will stop these proposals. To raise the issue more I agreed to be filmed for the Politics Show on BBC this Sunday to highlight the craziness of closing a toilet in Porthleven which is heavily used and right next to a popular beach.