Porthleven Town Council – Joint Bid for Money

You may wonder why I attend and sit on so many Panels and Committees at Cornwall Council. The reason is you need to attend to find out what is going on, and to make sure anything that could be a benefit to Porthleven and Helston South is directed in that direction. People often complain that there is no money available, but this is not strictly true, you just need to know where it is all kept and hidden.

One of those Panels I sit on is the Tourism Panel and like it or not, Porthleven is a tourist destination. Many people are employed within this industry, sadly many only on a short term seasonal bases. At last nights Porthleven Town Council meeting I presented a piece of work that has come through the Tourism Panel.

This is called Cornwall Seaside Towns Program. 12 towns have been shortlisted to bid for £400,000. It might not seem a lot to go around, but I believe not all town will be successful and receive this money. To be successful a town will have to submit a plan that would show that this money would be best spent in their town.

Any plan submitted will have to meet a certain criteria and that principle will be:

• Seaside towns asked to develop a package of initiatives/actions (capital & revenue) which will improve the visitor (and local community) experience
• Town Councils to lead the programme in their town
• Town Councils to ensure linkages with other opportunities/initiatives
• Clear demonstration of linkage to wider strategy and vision for the town
• Mix of seaside funds and other funding e.g. Town Council and private sector
• Civic Pride/Public Realm improvements combined with worklessness/skills/training activities
• Clear evidence of substantive support from appropriate private and public sector partners

The Town Council discussed who would be the best organisation to link up with who would meet the criteria. It was felt (and voted on) that the Porthleven Food Festival Committee would be the ideal partner. Four Porthleven Town Councillors, including me, will form a working group and invite the same number of members from the festival committee to join up and work on a bid. Time is critical as any bid will have to be submitted by July, with the final decision made in December 2011.

I am very confident that we will be able to submit a couple of bids as I believe we stand a very good chance of winning some of this money. If we do win, it would be a real boost for Porthleven.

Local Planning – Site meeting

Porthleven Town Council held a planning site meeting on Saturday. They wanted to see for themselves what the impact an application would have on the surrounding area. There had been many objections in writing to Porthleven Council and Cornwall Council, and at a previous Town Council meeting many objectors turned up and expressed their views.

The Town Council listened to both the applicant and objectors and at times it got a little heated between the two parties, but the Town Council did manage to listen to the various points made. The Town Council then retired back to the Council Offices and debated the various points.

In the end it felt that it could not support the application. It will be writing to Cornwall Council requesting for this application to be refused for various reasons including harm to the character and amenity of the area and lack of local support. It now heads back to Cornwall Council either for refusal under delegated powers, or if not, it will go to the Planning Committee for a decision.

Porthleven – Parking Enforcement

At last nights Porthleven Town Council meeting the Councillors read a report written by me about hiring extra enforcement for parking in Porthleven. This report outlined some basic plans with costs and drawbacks. Those Councillors present felt that this could be possible, but they felt that they needed more details before they make their decision.

I believe that the Council is going down the right course of action in accepting in principle that it could work, but before they do commit they want further details and clarification on many points. It’s a credit to the Town Council that they want to make sure all the I’s are dotted and T’s crossed before they make this decision. They are going to send me a list of points that they need answers too before they agree (or not) to this proposal. If they do in agree in principle, then they plan to consult the public for their views before making the final decision.

It’s good to see a small but local Council being proactive in trying to solve a difficult issue. Many times I have heard what the point of a local Council because they have no power, but I say to those who criticise that these volunteers do try to do the best they can with the resources and powers they have. 

Planning – A result

A little bit of good news from the Planning Dept at Cornwall Council. Namely a planning application to put two houses in what is nothing more than a back garden over at West View, Porthleven has been withdrawn.

I held one of my surgeries on this matter and it was standing room only. I talked about what was likely to be given weight for a refusal and listened to the local residents concerns. I  got the confirmation today, that the applicant has withdrawn the application due to overwhelming objections from the neighbours, the Town Council and my two pennies worth. Cornwall Council agreed with these points, so the applicant had two real choices. Withdrawal or refusal. It took the former. 

People are quick to criticize the Planning Dept, but they do listen, especially when the views and objections are backed up with good planning reasons, and not the, ‘we don’t like it’.

The Mayor’s charities

The Mayor of Porthleven has picked his charities for this years term of office.  Whilst these groups are not strictly charities they are very important to Porthleven.  Last year Age Concern was the charity, and just over £1500 was raised.

This year its the turn of the youth to benefit.  Also, it wont be just one group that’s supported. in fact, four groups will benefit.  These groups are Portheven Guides and Brownies, Porthleven Youth Football team, Porthleven Youth Gig team, Porthleven Youth Cricket.

I think the Mayor has made some great choices again this year. Even better is that more than one group will benefit.

A Porthleven Town Council Meeting

Last night I attended the monthly Porthleven Town Council (TC) meeting. During the public participation part we had 3 people who wanted to speak. Two were requests and the other speaker was there to introduce them self in the new role of Harbour Manager created by the Harbour owners, The Harbour and Dock Company. I shall cover the two requests first

The first request was from the Gig Club wanted for the Town Council to apply for planning permission for a storage container for the Gig. The reason for this is that if the Town Council applies it gets 50% cheaper planning fees. We don’t normally do this, but as we own the land this will be situated on, and we support community clubs like this. So we were more than happy to do this.

The second was from the Bowling Club wanted permission from the TC to have a small bar in the club house. We as Landlords of the building were again more than happy to support this.

Now to the point of the introduction. I was glad the Harbour Manager came. I wanted to ask some questions over changes to using various parts of harbour. These points had been raised by people and community groups who use the surrounding areas of the Harbour. They felt upset and annoyed over these changes and had asked me to take up their concerns.

For anyone who knows Porthleven there is a area called the harbour head. This is a good sized green area that traditionally groups have used to raised a little money to help their causes/groups. I am not going to say this is only used by community groups because events and commercial stalls also use this area. The point is these groups have been sent a letter saying they will only be able to use this area on the 4 Bank Holidays. Before that, they were allowed to (subject to booking) use this all year.  I challenged this. The response I got was a slight change to what was said in the letter. They said outside these 4 days they could apply to use it. No guarantee was given of these groups being allowed to use this area more than 4 times. But at least its a step in the right direction.

The second point I raised was to do with another piece of land. The size of this is small, and is more suited to a couple of tables selling a few cakes and other bric-a-brac. Its only really used by local groups who want to raise a little bit of money to help their groups.

They might only make 20 odd pounds for the day, but that’s a lot to these groups. Last year a fee was introduced of £5 per day. This year its now £10. That’s a 100% increase on something that you should really not charge for. It smacks more of penny pinching.  These groups rely on this money and if they have to “rent” this space for such a high charge then they maybe force to stop.

Now I have to give credit. The person in question did listen and said they would take it up with the boss and owner of the harbour. They said they would raise these important points when they phoned the owner in Bath.

I do understand the Harbour is a business. It does charge for the new purpose built market stalls over at the far end of the harbour. These are commercial stalls and I see no argument in not charging. The community stalls don’t compete with the commercial stalls. In fact they are completely different. It seems more about money, than by helping groups that struggle to get funding who are only trying to raise a little money.

Porthleven’s Mayor

Last night I attended Porthleven Town Councils AGM. This is the yearly meeting where the Town Councillors decide who will be the Mayor and his Deputy for the forthcoming year. This years Mayor honour went to Harry Pugh. Mark Berryman will be his trusty sidekick in the role of Deputy.

This is the second year that Porthleven has a Mayor. Some people were against this idea because they thought it would be too costly, but apart from the investment of a Mayors chain there has been no real cost to the tax payer. This role has increased the profile of Porthleven throughout Cornwall. How do I know this? Well, I travel around Cornwall in my job as a Cornwall Councillor and have only heard good comments about Porthleven and the role the Mayor has carried out this last year.

Last year the Mayor’s charity was Porthleven Age Concern. With the various fund raising events held last year the Mayor managed to raise just over £1500. This will go towards helping the branch buy a new much needed mini bus. My understand the Mayor will be picking a new Group/Charity for the coming year. Not sure what it will be as it’s the Mayors choice.

Please feel free to come along to any Town Council meeting if you wish to raise points, issues or just come and see what they do.

Article 4 Directive.

Article 4 Directive, what is it? It’s an added level of protection of Conservation that is given to a Conservation Area that helps safeguard the important heritage of an area.

It does not stop development, but makes sure that all future development is sympathetic to an area. It also removes automatic Permitted Development in the area. In future most changes will have to have Planning Permission. For what was handled under PD, these applications will be free.

The Town Council has worked hard to achieve Article 4 for Porthleven. This is now nearing the end stages and it’s hoped that this Directive will be in place by July 2010. Yesterday at Environment and Economy Scrutiny this was recommended to Cabinet for final approval. This will now be presented to Cabinet in April.

I have been given assurances from the Lead Officer that this Directive is a living Document and can be altered at future dates. They have also offered to come and speak to the Town Council if they want to make any changes to this Document.

Bad News

Last night I attended a Porthleven TC meeting where the Town Council was going to tell a group some disappointing news about their plan. Not a pleasant task to do.

This group has worked hard in achieving something in Porthleven and this plan might take a little longer to come into existent because of some finer points of the Law and land ownership. It surrounds a piece of land that the Town Council thought it owned and had owned since at least 1981. It seems some documents were lost or not completed between 1973 and the 1980’s on transferring the ownership titles. Not a good. We have been assured by Counsel that this is can be sorted out without to much hassle. (I worry when Counsel says “without” and “cost”). The Council has agreed to pursue this point on ownership

If this was the only point then I would not be overly worried, but there is another point which dates back to 1935 when the original deed was placed in Trust. It seems in rather old fashioned legal wording that we may (if we do indeed own the land) not grant a sub-lease to this area. If that is true we may have to go to Court to get this part removed from the Deeds. That is simple if no one objects, but if indeed anyone does object, then this could turn out costly and long winded.

I have to say it was a rather disappointing night, but one that might still have light at the end of the tunnels.

Catch-up

Last Thursday I attended the monthly meeting of Porthleven Town Council. Not a lot of the Agenda for this month. I gave my report of what I had been doing during last month and what was likely to effect the Town over the coming months.

The Main point I raised was the Draft Document of the Article 4 Directive (more protection in the Conservation Area) is going through the Scrutiny process in March with the hope for it being adopted fully in June/July. This I believe is a good, if not long over due document that was started over 18months ago by Kerrier DC. I am hoping it will be adopted with just a few minor tweaks.

On Saturday I held my first Surgery In Porthleven. I would love to say it was busy, but it was not. Two people did attend, and I was able to deal with their problems quickly. Maybe when word gets around that I am holding them more people will attend.

Today Monday was a quiet day. The Morning was taking up with the a pre-meeting for the first Community Network meeting that will take place on Wednesday evening. The afternoon was spent answering e-mails and sorting out a Resident who had a problem with their Benefits. After a phone call I was pleased to inform the Resident that a cheque for £549 would be dispatched that very night. The Resident in question was very please with the outcome.

Tuesday is going to be a long day as its Full Council with a long Agenda. 

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