One more empty property dealt with in Porthleven

I have blogged quite a few times on the issue of empty homes/properties in Porthleven. The whole subject of trying to bring these types of properties back into use is a difficult and emotive subject. It is also a long process, sometimes because of legal proceedings, or the owner unwilling to do anything.

The good news is one of the long-standing empty properties should I hope, have something done about it in the very near future. The property in question is Lyndhurst and the Old Dairy on Thomas Street. The whole issue surrounding the property is a very personal, and I have a lot of sympathy to the owners and their situation. However, the owners now have decided to auction the property and put the whole issue being them.

This is good news because I and the Empty Homes team at Cornwall Council has worked with the owners to solve this difficult situation. I am glad everyone involved has come together to work on this. I will look forward to either the site being put back into use; either by using the existing structure or, if the plans are right for the site, a new building.

The site is being auctioned on the 18th September via the auctioneer Clive Emson. Details HERE Lot 137 The price guide starts at £90,000. I hope it is sold for as much money as possible to allow the owners some financial gain after the terrible situation they found themselves in


Agenda Item Pulled Quicker Than a Cracker at Christmas

At Tuesdays Council meeting agenda item 12, which I blogged about before was pulled quicker than a cracker at Christmas. No explanation as to why, but it does not need Miss Marple to work out that it came down to numbers.

These numbers are not just about what was proposed, but the simple fact the item was more than likely be defeated. Many back-bench Councillors had been talking quite openly about their unhappiness to the proposal, and feel the current rules are quite adequate.

Will the item come back? Let’s hope not, as I see no reason for the current rules to be changed.

Side-lining Councillors?

There is an interesting item (one of many) on the forthcoming Cornwall Council meeting. One that has caught my eye is the recommendation to change how surplus land owned by the Council is deposed of. Item 12 on the Agenda on page 99 gives the full details.

In the report it says:

With a significant disposals programme having been achieved during the 2010/11 financial year and another large number of programmed disposals for the current financial year it is important that the decision making process is streamlined so as to avoid unnecessarily taking up Cabinet time with reports requesting permission to dispose of surplus assets. 

There is also the possibility that devolution of services may result in disposals to, for example, parish and town councils and it would be more efficient if decisions on the transfer of less significant properties could be made without referral to Cabinet.

The wording which I have highlighted also caused me concern as my worry is there could be an excuse to not to bother with putting it to Cabinet, and public scrutiny, because the sale could be very controversial.  It could be conveniently used to off load something, especially as the financial limit has also been raised to the following:

 (i) In paragraph 5.1, increasing the financial limit for capital and revenue payments and receipts for officer decisions to £1,000,000 for capital and £500,000 per annum for revenue; and 

(ii) in paragraph 5.1.5, limiting the discount that can be allowed by the Director for Resources in making a disposal decision to £250,000 in relation to capital and £250,000 per annum in relation to revenue. 

There is also a huge potential for less Local Member involvement in any disposal of assets. This has happened before when sales have only come to the attention of the Local Member when it appears in the Cabinet Report, or worse, in the local press.

I am all for less bureaucracy and the streamlining of how the Council carries out its business. But, at the end of the day elected oversight is a must, and it should not be watered down to stop awkward questions being asked.