Porthleven hit by ‘Storm’ Doris but still raises funds for The Fishermen’s Mission

Three-years ago, Porthleven was hit by a series of storms that did serious damage to the harbour infrastructure, including smashing the baulks that protect the inner-harbour. The loss of the baulks resulted in boats being at the mercy of the raging sea and several were sunk on their moorings (blog posts HERE).

Roll-on almost three-years to the day, Porthleven was again hit by ‘Storm’ Doris, which whilst not the same intensity as previous storms, it was still powerful with huge swells and waves hitting the coastline. Damage was limited, but one of the baulks that protect the inner-harbour was split.

However, this weekend was the start of a series of fund-raisers for The Fishermen’s Mission. In a stroke of genius, the smashed baulks from three-years ago, are being painted, carved, printed etc. by various local and nationally celebrated artists and craft persons. These pieces of work, will be auctioned at a special event on the 18th March. More details can be found on Facebook HERE and on the Fishermen’s Mission site HERE.

The first fund-raiser was an evening of entertainment by the Cornish comic Kernow King. He entertained over 150 people in Porthleven’s Public Hall. In an amazing token of generosity, Kernow King waved his fee, and therefore, over £1000 was raised from this one event alone.

Getting ready for Kernow King

The second event was to showcase work from many of those who have created something on the damaged baulks, prior to the auction. In a very creative way, the artists work was projected onto the iconic Bickford-Smith Institute at dusk.

One of the artists work being projected onto the Bickford-Smith Institute

Storm warning as Storm Doris starts to make an impact on Cornwall

Cornwall Council and the Met Office have today issued a storm warning in reference to Storm Doris. This storm will bring strong winds and heavy rain to Cornwall today, Thursday and during Friday. Cornwall Council is warning residents to be prepared and take precautions where necessary.

The latest information from the MET Office and the Environment Agency is for the wettest weather to move across Cornwall on Thursday, with the highest winds expected on Friday.  There is currently a Met Office weather wind warning in force, for Friday, with the risk of high winds across coasts and hills and large waves along southern coasts.

Porthleven today, Thursday

Porthleven today, Thursday

Between 10 and 40mm of rain are expected to fall on parts of Cornwall on Thursday, with Gale Force 8 winds expected early to mid afternoon, before the wind slowly eases by early evening.

There are two peaks of strong winds expected on Friday –the first arriving late morning to mid-afternoon, followed by the second peak during mid-afternoon to early evening.

The winds will be at their strongest across the Isles of Scilly and the southern coasts of Cornwall, and around hills during these peaks, ranging from Gale Force 8 up to Gale Force 9 on occasions, with gusts of between 50-65mph,and possibly up to 70mph.  These winds may cause some travel disruption – particularly on exposed bridges and high sided vehicles, as well as potential disruption to air and ferry travel  There is also the risk of damage to trees and potential disruption to power supplies, as well as the risk of injury from flying debris , such as bins, bins, fences and trampolines and temporary structures.

The strong winds are likely to be accompanied by large waves, especially around the Isles of Scilly, and the southern coasts of Cornwall, like Porthleven which may present a hazard to the public on beaches, sea walls, piers and promenades, especially at high tides.

All the agencies are monitoring the situation closely and are on standby to act if the situation deteriorates. For further advice on preparing for flooding is available on the Cornwall Council website at www.cornwall.gov.uk/flooding

Be safe during this weather front. If you are going to ‘wave watch’ please do this from a safe place as you not only endanger your life, but you put at risk the lives of the emergency and rescue services who will attempt to save you.

Not like this idiot…..

Idiot from 2014

 

Met Office issues Yellow Weather Warning for high winds for the weekend (Aug 19/20/21)

Yes, I know it is meant to be summer, but the Met Office forecasts strong winds and heavy rain due to affect Cornwall over the coming days, Cornwall Council is warning residents and visitors to be prepared and take precautions where necessary after the recent dry spell.

The latest information from the MET Office and the Environment Agency is for rain on Friday, winds gusting up to 55 to affect Cornwall on Saturday with further strong winds and heavy rain expected on Sunday. This could lead to some fallen trees.

As it is the holiday period, many people are camping and therefore damage to temporary structures such as tents, marquees and caravans are at a particular risk 

As a result the Met office has issued a Yellow Weather warning for high winds and the public are advised to look out for any changes to Environment Agency Flood Warnings over the coming weekend.

Officers from Cornwall Council’s  Environment, Fire and Rescue and Emergency Management services and CORMAC teams will be monitoring the situation closely and are on standby to deal with any problems.

Agencies are asking people living in areas which are prone to flooding to make sure they take the necessary precautions. They are also advising people to take care when driving, particularly those driving high sided vehicles or towing caravans as the roads will inevitably be busy.

The advice is to put away any garden furniture and ensure that tents, bouncy castles, gazebos or marquees are secure. People organising community events over the weekend are advised to undertake their own risk assessment.

Members of the public are also being asked to take care when walking along the coast path or along piers and promenades, and by cliff edges during the strong winds, with surfers and small boat owners advised to check advice from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency on whether to go into the water.

Be safe out there people…

 

Small Ports given a lifeline in the aftermath of the storms

The Government has thrown a – small – lifeline to small ports in Cornwall and England with the announcement of £2m worth of funding to help ports make repairs to their storm damaged infrastructure. Cornwall Council, the Portfolio Holder for the Environment, Edwina Hannaford and me welcome this small, but important gesture to ports.

In the UK, there is over 1040 ports and with so many ports not everyone one of these would be in line for funding. The good news for Porthleven and other like places is this funding is aimed at those non-trading ports which have their main focus on fishing and leisure activity.  As with any grant application there is a criteria and the Government is using the EC TENS categorisation of ports to determine which UK ports are classified as small. They are three categorise A, B and C, with the Category C port authorities are eligible to apply [1].

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repairs being made to the harbour wall in Porthleven

So what is covered? Again the good news is the funding can be used for the repair to operational port infrastructure, superstructure or equipment incurred through storm damage. However the funding cannot be used for improvements. Nothing within these categories is to be excluded and each claim will be considered on its merits but priority will be given to repairs which contribute most to the continued safe running of the port or the economic viability of the port. The dates for storm damage starts with the St Jude’s storm of 27th October till the 31st March.

For more information on how to claim, you can click HERE and HERE

 [1] Category A includes ports with a total annual traffic volume of not less than 1.5 million tonnes of freight, or 200,000 passengers. Category B includes seaports with a total annual traffic volume of not less than 0.5 million tonnes of freight or between 100,000 and 199,999 passengers. Category C includes seaports that do not meet the criteria of categories A and B but are situated in island, peripheral or the outermost regions, interconnecting such regions by sea and/or connecting them with the central regions of the Community.

Prime Minister’s ‘money is no object’ announcement is nothing more than a ruse

During the height of the storms and floods, the Prime Minister told the country and indeed the world, that money is no object to help communities recover from the unprecedented weather front Cornwall – and other areas – were subjected to.

Now the weather has abated, and we are in a more settled period of weather, the Council and other partners can fully assess the damage inflicted upon the communities. It is bleak, and the full costs are still unknown, but the costs is looking like topping £21m. For Cornwall Council this is made up of £4m revenue, and £17m in capital costs. This can be further broken down by:

  • Highways £5m: revenue £2m and £3m capital
  • Coastal Defence £15m: revenue £1.8m and capital £13.2m
  • Coast Paths/other £1m: £500k for both revenue and capital

    So, what ‘money is no object’ funding streams are available to the Council? In truth, very little. Yes, we have the Bellwin Scheme, but apart from the dates to claim have been extended, the criteria to claim has not changed. The scheme can only be used to:

  • only to prevent loss of life/damage to property
  • prevent suffering or severe inconvenience
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    Futhermore, the Council will have to pay the first £887k excess. The potential claim by the Council is still be assessed, but early indications are approx £2m eligible spend. So in pounds, shillings and pence will mean out of the £2m, the Bellwin Scheme will only pay out £1.23m.

    The critical point is that the criteria have not changed and therefore the majority of the estimated £21m worth of damage will remain unfunded by Central Government. So much for ‘money is no object.’ This means the repair bill will have to be found from elsewhere and/or from within the Council’s own budget.

    It gets worse, as the promised £130m EA money will have little impact in Cornwall. It is good news for Somerset, as they will get £10m. A further £30m will be for EA assests. Priority is based on assets in the EA asset database. Which for Cornwall is only one, the rock-armour off Newlyn. The £130m will also not cover Coastal Assets just flood (fluvial) defence. To put it bluntly, Cornwall will not be at the top of the funding, or actually get any help.

    Our roads in Cornwall have also been badly affected by the weather. Credit must go to Cormac who have worked to address the many issues. However, the Governments announcement of £140m for Highways will be allocated on a formula basis to all Local Authorities. And as yet, those allocations are unknown, though I am told should be known shortly.

    The Leader of the Council, John Pollard has written to the Prime Minister highlighting the concern and extra financial pressures the Council now faces. The Leader has also written to the Secretary of State for Farming, Food and Rural Affairs to again highlight the European Fisheries Fund’s storm damage gear replacement scheme as over bureaucratic, with claim forms running to 21 pages. Plus having to submit business cases and three quotes. However, the real kick in the teeth on this funding is you cannot purchase lost gear until you have receive a letter from the MMO saying you can purchase it. I highlighted this in a previous blog HERE

    The position Cornwall Council is difficult, it is looking at a huge bill of repair and recovery which it can little afford without changes and severe impact on the budget. It is all well and good for the Government to roll out a series of measures to help and think they have done their jobs, but those measures have to actually mean something, and more importantly have real funding attached to them.

    So my message to the Prime Minister and Government is help is needed in Cornwall to recover from the weather. Without help, things are going to get very difficult for Cornwall Council.

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    Real Government funding for fishermen or just tokenism?

    The Government has announced there will be a pot of money available to help fishermen who have lost gear in the recent storms. At face value I welcome this announcement as I was beginning to think the industry were getting left out with support.

    However reading through the details, this isn’t actually new Government money, but recycled money from the European Fishing Fund. Which could already be applied for! In fact, by using this money for those affected by the storm, you are taking money away from other parts of the fishing industry. As the £11m
    EFF is used for non-mandatory safety equipment, engine replacement, fish handling and chilling equipment to name but a few.

    It is also a grant scheme, so you would have to put in an application and go through the grant process. Which is never a quick process and you have to wait till your grant is approved before you can actually buy/replace any lost equipment.

    Furthermore, the amount that can be applied for – up to £5000 – is a very small amount if you actually look at the cost of replacing the lost gear. £5000 is better than nothing, but it not far off tokenism. As I will explain.

    Talking to local fishermen who have lost gear, I asked if could be provided with details on the cost of gear he has lost; which one fisherman has kindly done so.

    For instance, the cost of a standard pot is around £50. The larger ones are £75 each. The back-lines for the pots are £47 per coil.

    This ‘new’ funding would not cover his initial loss of 83 pots – 60 small 23 large – as that comes to £5,430. Plus, at the time of talking, the fisherman is still missing 18 strings. Each string contains 25 pots. If those strings are not recoverable that’s a £22,500 loss and that’s without adding in the cost of back lines and just using the costing for a small pot.

    Even those pots which are recoverable, they will need to be repaired and re-lined. This is just on an 8 metre boat operating 650 pots. How can a small operator fund the losses, especially with the crabbing season really starting at the end of this month.

    Now you can see why this fund is more like tokenism and not serious aid and support to an industry which has suffered due to the weather. What the Government must do is support the ‘farmers of the sea’ with real financial support as this industry is a major food provider in the UK.

    Without proper aid, this industry will find itself again on the rocks and in real danger of foundering. Please Government, stop saying you are going to help, if you are not actually going to do so!

    Funding available for homeowners and businesses affected by the severe weather

    Cornwall Council is publicising four schemes for financial assistance that are available to homeowners and businesses affected by the severe weather between 1 December 2013 and 31 March 2014.

    1. Council tax discount

    Householders, whose house has been affected by the severe weather, can apply to Cornwall Council for a three month discount from their council tax.

    The qualifying criteria is:

  • Flooding must have occurred between 1 December 2013 and 31 March 2014
  • You can only make one claim per property affected
  • The property has been flooded in whole or in part as a result of adverse weather conditions
  • The property was the sole or main residence of the householder on the day of the flood
  • As a result of the flooding the householder was adversely affected
  • To establish whether a property qualifies for a discount due to flooding we need the following information:

  • Name and address of the property affected
  • Date the flooding occurred
  • Details of how the property was affected by the flood
  • Supporting evidence to help us with your application
  • Applications can be made by phone, email or in writing. Phone: 0300 1234 171; email: revenues@cornwall.gov.uk; in writing: Shared Services (Income), PO Box 676, Threemilestone, TR4 9LD

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    1. Business Rate Relief

    Businesses, affected by the severe weather, between 1 December 2013 and 31 March 2014, are able to apply to Cornwall Council for a 100% business rate relief for three months.

    100% rate relief will be awarded for those properties which meet the following criteria:

  • Flooding must have occurred between 1 December 2013 and 31 March 2014. You can only make one claim per property affected
  • The property has been flooded in whole or in part as a result of adverse weather conditions
  • On the day of the flooding the property was occupied and subject to occupied business rates
  • As a result of the flooding the business activity undertaken at the property was adversely affected
    The rateable value of the property on the day of the flooding was less than £10 million

    To establish whether a business qualifies for business rate relief we need the following information:

  • Name and address of the property affected
  • Date the flooding occurred
  • Details of how the property was affected by the flood
  • Supporting evidence to help us with your application
  • Applications can be made by phone, email or in writing. Phone: 0300 1234 171; email: revenues@cornwall.gov.uk In writing: Shared Services (Income), PO Box 676, Threemilestone, TR4 9LD

    3. Repair and Renew grant

    The Government has announced new ‘repair and renew’ grants of up to £5,000. The grants are to help households and businesses pay for repairs, over and above what would normally be covered by insurance, which improves a property’s ability to withstand future flooding. The grants will not cover standard repairs or provide compensation.

    We are expecting the Government to publish details of eligibility and criteria soon. We will provide details of how to apply as soon as we can.

    4. Business Support Scheme

    The Government has announced a new Business Support Scheme for small and medium sized business premises, physically affected by coastal and inland flooding. Eligible businesses will be able to claim for costs, initially up to £2,500, which could include: immediate clean up costs and repair, replacement of stock or equipment, additional staff costs, structural surveys and non-recoverable insurance excess.

    An application form to apply for a grant from the Business Support Scheme will be available by Monday 3 March.

    Further contacts are:

    West Cornwall Community network team: Mark James – mjames2@cornwall.gov.uk

    East Cornwall Community network team: Steve Foster – stephen.foster@cornwall.gov.uk

    Town centres/small businesses:Town Centre Management Specialist Guy Thomas -Guy.Thomas@cornwall.gov.uk

    Agricultural and fishing:Business Development Consultant Peter Holland – peter@investincornwall.co.uk

    This information, along with other available schemes and assistance, is on our website: www.cornwall.gov.uk/floodrelief

    Drop me an email, tweet FB message, email, or phone me if you want more information or support (Porthleven and Helston West area) for your application.

    Advice and funding for those who have suffered flood and storm damage

    Now we have had a few days respite from the onslaught of the weather and take stock of the damage it has caused, the question by those affected is there any help from the Government and the Council. The short answer is yes, but as you would imagine, it not straight forward. For my area, Porthleven, I am collating details on the damage and the cost of repair so it can be included in any Council bid – like the Bellwin Scheme.

    The Government has set up a helpline to provide comprehensive advice and support to small and medium size enterprises (SME). The helpline offers a free one hour call with a dedicated business support advisor to help businesses get back on their feet. As well as providing free dedicated business advice, information is also available via the helpline on who to contact about pay, tax, employment rights or disputes, company registration or insolvency.

    The number for the advice line is : 0300 456 3565

    There is also help from the following:

    UK Storm Business Relief Fund

    Set up by NatWest and RBS Banks with a £250million fund to issue interest free loans to small businesses affected by the storms and floods. Loans are available to any business affected, that do not need to be customers of either bank, and is on a first come first served basis. UK Storms Helpline: 0800 529 8544. Help is also available in your local branch of NatWest or RBS banks from their Relationship Managers. More information is available online at www.business.natwest.com and www.business.rbs.co.uk

    Government Business Support Scheme

     The Government has announced a new Business Support Scheme worth up to £10 million. The scheme is in addition to the three-month rate relief and the £5,000 ‘Repair and Renew’ grants. Details of eligibility, criteria and how to apply will be published I am told very soon, maybe this week.

    Government ‘Repair and Renew’ grants

    There is a new grant scheme to help homes and businesses affected by the winter storms. Individual grants of up to £5,000 are available to help pay for repairs, not covered by insurance, which improve a property’s ability to withstand future flooding. More information and advice on applying for a Repair and Renew grant is available online www.gov.uk

    Business rate relief

    All affected businesses will be able to apply to their local authority for three months business rate relief. Details on the application process and eligibility will be announced by the Government shortly and more information is available on the Government website: www.gov.uk/government/news/new-measures-to-help-communities-hit-by-flooding#business-relief

    Help for fishermen

     

    The Fishermen’s Mission has launched an urgent appeal to raise funds to help fishermen who have been affected by the storms. More information is available on their website: www.fishermensmission.org.uk. I am told there is £50,000 available.

    Help for farmers

    The Government has announced it will make up to £10 million available for a one-off grant scheme designed to support farm businesses. The scheme is to restore flooded agricultural land and bring it back into production as quickly as possible. More information is available on the Government website: www.gov.uk/government/news/new-measures-to-help-communities-hit-by-flooding#farmers-fund

    More information about grants to help people and businesses affected by storms and flood damage is available on Cornwall Council’s website: www.cornwall.gov.uk/floodfunding

    I will update as I know more.

     

    Fundraising and Donations tops £10,000 for the Porthleven Fishermen’s Association

    The almost never-ending storms which have smashed into Porthleven and other parts of Cornwall have taken their toll on communities and infrastructure. The scene in Porthleven of the Baulks that protect the inner-harbour giving way under the pressure of the waves; which then allowed the sea free to run-amok on the once protected boats will not be forgotten in Porthleven. In total 10 boats were sunk, with at least two un-salvageable.

    From this tragedy, the community and businesses of Porthleven, businesses of Cornwall and visitors to Porthleven both near and far have acted with fantastic generously. In a short space of time, a staggering £10,000 has been raised for the Porthleven Fishermen’s Association. The total amount raised is still climbing, as more and more people come forward with help. Cheques are being sent from around the country from people, who visit Porthleven; some who have just visited once or twice, and those who visit more frequently. They understand the magic of Porthleven and want to help.

    The weekend of the 15th/16th, saw a series of fundraising events. On Saturday The Atlantic Inn held a coffee morning and then in the evening a raffle and auction. Both Leigh and Adrian – the landlady and landlord of the pub – should be highly praised for all the work they have done in organising these events. The amount raised from the coffee morning, raffle and auction – plus some other donations – was a whopping £7251! This is a truly staggering figure.

    Praise should go to the many business that donated prized for the raffle and action. These were not just Porthleven business, but business from across Cornwall. I will get a full list and update this post, so each business can be publicly credited for their support.

    Other donations have come from Porthleven Surf Club – £300; Porthleven Town Council – £1000; My Cornwall Council Community Fund – £500; The Boat House in Falmouth who raised £750 during a recent charity event; and Skinners Brewery who will be donating 5p for every pint of Porthleven Beer sold in February.

    As I said more money is coming in, so the total amount raised will be a lot higher. Especially as more fund-raising events are set to be held. This money will enable the association to replace and repair various items that includes fishing equipment and the ice house machinery.

    Get in contact if you would like to help.

    Porthleven rallies to clear up the harbour

    Sunday saw a couple of hundred people gather and help remove the tons of tangled fishing nets, rope, a sunken punt and other debris from the inner-harbour. I was amazed how many people – including many children – turn up and help.

    In a few hours the mess left by the recent storms had been removed from the inner-harbour and carried off for disposal. Some of the debris was so heavy, it took several men to drag it up out of the harbour. In some cases, a dumper truck was used to drag the debris away due its weight.

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    The community spirit did not just end there. As Porthleven Gig Club provided hot drinks, biscuits and cake to the helpers. Then at the end of the clean up, the owner of the bar ‘Out of the Blue’ provided a keg of ale. If that was not enough, one of the local residents’ Amanda (nee Strike) had managed to get hundreds of rashers of bacon (I believe Tulip) and supply bacon sarnies to everyone too.

    Talk about a great community spirit. It certainly makes you proud to live in Porthleven.

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