Cornwall Council to give Truro FC £10,000?

Cornwall Council has been approached by Truro FC to act as Guarantor to cover certain travel costs for players. This I am told could be as much as £10,000. The first I heard of this is when an angry resident contacted me to complain.

On investigation I found the BBC website is running the story HERE.

In that report is says:

It is understood Cornwall Council have offered £10,000 of the £50,000 required to cover other clubs’ travel costs if Truro’s results are expunged.

Mr James Moore, the administrator’s solicitor said: “The council have agreed to help provide a contribution that will help enable Truro City to meet the Conference bond and the Conference are currently considering this proposal.”

I have contacted the Council to find out who has agreed to this, and I was told nothing formal (as of 20 mins ago) has been agreed. Whilst I have some sympathy for Truro FC for their current position, I do not think tax-payers money should be used. I know my own local football club, Porthleven could do with £10,000 to help it.  And I am sure many other sporting clubs could do with this amount of money. But they would not be given it, so why should Truro?

This is not like its a grant request for new seating, or infrastructure which any club could and has applied to a council for. But this is not, this is running costs, which is totally different. Even if the money is given, what guarantee is there the club will find a buyer and survive in its current form? Very little is my feeling.

The Leader gave £50,000 to Plymouth for their failed World Cup bid. let’s hope is will not give £10,000 to Truro FC. As there are more pressing needs that need to be addressed before this. I am sorry Truro, but this money is needed elsewhere.

 

 

Free Travel to College

The brutal cut by the current Government to EMA has had a very deep impact on people being able to attend college. Cornwall Council has by means of the Cornish Bursary tried to address this. Sadly, as with most things today, there is not enough money to fully solve this issue.

However, the good news is Cornwall College will now be able to offer free travel to students whose household income is under £31,000 per year. This offer from the college is fantastic news and has been helped by the money given to the college from Cornwall Council’s bursary project.

Hopefully the free travel will enable more people to access the courses and education that might not otherwise happen because not being able to afford to attend, or travel to college.

This bursary for travel starts September 2012. Hopefully other colleges will follow suit.

Stadium for Cornwall Report to be Discussed

Next Wednesday (22nd Feb) at Cornwall Council’s Environment and Economy OSC, the details and plans for the Stadium for Cornwall will be discussed. This meeting is likely to attract a lot of attention because it will be the first time Councillors outside of the Cabinet have had the chance to discuss this project.

The Strategic Planning Committee, which I am a member of, passed outlining planning permission for this stadium a few months ago. It is no secret I supported these plans for various reasons, but I still had concerns on who, and how, this stadium will be paid for. In the report for discussion (click HERE) it clearly lists the costs and who will be footing the bill for the 10,000 seat stadium.

The finance for this stadium project will come from three main sources. These are Inox Group & Exemplar Projects (Truro) Ltd, Truro & Penwith College and the Cornish Pirates Rugby Football Club Ltd. They will form a new delivery company called Cornwall Community Stadium Ltd (CCSL). The capital cost for a 10,000 capacity stadium (including all stands and a mezzanine floor) is approximately £15,200,000. The cost of construction can be met in the majority by the individual members of CCSL. If further funding is required, this will be sort from borrowing. Interestingly, Cornwall Council is clearly identified as not being a source of funding (outside of what they have already committed).

The plans and facilities for the stadium are as follows:

  • 10,000 capacity stadium – of which 4,200 will be seated in the main (West) stand and delivered in the first phase. The remainder will ultimately be covered standing/seating, potentially in a later phase as temporary/de-mountable provision;
  • Compliant with the requirements of Premier Rugby and the Football League;
  • West Stand to include facilities for Truro and Penwith College, including: Business centre space (for their exclusive use) on the mezzanine level; dual-use of 15 no. corporate boxes/hospitality space/teaching space; training kitchens on the first floor; frontage at ground floor level
  • Club Shop and Ticket Office,
  • Club Facilities (inc. changing rooms, medical & anti-doping facilities and offices)
  • Ground floor public bar area
  • Cornwall Community Stadium Ltd office
  • Floodlights
  • Press seating for 30 people & press conference room
  • Control Room in accordance with the Green Guide
  • Parking for cars and buses

Personally, from reading this report, this plan looks exciting and if it all happens it will be a great asset to Cornwall. Of course there of those who are against these plans due to the location, costs etc. One of the biggest issues which needs to be addressed is highways. Another is of the flight-path of the near-by aerodrome.  I hope these concerns can be overcome in a sensible way without the need for a long and expensive legal battle.

However, will there be a sting in the tail? You see the plans for discussion are in two parts. The first part being discussed in full public view. The other part will be discussed in closed session. It is the closed session that will be the really interesting part. Who know what’s in that part of the report, as that has not been sent to any Councillor yet.

Next week is sure going to be busy!

 

Is Cornwall Council Truro-centric?

The accusation of Cornwall Council being Truro-centric is thrown around by anyone who is not within spitting distance of Truro. Whilst those who live in Truro say too much is already here and it should go elsewhere.  Is it, or is it just the perception because the main administrative building is located in Truro?

Let’s start by going back in the midst of time to 1973. Then like in 2009 there was a massive change to local government. In this change many of the town boroughs were disposed off and replaced by District Councils. Like in 2009 there was a massive outcry that local government would be somewhere-else-centric, and the old way was better etc.

In Helston’s case (Porthleven was still part of Helston till 1981) the hotbed of political and administrative activity moved north to Camborne at Dolcoath Ave. Those still in local government from the change in ’73 still harked on about the good old days and how the District Councils where too centric to the areas they were located in.

I joined Kerrier District Council in 2007 and knew no difference. However, those in the south of the district often complained all the love, money went north, and since the change the south got nothing. Like now, it was often said it was all so much better when we had the previous set-up. See the similar thread?

Is this is how Cornwall Council is seen?

Now with the administrative capital of Cornwall Council being in Truro it seems all the other areas claim they are left out. But is it? It would make sense that all the main administrative work is located in one area to make it more cost-effective on the tax-payer. Those who need to access basic council services can do so by going into the One Stop Shops (OSS). I have never heard anyone complain there is no OSS in Porthleven, it is just accepted it is in Helston.

There are also other means of contacting the council. Either by phone, email, Internet website or the Councillor elected to serve that division. Granted those others means are not perfect, but on the whole it is a good service. After all, the average person would not contact the council on a daily or weekly basis.

For me, I live 20 miles from Truro, so travelling to Truro is easier for me than others who have to come from further afield. But again, I know others who travel from near the Devon border on an almost daily basis to attend vital meetings, or to gather information. So it can be done.

If all the money went to the administrative centres I would be more concerned, but it does not. Many areas including Porthleven do get attention. This is done by putting forward sensible ideas, working with officers and knowing how far you can push things. Not, like I have heard before ‘I want it because I am a Councillor and my area never gets anything because it is located in the East/West/North/South/Darkside of the Moon’. People skills get you what you want, not banging the desk saying my area gets nothing.

So whilst I know it may seem Cornwall Council is Truro-centric, I don’t believe it is. The main administrative building has to go somewhere. The geographical nature of Cornwall unlike other authorities boundaries who have a  more rounded geographical area plays a part too; as it is not logical just to plonk the council’s main offices right in the middle of Cornwall.

Then again, it would save me travelling if the administrative centre was in Helston, but that is not likely to ever happen. So I will just have to continue to travel to the likes of Penzance, Camborne, Truro, St Austell, Liskeard, or Wadebridge to carry-out my duties.

Maybe it is the set/make-up of the council that is more of a concern, than its location. That very subject is now being discussed at Cornwall Council.

 

(yes, I changed the spelling of ‘capitol’ to capital because everyone missed the joke..)

Truro’s Eastern District Centre Public Meeting

Last night I attended the public meeting on the planning application for the Eastern District Centre. These plans are for a new park and ride, Waitrose food hall, a Taste of Cornwall food hall and around 100 houses. Before the public meeting the Strategic Planning Committee had a technical meeting outlining these plans. The plans are due to go before this committee on the 15th December.

The public meeting was held in the council chambers at County Hall. A quick headcount established at least 200 people in attendance. Out of those 52 people decided to speak on the pro’s and con’s to this application. As with the last public meeting I attended on the stadium the audience this evening was more towards the senior element of society. In fact I would say there was no one from the public who was under 25 (closer to 30 really).
Many of the views from those against the planning application were on the harm to the landscape, wrong location, too many supermarkets already in Truro, harm to excisting businesses and highways issues. Out of the people who spoke 33 were against this.
The supporters were infavour because of the improving of the traffic congestion; especially for commuters, job creation, better business opportunities which it was claimed would good for Truro’s economy. These points and similar points were made by the 19 people who spoke in support of the application. 

Interesting in that the RCHT sent an official who was in support of the application. This was backed up with support by SITA. The City Council also made comment, and these comments were not in support of the application.

I got the general feeling there were more of the no camp in the chamber than the yes camp.  However, is this a correct representation of the general population of the local and wider area? This is always hard to tell as most people seemed not bothered until something comes to their own backyard.
I guess that’s planning for you!

Cornwall Council Can Run a Bus Service

Today is the third birthday of Truro’s Park and Ride. In the last three years it has carried more than 1.3 million passengers and has (so Cornwall Council say) taken roughly 1000 cars daily off the roads. It is also claimed that the 1700 daily passengers are 99% satisfied with the service.

Putting the statistics aside, I personally think this service is great. If you need to go to hospital the bus drops you right outside the hospital, and all for £1.20. In fact, if you don’t like paying for the car parking charges you  can use this service and park all day, for £1.20. A bargain in anyone’s book.

As someone who travels into Truro on almost daily bases the traffic would be far worse without the park and ride. Plans are afoot for another park and ride on the eastern side of Truro, but this is slightly controversial because the scheme comes with a lot of houses and another supermarket.

So well done to Cornwall County Council and now, Cornwall Council, for providing this service.

Truro and the Drummer

The Internet and twitter has been buzzing with talk about the new ‘drummer’ statue that has recently been unveiled on Truro’s Lemon Quay. There is no doubt it has got people talking; which is partly what art is about.

I like the statue, but the meaning of what it stands for is kind of lost on me. Rob Nolan, the Mayor of Truro explained the statue symbolised “Cornwall marching to a different beat” Yes, I can understand that message, now it is explained.

It is its connection to Truro that puzzles me. Surely a statue that costs around £85k should have a connection to the town and area it is place in. This statue in my opinion fails on both parts. Truro and its past residents are famous for many things; surely this should have been better reflected in a statue.
As for the statue there is certainly one talking point and it’s nothing to do with a drum, or beating it. It is the complete reverse on how a classical Greek statue is depicted. Hate to say it, but it draws you away from the message (however confused) of the statue.
If I was honest, my first thought on seeing the statue was thinking it would not look out of place if it was sporting an Orange Sash. This might make it more suitable to a well known street in Northern Ireland than Truro.
Credit is however due to the people/committee who ordered the statue. They could have gone with the easy and cliché option of a miner, or fisherman, but instead went for the more modern (mild) shock option.
The great thing about art is its meaning is purely down to who looks at it. I am sure everyone will come to their own conclusion on what they see and if they like it or not.
The site ‘Truro People’ has more pictures HERE

Enjoy

Truro and Mayor Making

Last night I had the honour to be invited to Truro City Council’s Mayor making. Rob Nolan was Mayor-elect and the ceremony last night was to confirm his position as Mayor.

The whole process was a very enjoyable affair with Rob’s speech bringing the house down. It hit all points by being humorous and making serious points as to the direction he will lead the city council.

I have known Rob for several years since we were newly elected Town Councillors and first met him at a Cornwall Association Local Council Conference. Since then we have worked together on various area like planning and licensing.

I believe Truro will greatly benefit from Robs term of office as he will stand up for Truro and make sure Truro’s voice is heard. I would like to wish him the very best and I hope he enjoys his time as Mayor.

Rob Nolan in all of his finery
AKA – The Mayor

The Truro of the Future?

Monday was always going to be long, I just did not realise how long, or how much information was going to be produced for me to take in. As you may know, I sit on Cornwall Council’s Strategic Planning Committee. This Committee has made some difficult and controversial decisions because of this strategic nature of its role.
 
Today, we were presented what are called ‘technical briefings’. We have had these before and they have proved useful in the past where questions needed to be asked before any formal planning application is made. Today’s briefings were on plans for Truro. In total, 4 of these briefings were given which I will try and explain in a little detail on this blog.
 
The first one was on the plans to develop the 2nd phase of the Truro Park and Ride, 97 houses, a Recycling centre and a Waitrose supermarket that incorporates a Taste of Cornwall food centre. The size of this supermarket is around 15,000 sq ft with the Taste of Cornwall being around 5,000 sq ft, so in total 20,000 sq ft of food retail.

The second briefing was proposed for the Maiden Green (behind Treliske Hospital). This plan includes 560 residential units, with 35% being affordable (Yes, the word affordable is subjective). An Asda superstore that will be 34,000 sq ft in size. For a guide, the Asda at Penryn is around 40,000 sq ft. A hotel of the Travelodge type, leisure centre and community facilities.
 
I asked a question to the developer if they were to build a new pool, could it be the 50m type? The response I got back was positive saying they would be open to talk about that aspect. I believe that this could be a major asset and attraction to this area, especially as the developer would be paying for it. 10,000 sq ft of class B business. 300 units for student and/or key worker. Lastly, a new roundabout on the A390 (we do love roundabouts in this country).
 
The third briefing was Willow Green; this included 35,000 food retail, 500 dwelling units and improvements along the A390. Not much more to say on this one as it was fairly basic in what the developer was proposing. It just lacked real detail on the A390 improvements.
 
Lastly was Langarth Farm. This includes 60 bed hotel, medical centre, small convenience store (400 sq ft), 60 bed care home, Primary School, Office units up to 6,000 sq ft, highway improvements, 1500 dwellings and land for a Stadium to be built on. The developer made great pains to point out that they would not build the Stadium, but transfer the land for it to be built on for a nominal fee. Many questions were asked about the inclusion of a stadium in this application. The developers answered that the council had requested what they had offered in the proposals. I think any discussion on a stadium should be taken in isolation before it’s added as part of a planning application.
 
I will say that none of the proposals are currently planning applications, or may never become one; we would only know any details when the plans are submitted. Saying that, if all these ‘ideas’ came forward as applications then Truro could be looking at a further 94,000 sq ft of food retailers for a population of around 18,000. That is on top of the current major and smaller food retailers. You have to ask were all the people who will use these shops will come from without having a huge impact on the shops in those areas that people have travelled from. That does not mean Truro will get all the food retailers, but it has the potential to do so.
 
It would also be looking at an additional 2957 dwellings, some of these are much needed affordable, or hopefully social rent. But, does Truro need this amount of new builds? It comes to the age old argument of jobs before houses, or houses before jobs.
 
The most worrying aspect of all these proposals is the impact they will have on the A390. All the briefings said they would improve this road, but from what I saw in the briefings this was nothing more than a few roundabout, traffic lights and pedestrian crossings. The A390 in its current form is not up to the job due to the heavy use, that is before any of these developments are given permission. Anyone who has to travel along this stretch of will know how bad it is, let alone at peak-times. I do feel that this road needs to be greatly improved, allowing further pressures along this road without improvements is asking for trouble.  But the trick is how you will do this considering this road is flanked by houses.

It is going to be interesting to see if any of the points made today will make it into any application.