Award of Town plaque to clock-winder of 40 years

As Mayor, you get to do some great things. Sometimes you had to make tough choices too. But the greatest honour is to award a Town plaque to deserving individuals or organisations.

For those who do not know, Porthleven has an official clock-winder. There has been a clock-winder for maybe 100+ years.

On Thursday I invited the current title holder, Jeremy Mitchell to the Town Council meeting to give a history lesson about this role. But really, I wanted to award a Jeremy a Town plaque for his long and dedicated service. He didn’t know this was happening.

You see, Jeremy has been the official clock-winder for 42 years. Yes, for 42 years Jeremy has been on hand to not only wind the clock weekly, but to make sure it keeps to time and works. Before the presentation, Jeremy gave an insight and history lesson to those gathered.

Jeremy talk was really fascinating with stories like back in the day, there were no ladders to get to the machinery. It was just small steps attached to this tower walls with a sheer drop in the middle. Not for the faint-hearted. In days before Health and Safety, Jeremy used to be sent up as a boy by his grandfather. Jeremy also told how he was stopped as a young man by the police asking where he was going with the two clock-face arms. Luckily, he was just sent on his way by the police.

Jeremy is not the first in his family to carry out the duties as the clock-winder His grandfather held this office too. And Jeremy’s son steps in to cover if he is away and it’s probably being lined-up to take over the role if and when Jeremy wants to stop.

The institute is an iconic building, but the social history of the building is equally important. People like Jeremy really add to the rich tapestry that makes Porthleven so special.

It was a great honour to present Jeremy with his Town plaque. It was thoroughly deserved.

Reminder for the Public Meeting for the Shipyard Application

On Monday, at the Porthleven Public Hall, there is going to be a public meeting where those attending will have the chance to give their views on the amended plans for the Shipyard building. This meeting starts at 6pm.

Details about the application can be found HERE on a previous blog post.

It is very important those interested in this application not only attend, but give their views too. As this meeting will very much influence any planning application that may come forward.

You can also read more detail about this meeting HERE.

Action to be taken against yellow lines on Commercial Road, Porthleven

Let’s be clear, this is not about whether there should or should not be yellow lines on Commercial Road, Porthleven. This issue is about the a lawful process of placing parking restriction and a proper consultation via a Traffic Regulation Order. Here is the previous blog HERE

This would have given the public and official bodies such as Highways the ability of discussing the merits and disadvantages of placing lines along this stretch of road. From this, if there was a requirement of placing parking restrictions along this stretch of road, it would have been done legally and with the proper process and then enforceable.

No-matter who you are, you have to follow the law and people do not have the right to just paint yellow lines wherever they think they can. We have rules for a reason.

In discussing this issue with Highways and Cornwall Council’s legal department and because there has been a clear breach of the law, Cornwall Council is taking action against the Harbour and Dock Company. This is something I welcome.

Cornwall Council has written to Harbour and Dock clearly pointing out the legal breach under Section 132 of the Highways Act 1980. It has given Harbour and Dock two options.

The first is make a formal application for a TRO to regulate, if appropriate, the yellow lines currently in place. This application will ensure that all the relevant aspects of traffic management are considered and provide the opportunity for the public to make representations. The Harbour and Dock Company has one month to comply and submit an application.

The second option is if the Harbour and Dock fails to submit an application for a TRO, then the Highways Authority will remove the unauthorised lines and recover the costs of doing so from Harbour and Dock.

I believe this is a sensible way forward and one that I very much welcome. This could all have been avoided if the proper process was followed…

It should be noted that placing parking restrictions on a stretch of highways doesn’t necessarily stop parking for a couple of reasons.

Those with Blue Badges can park on double yellow lines for up to three hours (so you just replace parked cars with another type of parked car). If you ‘double clip’ a yellow line which means no parking at any time, you do stop parking, but you also stop any delivery vehicle stopping to unload/load as it is an offence and will result in an instant parking ticket. To overcome this, you then need a loading bay. As you can see, placing parking restrictions without proper thought, just causes more problems.


Help for those businesses who saw a large hike in rates

I know a number of businesses in Porthleven and the surrounding area saw some eye-watering increases in Business Rates after the Valuation Office Agency (part of HMRC) reviewed the current tariffs. In a process that is little better than rolling a dice and multiplying the figure by that number thrown, the method of justifying an increase is if an area is successful in terms of shop space demand, and doing well, then the Valuation Office Agency can charge more. 

In combating these hikes, I am pleased to say Cornwall Council is going to use a £2.72 million business rate relief fund to help as many businesses as possible. This funding is Cornwall’s share of a national business rate relief fund announced in the March Budget to support businesses facing a steep rise in their rates as a result of the 2017 revaluation

It has been agreed to assist all businesses with a rateable value of less than £200,000 whose business rates have increased by more than 12.5% following the revaluation. This will provide 50% discretionary rate relief on the increase in rates in 2017/18, decreasing over the following three years on a pro rata basis as funding is reduced. The scheme is expected to help 875 businesses.

Qualifying businesses will see the relief awarded against their gross bull after any other reductions have been taken into account. My suggestion would be for anyone who believes they should get this help is to contact Cornwall Council’s Business Rates dept.



Proof of ownership requested by the Harbour and Dock Company for the Moors Playing Field

At last nights town council meeting during the Mayor’s report, the town council were informed and updated on a situation that has arose in reference to the Moors Playing Field (aka Bottom Park).

Porthleven Town Council has received a letter from the Harbour and Dock Company (H&D) informing the council that a caution has been lodged with Land Registry by the H&D against the Moors Playing Field.

The caution is as follows:

“Is to establish quite clearly that it is the Porthleven Harbour & Dock Company which has the benefit of the restrictive covenants and also rights of access over the property”.

Furthermore, the Council has received a request from the Harbour and Dock Company for proof of tenure/ownership of the Moors.

In consultation with the town clerk, this matter has been handed to the Council’s solicitor who will advise on the best course of action and a report will come back to the September meeting of the Council.

In the documents held by the town council and previous legal advice it is clear the town council are the rightful legal trustees of the Moors Playing Field

Below is a map of the area.

Thank you for the support

A few days have passed since the Election results have been called. Like any campaign it takes a few days for you to recover, and then, you have to get on with the job.

I want to say thank you to all supported me in both the Cornwall Council and Porthleven Town Council Election. It is always humbling to receive such support.

for those who are trying to contact me, I have a new Council email address (which everyone has). It is now:

I am without a phone for a few days, but will update as soon as I do.

In any campaign, there are winners and losers. Credit to those candidates who stood against me and campaigned hard. I always respect those who stand for election.

Thoughts and thanks must go to those who have held office and lose at an election. There are many reasons why someone loses, as many have given years of public service. You might not always agree with them, but they should be respected for standing and trying to do their best.

Loe Bar Beach Footpath Closure – update

A few weeks ago I informed readers of this blog that the official footpath that goes across Loe Bar will be closed to allow the EA to expand the culvert that discharges water from the river Cober into the sea via the bar To remind yourselves, click HERE.

Users of this area where concerned to whether this area can still be accessed during the work. I have now got confirmation that whilst the official footpath with be closed, people can still access and cross the Bar whilst the work is carried out. 

So fear not, Loe Bar will be accessible. 

Helston College’s new school building unveiled 

Yesterday, was the first time the public were able to see the proposed new school building for Helston College. This journey of getting a new building been a bumpy road, with many setbacks. However, this building will actually happen with the building work starting this September and opening in January 2019.

I am over the moon this is finally happening as one of priorites as Lead Member for Children’s Service has been to get getting proper funding our schools. And I was pleased our bid to the Government for a replacement building for Helston College was accepted. 

Massive credit must go to the college’s head teacher, the governors and all staff who have worked tirelessly to make this new build a reality. 

During the build, students will continue to use the existing buildings. Once the new building is open, then the old site will be demolished and replaced with sport facilities. The Sports Centre will remain in its current place. 

Many will wonder why there is not a whole school build option. This could not be achieved as the Education Funding Agency would not fund the extra millions. 

Planning will now be sought now the design and layout has been finalised.

The Parliamentary Boundary Commission makes its decision on Devonwall

The Parliamentary Boundary Commission has today confirmed –  as expected – that it is recommending a new cross-border parliamentary constituency of Bideford, Bude and Launcestonbetween that will straddle the historic borders of Cornwall and Devon.

This decision has formed part of the part of the 2018 review of parliamentary boundaries and the plan to reduce the number of MP’s from 650 to 600. 

In a statement issued by Cornwall Council in response to this news: 

“As we said in our robust submission to the Commission, we strongly object to this proposal which would create a new constituency crossing the historic border between Cornwall and Devon for the first time in Cornwall’s history.

 As well as destroying the integrity of Cornwall’s historic border, which would cause great distress to numerous residents , this proposal also conflicts with the spirit and intent of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

 We strongly believe there are cultural, legal, geographic and political reasons to maintain our border in terms of Parliamentary representation and we will be lobbying Parliament and calling on the Boundary Commission to rethink this proposal.”

From this announcement, there will be a second round of consultation on these proposal by the Commission; then following that, the final recommendations will be laid before Parliament in September 2018. If accepted the new boundaries will be active for the General Election in 2020.

More details can be found HERE


Helston College rebuild work to start in September

It has been a long time coming, but the much needed building work for Helston College is due to start this September – yes really this September! Helston College was part of the successful bid to the Government by Cornwall Council to get much needed money for C-Block and other works. The many posts on this subject can be found HERE.

With the project moving forward, the school will undertake a series of engagement meetings with companies hoping to gain the contract for the new build. This contract will be hopefully awarded in April. At the end of April or early May, there will be public consultation as part of the planning process.

This is really exciting, and something I have pushed for since the previous disappointments. Details on what will be built are still being finalised, but a start date is fantastic.  Huge credit to the College Head, Governors and staff at Cornwall Council for never losing faith in getting this money.

The deputy PM, Head of Helston School, the former MP and me at the official announcement of the rebuild back in the day

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