Cornwall’s waste collection set for a big change

How household waste is collected is to change by 2020 when Cornwall will have be a new waste contract in place. Currently residue waste (black bag) is collected weekly, kerbside recycling is fortnightly as is green waste.

The change to how waste is collected is due to both EU and Government strategies on waste collection and recycling. The Government sets national targets of recycling at least 50% by 2020 with EU at 65% by 2030. The latter is likely to be adopted by the Government in the Brexit process.

In Cornwall, we recycle around 37% of waste, with the average kerbside collection of recycling materials around 27%. Though this widely – and I mean widely – fluctuates from town to town. Currently, Cornwall Council spends around £57m per year on waste management. This budget is set to rise to over £58m.

In getting ready for the new waste contract there have been a series of meetings and consultations, including some house to house surveys to seek the views of residents. Like most things, everyone will have an opinion. With those opinions in mind and the pressing need to reduce landfill and increase recycling, Cornwall Council has put forward a plan.

This ‘in principle’ plan for waste collection for 2020 as approved by Cornwall Council’s Cabinet, and will be subject to a full public consultation is as follows:

  • A weekly collection of segregated recyclable materials;
  • A weekly separate collection of food waste (carried out at the same time as recycling);
  • A fortnightly collection of residue waste (black bag) which cannot be recycled, limited to 180lt with no side-waste collection.

There is new waste strategy called ‘It’s in our hands’ can be found HERE. In this 16 point delivery plan, there are some bold targets and some welcomed changes that include Household Waste Recycling Centres (the dump to you and I) having a more re-use function, rather than just a dump.

Of course there are many – as yet answered – questions such; the type of receptacle for the waste, how many we will have, will it be a wheelie bin for residue and recycling and whether there will be any punitive approach to anyone not recycling and just throwing it all in to the residue waste.

Time will tell how this will all workout, but I for one welcome many of the changes as we can no longer just throw everything out in a black bag and think someone else will deal with it.

Of course, if manufacturers took more responsibility by trying to standardise and cut down on the multiple plastic types, including a reduction of materials used to make something more appealing, we would be a long way forward in cutting down waste and increasing recycling. Rather than rely on the resident to sort it and trying to make head or tail or which material can or cannot be recycled.

A packed public meeting to hear about amended plans for the Porthleven Shipyard

The dust has settled from Monday night’s public meeting where over 130 people gathered to hear about the amended plan for the recently refused building in the Shipyard.

The plan for the event was for the planning officer to outline the amended plans and then the applicant to give their reasons as to why the application – when it is submitted – should be supportive.

The planning officer was quite quick with his part and then it was over to Mr. Osborne to give us his vision of Porthleven, including his achievements for over 40 years. There is no denying Mr. Osborne has helped create a vibrant place, but he hasn’t done this single-handedly and as it was pointed out by at least one resident, it is not buildings that make a place, it is people.

Everyone will have a viewpoint on the building and those views are subjective depending on how you see things. My view (and I’ve been involved in planning for near 12 years) is I find the design disjointed and with no clear rationale of what it is trying to be. It is a tower loosely attached to a box. In merits of design, rather than complement the area which a bold building can do, it lacks the sympathy and understanding of this historic area of Porthleven.

The footprint of the proposed building is smaller as is the height – slightly. However, the access entering the site and through the site hasn’t really been addressed and the previous concerns still stand. A positive in the reduction of the footprint is there looks like more room for boats to be secured/de-rigged prior to launch/retrieval. Which is good news for boat-owners and was a major concern.

Whilst it can be good to have a different style of building, its use and the longevity of the building is as important as the design.

This building has no clear or firm use. The buildings journey has been a coffee manufacturer, cafe, bar/food place, Art studios (were people were offered space for support), gallery to now an innovation hub. What happens next week or if planning consent is given, will this use change again? There are no guarantees what we have been told so far will actually be delivered.

This is why I raised the issue that some sort of economic impact assessment should be carried out to prove the use of the building which could also highlight rents (as a young artist pointed out at the site meeting would be too expensive to rent) and whether there the need for a certain business type. Do we really need another restaurant or art studio if the latest use of an innovation hub does not materialise?

For those who are not aware what an innovation hub is, these are generally used to allow start-ups to thrive for a couple of years before they move into bigger premises. They are not long term rentals and they generally have to be subsidised by grants. Yes, used right, they are great, but they come with lots of risk and many of these hubs no longer carry out their original function.

The objection from the Porthleven Fishermen’s and Boat-owners Association was – loosely – covered by Mr. Osborne when he announcing the Association was now in support of the amended plans. It did have to be pointed out to Mr.Osborne whereas in fact, the truth is the Association has not given support, but has said it would not object to the plan if certain conditions on access and boat launching/retrieval were in place and conditioned in legally binding planning terms. That is anyone’s book is a vastly different to supporting.

However, this sudden acknowledgement of the ‘support’ of the Association goes totally against the recent letter I have seen where Mr Osborne no longer officially recognises the Porthleven Fishermen’s Association. In fact he wanted to set up his own association, but I hear no-one wanted to join. You cannot really claim support from an organisation when you have refused to acknowledge its existence a few weeks beforehand.

Mr. Osborne highlighted the new toilet faculties and bus stop and was critical of the Shute Lane toilets and how his new facility would be so much better. A new toilet is better, I would support more toilets in Porthleven. But who would pay for them?

The simple answer is Mr. Osborne wants the town council to pay for them. I know this, as he asked me (I told him he needed to officially request it as this is a town council matter) if the money spent on Shute Lane could be transferred to his company to run these toilets. If this happened, then there would be no need to run Shute Lane and they could close as they would be surplus because we have new shiny ones. As part of the deal the old block could be transferred to Mr. Osborne. It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes know why, but if you cannot guess, it might have something to do with his planned development of this area HERE. It will be a little hard to do when you have a large toilet block in the way which is not in your ownership.

Lastly, there is still the issue of the previous application. The applicant has six-months from the refusal decision to appeal. As yet nothing has been submitted. But if this latest plan is granted, what is to stop Mr. Osborne from submitting the original as the principle of planning has been established and its a lot harder to refuse something when a similar building has been passed.

I am pleased this public meeting took place as it gave the platform to hear the views of everyone who wanted to say something in a respectful manner. Thanks to Cornwall Council’s Planning Dept. for running this meeting. This blog post is my view and how you need to look at this more strategically and be wary of promises.

Porthleven Town Council wins National Lottery support to investigate restoration of the Bickford-Smith Institute

The restoration of the Bickford-Smith Institute is a major project which is being undertaken by Porthleven Town Council via a working group consisting of town councillors and a group of dedicated volunteers.

This is a ambitious project to not only restore the most iconic building in Porthleven, but also to look at the future use of the building.

After many many month of hard work which resulted in a very detailed funding bid submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund, has been rewarded by a award of £20,700 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

This money will be pooled with the £2,700 from the Cornwall Council Devolution Fund and just over £2,000 already committed by the Town Council to seek professional advice on securing the building for the future.

The Heritage Lottery grant will cover the cost of looking at the current condition of the building and at how it can best be preserved for future generations, including a set of fully costed options for how the building might be restored and sustainably run for the benefit of the community of Porthleven. It will also look at plans for the future of the snooker club, who currently lease part of the building.

The grant will cover the costs of:

• A full feasibility study

• Additional community consultation.

• Establishing a Friends group

• Review of fundraising opportunities

• Professional support and training for the Working Party, who have been tasked by the Council with delivering the work

• Appointing architects to commission and oversee a structural, environmental, contamination, utilities, flood, heritage and access surveys.

• Appointing a Quantity Surveyor to undertake an initial assessment of restoration and operating costs for the Institute.

• Appointing Business Planners to advise on establishing governance models and to carry out options appraisal.

This is a very important step in securing the future of the Bickford-Smith Institute. I want to thank the hard-work of working group; as without their dedication, this funding would not have been awarded.

This grant from the Heritage Lottery, together with money from the Town and County Council, allows us to investigate fully costed possibilities for the future of the building and to consult with our community on all aspects of future use. This will give us a very sound base on which to raise the million pounds we estimate is needed to fully restore the building.

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.

Pre-application submitted for Hotel on ‘Breageside’ of Porthleven Harbour

The proposal for a hotel on the Breageside area of the harbour has been mooted for as long as I can remember. Yet despite the rumours of it happening, nothing materialised. Until now.

The owner of the harbour has submitted a pre-application proposal for a 14 bed ‘arts hotel’ with a café/bar and restaurant, exhibition gallery and workshop. The pre-app number is PA17/03203/PREAPP. The documentation can be found HERE via the Cornwall Council planning portal and therefore in the public domain.

Like all pre-applications, there will be advice given in planning terms and from that advice the applicant can either take or ignore that advice and submit a full planning application. In any full application the public can give their comment.

As with most pre-apps, much of the detail is confidential. Therefore, apart from the information contained within the pre-app documentation, I have no further information.

The only information I have is contained within the associated documentation. In that documentation, there is no on-site parking for guests. Any guest will have to park in the yet to be built – or planning application submitted – car park and other building along Methleigh Bottoms. Guest will be chauffeured between the hotel and car park (in practical terms I am not sure this will work).

Public Meeting for the Shipyard building amended plans

It might not come as a surprise, but there has been an amended plan submitted for the proposed building in the Shipyard. Details of the amended plans can be found HERE. The planning reference number is: PA17/03371/PREAPP

This application is slightly smaller to the previous application, but what sets this apart from the previous is the applicant has entered into a Pre-application Community Engagement Forum (PACE) for the public to have their say at a public meeting.

In liaising with planning officers on this and the previous application, I welcome this PACE meeting as this way the public have a forum to give their views – whether for or against – prior to this application going through the planning process. Rather than having to request a site meeting at the planning committee meeting.

This PACE meeting will take place on the 5th Feb at 6pm at the Porthleven Public Hall. No matter what your stance is on this application, I urge as many people to attend to give their views.

However, just because there is a new application in, the original plan which was refused by Cornwall Council can still be appealed. As the applicant has the right of appeal for up to six-months from the date of the decision. As yet, no appeal has been submitted.

 

 

The Porthleven Shipyard building refused planning permisson

What a journey this planning application has been. It has been a close run thing with the outcome finally balanced as the application was recommended for approval. The application was nearly refused at last planning meeting, but – and welcomed – a site meeting was arranged. This site meeting allowed the community to show its feeling and for Councillors on the committee to see first-hand the impact this building would have not only of the area, but Porthleven as a whole. I thank the committee for agreeing to this.

The people of Porthleven accept change will happen, but this change has to be sympathetic to our history, culture and environment. This building is not sympathetic to those important factors.

There is a statutory duty to preserve and enhance Conservation Areas that are designated under s.69 of the Act. The area’s designation has the highest protection in terms of the adopted 2010 Management Appraisal for Porthleven and Local Plan (National Policy); therefore, any building has to align itself to those important principles and this application does not uphold those principles; as the building’s location, scale, form and design would fail to preserve or enhance the character and appearance Conservation Area.

The Porthleven Fishermen’s and Boat-owner Association – much to their credit – stood firm and objected most strongly to this application. This is because the proposed building and layout would harm boat related activity. Lynne Lees as Secretary of the Association spoke amazingly at the recent site meeting. John Boyle put the views of the association at both planning with purpose and clearly highlighting why the association had continuously objected to these plans.

The Town Council objected most strongly to this application and made strong representations both in writing and at the committee meetings. The Town Council’s viewpoint were admirably put forward but Councillors Mike Toy and Liz Lane. The Deputy Mayor, Bev Plunkett showed her support at today’s meeting too.

Porthleven’s community have also stood up with over 120 representation against this proposal. Yes, not everyone was against this plan, but the objections far outweighed those who supported it.

This was all rewarded today at the West Planning Committee meeting Councillors on that committee refused to grant permission for this building. The committee understood the impact and harm to such a central and important of Porthleven part of this building would have and rather than just go with the recommendation for approval voted to refused this application. I thank the committee for the consideration and robust challenge.

The reason for refusal is:

The proposed development would, due to its scale, bulk and form, result in an imposing building which would fail to preserve and enhance the character and appearance of the Conservation Area and wider appreciation of Porthleven within the AONB landscape and harm the setting and appearance of non-designated heritage assets namely St Bartholomew’s Church and the stone boundary wall fronting Methleigh Bottoms. 

The less than substantial harm identified would outweigh the benefits of the proposal and the development would be contrary to the aims of Policies 1, 2, 12, 23 and 24 of the Cornwall Local Plan Strategic Policies 2010-2030, paragraphs 7, 14, 17, 56, 57, 58,115, 126, 127, 131 and 135 of the National Planning Policy Framework 2012, guidance within the Porthleven Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Strategy and Cornwall AONB Management Plan 2016-2021 and Section 72 of the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Area) Act 1990.

Only three Councillors voted against refusal with one Councillor, Mike Thomas of Helston spoke in favour of this application at the committee. The other two Councillors who voted against were Councillors John Herd and Richard Robinson.

Of course, this is not the end. As the application has the right of appeal. I am hopeful if an appeal is launched, the robust reasons for refusals would be upheld and the appeal dismissed.

Porthleven Shipyard Application is defered for a site meeting

Today, Cornwall Council’s West Planning Committee met to discuss the controversial Shipyard Application. The Planning Officers recommendation was for approval. Yet this does not mean it automatically gets approved.

Speaking and objecting at the meeting were Porthleven Town Council and the Porthleven Fishermen’s Association. I also spoke against too. Mr Osborne was there speaking for the application.In a breath-taking moment of hypocrisy, Mr Osborne open his speech complaining about the use of social media and how that had been used against this application. Yet there was no mention, or more importantly, an apology or acknowledgement of his own staff inventing fake personas and granny on social media. It was like it did not happen.

In addressing the committee I reiterated the objection from the Fishermen’s Association  and highlighted this application had 120 objections from the community. The town council also strongly objects.

The people of Porthleven accept change will happen, but this change has to be sympathetic to our history, culture and environment. This building is not sympathetic to those important factors.

There is a statutory duty to preserve and enhance Conservation Areas that are designated under s.69 of the Act. This build does not comply with those documents. This area’s designation has the highest protection in terms of the adopted 2010 Management Appraisal for Porthleven and Local Plan (National Policy).

This application does not uphold those principles; as the building’s location, scale, form and design would fail to preserve or enhance the character and appearance Conservation Area.

This building does not comply with Cornwall Council’s own Maritime Strategy. From sections A to G, this building undermines this very Strategy. For example:

  • Protect the waterfront land
  • Maximise the opportunities for supporting and promoting sustainable local fisheries and aquaculture – you have heard from the fishermen and boat owners how this building will harm their operations
  • Improve functional connectivity between land and sea. This build blocks this connectivity
  • Maintain and enhance the distinctive character and settings of local coastal villages and ports

This building would also adversely impact upon the appreciation of other heritage assets, such as the church and the  landscape for future generations from prominent public viewpoints. As my picture of before and after will show

This important part of Porthleven will be eroded by this building, which is designed in a clumsy, bulky mass, will dominate Porthleven and will undermine the historic integrity of historic port forever. It is not like you can remove the building once you find it really harms the area.

During the meeting a committee member, Cllr Coad recommended refusal but then complicated matters by saying he liked the building. The planning officer explained to the Councillor you cannot refuse an application, but like it.

This opened up another round of debate and the committee settled on having a site meeting to look at the impact of this building first-hand. I see this as a positive move as it will show the committee the real impact of this building.

The date for this site meeting has not yet been confirmed. However, as this is a public meeting, member of the public are allowed to attend and give their views to the committee. After the site meeting, this application is reheard at the planning committee where they will make – hopefully – a decision of whether this should be approved or refused.

For those who have yet commented on the application, you can still and if you feel strongly about this, you need to make representation.

Lastly, special thanks should go to Councillors Martin and Duffin who were quite vocal on this application not being good for Porthleven. Thank you.

 

Staff at the Osborne Property Group create fake Gran stories and Facebook profile to influence planning

As a seasoned Councillor who has held public office for over ten-years, you totally accept people do not always agree with a stance you have to take when carrying out your duties. I totally respect the views of others who do not share mine. But at the end of the day, I make decisions on what is in the best interests of the area I represent by looking at all the evidence from all sides. It is only then I take a viewpoint and cast a vote. As the old saying goes, you cannot please all the people all of the time.

I always believe if you have something to say, put your name to it when you say it. However, with the advent of social media and its mainstream use, I have witnessed many online comments, including on my own social media accounts of people using aliases.

It has therefore saddened me that I have been professionally attacked, my position has tried to be undermined by member(s) of staff of the Osborne Group using fake accounts.

A senior member of The Osborne Group was this weekend caught or should I say outed of using a false internet persona trying to attack me, and in the process deceiving numerous Porthleven residents. The staff member in question, Miss Pace is described on The Osborne Group’s website as Development Coordinator on a number of projects across the UK including Cornwall and is clearly one of 6 leading members of their team, working closely with Mr Osborne.

Miss Sam Pace set-up a fake account called Maxwell Holbourne-Chartres to attack me personally and professionally. This fake account has been used previously to attack me on a different subject too. So they cannot claim it’s a single use. It was only when I publicly outed them did Miss Pace come ‘clean’ on her actions.

What is worse is the fake account claimed to have a lonely gran living in Porthleven. Miss Pace even said her gran was a former net maker and would be willing to give her memories a project that is capturing our rich history. They even asked if their gran could write a supporting letter to planning. This raises a serious question of are there other fake letters of support submitted to the planning authority?

Resident of Porthleven are a caring bunch and when ‘Maxwell Holbourne-Chartres’ or should we say Miss Pace said ‘his’ gran was lonely in the town, people rallied to offer support and help. Yet this was a lie. As there was no such gran; nor did they a come from Porthleven.

In what I can guess is a legalised damage limitation exercise, posted after being ousted, Miss Pace said

“I regret to say that I posted comments on FB in a friend’s name. This was a serious error of judgement on my part, although I absolutely stand by the comments made in their entirety. This post was made in a personal capacity, not as an employee of The Osborne Group

”.

However, Miss Pace has not apologised to me or more shamefully to the public they tried to dupe with their fake gran story to gather more sympathy and credence to their story. Furthermore, they have not apologised for setting up a fake account and ‘trolling’ myself and members of the community. In fact, Miss Pace’s statement doesn’t actually apologise. Interestingly, this fake account was deleted soon after the outing

It gets worse, as after outing Miss Pace, I examined other comments and I easily found out that other comments have been made by PR companies. I know those PR companies have connection to the Osborne Group. As I said before, I respect other people’s views, but to me this looks like a more orchestrated attempted at undermining the democratic process I have been elected to do.

The owner of the Osborne Group, Mr Osborne said in a recent press article that

“All I would ask for is feedback to me, and others, is constructive and fair. In particular, I hope that Andrew Wallis remains objective and professional in his role as Town Councillor’

I wish the same could be said for member(s) of Mr Osborne’s staff who have used unprofessional and deceitful actions to undermine someone’s viewpoint. Mr Osborne has even called me ‘hysterical’ when I rise legitimate issues of his company of breaking the law.

I have always have remained professional and objective in all manners of this and other applications. I have been totally fair and constructive, but in my view this Shipyard application is not in the best interested of Porthleven. I have come to this conclusion by examining all the information and evidence.  I therefore will, and have the right to make representations, comments both on and off-line on this application. I will also be making comments to this application at the forthcoming planning committee.

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The Ego has Landed – the Porthleven Shipyard Building – Progress or Folly?

The new building being proposed for the Shipyard in Porthleven has split public opinion, As if you look at the number of objections and supporters on Cornwall Council’s planning portal there are 27 objections and 26 supporting the application – details can be found HERE. It is important to note, it is not too late to make comment.

The current view

This building will change Porthleven. I firmly believe this change will not be for the better. The building is huge, it will dominate the area, and will have a very negative impact on the very fabric which makes Porthleven Harbour so special.

In trying to defend this huge building, the applicant, Mr. Osborne says this building only takes up 7.8% of the overall Shipyard. This is wholly misleading, as much of the shipyard is already developed, cannot be developed due to restrictions by South West Water or is used by existing businesses. Therefore its impact is far greater than if it was an open space. The development is a substantially higher proportion of the actual free space in The Shipyard.

In previous blog posts I highlighted just how big this building will be. I measured out the site and showed the height – in a rather crude way – but it did nonetheless show just how big this building will be. I have now commissioned an architect  to draw me the building in scale, using the measurements and elevations in the submitted plans to show the true impact of this building. It is massive and blots out St. Barts.

Now you have seen the building institu (colours might not be 100% accurate) is this something you really want? If you do not want to see this built, you need to make comment to Cornwall Council.

The application number is PA17/00573. You can make comment by emailing planning@cornwall.gov.uk quoting the planning reference in the title. Or using the online portal to make comments. This can be found HERE 

One of the issues with this plan is the serious lack of parking provision on this site. Anyone will know parking spaces are at a premium in Porthleven. The car park nearest the harbour is well used and full during many parts of the year. Plus, it is a known fact commuters will not pay for parking daily and will seek to park elsewhere for free.

Mr Osborne’s response to mitigate the lack of parking is he will build a new car park at Tolponds. However, this fictional car park is over half a mile away; has no formal planning application, or even an application submitted for a car park. Or even a guarantee it will even be built.

Furthermore there is no guarantee any planning application would be granted. You cannot base one planning application on another that has not even been submitted or granted to mitigate against this large and wholly inappropriate building that will have long lasting consequences on the fabric of what makes Porthleven so special.

If somehow all the hurdles of a car park application are overcome, it would also need substantial and costly highways improvement to make pedestrians safe. As the road linking the car park and the settlement is a 60mph zone and there is no pathway linking it to the main settlement of Porthleven – just road. It is inconceivable pedestrians would use this car park as it would not be safe to walk to and from it. Therefore, this car park cannot be used a mitigating factor on the lack of parking facility in the Shipyard.

If this building is built, it is the end of the Shipyard, there is no real way back for it. The next question is where do the boats go? Yes, Mr Osborne has a plan, and that is to use the ‘new car park’ for boats. This raises an interesting point. Is this a car park to mitigate the lack of parking in the building proposal or the removal of well used and needed boat storage and maintenance? To accommodate both, this car park will need to be massive, far bigger than the land available along Tolponds.

In an idea to link the car park and town Mr Osborne suggested a scheme like Boris’ Bikes in London. This cannot be taken as a serious mitigating factor as this type of facility could not be accessible to all. For instance, those with disabilities, young children and older people would find it difficult and people would be unlikely to use this if there was a charge.

Would every visitor to Porthleven have to bring cycle helmets and high-vis clothing, or would this be supplied too? Think of the danger posed by hundreds of inexperienced cyclists on this already busy, fast and totally unsuitable road. It is a recipe for a tragic incident

I urge people to act now before it is too late and make their views known. Otherwise ‘Project Porthleven’ will happen and we will have to live with many monstrous buildings -like the building proposed on Shute Lane – which will change Porthleven forever. I am all for progress, but this progress should not be down to one persons vision – who lives elsewhere too.

 

 

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