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Updated: 16 hours 27 min ago

Borrowing books from Cornwall’s libraries has never been simpler

Mon, 16/07/2018 - 15:31

Borrowing books has never been easier – in fact, you don’t even need to leave your sofa these days.

More than 60,000 free books have been downloaded from Cornwall’s libraries in the past year, all thanks to BorrowBox.

The download service works across nearly all digital platforms, and is free to use if you are a member of Cornwall’s library service.

You can download audiobooks or ebooks, and they will be deleted automatically at the end of the loan period – so there is no danger of any late return charges.

Since its launch in 2014, more than 5,000 people have registered for the service, with numbers continuing to grow all of the time.

Councillor Edwina Hannaford, Cornwall Council Portfolio holder for Neighbourhoods, said:  “Our library service is continuing to evolve and to offer more and more for our local communities.

“Being able to borrow audiobooks or ebooks at the click of a button makes accessing our service easier than ever before.

“It is great so many people are already taking advantage of this technology, and I am sure we will only see the numbers continue to grow in the future.”

You can even use the technology to take part in the Summer Reading Challenge 2018, which is being run in conjunction with the Beano comic, which celebrates its 80th birthday this year. 

The annual event is designed to prevent children aged between 4 and 11 from experiencing a dip in their reading skills during the six-week break from school.

To take part, all children need to do is to visit their local library and sign up for the challenge – they will then be able to use BorrowBox to download books to read for the challenge.They can then collect their rewards from the library whenever they visit. For those who prefer print, our library shelves are filled with exciting books ready for this year’s Challenge.

You can register to take part in the Summer Reading Challenge at all of our branch libraries and also at all of our mobile library stops. In addition, we have volunteers trained to run the Challenge at Devoran, Millbrook and St Dennis micro libraries, who are all looking forward to being involved this year.

Posted on 16 July

Categories: Councils, Politics

Satellite launches set to return to British soil after 50 years following new partnership with Virgin Orbit in Cornwall

Mon, 16/07/2018 - 11:41

The first British satellite launch in 50 years could take place from Cornwall within the next three years following a new partnership with Virgin Orbit.

Virgin Orbit, a satellite launch company, has selected Spaceport Cornwall as an ideal location to operate and deliver one of the first launches of its LauncherOne system outside of its US home.

The last British rocket - Black Arrow - that sent a satellite into space was launched from Australia in 1971. The new partnership deal will make history by pioneering horizontal satellite launches from UK soil.

The news has been welcomed by UK Science Minister Sam Gyimah, who said: “The announcement of a strategic partnership between Virgin Orbit and Cornwall Spaceport is great news for the region and the UK’s ambitions for regular, reliable and responsible access to space. This partnership could see Virgin Orbit’s innovative horizontal launch technology helping the UK’s small satellite industry access space from the convenience of a Spaceport in Cornwall. We will work with both partners to support their ambitions, as we take the next steps in our national spaceflight programme as part of the government’s modern Industrial strategy.”

Virgin Orbit is seeking to provide launches from a Spaceport at Cornwall Airport Newquay by 2021, using a modified Boeing 747-400 aircraft called “Cosmic Girl”. Cosmic Girl will carry a LauncherOne rocket under its wing to a launch range over the Atlantic and release the rocket at around 35,000 feet for onward flight into space, carrying a satellite into Earth orbit.

As a horizontal air-launch platform, LauncherOne enables Virgin Orbit to conduct low cost missions quickly and efficiently by bypassing heavily trafficked established launch ranges. The partnership with Virgin Orbit will help position Cornwall as having the UK’s only horizontal launch facility.

Spaceport Cornwall will provide California-based Virgin Orbit with a strategic Western European location and make a major contribution to the Cornwall’s ambition to create a £1 billion space economy as part of its response the UK Industrial Strategy.

Britain is a world-leader in the production of small satellites, supporting more than £250 billion of GDP in the wider economy, but lacks any means to get them into space. The fast-growing global satellite launch market is predicted to be worth around £10 billion over the next decade. It is estimated that up to 2,600 microsatellites (under 50kg) will require launch over the next five years alone.

Virgin Orbit will today (16 July 2018) sign the partnering agreement with Cornwall Council at Farnborough International Airshow.  Work will now commence to develop a detailed plan for launch by 2021 as well as a Spaceport and Operator Licence application.

The signing of this agreement is the culmination of over a year’s work by a team led and funded by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), in partnership with Cornwall Council.

Following Virgin Orbit’s commitment, Cornwall Council will consider resources to progress the project at a meeting of its Cabinet on a date to be confirmed.

Spaceport Cornwall could eventually create 480 jobs and contribute £25 million a year to the local economy. The LEP’s Space Action Plan predicts that the wider space sector could create thousands more jobs in Cornwall and by 2030 be worth £1 billion a year.

Patrick McCall, Managing Director Virgin Group and Chairman of Virgin Orbit’s Board of Directors, said:  “Cornwall can deliver new launch capabilities for the UK quickly and efficiently by upgrading Cornwall Airport Newquay to support our horizontal air-launch platform. The Cornwall partnership allows us to grasp important market share, gain instant global launch market credibility and, with the technology already being tested in the US, further lower our risk.”

Cornwall Council leader, Adam Paynter, said: “This is a game-changing partnership that will inspire a generation and create a new industry in Cornwall. The challenge now is to make the most of this hard-won opportunity so that it can deliver on its enormous potential not just for Cornwall but for the UK as a whole. We look forward to welcoming Virgin Orbit to Cornwall and working with HM Government to realise the potential.”

Mark Duddridge, Chair of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP, said: “Cornwall can play a key role supporting the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy ambitions and we have identified space as a major opportunity for growth.  The partnership with Virgin Orbit is a clear statement that Cornwall is the best UK location for horizontal launch and opens the door to a global satellite customer base.  We will work with Government to maximise UK investment and jobs and make the most of the unique environment at Spaceport Cornwall. With our clear uncongested airspace and access to launch sites over the sea, it will be a vital part of a global UK offer and we look forward to working with other UK vertical launch locations to promote trade and investment.”

The UK Government has a target of achieving commercial spaceflight from British soil from the end of the decade, as well as increasing the UK’s share of the global space economy from 6.5% now to 10% by 2030, which would be worth an estimated £40 billion per annum.

The UK’s space sector has estimated annual revenues of £13.7 billion and employs 38,500 people. It has been growing at 8% a year over the last decade, four times as fast as the rest of the UK economy.   

Cornwall Airport Newquay, which is owned by Cornwall Council, was first unveiled as one of the UK’s potential Spaceport locations in July 2014 because of its long runway, uncongested airspace and direct access to the Atlantic Ocean.

Cornwall is already home to Goonhilly Earth Station, famous as the world’s largest satellite earth receiving station. Goonhilly is being upgraded through an £8.4m LEP-funded contract with the European Space Agency, announced in February, to become part of the deep space network, and recently secured a £24 million investment from UK billionaire Peter Hargreaves.

 

Story posted 16 July 2018

Categories: Councils, Politics

Devolution in action shows how place making in Cornwall is shaping the future

Fri, 13/07/2018 - 19:30

Putting power as close to the community as possible was a key theme during a visit by the Secretary of State for Communities the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP.

Par Running Track Presentation

Cornwall is the first and only non-metropolitan area to strike a devolution deal with Government, signed in 2015. On the third anniversary of the deal, Mr Brokenshire saw first-hand how powers and funding devolved from Government to Cornwall are helping improve the lives of local people. He met Cornish residents who have benefited from support to grow their businesses and make their homes cheaper to heat under devolution.

Ultra-localism is a central plank of Mr Brokenshire’s vision for communities. He visited Cornwall to see how Cornwall Council is using the powers devolved from Government – and also devolving power from the Council to local people, under an approach called ‘double devolution’. The Secretary of State met local voluntary groups, town and parish councillors at Par Running Track and St Austell to hear from them how local people are benefiting from the Council’s approach to putting community facilities and services back under local control. The Secretary of State also learnt about the 40 new buses, all equipped with wi-fi and contactless payment, which Cornwall Council has secured using its devolved bus franchising powers.

Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has a bold and ambitious plan called New Frontiers, which seeks further devolution from Government to help our economy and society flourish beyond Brexit.

Mr Brokenshire met members of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Leadershp Board to discuss its New Frontiers plan to position Cornwall post-Brexit as a growing economy in global industries such renewable energy, creative and digital technologies, space technology and lithium mining, while safeguarding traditional industries such as agriculture and fishing. New Frontiers would create 28,000 jobs and increase Cornwall’s contribution to the national economy by £2 billion.

Secretary of State for Communities, Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP said:

“This Government announced a devolution deal for Cornwall three years ago – the first of its kind in England. It heralded the start of a new age of localism, giving people ownership of the places they live.

“I’m delighted to see this deal in action – from the state-of-the-art buses, to the Par Running Track. Through being locally controlled, these have become huge community assets and I congratulate everyone involved for making them such a success.

“Giving power and money back from Whitehall builds stronger communities and devolution will continue to play a large part of ensuring our country’s future success as we build a Britain fit for the future.”

Leader of Cornwall Council and Chair of the Leadership Board for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Adam Paynter said: “Cornwall is living proof that when power and control is devolved to communities, we can deliver better outcomes for people.

“Cornwall Council’s commitment to ‘double devolution’ means we are not just winning devolved powers from Government to Cornwall, but giving powers from the Council to local communities. We are putting hundreds of community assets and services back under local control, working with Cornwall’s fantastic voluntary groups, and town and parish councils.

“The powers Government devolved to Cornwall are enabling the Council and partners to make a real difference to people’s lives – levering in millions of pounds of extra investment to secure a new fleet of buses, make the homes of thousands of vulnerable households cheaper to heat, and support thousands of local businesses to start up and grow on.

“Our New Frontiers plan proposes even more ambitious plans for Cornwall. We believe that the more powers we have in Cornwall, the more we can, collectively, do for Cornwall – making it a better place to live, work and run a business.”

Chair of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP Mark Duddridge said:

“Cornwall’s devolution deal with Government is making a real difference to our region, supporting business growth and the development of our distinctive strengths in sectors such as renewable energy. Building on this strong track record, I hope Government will support our New Frontiers plan which includes piloting a Local Industrial Strategy to unleash the potential of our space and satellite, creative and digital, and other sector strengths to grow Cornwall and the national economy.”

During the visit Mr Brokenshire praised the achievements of the Par Running Track community group. In April 2018, Cornwall Council transferred the management of the running track, football pitches and changing facilities to Par Track Ltd – a Community Benefit Society including local residents and track users. Progress is also underway to further transfer the adjacent skate park for both sites to be run as a single entity.

He also commemorated the achievements of St Austell Town Council. Cornwall Council has worked closely with St Austell on a phased ‘total place’ devolution package for multiple town assets and services – driven by the belief that St Austell is their best long-term custodian and most able to shape services to meet local need.

Beginning in 2016 with the transfer of responsibility for allotments and public conveniences, the town has subsequently taken control of over 20 community sites and services – including 39 areas of public open spaces and play areas, and a major agency agreement that includes responsibility to undertake grounds maintenance and other works for sites such as open and closed churchyards and highways. The most recent phase has also seen transfer of the library, community buildings and two car parks.

During the visit the Secretary of State was briefed on Cornwall Councils’ focus on localism and double devolution, which is giving local communities more influence on say on how money is spent and used in their area, with over 300 initiatives in train from keeping libraries and parks open and running tracks like the one in Par in full use.

This included delivery of key projects under Cornwall’’s first devolution deal:

  • Improvements to Cornwall’s public transport system such as using bus franchising powers devolved from Whitehall to lever £17 million of private investment into the Cornish bus network, delivering contactless payment, smart ticketing, a new 41-strong bus fleet and new mainline railway stock.
  • How the Council secured £7.5 million private investment for the region’s Warm and Well programme, making the homes of 1,300 vulnerable households in Cornwall cheaper to heat every year.
  • Investment in new energy technologies such as deep geothermal energy that could provide - along with marine renewable energy - electricity for thousands of homes, which would see the region become a major energy producing area of the country.
  • The launch of a £40million Business Investment Fund with partners like the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP, which will be used to accelerate the growth of local small and medium sized businesses in Cornwall, providing them with loan funding from £25k to £2m.

Story posted 13 July 2018 

Categories: Councils, Politics

Have your say on Porthtowan traffic and parking

Fri, 13/07/2018 - 16:41

People in Porthtowan are being asked to share their views on the village’s traffic and parking arrangements at a public engagement session in the Boardroom of The Blue Bar from 3-7pm on Thursday 19 July.

CORMAC and Cornwall Council highways officers will be on hand to listen to the public’s ideas to improve the parking situation on Beach Road, West Beach Road and Sandy Road.  The range of ideas for improvements could include a 20mph speed limit in the village, moving the bus stop to a new location opposite the village hall, extending the existing restricted parking zone months to match those in the car park, short-term parking opportunities throughout the village or removing the height barrier from the main car park.

Any future schemes that may emerge as village priorities from the engagement session will be subject to funding availability and competition against other Cornwall Council priority schemes.

There is also an online questionnaire for those who are unable to attend the engagement session.  The questionnaire will be available until 14 September and the results will be published on the Cornwall Council and St Agnes Parish Council websites in mid-November.

Joyce Duffin, Cornwall Councillor for Mount Hawke and Portreath, said: “The public engagement session is the first step towards improving traffic management in the village.  Come and tell us what you think would be the best improvements to the village to make it better.  We’ll use your comments and feedback to shape a formal consultation on the best options for Porthtowan, and this will put us in a better position to seek funding for changes local people would like to see.”

Story posted 13 July 2018

Categories: Councils, Politics

Stay barbeque safe this summer

Fri, 13/07/2018 - 16:28

Now that the warm, light evenings are with us and the summer holidays are fast approaching, barbecues are beginning to sizzle across Cornwall. But behind the bangers and burgers, summer fun has a serious side.

Cornwall Fire, Rescue and Community Safety Service, as part of the national fire safety campaign, is asking people to take extra care when using barbecues.  

Watch Manager Mark Grenfell said: “It’s natural to want to go outdoors and enjoy the warmer weather with family and friends - many of us can’t wait to get the barbecue lit.

“The biggest danger is the use of flammable liquids to light  barbecues. We’ve had a couple of occasions where people have poured petrol onto the charcoal in an effort to get it going and the reaction has, not surprisingly, been violent and highly dangerous. Prepare well in advance and light the charcoal early.

“If you’ve planned a barbecue and the weather lets you down, don’t take the barbecue indoors or into a tent.  In recent years, some people have sadly succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning, so please be careful.”

Top tips to ensure a safe, enjoyable barbecue:

  • Never leave a lit barbecue unattended
  • Follow the safety instructions provided with disposable barbecues  
  • Never use a barbecue indoors
  • Make sure your barbecue is well away from sheds, fences, trees, shrubs or garden waste
  • Keep children, pets and garden games away from the cooking area
  • After cooking, make sure the barbecue is cool before moving it
  • Use enough charcoal to cover the base of the barbecue, but not more
  • Empty ashes onto soil, not into dustbins or wheelie bins.   If they’re hot, they can melt the plastic and cause a fire
  • Enjoy yourself, but don’t drink too much alcohol if you’re in charge of the barbecue
  • Always keep a bucket of water, sand or a garden hose nearby for emergencies.

Councillor Sue James, Cornwall Council Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Environment and Public Protection said:  “Everyone loves a barbecue. They can be a great social event and are the perfect way to cook whilst enjoying the summer sunshine.

“However, there are dangers, and people do need to take care.  By following these simple tips, people can make sure they make the most of the weather without putting themselves or others in danger.”

Categories: Councils, Politics

Local reports help shape Safer Penzance patrols, with disruptive individuals moved on and warnings issued

Fri, 13/07/2018 - 15:43

Resident concerns about issues such as street drinking and anti-social behaviour are being tackled by Cornwall Council's Anti-Social Behaviour Team and local police undertaking a series of patrols in Penzance during June which have seen disruptive individuals moved on or issued with warnings.

Part of the Safer Penzance initiative, the patrols focus on hotspots reported to the police by the local community. During the patrols, officers have used their enforcement powers on a small number of individuals causing disruption, including six people who were asked to leave the town centre and told not to return for up to 48 hours.

The town centre's Public Space Protection Order has also meant police officers have been able to require people to stop drinking and surrender their alcohol. Fourteen anti-social behaviour warnings were issued in June.

While the patrols have seen police and anti-social behaviour officers step in when needed, the patrols also provide immediate support for vulnerable people who may be struggling with substance abuse issues

Addaction workers are providing daily outreach sessions to vulnerable adults on the street, talking to the local residents and businesses and safely disposing of any drugs litter found. The outreach work helps keen both those who use outreach services, and the local community, safe.

Councillor Sue James, Cornwall Council's cabinet member for environment and public protection reiterated that anti-social behaviour or criminal activity would not be tolerated.

"As the recent Golowan festival showed, Penzance is a welcoming and friendly town with a lot to be proud of. While there are issues with anti-social behaviour at times, it definitely is not the 'no go' area it has been portrayed as recently," she said.

"Highly visible joint patrols are sending a clear message that we will not tolerate anti-social behaviour and providing reassurance for local people. However, some of the issues we are dealing with are long term and entrenched and will take a continued joined-up approach and bi-partisan support, to tackle. We can only solve these issues if we work together with the community.

“Local intelligence reported to police is providing useful information for the patrols to follow up, and reinforces how important it is for people to report concerns or issues so we can tackle them.  

Police host drop in sessions

Devon & Cornwall Police are running a series of drop in sessions at St John’s Hall in Penzance where residents and businesses can talk to officers for advice and support if they are concerned about crime and anti-social behaviour.

“We would encourage anyone with concerns about crime and anti-social behaviour in the town to call in at one of our drop-in sessions. It is really important that we have a true picture of what is happening in the area and we rely on the public to tell us what is going on,” said Penzance police inspector, Nicholas Clarke.

Police drop in sessions at St John's Hall are taking place on:

  • Thursday 12 July between 10am and 12noon
  • Tuesday 17 July between 5pm and 7pm
How to report concerns

Residents can report anti-social behaviour to the police online by emailing 101@dc.police.uk or by calling 101 for non-emergencies and in an emergency call 999. If you have information about a crime you can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. For concerns about rubbish such as glass and needles on the street, call Cornwall Council Refuse and Recycling on 0300 1234 141 or email refuseandrecycling@cornwall.gov.uk.

 

Categories: Councils, Politics

Chinese delegation visits Cornwall to learn about sustainable tourism

Thu, 12/07/2018 - 17:53

Sustainable tourism was the focus of a high-level Chinese delegation who recently visited Cornwall.

The delegation from the Hechi province in China came to Cornwall on 11 July 2018 to meet with Cornwall Council, the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP, Visit Cornwall, Cornwall 365 and representatives from the Eden Project.

Led by Mayor Tang Yunshu, the delegation came to Cornwall to learn from Cornwall’s approach to sustainable tourism. Hechi, which has a population of 3.5 million, attracts more than 20 million tourists a year due to its beautiful landscape and favourable climate.

Hechi authorities are looking to ensure that tourism is “all for one” – the Chinese policy term for sustainable tourism that benefits local communities – and were keen to learn from Cornwall’s experience.

Cornwall Council Cabinet Portfolio Holder for the Economy, Bob Egerton, met with and welcomed the Hechi delegation.

“Cooperation of this kind is important in terms of building links between our two regions. It’s an opportunity to exchanging best practice, open doors for business opportunities and for welcoming more Chinese tourists to Cornwall.

“We may be opposite sides of the world, but Cornwall and Hechi actually have a lot in common. We are favourite tourist destinations within each of our countries and share the common challenge of welcoming a significant number of visitors each year while at the same time protecting the natural beauty that brings tourists in the first place,” he said.

The meeting took place at the Eden project, which was an opportunity for the Hechi delegation to see first-hand a large scale Cornish tourist attraction which has sustainability at the centre of its operating model. The delegation also took a guided tour around the county, as part of a fact-finding mission across Europe.

Posted 12 July 2018

Categories: Councils, Politics

Council encourages people to Go Wild for Cornwall

Thu, 12/07/2018 - 14:44

Flowers on Porthcothan Dunes

On World Environment Day (5 June), Cornwall Council is encouraging people to make time for nature and explore Cornwall’s wild side.

The challenge is simple – to #GoWildForCornwall during June by making time to connect with nature, or doing something to help local wildlife.

Cabinet portfolio holder for Environment and Public Protection, Sue James, said the Council was proud to manage and maintain many of Cornwall’s beautiful wild places, as well as deliver environmental initiatives, pollution prevention schemes and diverse natural resources.

"Most people think about the Council as collecting their rubbish but we also support our environment in many other ways to make Cornwall the wonderful place it is. We have celebrated our beaches being awarded blue and seaside flags for cleanliness and safety and we are investing, with partners, in open spaces to make space for nature whilst improving the visiting experience for residents and visitors.

“#GoWildForCornwall aims to highlight the wild things the Council supports and how you can connect with nature and complements the #30Days campaign being run by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust,” she said.

“During June you’ll see information on social media for every generation of nature lovers to explore - from nurturing green spaces to practical tips on how to plant trees and the magic of Cornwall’s hedgerows.

“By working closely with communities, business and environmental organisations to protect our natural environments, we want to make Cornwall a heathier, happier and greener place to live and work – every day of the year.

“Whether you build an insect hotel, smell the wildflowers on a woodland bike ride or just explore a local park, being close to nature can help us feel happier and healthier.”

Categories: Councils, Politics

Mischief Makers set to help Cornwall’s children keep reading through the summer holidays

Thu, 12/07/2018 - 10:12

Dennis the Menace and Gnasher are leading the fight to keep children reading across Cornwall this summer.

They are part of the Summer Reading Challenge 2018, which aims to get 4-11 year-olds to borrow and read at least six library books during the school holidays.

This year’s theme is Mischief Makers, and has been inspired by the classic childrens’ comic Beano, which celebrates its 80th anniversary this year.

The challenge is designed to prevent children from experiencing a dip in their reading skills during the six-week break from school.

To take part, all children need to do is to visit their local library and sign up for the challenge.

They will then be given a colourful collector’s edition map of Beanotown.

As children read library books for the Summer Reading Challenge, they will receive special stickers, some with mysterious smells.

By adding these stickers to their map, young readers will help Dennis, Gnasher and friends solve clues and discover the treasure, having lots of fun and adventures along the way.

Last year, more than 8,000 children took part in the challenge across Cornwall, with 69% of participants reading at least six books.

This year’s challenge is being delivered as the programme to devolve Cornwall’s library service to local communities continues.

Councillor Edwina Hannaford is Cornwall Council Portfolio holder for Neighbourhoods, and has led the way on the devolution programme.

She said:  “Our libraries allow communities to experience new ideas, can embed a lifelong love of reading and provide a place for communities to gather. 

“That is only being enhanced through the devolution process, as individual libraries react to their local community’s needs.

“It is wonderful to see the latest Summer Reading Challenge being delivered through the network, and I hope this year will prove to be an even bigger success than previous years.”

Jayne Cardew, is Senior Library and Information Assistant at Falmouth Library, which was the first Library and Information Service to transfer to a Town Council as part of devolution programme.

She said: “We had a really great year last year with more children taking part than in previous years but we are hoping that this year will be even better, it’s great to see the enjoyment that children still get from picking up a book and disappearing into it.”

The Summer Reading Challenge 2018 will begin in Libraries across Cornwall on Saturday, 14 July.

Posted 12 July 2018

Categories: Councils, Politics

Free buses will help celebrate ten years of Park and Ride services in Truro

Thu, 12/07/2018 - 10:10

Truro’s Park and Ride will celebrate its 10 year anniversary on August 4 by inviting all customers to enjoy two days of free travel on the council-led service.

There will be no charge to pay to park and use the buses on both Friday, August 3 and Saturday, August 4.

Since buses first began running between Langarth and the city centre in 2008, more than a million passengers have used Park for Truro.

A second service from Tregurra Park opened in 2015, giving more than 2,500 parking spaces available across the two locations.

Operated by Cornwall Council, the service uses eco-friendly vehicles and is designed to ease congestion in the city by offering visitors and daily commuters a safe, frequent and cost-effective alternative to driving into and parking in the city centre.

On Saturday, August 4, there will be a free draw at both sites for the chance to win a free 60 day travel pass, which will entitle the winner to 60 days of non-consecutive unlimited travel on the service.

Cornwall Council Portfolio holder for Transport Geoff Brown said:  “To have had more than a million passengers use our park and ride services is a real testament to the success of the scheme.

“It is great to be able to offer free transport as part of the anniversary celebrations, it is nice to be able to say thank you to all of those who have helped ease congestion over the past decade.”

“I am sure people will continue to use the service for the next decade and beyond as a quick and cost-effective way to visit our wonderful city.”

If you are not lucky enough to win a free 60 day pass you could consider purchasing one of our great value multi-day passes:

  • 5 Day passes cost only £8.40 (That’s £1.68 a day)
  • 20 Day Passes cost only £30.00 (That’s £1.50 a Day)
  • 60 Day Passes cost only £68.00 (That’s £1.13 a day)

Each pass can be used on any day and allow unlimited travel for the day that you use your Multi-day pass. The multi passes do not have to be used on consecutive days.

Passengers are now welcome to bring their dogs onto the buses as part of a three month trial scheme.

If the pilot scheme proves successful, access for dogs will become permanent, bringing the Park and Ride into line with the majority of bus and rail services across Cornwall.

The aim is to attract people who would previously have been discouraged from using the service.

Posted on 12 July

 

Categories: Councils, Politics

Troon farmers banned from keeping poultry and horses after a string of animal cruelty offences

Wed, 11/07/2018 - 17:35

Two farmers from Troon have been banned from keeping poultry and horses and ordered to pay costs of £10,000 after a string of animal cruelty offences.
Janet Carter, 63, of Newton Moor, Troon, Camborne, and Trevor Hampton,Farm One 52, of Edward Street, Camborne, were prosecuted after a joint investigation by the Animal and Plant Health Agency and Cornwall Council, with assistance from the RSPCA.


In October last year the pair pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a pony, to failing in their duty of care to cattle and to failing in their duty of care to pigs.


District Judge Diana Baker then deferred sentencing for six months to allow Miss Carter and Mr Hampton to improve the conditions on the farm. 
However, in December last year and February this year, further offences were discovered by Cornwall Council animal health inspectors.


On Tuesday (July 10, 2018) Miss Carter pleaded guilty to failing to give poultry dry bedding, to failing to provide ducks with water, to allowing poultry access to dangerous objects, and to failing to care for an emaciated sheep.
Mr Hampton pleaded guilty to allowing cattle, sheep, horses and pigs access to scrap and other dangerous objects.


District Judge Baker sentenced Janet Carter to 12 weeks custody and Trevor Hampton to 10 weeks custody, both suspended for one year.  The pair were also banned from keeping poultry and horses for 10 years, and refused permission to apply to lift the ban for 5 years.

Miss Carter was ordered to pay £7,000 and Mr Hampton £3,000 towards the Councils costs. Stuart Benson, Cornwall Council’s Head of Business Standards and Registration said “It is regrettable that prosecution action had to be taken in this case against two farmers based in the Duchy.


“However, Miss Carter and Mr Hampton were prosecuted in 2014 and, despite many attempts by the relevant agencies to advise them, they have continued to fail in the provision of the most basic needs of their animals.
“Consequently there was no credible option but to prosecute them again. I want to stress, however, that this situation is not typical of the high standards of farm animal welfare normally upheld by farmers in Cornwall.”

Farm Two
Sue James, Cornwall Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Public Protection said: “Cornwall Council officers work to assist farmers, small holders and businesses across Cornwall in complying with the relevant legislation.


“However, where we find repeated non-compliance and a complete disregard for farm animal welfare, we will take formal action to protect animals and the reputation of the Cornish farming industry”.

Categories: Councils, Politics

New powers help Cornwall Council and Police tackle criminal private landlords

Wed, 11/07/2018 - 16:00

In a drive to raise standards of privately rented accommodation in Cornwall, private sector landlords who do not meet new standards or turn a blind eye to criminal activity could face banning orders, tougher licensing rules and fines of up to £30,000 for criminal or anti-social behaviour.

New powers, which came into force in April this year, allow the Council and Police to work more closely together, in order to target enforcement in properties associated with criminality and take private landlords to task if they or their tenants are breaking the law. 

The new rules mean Cornwall Council can apply for an order which bans landlords from renting out properties if they fail to comply with a housing improvement notice or prohibition order, commit offences relating to property licensing, fraud, illegal eviction or harassment of an occupier, committing fire safety or gas safety offences, the production, possession or supply of drugs, anti-social behaviour, criminal damage and theft.

In a unique arrangement, a dedicated Police Community Support Officer is working alongside Cornwall Council’s Housing Service to identify and deal with criminal landlords.

In addition, from 1 October 2018, new property licensing rules also mean landlords who rent out houses of multiple occupation where there are five or more people sharing, will have to apply to the Council for a property licence to operate lawfully.  Failure to secure a licence could result in a fine of up to £30,000 or prosecution.

Property licences can have conditions attached including requirements for the landlords to take reasonable steps to prevent or deal with antisocial behaviour. Cornwall Council is expecting more than 300 properties to be affected by this change in law with a high number of student occupied properties expected to comply with the new rules.

The Council may also now issue fines of up to £30,000 as an alternative to prosecution and apply to a housing tribunal to recover rent paid to a landlord when housing offences are committed.

Cornwall Council Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Homes, Andrew Mitchell, said: “We know that up to 50% of privately rented accommodation does not meet the decent homes standard. With the help of these new measures, we are working closely with the police to improve that. The new requirement to apply for a license for properties of multiple occupation will also make a big difference.

“Tenants and their neighbours have the right to expect safe properties with reasonable standards of accommodation and the assurance that their landlord will deal with problems swiftly and transparently. Through the Council’s Responsible Landlords Scheme, we are committed to working with good and improving landlords and will use the full range of powers to safeguard those tenants who are being exploited by unscrupulous landlords who profit from providing poor quality and dangerous homes.

“We support those who are committed to improve through our Responsible Landlords Scheme, but this sends a clear message to those who behave irresponsibly. If you flout the law and place the health, safety and welfare of those residing in the private rented sector at risk of harm, we will not hesitate to take action against you.”

Landlords wanting to learn more about their legal obligations including property licencing can join the Councils Responsible Landlords Scheme or call 01872 224 543.

Posted on 11 July

Categories: Councils, Politics

Camborne Library secures a long-term future

Wed, 11/07/2018 - 15:37

Camborne Town Council has moved its offices to the Passmore Edwards Library building, The Cross, Camborne. 

The move follows extensive refurbishment and repairs to the Grade II listed building which is an iconic landmark for the town.  The library was transferred to the Town Council’s ownership last September as part of Cornwall Council’s devolution programme. 

Camborne Library

This library service will be managed and run by Camborne Town Council.  The library, currently temporarily located at the Cornwall Council office in Dolcoath Avenue, will return to the Passmore Edwards building in late summer 2018.

This project has received widespread support from local residents, during an extensive survey carried out by the Town Council in 2015 almost 87% of respondents supported the Town Council taking control of the Passmore Edwards building to keep the library service at its current location and 61% supported the building being maintained for public use.

David Wilkins, Mayor of Camborne, says “The building is looking absolutely wonderful and will be a much better place for everyone to come and make use of library services.  The Council’s new chamber is fantastic and we welcome people to come to our meetings there. I’m looking forward to the library returning to its historic home later this summer; we can all be proud to have saved this building and kept the service in the town.”

The library will continue to be a hub for the local community offering all the key services essential to a modern library including computers, free WiFi, scanning, and photocopying services plus national and local newspapers.

Councillor Hannaford, Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhoods, said: “As a council we are working closely with local communities to protect local services from closure. This library’s devolution allows the local council to become custodians of this community asset. It’s a much-loved facility and local people and visitors alike will be able to continue to use it for many years to come.”

Councillor for Camborne Trelowarren, Jeff Collins says; “I’m delighted that Camborne Library will be managed by the Town Council and feel that this will make a real and positive difference to local people. We intend to maintain the library to the highest possible standard so locals of every age can enjoy it now and in the future.”

James Chapman who lives in Camborne says: “This library is a lifeline for so many people in the local area, to parents trying to encourage their children to read or teenagers or older residents who’re interested in using the library’s computers. It’s also great to see the library’s been refurbished and that with this transfer to local community control that its future is protected for future generations.”

Posted on 11 July

Categories: Councils, Politics

Community safety and strengthening community networks on the agenda for Truro and Roseland Community Network Panel

Wed, 11/07/2018 - 13:07

Residents in the Truro and Roseland area are invited to find out about community safety and strengthening community networks at their community network panel meeting on Tuesday 17 July at 7.00pm in the Trelawny Room, County Hall, Truro TR1 3AY.

The agenda and more information about the panel are available on our Truro and Roseland Community Network page.  The meeting is open to the public and everyone is welcome.

Lynn Gooding from the Office of Police and Crime Commissioner, Inspector Rick Milburn from Devon and Cornwall Police and Cornwall Council Community Safety Officer Zoe Wonnacott will give presentations on crime and community safety matters.

There will also be an update on traffic management in the Truro and Roseland area.

Truro and Roseland Community Link Officer Mark O’Brien will brief the panel on recommendations for strengthening community networks.  These include having a representative on any local place-shaping groups, having time for public questions at community network panel meetings, and more involvement for the panel in local engagement matters.

Truro City Councillor Chris Wells, Chairman of Truro and Roseland Community Network Panel, said: “Everyone is welcome to come along to the Truro and Roseland Community Network Panel and learn more about our work on local issues such as community safety.  It’s also an opportunity to meet your parish, town and Cornwall Councillors, so please join us.”

The Truro and Roseland Community Network Panel meets bi-monthly to discuss matters that affect the local area and to progress these by working in partnership with Cornwall Council and its partners, including town and parish councils, the voluntary and community sector, and the police and health services.  Some of the areas that community networks focus on include anti-social behaviour, economic development, the environment, community planning, regeneration, conservation, community safety, transport and highways issues. 

The Truro and Roseland Community Network Panel includes all ten Cornwall Councillors for the area, representatives of Truro City Council and the 18 parish councils in the community network: Chacewater, Cuby, Feock, Gerrans, Grampound with Creed, Kea, Kenwyn, Ladock, Philleigh, Probus, Ruan Lanihore, St Clement, St Erme, St Just-in-Roseland, St Michael Caerhays, St Michael Penkevil, Tregony and Veryan.

People can keep up to date with what’s happening in the area by joining the Truro and Roseland Community Network Area page: www.facebook.com/TruroRoselandCNA.

Story posted 11 July 2018

Categories: Councils, Politics

Council members make decisions on housebuilding, parking and infrastructure at full Council meeting

Tue, 10/07/2018 - 21:44

Members began today’s (10 July 2018) meeting of the full Council by paying tribute to Cllr Paul Summers who passed away suddenly at the end of May. Members from all parties shared their memories of Paul before standing for a minutes silence to remember the huge contribution he made to the Council and to his community..

Members then debated and made key decisions about housebuilding, parking and infrastructure as well as discussing the proposed new pattern of electoral divisions.  Council Councillors also voted to seek an extension to the consultation about a proposed merger of Devon & Cornwall Police and Dorset Police forces and to seek a full business case before discussing further.

Members agreed to £2.1m for technology improvements in Council car parks as part of the Positive Parking Framework for Cornwall.

The Positive Parking Framework includes a range of measures to improve Council car parks to better meet the needs of users and local communities. This will include simplified tariffs, new machines and barriers so drivers can pay on exit, improved signage and consideration of carers who need to park in areas with restricted parking.

Cornwall Council Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Transport Geoff Brown welcomed the decision: "Upgrading technology so car park users can pay on exit means people can more easily spend time in town centres without having to rush back when their ticket is about to expire. The changes will also free up enforcement officers to focus on tackling drivers who park illegally or cause an obstruction on Cornwall's streets, which is a major frustration for residents. The use of mobile ANPR cameras will enable enforcement officers to carry out mobile patrols around schools and bus stops to reduce indiscriminate parking which is creating road safety concerns.”

Forty-nine Members agreed (46 against, 2 abstentions) to the purchase of a development site at Langarth Farm in Truro so the Council can take a lead in its development and bring forward a high quality housing scheme of 154 homes and set the tone for further development of the area.  The Council plans to deliver a mixture of housing types, including a significant proportion of affordable housing and also housing owned by the Council and rented at market rents.

It was agreed that the Council buys the land for the homes from Sanctuary Housing and another parcel of land nearby which gives the Council the option to build a community facility, such as a school or care facility, or additional housing.

Cornwall Council Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Planning and Economy Bob Egerton said: “This is the first parcel of land that we are proposing to purchase so that the Council can ensure that developments are coordinated for the benefit of all. If the Council did not intervene, we risk some sites being built by individual developers under existing planning permissions.  We could end up with an uncoordinated series of estates without the appropriate infrastructure, or, instead, duplication of infrastructure, to the detriment of the whole community.”

This decision by full Council could pave the way for further proposals to be put forward to the Council to purchase specific parcels of land and to bring forward developments on those sites. The Council will also aim to enter into contractual relationships with other developers who own land there so that the Council can create a masterplan for the whole area.

The Council also agreed the Cornwall Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Charging Schedule. The CIL will apply to planning applications approved from 01 January 2019 and will raise funds from new housing and commercial developments to be spent on a wide range of infrastructure projects to help communities address the impact of development in Cornwall.  Developers will get certainty up front about the charges they will have to contribute to infrastructure and facilities to support the growth of communities.

Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Planning and Economy, Bob Egerton, said: “It is right that developers help to pay for the facilities that are needed as a result of their development of a piece of land. This levy on new developments will sit alongside existing contributions that developers are required to make, and help to deliver infrastructure where it is most needed, which is not always in the immediate area of the development.

“A proportion (15-25%) of the levy raised in a town or parish council area will be given back to that local council to use in a way that best serves the needs of their communities. The remainder of the money raised will be allocated to support projects across Cornwall. We will shortly be consulting town and parish councils on the most appropriate method for deciding which projects should be supported with CIL monies. A report will be coming to Cabinet later in the year with recommendations on how this should be done.”

The Council also agreed that the Capital Programme be increased to purchase strategic sites to build more homes for local people, including sites in Newquay (Colan Parish) and Launceston, to deliver 675 new homes. The sites will be purchased under the Council’s Housing Development Programme (HDP). 

Agreed earlier this year, the HDP will see the Council investing up to £200 million in directly building and providing 1,000 new homes on sites across Cornwall. The developments will be a mix of homes for private market rental, affordable rent, shared ownership and private market. The first 113 homes to buy or rent, built on pilot sites in Tolvaddon and Bodmin, are set to be ready later this year. 

A new company, wholly owned by the Council, will be set up to buy, let and manage the properties built as part of the HDP. The income generated from the private sales and rentals will subsidise the affordable homes so there is no cost to the Council over the life of the business plan.

The sites in Newquay and Launceston will be added to other housing development sites in Liskeard and Torpoint which the Council already owns.

Cornwall Council Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Homes Andrew Mitchell said:  “We are committed to delivering 1,000 homes for local people.  Cornwall needs more homes – both to rent and to buy - for local people with a genuine housing need. For example, in Newquay there are more than 1,500 applicants on the Homechoice register who have stated Newquay as their first preference.  The development in Newquay could provide up to 400 new homes which will go some way towards addressing that need.

“This is about providing good quality homes that people want to live in, with space, gardens, parking and which are well designed with low energy costs.”

The Council plans to build a mix of property sizes, types and tenures to meet local needs. Some will be for private rent, providing quality, choice and greater security for those in the private rented sector with five-year tenancies as standard. Some will be sold at market prices and others will be for affordable rent or shared ownership.

Members also considered an interim report from the Electoral Review Panel on the Council’s response to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) draft proposals for a new pattern of electoral divisions in Cornwall.

The LGBCE public consultation runs until 17 September 2018, following which the Commission intends to publish final recommendations for Cornwall Council in December 2018.

 

Story posted 10 July 2018 

Categories: Councils, Politics

One Cornish Hero spreads the word about Cornish Heroes of the past

Mon, 09/07/2018 - 18:30

Cornish Heroes 5 Resized

Cornish Hero Edward Rowe (aka Kernow King) has been enthralling school children with tales of amazing Cornish Heroes of the past with the help of Cornwall Council’s Archives and Cornish Studies Service.

Using copies of original documents held in Cornwall Council’s extensive archives, the children explored how we research people and know about the lives of a range of amazing women and men connected to Cornwall, including Emily Hobhouse, John Couch Adams and Henry Trengrouse.

Edward and Jenny Beare brought the stories to life at nine schools with a hilarious play in which they portrayed two archivists who bring ‘the wrong box’ into school and have to improvise their history workshop instead.

Chloe Phillips, Learning Lead for Cornwall Council’s Archives and Cornish Studies Service, said:  “The play and workshop were a great way of us reaching nearly 700 children across Cornwall, and built on our existing outreach programme. Children were inspired and amused by the play, and then fascinated by seeing copies of the real documents and understanding how we find out about Cornish heroes past and present, and how they too could become a Cornish hero and be part of our archive in future.”

As part of the tour, the team visited Roche Community Primary School which marked the first return for Edward Rowe to the school in several decades.

Edward said: “It was a joy for us to perform to schools all around Cornwall and it was a special honour to go back to my primary school in Roche for the penultimate show. My brother and sister, mum and her sister, and nan and all her sisters went to Roche school, so to return after many years since leaving was really wonderful. All the children we performed to were enthralled. They laughed and cheered as they realised some of the world’s greatest women and men came from their home villages and towns”.

Jeremy Walden, Headteacher at Roche Community Primary School, said:  “It was a very, very enjoyable performance. What a fantastic way to bring history to life and make it relevant for our children. A fascinating insight into Cornish history. Thank you.”

Cornwall Council Cabinet portfolio holder for Planning and Economy Bob Egerton said: “It’s great to see talented performers working with our young people to help them appreciate our Cornish Heroes and to encourage in them a thirst for history and heritage.”

The tour was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the Kresen Kernow  project to build Cornwall’s new archive centre, which will open in Redruth in 2019.

 

Story posted 09 July 2018

Categories: Councils, Politics

Homes for Cornwall partnership celebrate Rural Housing Week at new housing scheme in Madron

Mon, 09/07/2018 - 14:39

More affordable homes for local people have been delivered as part of Homes for Cornwall, an initiative between Liverty, Cornwall Council, and Galliford Try Partnerships. 

 

The new development in Madron has delivered 24 new homes, including 3 shared ownership homes, 6 homes for affordable rent and 15 to be sold on the open market.  Residents moved into the new homes earlier this year and the development has enabled local families to stay in this beautiful rural area. 

Housing associations and local authorities up and down the country celebrated Rural Housing Week to highlight how new housing can breathe life into rural communities. Rural Housing Week promotes how rural housebuilding can be key to the survival of vital community assets and services, such as schools, post offices and pubs.

Cornwall Council Portfolio holder for Homes, Andrew Mitchell, said: “Building the right kind of housing in the right place is a key commitment for this Council. Developments like this provide people with high quality homes in a location they want, at a price they can afford. Madron is a great example of the Council working with other organisations to reduce our housing pressure and ensure families live comfortably in good quality affordable accommodation, which is one of the commitments we made to the people of Cornwall.”

Madron Development Resized

Executive Director of Development at Liverty, Russell Baldwinson, said: “The homes at Madron provide much needed rural housing for local people. The development is a great example of where rural housing has made a difference to local people, these homes have supported eight families to stay in an area where they have lived and will be contributing to wider services such as local schools and shops.”

As well as the development in Madron, Homes for Cornwall has completed developments in Wadebridge, Shortlanesend and Blackwater, with another 21 affordable homes nearing completion in St Breward following a successful application by Liverty for funding from Homes England (formerly the Homes and Communities Agency). Work has also started to develop the site of the former Cornwall Council offices at St Clare and on the Old Depot site, both in Penzance.

Managing Director Galliford Try Partnerships, Andrew Johnston, commented: “We are passionate about creating vibrant new communities. The considered design, quality build and stunning views make this an exceptional rural scheme. The hard work and strong consultation with the local community has provided a stunning new development that we are extremely proud of and with the new residents settled into their homes, now is the time to celebrate them officially.”

Cornwall Councillor for St Buryan Helen Hawkins said: “We welcome the mixed housing to Madron, and hope such development will improve, or help to replace, missing local services.”

Cllr Graham Tanner from Madron Parish Council said:  “This development has the support of the parish council and we’re especially happy to see the number of affordable homes for local people.”

  

Story posted 09 July 2018

 

Categories: Councils, Politics

Homes for Cornwall partnership celebrate Rural Housing Week at new housing scheme in Madron (3)

Fri, 06/07/2018 - 18:30

More affordable homes for local people have been delivered as part of  Homes for Cornwall, an initiative between Liverty, Cornwall Council, and Galliford Try Partnerships.  

The new development in Madron has delivered 24 new homes, including 3 shared ownership homes, 6 homes for affordable rent and 15 to be sold on the open market.  Residents moved into the new homes earlier this year and the development has enabled local families to stay in this beautiful rural area.

Housing associations and local authorities up and down the country celebrate Rural Housing Week (2 to 7 July) to highlight how new housing can breathe life into rural communities. Rural Housing Week promotes how rural housebuilding can be key to the survival of vital community assets and services, such as schools, post offices and pubs.

Cornwall Council Portfolio holder for Homes, Andrew Mitchell, said: “Building the right kind of housing in the right place is a key commitment for this Council. Developments like this provide people with high quality homes in a location they want, at a price they can afford. Madron is a great example of the Council working with other organisations to reduce our housing pressure and ensure families live comfortably in good quality affordable accommodation, which is one of the commitments we made to the people of Cornwall.”

Executive Director of Development at Liverty, Russell Baldwinson, said: “The homes at Madron provide much needed rural housing for local people. The development is a great example of where rural housing has made a difference to local people, these homes have supported eight families to stay in an area where they have lived and will be contributing to wider services such as local schools and shops.”

As well as the development in Madron, Homes for Cornwall has completed developments in Wadebridge, Shortlanesend and Blackwater, with another 21 affordable homes nearing completion in St Breward following a successful application by Liverty for funding from Homes England (formerly the Homes and Communities Agency). Work has also started to develop the site of the former Cornwall Council offices at St Clare and on the Old Depot site, both in Penzance.

Managing Director Galliford Try Partnerships, Andrew Johnston, commented: “We are passionate about creating vibrant new communities. The considered design, quality build and stunning views make this an exceptional rural scheme. The hard work and strong consultation with the local community has provided a stunning new development that we are extremely proud of and with the new residents settled into their homes, now is the time to celebrate them officially.

"Cllr Graham Tanner from Madron Parish Council said:  “This development has the support of the parish council and we’re especially happy to see the number of affordable homes for local people.”  

Categories: Councils, Politics

Truro Cathedral hosts Cornwall Youth Orchestras

Fri, 06/07/2018 - 16:29

The two orchestras of the Cornwall Music Education Hub: the Cornwall Youth Orchestra and the Cornwall Youth Wind Orchestra, once again held their annual Easter concerts in Truro Cathedral to mark the end of the 2017/18 season.

The Cornwall Youth Orchestra, directed by Tim Boulton, held two concerts.  The first, on Thursday 12 April, was a free informal concert to which groups from day centres and care homes were invited. This was followed by a formal concert on the Friday evening. This year’s programme, ‘From darkness to light’, featured an exciting selection of pieces from Sibelius, Debussy, Shostakovich and Dvořák and included a stunning solo by 13 year old local violinist, Biletugs Lut, who has already achieved a number of international accolades.

The Cornwall Youth Wind Orchestra held their spring concert on Saturday 14 April with a programme of rousing music which included pieces by Richard Strauss, Alfred Reed and Phillip Sparke. The music conjured up images of journeys through both the English countryside in Nigel Hess’ Thames Journey and the exotic locations of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World by Alex Poelman. 

The concert marked the end of an era for the orchestra as, after 29 years, Director Janet Elston stepped down from her role and handed over the baton to new Director, Sara Munns. The coaches and players of the orchestra presented Janet with a number of gifts as thanks for her tremendous hard work and support. 

The Cornwall Youth Orchestra and the Cornwall Youth Wind Orchestra are two of the Cornwall Music Education Hub’s county level ensembles which provide inspirational progression opportunities for the young musicians of Cornwall.

Posted 25 April

Categories: Councils, Politics

Stewardship of the Council report by the Chief Executive

Fri, 06/07/2018 - 16:27

Chief Executive Kate Kennally's Stewardship of the Council report to Cornwall Council members on 22 May 2018.

Can I start by congratulating the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Council on their re-appointment and pay tribute to the important work that Councillor May and Councillor Frank have undertaken during the past year.

I recently had the pleasure of attending the Cornwall Civic Awards and it really brought home the importance and value that the Council’s civic activities bring to strengthening the ‘fabric of society’ in Cornwall.

The definition of the ‘fabric of society’ is that everyone of us is in this together and over the past year, aside from the occasional and understandable political differences of opinion, it has felt that the Council and our partners have been pulling in the same direction to improve Cornwall and put the people of Cornwall first.

The Council’s new Business Plan seeks to do just that and I’m grateful to the Leader, the Cabinet and the rest of the Members in setting the strategic direction and a clear set of priorities that I have focused the organisation on delivering on your behalf.

A wonderful illustration of the fabric of society being strong in Cornwall was the response to the flash flooding that hit Coverack last July. Coming as it did a few weeks after the Grenfell Tower disaster, it showed a local authority responding and working with a local community to overcome adversity. Like you, I was extremely proud and appreciative of all the officers, councillors and partners that put so much time and effort in getting life back to normal in Coverack as quickly as possible.

The Council’s response to the Coverack flood was one of a number of high points during the last twelve months and there are others that are set out in the Annual Report that Members have received, some of which I will briefly touch on as part of this Stewardship report.

Once again, I want to share an honest assessment of our progress in delivering the Council’s Priorities for Cornwall.

I want to do this through the prism of the ‘balanced scorecard’ that I introduced last year, which is an effective way of assessing the overall health of an organisation by the strength of all four pillars that are needed for success. These are:

  • an engaged workforce, with the capability and capacity to deliver;
  • robust finances, with the money to match its ambitions;
  • strong performance, with a track record of delivery;
  • the trust of its customers – for us, our residents.

So, what does the balanced scorecard for Cornwall Council look like this year?

Let us first consider our workforce.

We employ around 5,500 people to deliver some 250 statutory responsibilities – we also have a further 3,000 employees working in our Council owned companies. They are passionate about Cornwall and committed to their work.

Over the past year I’ve prioritised meeting with the monthly winners of the Council’s One and All employee awards. A common phrase in all the One and All nominations is that employees of this organisation and going above and beyond for the benefit of the people that we serve.

I maintain that this Council is fortunate in having a hardworking and loyal workforce. That said, over the past year there has been a sustained focus on increasing the capability and capability of the whole organisation to avoid relying on the few.

Given the importance and challenge of improving the provision of health and social care in Cornwall – as evident from the results of the Residents’ Survey and CQC reports –I have increased the Council’s leadership capacity to deliver on our Healthy Cornwall priority by appointing Helen Charlesworth-May to the new post of Strategic Director for Adult Social Care and Health, jointly funded with NHS England.

While it is pleasing that the Peer Review team recognised that the capacity and capability of the senior leadership team has been strengthened to deliver the Council’s ambitions they identified that the next task is to ensure that there is the same focus and rigour throughout the rest of the organisation.

To that end a number of Service-level restructures have either concluded or about to conclude to ensure that we have the right skills at a working level, which I am hoping Members will see the benefit of over the coming months – our communications offer being a case in point.

I have been eager to ensure that this transformation of the organisation has been undertaken in a way that maintains the high levels of employee engagement that the Council currently enjoys which continues to be above the public sector average. During 17/18 we have completed a Leadership Development programme across the organisation, increased the number of Cornwall Council apprenticeships, exceeding our target as well as looking at further ways to improve health and well-being and reduce sickness absence.

For this year our focus will be on ensuring that we have the cultural and future workforce skills necessary to deliver on our digital transformation, income generation and economic growth priorities as well as taking proactive action to reduce the published gender pay gap of the Council which at 12% was below the national average of 18%, but still a gap to be closed.

Let’s now turn to the second pillar of our balanced scorecard, our spending.

The proportion of our spending funded through locally raised funds has increased as a result of successfully piloting the 100% retention of business rates. This is another example of Cornwall Council being the trailblazer for the rural authorities and one that has generated an extra £8m of funds as we now benefit directly from the business growth that we help create.

It also why it is even more important that we place achieving good value for local taxpayers at the heart of all we do and we still have some way to go to convince people that we do. The residents’ survey conducted last summer shows that less than a third of residents think that the Council provides value for money and our analysis shows that this has a direct bearing on satisfaction levels with how the Council runs things overall.

Improving this perception of us is a key priority and I’m determined that we get more of our positive messages heard by residents and businesses. For example, at a time when other councils are experiencing severe financial challenges, Northamptonshire being the most extreme case, this Council is in a position to protect spending in the areas that matter most to our residents and at the same time we are also able to invest in Cornwall’s future.

Our sound financial position will enable the council to invest up to £600m in the Duchy to deliver the homes and jobs people need whilst delivering a return for the council. It has also enabled the council to lead from the front by providing a genuine living wage for the work that people in Cornwall do. By allocating £10m over the next four years to ensure that the Foundation Living Wage is paid to employees of the Council’s contractors, particularly our social care providers to improve recruitment and retention, this Council is directly contributing to raising living standards and narrowing the wage gap in Cornwall.

Whilst our financial position remains sound –for example the outturn position for 17/18 was a small Council underspend of £2.7m, equivalent to 0.5% of the net revenue budget, we cannot ignore the fact that the organisation is committed to saving a further £77m over the next four years.  We need to improve on the delivery of our agreed individual savings plans and capital investment and I have already taken steps to ensure that this is the case through the budget setting process. This need for improvement will be reflected in suite of performance measures for 18/19 that will be considered by Cabinet next month.

So let’s turn to the third pillar of our balanced scorecard, our performance.

Last year the Council agreed a number of performance measures with ambitious targets.

The good news is that of the 35 measures that are reported quarterly, 63% either achieved or exceeded the target set. One of the performance highlights was the turnaround in the Delayed Transfers of Care attributable to the Council which is indicative of the wider transformation and incremental improvement of adult social care in Cornwall.  

Performance in Children and Families services has also been positive, with 75% of children leaving our care immediately entering education, training or employment which compares very favourably with the national average of 50%.

Other services have also improved performance in key areas.

Our recycling rates continue to creep up, with the new Waste Strategy designed to accelerate performance and make good on one of the aims of our Green and Prosperous Cornwall priority. On the back of adopting the Local Plan, the Council is enjoying more success in defending planning appeals with a year-end performance of 73% of appeals won, compared with a target of 65%.

Of the 30 annual measures, over two thirds have either improved or stayed broadly similar to the previous year.

One of the key successes reflects the Homes for Cornwall priority, with 900 new affordable homes provided – one hundred more than our target for the year. While this is clearly good news, we need to continue to accelerate our affordable homes build rate as one of the performance measures that missed the year-end target is the number of households in temporary accommodation.

It is also worth noting that the percentage of total Council spend with local suppliers has increased and exceeded the target set, which considering the monetary value that this represents, is of significant benefit to the Cornish economy.

At this point I want to play credit to the work undertaken by the Overview and Scrutiny Committees, the majority of which have been established for just 12 months. However, in that short time, the Committees have added tremendous value to organisational improvement, particularly the numerous inquiries – which didn’t go unnoticed by the Peer Review team.

Of course, each of these pillars of our balanced scorecard - our workforce, our spending, our performance – are only meaningful insofar as they support better outcomes for our customers.

These are the people who fund our spending, who use our services, and who we are here to serve. The greater their trust in the Council, the bolder we can be in standing up for Cornwall.

Customer satisfaction with a range of Council services is strong. According to the latest Biffa survey 88% of residents are satisfied with the Council’s refuse collection service, with similarly high levels of 87% satisfaction amongst our council housing tenants from the last Cornwall Housing survey. Almost nine in ten people who use our services for children and families such as children’s social care are satisfied (87%) and over 85% of people in Cornwall who use our sports and leisure services are satisfied with them.

For the first time our last resident survey asked whether we ‘get it right first time’ for our customers, with 72% responding positively, and the business plan makes driving this up further a priority. And we have achieved a significant improvement in our responsiveness where this isn’t the case, with 97% of enquiries dealt with in 10 working days, well in excess of our 90% target

But as the Residents’ Survey demonstrated, we still have some way to go to gain trust, despite improvements being made against key performance targets and budgets well managed.

Where national comparisons exist, the resident satisfaction levels with the council are well below the local government average. There is still too wide adisparity between the Council’s strong reputation and performance at national level and the views of local communities. To change this, over the last 12 months, I have allocated a senior Council officer to each of the 19 Community Networks to work with you to address local priorities as well as launching our new Customer Service Promise next month to help improve the experience of people contacting the Council.

It is crucial that progress is made swiftly, as improved communications, honest dialogue and meaningful engagement – with a stronger focus on place - are key to building public trust.  

In conclusion, demonstrable progress has been made during the first year of this new administration with improved performance and delivery in a number of key areas across the Council.  It was pleasing that this view was independently validated by the Corporate Peer Review team in December with further endorsement coming from an increase in the number of Internal Audit reports reflecting improved assurance levels in key areas such as contract management, performance management and governance arrangements with our Group of Companies.

However, as the Peer team noted, there is still more to be done but we have the right building blocks in place and with the continued support of Members, I am confident of greater success as we work together to  improve the quality of life for all the people that we are here to serve.

Link to Annual Report 2017 -18

Posted 22 May 2018 

Categories: Councils, Politics