Monday, 29 September 2008

Yet more unitary chaos!

Mebyon Kernow has condemned the manner of the decision by the Liberal Democrat dominated Implementation Executive to call for elections to the unitary council to be delayed until the autumn of 2009.

This follows the ridiculous announcement by the Boundary Committee for England that it will “not be able to complete the work” necessary to decide the new ward boundaries (123 councillors) for elections to the new unitary council by May or June next year and suggests that the elections should proceed on the basis of 82 Councillors on the same electoral divisions as the current County Council.

The present proposal for a delay in the elections would mean that all six district councils (elected in 2007) would be abolished as of the 1st April, but the appointed Implementation Executive would continue along with the 82 sitting county councillors who were elected in 2005 to serve until only May 2009.

Cornwall would therefore be governed for up to six months by councillors with no democratic mandate to serve beyond May next year.

I have already stated that a slight delay in the date of the election, perhaps two-three months, would not be unacceptable to MK but only if the existence of both Cornwall County Council and the district councils was extended until the democratic arrangements are in place for the new Council.

We do not consider it acceptable that David Whalley and the existing Liberal Democrat administration of the County Council should be able to take control of the new Council without an election.

At tonight’s meeting of Restormel Borough Council, there was widespread agreement on this across the chamber. I helped to draft a proposal which was supported by all councillors present – bar the abstention of a couple of Lib Dems. We voted to support a delay in the date of the election until the boundaries for the 123 seats were agreed, but only if the ‘vesting day’ of the new authority was pushed back and the lives of Cornwall County Council and the districts extended until that time.

Friday, 19 September 2008


St Dennis was the place to be on Wednesday night at the County Council-sponsored Public Meeting to discuss the proposed waste incinerator. Over 800 people attended the meeting and crowded into a massive marquee in the village.

The county councillors certainly found out the views of local people and many from further afield – there was a range of fantastic speeches which, one after another, nailed the lie that Cornwall needs a single massive incinerator to be imposed on the people of St Dennis and the China Clay Area. Not in line with up-to-date planning policies … not an environmental solution … unsafe … a carbuncle … expensive … likely to undermine recycling … the list of reasons to refuse the application was endless.

The representatives from SITA really had no answers.

I was pleased to be able to present the democratically agreed view of Restormel Borough Council to the meeting as part of a double-act with Deputy Mayor Jenny Mason. It was a privilege to be able to speak up and be part of the fight against this inappropriate proposal.

Now must be the time that Cornwall Cornwall Council finally sees sense and looks to come up with a more decentralised and sustainable way to deal with Cornwall’s waste.

Well done St Dennis.

Thanks to Joanie Willett for the photo.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

The RSS and Taunton School

Last week, I found myself at Taunton School as a representative of Restormel Borough Council – attending a meeting of the South West Regional Assembly’s Regional Planning Forum.

It was not an enjoyable experience – most of the speakers peppered almost every single sentence with the phrase ‘the region’ and it got to be pretty grating!

The issue up for discussion was the Secretary of State’s version of the Regional Spatial Strategy which is currently out for consultation. A number of topics were covered and raised local concerns about the extent of the house building (68,200 new properties over 20 years) being planned for Cornwall.

To a small degree they has already recognised that some of the targets were too high for rural Cornwall – in particular, North Cornwall and Penwith – and said they would be making representations. They seemed less concerned about elsewhere in Cornwall, such as Restormel, which is being expected to cope with the greatest increase of all.

I wonder why this is and whether it is anything to do with the undemocratic imposition of an ‘eco-town’ on Mid Cornwall.