The by-election in Illogan Division has been won by the
Liberal Democrats, with MK’s Stephen Richardson coming second out of the seven
The full result was:
Stephen Richardson (MK) - 217
Conservative - 215
Liberal - 121
Almost all of the parties put a great deal of work into
the election and I would like to congratulate Stephen for running such a very strong
campaign. Stephen should be extremely proud of the hard work he put into the fight and, in such a fevered political atmosphere, he did well to out-poll the Conservatives, UKIP, Labour, the Liberals and Greens.
Today I spent a few days on the campaign trail in Illogan leafletting in support of Stephen Richardson (above), MK's candidate in next week's by-election for a seat on Cornwall Council. All in all, it was a fun few hours and I do hope that local people support Stephen's campaign, because he would be an outstanding councillor for the area.
My latest article for the Cornish Guardian hits out at the
ongoing privatisation of public services across Cornwall and the wider UK. It was as follows:
Even though it was blindingly obvious, it was still quite
refreshing – at a recent meeting – to actually see Conservative councillors
openly acknowledging that the ongoing cuts from the Conservative-led Government
were ideological in nature.
Those local Tories – having to deal with the deepest public
spending cuts in living memory – were certainly expressing a different view to
their political masters in Westminster who, in 2010, guffawed at the claim by
the former shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Alan Johnson that “the cuts” were
what many of them “came into politics for.”
It is certainly my view that the recent economic crisis was
caused by an over-heating housing market, the failure to regulate the financial
sector, a credit bubble and irresponsible lending.
And yet the Coalition wielded an ideological axe to turn a
crisis caused by the private sector into a crisis for public services
throughout the United Kingdom,
in which they are seeking to fracture the very “public” ethos of service
Make no mistake, the savage cuts of the Coalition are having a devastating
impact on local government, the National Health Service, policing and a wide
host of public bodies.
More and more council services are being delivered by
private companies and our local authorities are increasingly becoming shells of
their former selves, unable to provide all of the services that local people should
have a right to expect.
Devon and Cornwall Police are cutting
more police officers and are reducing the number of enquiry offices that will
be open to the public.
And the NHS – the jewel in the crown of public service
provision – is seemingly facing endless privatisations.
We have had the recent decision of the Royal Cornwall
Hospital Trust to privatise hotel services, such as cleaning, portering and
catering, which Rik Evans – who resigned from the Board in protest - described
as moving some of the lowest paid staff over to a private company that simply
wants to increase its bank balance.
And now we have the Government’s Health and Social Care Act
which is forcing local commissioning groups – such as NHS Kernow – to open up
their services to private companies. NHS Kernow has already put a series of
"non-complex" procedures worth around £75 million out to tender and newspaper
reports have stated how this will “let the NHS and private firms battle it out”
as to who would provide a range of services.
Speaking for myself – enough is enough. It is time that we
all put more pressure on central government to properly fund our services and
to end the privatisations that are undermining and fragmenting our public
My latest monthly report to St Enoder Parish Council, for
the period 23rd May – 22nd June 2014,
was as follows:
I have attended a range of meetings over the last month.
These included: Environment, Heritage and Planning Policy Advisory Committee
(PAC) (an associated informal meeting plus two associated pre-agenda
briefings/meetings); Partnerships PAC; Transport and Waste PAC; a briefing on
the Homechoice housing register, which allocates social housing on behalf of
Cornwall Housing and a number of registered providers such as Ocean Housing;
and the SITA Incinerator Liaison Group (also attended by Cllr Austin).
I also attended meetings of the Indian Queens Pit
Association; the Rural Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Partnership; the Leader /
Community Led Local Development working group (Chairman), and associated officer
group, which is devising the “Local Action” aspect of the next phase of
European funding between 2014-2020.
3. St Austell
Bay Economic Forum
I have been invited to be involved with the Economic Forum,
which is bringing together a range of business and other interests from the
wider St Austell area.
It is my understanding that this invitation comes because on
my experience with the Clay Country Local Action Group and related groups, while
the Forum also appreciates the need to link its own activities to the
surrounding areas including the five parishes of the China Clay Area.
4. Works on the
local road network
At last month’s meeting, I reported on a range of planned
works on local roads (for this financial year) which included surface dressing
along the old A30 between Fraddon and Indian Queens, and a significant amount
of patching. I am hopeful that a number of these works will take place in the
very near future and I will report more at the next meeting.
Further to the above, potholes have been filled in a number
of rural locations including Trefullock Moor, Resurrance and Resparva (near
Summercourt), as well as part of Narrow Lane
approaching St Enoder Churchtown.
6. Drains in
The survey of the road drains throughout Fraddon was carried
out in the first week of June and the resultant report is expected soon. I will
report back on the findings at the next meeting.
I attended the Partnerships PAC on 16th June, when it was
discussing the way forward for the unitary authority’s approach to mobile
library and mobile one stop shop services. As you will recall, I drafted a
detailed response to the consultation from the Parish Council’s response and
co-authored a further response from the China Clay Area Network Panel.
Three options were presented at the meeting:
Option 1 - Retain two mobile library vans (visiting stops for
ten minutes only, fortnightly or monthly) and expand the Home Library Service (a
partnership between the Royal Voluntary Service with volunteers delivering
books to people in their own homes).
Option 2 - Cease all mobile vans and replace with targeted
service provision including creation of community/micro libraries and expansion
of the Home Library Service.
Option 3 – Retain one mobile library van (visiting stops for
twenty minutes only on a monthly basis), community/micro library support and expansion
of Home Library Service.
All three options would mean the end of the Clay Bus. I
argued that all three options were unacceptable and would be extremely damaging
to the China Clay Area, because our communities do not have a permanent One
Stop Shop or any static libraries.
I made these – and a range of other points – at the meeting,
but the members of the Committee did not reflect these comments in any of their
deliberations. A number of “non-committee” members argued for the continuation
of the mobile library service in a variety of forms, but the PAC voted to
recommend option 2 to the Cabinet. The vote from the ten-strong Committee was
four votes in favour and three against. There was one abstention and two
committee members were absent.
It is my intention to make further representations at the
Cabinet meeting in July.
matters – general
I have been in contact with planning officers on a range of
planning applications. This includes the application by Rags SW for revised
conditions for the warehouse store at Toldish, the proposal for 40-plus holiday
cabins at Carvynick and the proposal for housing to the rear of Kilburn in
matters – wind turbines
As promised at a previous meeting, I have continued to make inquiries
about the planning consent for two wind turbines near Goonabarn, which was
granted in 2013.
I also attended one of the “pre-application” presentations on
the proposal for three turbines of Pines Tip near Fraddon.
10. Vandalism at
Indian Queens Pit
As members of the Parish Council will recall, there was a
verbal report at out last meeting about recent vandalism at the Pit (which
included the destruction of a Parish Council seat) and it was agreed to gift
our spare CCTV recording device to the Pit Committee. I am pleased to be able to
report that cameras have already been erected at the Pit and I would like to
extend my thanks, and those of the Pit Committee, to the Parish Council for its
I would like to invite everyone to our annual fete which
will take this coming Saturday, starting at 2.30.
11. FairviewPark, St
As suggested at the April meeting, I have undertaken a
survey of the residents of FairviewPark
about the future of the small open space, where a play area was not provided.
The closing date for the consultation was 20th June. I will report the findings
and the nature of possible options at the next meeting of the Parish Council.
For the second time in a matter of weeks, there has been an
encampment of travellers within the Parish. The first was at the Indian Queens
Industrial Estate, from where they were moved on in a matter of days. More
recently, in the second week of June, another group moved into a field (in St
Enoder Parish) but on the very edge of Mitchell. They were moved on but shifted
themselves to Mitchell’s playing field. Over the last couple of weeks, I have
been in regular contact with the Gypsy and Traveller Liaison Officer and the
elected member for my neighbouring division.
Since 2000, EU funds have been, to a reasonable degree,
managed from within Cornwall but
the Government recently announced that the new programme for the next six years
would be run from London. I was
pleased to be one of the signatories on a letter, from all the party group
leaders on the unitary authority, which was sent to Deputy Prime Minister Nick
Clegg to express our dismay at the proposed centralisation.
Recent reports have made it into the local press which
suggests that the Government is about to do a U-turn.
14. A visit to Flanders
I also had a week’s holiday in early June, when my wife and
I visited Belgium
and France. We
visited a number of World War 1 cemeteries, and took a series of photographs of
graves of servicemen from Fraddon, Indian Queens, St
Columb Road and Summercourt who were killed
or died in the First World War.
Hopefully some of the images will be usable for the book
which will be at the heart of our project to remember the 1914-1918 War. I will
report back on progress with this project – which will hopefully also include
interpretation materials for local village halls and St Enoder Church and
Indian Queens Methodist Chapel – at the next Parish Council meeting.
I also took part in a charity cricket match between
councillors and officers at Cornwall Council. For the second time in a row, the
officers were victorious, but it was quite close at the end.
Throughout the last month, I have also helped numerous
people and local organisations with advice and guidance on a wide range of issues.