Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Cornwall Council should get real: the number of councillors is going down

Although Cornwall was right at the top of the Boundary Commission's list for falling foul of its principle that every person's vote is worth the same, the Council has persuaded the Boundary Commission to put off reviewing this in time for 2017 local elections.

But the Commission still intends to sort it out in time for 2021 local elections.

The first stage is for the Council to express a view on what number of councillors Cornwall should have in 2021.

The Panel working on this first met yesterday.

Their first step was to go through the paperwork studiously crossing out any implication, express or implied, that the number of councillors would be reduced.

Apart from the public's views on this, there are at least two reasons why this approach is totally unrealistic.

First, committing to a smaller number of councillors was part of the Devolution Deal for Cornwall (which the Council approved last July).  It was a compromise to avoid having a mayor for Cornwall.

Second, as the divisions currently have so few voters that relatively small population changes make them unequal to a significant degree, the current number of councillors is not viable.  It means that the Council will for ever be spending time and public money reviewing and reworking the boundaries of its electoral divisions.
The last boundary review for Cornwall Council was described by the Boundary Commission as 'appalling' and 'the worst ever seen'. 

The recommendations from the panel will be influential in determining the outcome of the review but with public toilets, libraries, leisure centres and public spaces being devolved to other local organisations can Cornwall councillors reasonably resist reducing their own numbers?

Report to Truro City Council

Please give my apologies for this evening.   I am attending a school drugs awareness talk.

New junction into Penn An Dre, Highertown
I am told this should now be finished by 4th April. It has run over its schedule due to problems with SW Water relocation of equipment, where the Council's trial pit did not reveal the true depth of SW Water equipment (which varies).
The interim arrangements for pedestrians crossing the road outside All Saints Church have been very unsatisfactory .

Parking Survey : Next steps
The results of the survey in Truro and other towns will be reported to the Transport PAC in May.
Proposals will be considered by the Transport PAC at their meeting in July.
The Cabinet will make a decision on what proposals to implement in September.
Disappointing that progress is so slow.

Stadiums etc
I am concerned that the fact that too many permissions have been granted for retail in Truro will mean that that those applications granted will end up not having the wherewithal to provide the infrastructure promised. For example, Peter Masters of Truro City Football Club) is reported last week as saying that there are arguments just now about what goods can be sold at Treyew Road Retail Park. This is a sure sign that there are issues with getting tenants.  All these applications should have been brought back to Committee and not given another 6 months to sort out their Section 106 agreements.  Members would then have had the opportunity to look at this again, given that the retail market has further contracted since they were granted.

Bus station public conveniences
I had a complaint that these were not in an acceptable state. Cllr Wells kindly agreed to follow this up.

Pine Needles, 12 Higher Trehaverne
I doubt that this application will be referred to the Central Planning Committee as it is very similar to that approved already for No 11.

8 St Keyne Close
I have asked for this application for an  extension to be referred to Committee as over development/unneighbourly.

Tree cut down recently behind Trehaverne House
The tree was in fact in the garden of the Dingle and not protected by a TPO or in the Conservation Area.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Residents' Parking Survey Update

Cornwall Council plan to analyse the results of their recent survey on parking and report to Council's Transport Portfolio Advisory Committee (PAC) in May.

They say a draft parking policy will then be considered by the PAC in July.

Recommendations will then go to the Cabinet in September.

Members of the public may ask questions at the beginning of each of these meetings. Procedures for doing so are on Cornwall Council website.

Nearly 6000 responses were received from accross Cornwall.