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Council sets early budget to preserve services

Cornwall Council News feed - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 14:51

Members of Cornwall Council have voted to set an early budget aimed at protecting the needs of the most vulnerable whilst doing what it can to preserve essential services such as public transport and road repairs and maintenance.

Councillors at their meeting on 25 November 2014 voted by 69 votes to 21 with 19 abstentions to set a budget of £496.499m for 2015 / 2016.  Setting next year’s budget and council tax today rather than in February 2015 will enable savings to be made earlier and will save the Council around £7m to £9m.

This decision, which will involve making savings of £58.8m over the next twelve months, includes an agreement in principle to increase Council tax by 1.97%. The proposal, which needs to be formally ratified by the full Council in February, will mean an annual increase of£25 for a Band D property – or 48p per week. This level of increase does not require the Council to hold a referendum.

Proposing the recommendation Council Leader John Pollard said“I put this budget forward to the Council with some pride  in what we have achieved in very difficult circumstances., but no joy, with little pleasure and, in many ways,  some reluctance.  However we clearly have no choice.  The context of this budget is not of our making, and faced with exceptional and unprecedented demands this is the best possible budget proposal for Cornwall.

“By aligning this Budget to a Business Plan and a long term Strategy we are fulfilling my personal demand that we do not just cut and destroy, but we change and build.  The premise of this budget is that although all areas will face reduction, we will, and have, salvaged everything we can.

“I believe this is the best budget for Cornwall that we could produce under the difficult financial position forced upon us by the Government.”

Since 2010 the Council has been forced to find savings of £170m in its budget as a result of additional pressures and cuts in Government funding. The majority of these savings have been achieved through efficiencies, including a reduction in management coming from the move to unitary status and the introduction of alternative ways of delivering services, with just £11 million affecting frontline services.  The authority now needs to save a further £196m over the next four years. 

The unprecedented scale of the savings required means that all areas of the Council are affected by the proposals.  However, rather than simply ‘salami slice’ every service, the authority has developed a four year plan which will help protect the three key priority areas identified by the public and Members during last year’s budget consultation. These are services for the most vulnerable in society (including vulnerable adults, children, older people and the poorest), public transport, and road repairs and maintenance.

Over the past three months the Council has carried out the most extensive public consultation exercise in its history to give local residents, businesses, partners and staff the opportunity to have their say on where they felt cuts and savings could be made and to come forward with suggestions for increasing income. 

All 1,499 comments and suggestions made during the consultation were considered by members of the Cabinet and a number of the suggestions have been incorporated in the revised budget proposals which were formally approved by the Council today. 

The main changes to the original budget proposals include: 

  • Increasing the Adult Social care budget by £3.8m to cover the previous year’s overspend thereby protecting services to the most vulnerable.
  • Reducing the level of savings required from the Discretionary Rate Relief scheme which provides business rate relief support for charities and non profit making organisations from £800,000 to £400,000 in 2017/2018.  This will help minimise the impact on charities and clubs which work with the most vulnerable people in Cornwall
  • Protecting the rural bus network which helps local residents to access  education, employment and social activities across Cornwall
  • Reducing the funding to voluntary and community organisations by £400,000 to reflect the work which is taking place to reduce duplication and operating costs by sharing staff and buildings, develop a new way of commissioning services and the potential for funding from the Government’s £320m Transformation Challenge Fund.
  • Increasing the efficiency savings and income from Community Safety by  £413,000
  • Delaying the implementation of the School Crossing Patrols savings to enable a comprehensive risk assessment to be carried out.
  • Increasing savings from waste budget by £210,000 over the four years mainly from additional income from the energy to waste contract but with some reduction to the opening hours at Household Waste Recycling Centres.
  • Through working in partnership with the RNLI we have agreed a new contract which will maintain the same level of lifeguard cover on the 57 beaches supported by the Council with a reduced contribution of £950,000.
  • Increasing savings from the Transport and Waste budget by £324,000 in 2017/2018 . This will be delivered by savings from the development of an integrated transport network for Cornwall and improvements from vestment from the Government’s Growth Deal
  • Additional £1.7m savings from the pay bill as the result of collective agreement in relation to contribution related pay

Using reserves to support the budget to allow time for the significant structural changes to be implemented and new models of service delivery to be developed.  In particular this will allow additional time to work with local communities and town and parish councils to develop alternative models for libraries and help the private sector to develop a sustainable model for the tourism promotion activities led by Visit Cornwall over the longer term. 

 

Story posted 25 November 2014

Categories: Cornwall

Council's Wind Turbine Assessment Panel leads the way as it receives Environmental Health Award

Cornwall Council News feed - Tue, 11/25/2014 - 11:40

Photo above shows left to right: Allan Hampshire Head of Public Protection and Business Support, Eimear Branney, Environmental Protection Officer in the Environmental Protection Team and Chris Selby, Senior Officer (Community Protection) collecting the award on behalf of the panel.

The work of Cornwall Council’s Wind Turbine Assessment Panel has been awarded a CIEH (Chartered Institute of Environmental Health) Presidents Award.

Set up to ensure a consistent approach to assessing the noise data that accompanies planning applications for wind turbines, the Wind Turbine Assessment Panel has been recognised as “The organisation or environmental health team in the UK or abroad that has made the greatest contribution to environmental and/or public health in 2013”.

The Wind Turbine Assessment Panel which is made up of Officers from Cornwall Councils Public Protection and Business Support Service (WTAP) assess noise reports that accompany planning applications for wind turbines and provide specific technical knowledge of noise to assist with decision making and, where appropriate, the use of planning conditions for wind turbine development of all sizes.

Cornwall Council Head of Head of Public Protection and Business Support Allan Hampshire said: “The Award is a testament to the achievements of the Panel which works hard to ensure a standardised and consistent approach to assessing the noise impact of wind turbine applications.   It has developed guidance and minimum required information that should be submitted with a planning application for a wind turbine. In this way consistent advice is provided to colleagues in planning regarding the positioning of wind turbines so that there is minimum impact from noise on those living near wind turbine developments.”

Acoustic consultant Michael McGhee who has submitted noise assessments for wind turbine planning applications in the past says:  “The guidance on minimum information requirements gave me confidence whilst completing Neo Environmental’s wind turbine acoustic assessments, which enabled our team to better design clients developments to take account of residential amenity in a way which was robust and in the interests of everyone involved. It would be great if more councils followed this example, which also resulted in council officials spending less time guiding consultants at the early stages of a project”.

Cornwall Council cabinet member for homes and communities Geoff Brown said: “Well done to the team.  Cornwall is once again on the front foot as we recognise that wind power is an ever growing area of power generation that without suitable restrictive use can cause significant detrimental impact from noise on the local community.”

The quality of acoustic information that is now provided with turbine applications has improved dramatically leading to less time spent on applications and the ability to process applications more quickly, efficiently and equitably.

Story posted 1 August 2014

Categories: Cornwall

Gold for Cornwall Council's bereavement services

Cornwall Council News feed - Tue, 11/25/2014 - 11:29

Cornwall Council's bereavement services have been awarded Gold Status by the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management (ICCM).  

The prestigious award recognises the high level of service provided to funeral congregations, funeral directors and clergy.  The ICCM set the standard for the burial and crematorium industry.

This is the fifth year running that the Cornwall Council run Penmount Crematorium has achieved the highest standard but it is the first time that the authority’s cemeteries have been entered for the Bereavement Assessment scheme.

News that both the Crematorium and the cemeteries have achieved Gold Status has been welcomed by Susan Cannan, the Council’s Bereavement Services Manager, who said “We are delighted that Penmount Crematorium has been awarded a Gold rating in the Charter assessment for the fifth consecutive year.  We are equally delighted that the first year that Cornwall’s cemeteries have been assessed has resulted in a Gold Rating for them as well”.

Edwina Hannaford, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Heritage and Planning, added “This is a testament to the hard work of the staff who work in our bereavement services who take great pride in ensuring the best possible experience for the bereaved at a sad and difficult time in their lives.”

“We are very proud of the work put in by all our staff, including those who work at  Penmount Crematorium and those who work for our partner Cormac at the cemeteries in providing a first class service that has now been nationally acknowledged as excellent”.

A publicly owned, self-financed facility administered by Cornwall Council, Penmount crematorium is housed on a secluded country estate of 28 acres, 11 of which have been developed as Gardens of Remembrance.

The authority is responsible for twenty-four operational cemeteries throughout Cornwall and currently carries out around a third of the burials that take place every year.

 

Story posted 22 July 2014

Categories: Cornwall

Council's Cabinet confirms changes to music tuition service

Cornwall Council News feed - Tue, 11/25/2014 - 11:26

Members of Cornwall Council's Cabinet have confirmed changes to the Music Tuition service which will see music teaching in schools in Cornwall delivered in a different way in the future.

The Music Tuition service, one of three strands of the wider Cornwall Music Service, does not generate enough income to meet its costs, resulting in the Council being forced to provide an annual subsidy of between £200,000 and £300,000.  While Members recognise the importance of music to children and schools and want to ensure that there is a sustainable service which provides access to music tuition for children in Cornwall, the need to find savings of £196m over the next four years means that the Council can no longer afford to provide this level of subsidy without cutting other services.

The Cabinet voted in May to set up a brokerage model to deliver music tuition. Under this model music teachers would move from being directly employed by the Council to being self employed and registered with the Council as approved to provide music tuition.  Although a number of other models had been considered by the Council at this time, including an improved in house model, these were not financially sustainable or cost neutral.

 

However, following the decision by the Cabinet to implement the new model by 1 January 2015, Members agreed that any further proposals which came forward during the formal negotiations with staff and unions which were found to be financially and legally sound could be brought back for further consideration.

Members at today’s meeting were given details of two alternative models:1) to make local amendments to the terms and conditions of the teachers to reduce costs and 2) to move staff contracts to a common pay scale.

Members were told that while Model 1 would see the annual deficit initially reduced to around £118,979, this did not take into account local and national pay progressions which would increase costs over time. As a result the model did not resolve the current overspend or provide for a financially viable and sustainable future for the service.

In the case of Model 2 the financial projections relied on significant changes to the terms and conditions of the teachers which were unlikely to be supported by the main teaching unions and could lead to the risk of legal challenges. It was also based on increase in fees to generate income which would be difficult to implement and failed to take on going inflationary pressures into account.  As a result the Cabinet was unable to support the proposal.

“We said in May that we would consider alternative proposals if they were both legally sound and financially viable ” said Andrew Wallis.  “Unfortunately, despite extensive consultation, neither of the two alternatives which have been put forward today meet this criteria.  This means that we will now be going ahead with implementing the brokerage model which is financially sustainable  and,  if there is sufficient take up from music tutors and schools, will continue to provide access to music tuition cross Cornwall. 

However the meeting also heard that positive discussions had been held with a group representing a number of the music teachers currently employed by the Council who were interested in setting up a trust to deliver the service.

“We have held an initial meeting with the group and are happy to hold further discussions to see if there is any other support we can give to them” said Andrew Wallis.  “As we said earlier we want to see the provision of a high quality music tuition service in Cornwall but we are unable to continue to subsidise it at a time of budget cuts.  “

The remaining two strands – Music Hub and the Music Therapy service - are not affected by this decision.

 

Categories: Cornwall

Lilli's festive engine house design wins Chairman’s Christmas card competition

Cornwall Council News feed - Tue, 11/25/2014 - 11:24

A young artist from Truro whose colourful design of a Cornish engine house with a festive feel has been chosen by the Chairman of Cornwall Council John Wood as his 2014 official Christmas card was presented with a special prize at New County Hall this week.

All Year 6 pupils in Cornish primary schools were invited to submit designs for the Christmas card on the theme of “Cornwall Land of Granite”.

The entries were judged by Cornish artist Dick Twinney who selected the design by Lilli Heron, from St Mary’s Church of England Primary School in Truro, as the winner.

“It was really a pleasure judging the children’s artwork for this project” he said.  “I was amazed by the many different interpretations of the chosen theme which made choosing the winners extremely difficult, especially the final five which were all excellent but in different ways. Congratulations to all the children that entered and keep up the good work art-wise.”

“I was delighted to receive such a wide variety of interpretations of the theme I had set “ said Cornwall Council Chairman John Wood.  “I am very grateful to all of the children and their teachers who found the time to produce so many delightful illustrations.

“I was with Dick when he chose the winner and I am really pleased with his choice.  Dave Taylor has done an excellent job in reproducing it  perfectly.  It really will be a pleasure distributing such a lovely card , my sincere thanks and congratulations to Lilli Heron.”

There were also four runners up who were invited to County Hall to meet with Chairman John Wood, Dick Twinney and Andrew Wallis, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People.

The youngsters, who were accompanied by their parents and their class teacher, are: 

  • James Nettleinghame, St Cleer Primary School, Liskeard
  • Joshua Davis, St Mary’s Church of England School, Truro
  • Tom Benyon, St Mary’s Church of England School, Truro
  • Isobel Sherwood, St Mary’s School, Truro

Lilli’s winning design has been turned into a card by the Council’s Senior Graphic Designer Dave Taylor who was on hand at the presentation to show the young artist how this was done.

A selection of entries will now be displayed at County Hall throughout the festive season.

Categories: Cornwall

Future development plans for the airport go to public consultation

Cornwall Council News feed - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 16:16

The Newquay Cornwall Airport Masterplan is being reviewed to consider the changes in the aviation environment over the last 5 years and how the Airport can be developed to help grow Cornwall’s economy and how it can be more commercially and environmentally self-sustaining.  The public is being asked to comment on the refreshed plans as a 6 week public consultation is launched with a two day event to be held in the Airport terminal.

The current Airport Masterplan was approved by Cornwall Council in June 2009, but since then the global economic downturn has had a significant effect on the aviation sector.  To ensure that development is based on accurate and current information, including the establishment of the Enterprise Zone (EZ) in 2012, it is the right time to review and refresh the plan to take the Airport and EZ forward for the next 10 years.

Adam Paynter, Cornwall Council’s Cabinet Member for Partnerships, said “Cornwall Council recognises Newquay Cornwall Airport’s importance to the Cornish economy and is committed to its sustainable development.  The refresh of the Masterplan will identify how the Airport can help Cornwall to grow its economy through the creation of an aerospace cluster and other airport related business activity and is vital for the connectivity it provides.”

The Masterplan review explores the options available for the Airport to provide high quality facilities and a business environment to meet modern aviation needs.  It also investigates the possibility of providing a new sustainable aerospace business cluster to attract aviation industries.

Al Titterington, managing director of Newquay Cornwall Airport, said “The aviation industry is starting to emerge from its worst decline in decades so it is important that the Masterplan is updated to reflect a new and emerging industry sector and that communities and stakeholders are kept updated on our development plans.

“I believe the proposals on display will clearly identify not only how the Airport plans to develop airline and commercial operations but also outlines how the Airport plans to attract aviation related industries to the Enterprise Zone. The development of aviation and engineering businesses onsite is now as relevant to the Airport’s success as the commercial agreements planned with airlines.

“The public consultation at the Airport will showcase updated information on how the Airport aims to meet the needs of the aviation industry and how we will deliver results for the traveler using the services as well as for supporting the local economy”.

Cornwall Development Company (CDC), on behalf of Cornwall Airport Ltd and Cornwall Council, commissioned the project to review the Masterplan and the work undertaken so far will now be made available through a public consultation.

The general public, businesses and decision makers in Cornwall are all invited to attend a 2 day public event at the Airport, where the proposals will be displayed in the Terminal Building.   The event takes place on Sunday 30th November from 12pm to 7:30pm and on Monday 1st December from 6am until 7pm.  One hour of free car parking will be available for those visiting specifically to attend the consultation. 

All materials will also be available online on the Council’s website:  www.cornwall.gov.uk/airportmasterplan from the 30 November 2014 and there will be an opportunity to leave feedback and comments as well details of the consultation event.  The information will also be made available in other locations around the county, the dates and venues of which will be confirmed soon.

Newquay Cornwall Airport has been shortlisted as a possible location for the UK Spaceport and the refreshed Masterplan will be an important document that would support any potential bid from Cornwall.  The Airport Masterplan refresh is funded by the European Regional Development Fund as part of the Infrastructure and Business Development Project.

Categories: Cornwall

Key amnesty offered to tenants who are not living in or are illegally sub-letting council homes

Cornwall Council News feed - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 15:50

Cornwall Council and Cornwall Housing tenants in Cornwall are being contacted this month to let them know about a key amnesty taking place during January and February next year which gives people who are illegally subletting or not living in their council homes the opportunity to hand back their keys.

The key amnesty, which runs from 01 January 2015 to 28 February 2015, allows anyone not living in their council home or illegally subletting it to hand back their keys rather than face possible criminal investigation and potential legal action which could ultimately result in a criminal conviction.

Illegal subletting happens when a council home is let to a tenant and that tenant then moves out and illegally lets the property to someone else – usually at a higher rent.

Not only is this illegal, it prevents much needed homes from being made available to families in genuine need and in addition costs every household in Cornwall money.

Geoff Brown, Cornwall Council Cabinet Member for Homes and Communities, said: “It costs on average £18,000 a year to house a family in temporary accommodation.

There is huge pressure on the supply of social housing making it imperative that the housing we do have available goes to people in genuine need of help.

It’s totally wrong for people not to be living in housing intended for them and to be illegally profiting from it at the same time.”

The initiative has been launched in the wake of a change in the law.

The introduction of the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013 in October 2013 means people illegally subletting their property can now face a prison sentence of up to two years, a criminal record, or a fine of up to £5,000.

Geoff adds: “I would urge anyone either not living in or illegally sub-letting their council home to get in touch right away.

Once the amnesty ends anyone found not to be living in their home or illegally subletting will face the full force of the new powers.”

Jane Barlow, Managing Director of Cornwall Housing said: “Cornwall Housing has been working in partnership with Cornwall Council’s experienced Corporate Fraud Team and three homes have already been identified  that we believe have been illegally sub-let.  We have seen evidence of how introducing a key amnesty has worked well in other parts of the country.  By bringing the issue to the public’s attention, other authorities saw an increase in referrals to its tenancy fraud hotline and we hope to see the same results here as we know that the overwhelming majority of residents live in their homes legally and that they share our commitment to tackling tenancy fraud. I would also encourage anyone who suspects someone of committing tenancy fraud to get in touch.”

Anyone who is illegally subletting or is not living in their council home can hand back their keys to the tenancy fraud team, local housing officer or housing office.

Residents wishing to report somebody who may be illegally subletting or is not living in their home can do so in complete confidence by calling the Council’s dedicated fraud hotline  on 0800 7316125 or emailing tenancyfraud@cornwall.gov.uk

Further information on www.cornwall.gov.uk/keyamnesty

Categories: Cornwall

Statement re Alex Folkes

Cornwall Council News feed - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 13:57

On 16 October 2014, the Council received information raising serious child protection concerns relating to Alex Folkes and immediately launched a formal investigation into the circumstances. In view of the potential seriousness of the issues raised, Councillor Folkes was asked to stay away from the Council whilst the investigation was carried out by senior officers from the authority in consultation with other agencies.

As a result of the information which came to light during this investigation, the Leader of Cornwall Council, John Pollard, decided that Councillor Folkes could not continue to carry out his Cabinet responsibilities and demanded that he either resigned with immediate effect or he would remove him from his role as the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources.  The Council received his resignation on 4 November 2014.

Although the concerns arose in relation to specific incidents which occurred in 2003 and, therefore, before Councillor Folkes became a member of Cornwall Council, the authority has an overriding responsibility to safeguard the welfare of children and young people in Cornwall.  The Director of Education, Health and Social Care has, therefore, written to schools and children’s settings in the Launceston area to alert them to the potential risk posed by Councillor Folkes.

Following the 2009 unitary elections, some Council officers became aware of an adverse entry on a CRB disclosure form relating to Councillor Folkes.

The Council totally condemns any action which poses a threat to children, but does not have the legal power to remove Alex Folkes from his position as an elected councillor. Nevertheless, the Chief Executive Andrew Kerr has written to Councillor Folkes urging him to resign from the Council with immediate effect

The Council has an overriding responsibility to safeguard the welfare of children and young people in Cornwall.  After receiving the initial information raising serious child protection concerns relating to Councillor Folkes on 16 October, we launched an immediate investigation into the circumstances.  As part of the investigation we were given information by the police which was assessed by the Local Authority’s Designated Officer (LADO) as part of the Council’s formal safeguarding process.  Based on the information supplied by the police at this stage, the LADO process concluded that Councillor Folkes represented a serious and enduring risk to children.  This decision was later confirmed by additional information supplied by the police. This led to the Director for Education, Health and Social Care writing to schools and children’s settings in the Launceston area.

We took legal advice on all aspects of this matter in order to make certain that the process was conducted fairly and properly and in the interests of ensuring the maximum safety of children in Cornwall.  We are confident that the investigation, which was aided by the police, has been dealt with appropriately and all proportional steps have been taken to ensure children in Cornwall are protected to the maximum possible degree.

The Council also took legal advice on when it could share details of the evidence which had been provided to the LADO with Councillor Folkes and provided him with the information as soon as it was legally able to do so. 

An internal investigation is currently underway into the way the matter was dealt with in 2009.

 

Story posted 21 November 2014

Categories: Cornwall

Bude smallholder is sentenced to four months in prison and is banned from keeping sheep for animal cruelty offences

Cornwall Council News feed - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 16:34

Bude smallholder David Evans has today been sentenced to four months in prison and banned from keeping sheep by District Judge Kevin Grey for animal cruelty offences described by Cornwall Council officers as the worst they had ever seen.  He was also ordered to pay costs of £714.

Mr Evans, a smallholder from Week St Mary, near Bude, had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to :

1)  In February 2014 causing unnecessary suffering to 6 sheep by failing to prevent emaciation.

2)  In February 2014 causing unnecessary suffering to 9 sheep by failing to treat their lameness.

3)  In February 2014 failing to dispose of 119 sheep carcasses

4)  In February 2014 failing to store 119 sheep carcasses away from animals or birds.

5)  In March 2014 causing unnecessary suffering to a sheep by failing to prevent its emaciation.

6)  And in March 2014 failing to provide sheep a clean dry lying area.

Mr Evans, who owns about 40 acres of land, was found to have 119 carcasses of sheep in various states of decay scattered across his farm.  Animal carcases must be disposed of correctly in order to minimise the potential for disease transmission to wild animals and other livestock.  Inspectors from Cornwall Council’s Public Health and Business Support Service and vets from The Animal and Plant Health Agency who visited the farm on 6 February, also found 145 sheep in such an appalling condition that they had to be put to sleep to prevent them from experiencing further pain.

The court heard that Mr Evans had been offered help and advice by both Cornwall Council and The Animal and Plant Health Agency in 2012 but had chosen not to follow the suggestions which had been made.

Commenting after the sentencing, Jonathan McCulloch, the Council’s Animal Health Inspector who investigated the case, said “In 15 years as an Animal Health Inspector, this case is by far the worst I have ever experienced.  Dead sheep were scattered across the farm, new born lambs had died after getting stuck in mud.  Mr Evans had done very little to ensure the safety of his sheep, his sheds were full of junk so the sheep had no shelter from the weather.  The lame and emaciated sheep were just ignored.”

Allan Hampshire, Cornwall Council’s Head of the Public Health and Business Support Service, added “The Animal and Plant Health Agency must be thanked for all the help they gave in this case.  Officers from the Agency fed and cared for the surviving sheep for nearly a week until Mr Evans was well enough to take charge of them.  Smallholders must be aware that the Animal Welfare Act does not make a distinction between pet and farmed sheep, I would suggest that newcomers to agriculture understand the efforts involved in keeping animals prior to buying them.”

Geoff Brown, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Homes and Communities, said “This was an appalling case of animal neglect and I would like to thank our animal welfare team for their efforts.  For staff to discover 119 carcasses and then have to put down a further 145 sheep is unprecedented and clearly the court has acknowledged the seriousness of these offences.

“It is even more frustrating that Mr Evans failed to heed the earlier advice given to him by Council officers and I hope this sentence sends a clear message to other small holders”. 

Story posted 20 November 2014

Categories: Cornwall

Opportunity for Cornwall’s artists to exhibit at Kernow Lorient 2015

Cornwall Council News feed - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 10:09

An exciting opportunity to exhibit their work as part of the internationally renowned Lorient Interceltic Festival is on offer to artists in Cornwall.

Artists in Cornwall are invited to apply to exhibit at the August 2015 festival in the heart of Brittany which attracts around 700,000 visitors a year.  The focus in 2015 will be on Cornwall and the Isle of Man who have teamed up to promote their fantastic music, dance and art.

That includes an art exhibition in the large Faouedic Gallery in the centre of Lorient, which will run over the summer.

Cornwall’s delegation organiser Jenefer Lowe explains: “The Lorient Interceltic Festival is an important platform for Celtic nations and in 2015, with the focus on Cornwall and the Isle of Man, we want our contemporary art, as well as our music and dance, to be centre stage. Each year, one or more Cornish artists are chosen to exhibit in a joint exhibition with work from each country and have made a big impact, but 2015 will be even more special.”

Viv Gillard has been the volunteer co-ordinator for Cornish art in Lorient for the past two years after exhibiting her own work in 2012. “It was an amazing opportunity for me” she says. “It was great to exhibit to a large international audience and for me it led to an invitation to take part in a Biennale celebrating female artists from around the world. I love working as co-ordinator and curating the show – I want to inspire more Cornish artists to create cutting edge work about Cornwall and push the WOW factor forward to show the other Celtic nations what we are all about!”

Cornwall Council is supporting the year of Cornwall in Lorient. “The festival is an excellent opportunity to showcase the best of Cornwall and art is no exception” said Cornwall Council cabinet member for economy and culture, Julian German. ‘We have already proved to Lorient in previous years that Cornish art is of high quality and I hope that Cornish artists will take advantage of this fantastic  opportunity and make 2015 a year to be proud of.”

To obtain a copy of the call for artists, which has full details of the submission process and dates, email kernowart4lorient@gmail.com

Story posted 18 November 2014

Categories: Cornwall

Festive tales at Cornish Studies Library in Redruth

Cornwall Council News feed - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 16:23

Drop in to the Cornish Studies Library in Redruth on Saturday November 29 between 3pm-4.30pm to be delighted by festive tales from storyteller Mark Harandon. You’ll hear magical tales of Christmas past, of snowy winters, festive fare and the true spirit of Christmas revealed at this free event.

The Library’s new ‘Season’s Greetings’ exhibition also opens on the same day. Featuring original documents and photographs from Cornwall Council’s Archives and Cornish Studies Service collections, the exhibition includes letters from astronomer John Couch Adams, describing Victorian Christmas celebrations, as well as a selection of Christmas letters and postcards from soldiers on active service in the First World War. These include over thirty letters sent to Newquay Urban District Council from men from the town who were sent Christmas gift parcels in 1917. The parcels, which included saffron cake and soap, were gratefully received, with one soldier writing “I return my heartiest thanks, it came as a great surprise, and it shows that the boys in the trenches are not forgotten…”

‘Season’s Greetings’ runs from November 29 – December 30 during library opening hours. Call 01209 216 760 for more information. 

Story posted 18 November 2014

Categories: Cornwall

Kick off your Cornish Christmas at the Made in Cornwall Fair

Cornwall Council News feed - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 16:17

Toys, trails and real ales to cakes, crafts and photographs - just some of the goods which will be available at this year’s spectacular Made in Cornwall Christmas Fair which is running from 26 to 30 November on the Piazza in Truro. 

Thousands of locally made crafts and food items will be on display to entice Christmas shoppers next week when the Piazza in Truro plays host to the annual Christmas ‘Made in Cornwall’ fair.

“If you’re wanting to give family and friends something a little bit different this Christmas then a visit to the Made in Cornwall Christmas Fair is a must, especially as you’ll be supporting Cornish businesses at the same time”, explained Liz Rickard from the Made in Cornwall Scheme.

“There is inspiration at the fair to suit all pockets and all tastes, the only trouble you might have is choosing from the wonderful selection of goodies on offer! There are ‘Ginger Biscuits and Tea’ gift sets through to the adventure of a Treasure Trail in a beautiful Cornish location, both costing less than £10; or for something bespoke, how about a portrait of your pet or some personalised jewellery?”

The popular Christmas Fair offers the chance for members of the public to buy genuine Cornish gifts and food for Christmas.  Over 90 quality local businesses, from as far afield as Callington and Liskeard to The Lizard, will be exhibiting at the highly acclaimed annual fair which runs from Wednesday 26 to Sunday 30 November. 

“Once again we will be showcasing many of Cornwall’s talented artists, crafts people and food businesses providing Christmas shoppers with the chance to buy local products at great value prices. We are delighted that along with the established favourites there will be several new faces belonging to young artists and artisans.” 

Amongst these will be Holly from ‘Luscious Lucy’ in Newquay with her ‘Secret Hedgerow’ range of alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks made using Cornish fruits, flowers and berries; Simon from SR Studio in Truro will be bringing the richly illustrated ‘Cornwall Uncovered Map’; and will you be able to resist a Cornish Pisky to hang on your Christmas Tree? – Jingle and Belle, made by Cornish Pisky Pals in Coverack, will be making their first public outing when they come to the fair.

The Fair will be open from 10.00am to 9.00pm on Wednesday, 26 November to incorporate the late night shopping evening, from 10.00am to 5.00pm from Thursday through to Saturday, and from 10.30am to 4.30pm on Sunday 30 November.  Admission is free.

Story posted 17 November 2014

Categories: Cornwall

Wadebridge Primary Academy pupils design products ready for school Christmas fair

Cornwall Council News feed - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 14:56

On Wednesday 12 November pupils aged 9 and 10 from Wadebridge Primary Academy took part in a Junior Enterprise Challenge Day at the school organised by Cornwall Learning Education Business Partnership. With support from NatWest, Premier Inn Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network (WREN), Worldwide Financial Planning and sixth form ambassadors from Wadebridge School the pupils formed into companies for the day to develop their business ideas.

The pupils had lots of business ideas ranging from snow globes to Christmas tree decorations. Together they produced drawings and models of their products as well as many leaflets, posters and even radio adverts to promote their products.

“The Junior Enterprise Challenge provided the pupils with the opportunity to make real choices and decisions in a business simulation activity ” said Kate Whetter Education Projects Manager at Cornwall Education Business Partnership. She continued “Key to the success of the day was the fantastic support from the local business community”.

Mike Finnie, business specialist at NatWest, said: "The youngsters from Wadebridge Primary Academy who took part in the Enterprise Challenge showed a flair and enthusiasm which was great to see. 

"It's never too early to start to learn about entrepreneurship and to develop employability skills. NatWest is pleased to support these Junior Enterprise Challenge Days as they are the ideal way to start to give youngsters the skills and confidence they will need in later life."

“The enterprise day has been a great success with all the children actively involved in a wide range of business skills. From creating a company name and log to designing and making a prototype for their chosen Christmas product it has been an action packed experience. Enabling children to learn from professionals within the field of business and finance who attend the day has been a real asset. Children will remember today for a long time” said Tessa Hewins Year 5 teacher at Wadebridge Primary Academy.

Story posted 17 November 2014

Categories: Cornwall

Public meeting to be held in Helston to hear views on planning application PA14/07450

Cornwall Council News feed - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 14:29

Cornwall Council is holding a public meeting to share information and listen to public opinion on planning application PA14/07450 - Land West Of Trewennack  Helston, Cornwall. 

This is an outline application for up to 340 houses (including affordable homes), offices and medical practice.

The public meeting will be held at 6pm on Thursday 4 December 2014 at Helston Community College, TR13 8NR

Anyone who attends the meeting who wishes to express their views on the planning application to the Strategic Planning Committee will be asked to register on arrival and will then be called upon to speak.

The public meeting provides an opportunity for Councillors to listen to the views of local people.  Please note no decision will be taken at the Public Meeting.

The planning application will be considered and debated at a future meeting of the Strategic Planning Committee.

Full details of the application can be found on the online planning register under reference number PA14/07450.

 

Story posted 17 November 2014

Categories: Cornwall

Public meeting to be held in Hayle to hear views on planning application PA14/02920

Cornwall Council News feed - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 16:03

Cornwall Council is holding a public meeting to share information and listen to public opinion on planning application PA14/02920 – Hayle Rugby Club 10 Marsh Lane Hayle Cornwall TR27 5HX

The outline application is for a proposed retail development of up to 15,539 sq.m. (gross) with infrastructure, access arrangements, servicing, parking and landscaping.

The public meeting will be held at 6pm on Thursday 27 November at Hayle Community School, 3 High Lanes, Hayle, Cornwall, TR27 4DN.

Anyone who attends the meeting who wishes to express their views on the planning application to the Strategic Planning Committee will be asked to register on arrival and will then be called upon to speak.

The public meeting provides an opportunity for Councillors to listen to the views of local people.  Please note no decision will be taken at the Public Meeting.

The planning application will be considered and debated at a future meeting of the Strategic Planning Committee.

Full details of the application can be found on the online planning register under reference number PA14/02920.

 

Story posted 17 November 2014

Categories: Cornwall

Cornwall Council welcomes decision to roll out Adoption Support Fund across the country

Cornwall Council News feed - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 15:51

News that the Government plans to roll out the Adoption Support Fund nationwide next year has been welcomed by Cornwall Council which is one of 10 local authorities originally chosen to pilot the initiative.

The Department of Education has confirmed it is setting up a £19m support fund to help adoptive families across the country settle their children into their new home.  The fund, which will be rolled out nationwide from May 2015, will help pay for essential therapy services for adoptive families as and when they need it.

Work on Cornwall’s pilot initiative began at the end of June and is focusing on supporting adopted children by providing a range of therapeutic services. “We were delighted to have been selected to pilot the Adoption Support Fund, and have already seen a difference to the families that have used it” said Andrew Wallis, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People.  “In Cornwall we already had an excellent adoption support service with our dedicated Family Plus Team, and the fund has really added to this”.

Cornwall’s Family Plus Team is made of up of range of specialists including social workers, therapy workers, youth workers and a dedicated psychologist.   One local family which has benefited from their support is Debbie and Mari who have three adopted children, a son and two daughters. Their daughters are siblings and joined the family last year.

Mari says “Our children are loving and delightful, but they also have a past we weren't part of. Helping them to understand that past is part of our role as parents. Although they are most definitely our children, we see bringing them up to be safe and happy as a team effort, where the Family Plus Team acts as a kind of 'wise relation' who can support us as parents when we need it”.

Debbie and Mari’s daughters are happy to be together; 'I think it's good that my sister and I moved together to our  forever family because although she can be annoying, she’s always been my sister and it meant that we could talk to each other about our feelings while we were getting to know our new family’ she says, her sister adds ‘my new mummies take care of me and love me very much’.

Their adoptive brother talks about being adopted ’I like being adopted because it means I’ve got my own family to live with’

If you are interested in becoming an adoptive parent, or want to find out more, you can call 01872 322200 for more information. 

 

Story posted 17 November 2014

Categories: Cornwall

Newquay Rowing Club awarded £60,000 Cornwall Community Covenant grant

Cornwall Council News feed - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 15:51

Newquay Rowing Club, the oldest club on the gig rowing circuit, has been given a £60,000 grant to help pay for the construction of a new purpose built gig storage area with training and changing rooms and improvements to disabled access.

The grant, the largest ever to be awarded in Cornwall, has come from the Ministry of Defence through the Cornwall Community Covenant scheme which is administered by a partnership between Cornwall Council, the Cornish branch of the Royal British Legion and the Armed Forces.  

The aim of the national Community Covenant grant scheme is to support projects which will help strengthen the ties between members of the Armed Forces Community and local communities. 

With interest in pilot gig rowing increasing enormously over the past ten years Newquay Rowing Club are keen to upgrade their facilities to encourage people from across Cornwall, including the armed forces, to take part in the sport.

Based at Newquay Harbour, the club was formed in 1921 with three old gigs – Newquay (built in 1812), Dove (1820) and Treffry (1838).  Now a thriving club, with a strong membership of all ages, the three historic six oared pilot gigs are still in use today and are regularly rowed in races.  The club received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2005.

As well as sighted rowers, the club also has a number of blind rowers who use oars which have been modified by putting a groove in the loom end which enables them to determine the attitude of the blade in relation to the surface of the water.  The first blind rowers joined the club in January 1999 and regularly race with sighted crews and attend the World Championships in the Isles of Scilly each year, usually beating several sighted crews. 

The improved facilities are expected to directly benefit around 4,2000 people a year, including the  500 current members of Newquay Rowing Club, some of whom are Armed forces personnel and veterans; almost 2,000 County GIG Championship rowers and their supporters and 1,000 social visitors to the club. 

John Cuthill, who prepared the funding bid, is delighted to have been awarded the grant, which he says will make a huge difference to the club.  “We are very proud of our historic club which is continuing to thrive“ he said. “However we want to improve our facilities by moving our historic gigs from the Tunnel where the 12 degree slope and seeping water make it a hostile environment for wooden boats to a new purpose built gig store, with training room, changing room, showers, kitchen and a function room.“

“We have already raised a considerable sum towards our £190,000 target through a mixture of fund raising activities and grants from Sport England, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Newquay Town Council, as well as other organisations, and this grant will help turn our vision into a reality”.

The application was supported by Wing Commander Guy Bazalgette, from the Cornwall Partnership, who said “This is an extremely worthy cause.  The club plays a major role in the local community and the improvements to the facilities will benefit personnel from St Mawgan as well as people from other parts of Cornwall.”

John Wood, Chairman of Cornwall Council said: “Cornwall has a proud tradition of supporting its armed forces and I am delighted that the Council is playing a key role in the Partnership. The Covenant Grant Scheme is open to all areas of the community, including charities, volunteer groups and public bodies such as schools and is helping to  strengthen the ties between members of the Armed Forces Community and local communities”.

 

Story posted 17 November 2014

Categories: Cornwall

Newquay coastal survey to help monitor erosion

Cornwall Council News feed - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 15:45

 

A survey has been taking place at Trevelgue Head Cliff Castle, Porth Island, Newquay to assess erosion on the site from both visitors and storm damage.

The survey will provide a comprehensive record of the current areas of erosion, which can be monitored in the future and will enable recommendations to be made on how to deal with the eroded areas.

The work is being funded by Natural England’s  Higher Level Stewardship Scheme, following recommendations for this work by Cornwall Council’s Countryside Archaeologist and the Heritage at Risk Project Officer for English Heritage.

As part of the work, local members of Newquay Old Cornwall Society will be trained on how to carry out future monitoring of the site, building on their current and much valued on site recording and scrub clearance work.

Trevelgue Head is an impressive Iron Age promontory cliff-castle, defined by a spectacular series of large earth and stone ramparts which defended an east-west headland 700m long and protecting, on its south side, the excellent natural harbour of St Columb Porth.

Two Bronze Age barrows survive on the headland, along with the remains of an extensive Late Iron Age/Romano British settlement. It is designated by English Heritage as a Scheduled Monument.

Cornwall Council Senior Archaeologist Ann Reynolds said: “It is one of the most heavily defended headlands in Cornwall but as a result of natural erosion and visitor pressure it is probably also one of the most heavily denuded. Last winter’s storms have also caused significant areas of erosion and minor landslips, exposing fragile archaeological layers and features.”

Sheila Harper of the Newquay Old Cornwall Society Archaeology Group said: “We are really excited at the opportunity to take part in this project, which will help look after an important part of Newquay’s past. We would also welcome anyone who would like to join the society and join in with the training day next year”.

Trevelgue Headland is a public open space owned and maintained by Cornwall Council.

A second stage of work, likely to take place next spring, will see priority consolidation repairs and recording taking place. The work is being led by PWH Conservation Surveyors Ltd, from Barnstaple.

 

Story posted 17 November 2014

Categories: Cornwall

Fire course aims to help improve job prospects of Redruth group

Cornwall Council News feed - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 15:42

A group of people referred by Redruth Job Centre will be celebrating their achievements in completing an innovative course run by Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service’s Phoenix Works team at a presentation event at Redruth Community Fire Station on Friday 14 November.

The course, which was developed by Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) and funded by Jobcentre Plus Devon Cornwall and Somerset, aims to provide support and training to increase the employment opportunities of those who take part.

Referred by the local job centre, all participants were given the opportunity to gain an ASDAN level one qualification in Improving Own Learning and Performance together with the HeartStart accreditation in emergency life support techniques. The group also took part in a range of fire service activities to promote teamwork, communication skills, raise confidence and aspirations. Alongside this, the course includes fire and road safety advice, as well as train the trainer and presentation skills.

Throughout the course participants get the opportunity to learn and develop transferable skills through participating in fire and rescue service drills and activities. These skills can then be taken forward and put into practice when the group members meet local employers, support agencies and community groups to help the individuals to identify future employment, training or voluntary opportunities.

CFRS Chief Fire Officer Des Tidbury said: “I am encouraged to see how Phoenix Works team has been able to use the work and reputation of the fire and rescue service to help this group of people develop useful new skills.”

Carolyn Webster, District Business Manager for Jobcentre Plus Devon Cornwall and Somerset said: "The great work that the Phoenix team do to build their motivation and confidence really makes a difference to jobseekers prospects of finding work more quickly. We are proud to work alongside them and to fund their delivery through the District Flexible Support Fund"

Geoff Brown, Cornwall Council cabinet member for homes and communities said:  “These courses are an excellent example of how, by working with partners such as Jobcentre Plus, we can really make a difference to the lives of these individuals. I am delighted to celebrate the people who have embraced this opportunity to learn from the best.”

 

Story posted 14 November 2014

Categories: Cornwall

Storm damage repairs now completed on 56 schemes in coastal areas across Cornwall

Cornwall Council News feed - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 15:04

 Following the storms which swept across Cornwall earlier this year, repairs commissioned by Cornwall Council have now been completed on 56 schemes in coastal areas.

Cornwall experienced twelve major storms between December 2013 and March 2014, causing huge damage to coastal infrastructure in 245 locations, including the closure of the main rail line into Cornwall at Dawlish.   All of Cornwall was affected in some way, including flooding of property and land at Wadebridge, Perranporth, Looe, St Ives, Bude, Portreath, Penzance, Fowey, Mevagissey and Penryn and damage to sea defences, beaches, piers, breakwaters, harbours and cliffs.  A number of people were forced to temporarily leave their properties, and many businesses, including fishing and tourism related businesses, suffered considerable financial losses.

More than £9.5m of works to repair the coastal areas damaged by the storms have been carried out by the Council over the past few months.  This has been funded primarily from the Environment Agency, with a small contribution coming from the Council’s budget.  In addition to the funding for repairs to coastal areas the authority also received an additional £1.2m funding from the Department of Transport Small Ports fund and £10.7m from the Department of Transport for repairs to damaged highway infrastructure. In total the Council has received over £20m in Government funding in relation to last Winter’s storm damage.

A significant amount of work took place in the aftermath of the storms to carry out immediate repairs.  Permanent works have now been carried out in these areas, with schemes ranging from £5,000 to £500,000. 

“Flooding is a real risk faced by residents and businesses across Cornwall” said Edwina Hannaford, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Heritage and Planning.  “Many parts of Cornwall suffered enormous damage as a result of the floods which battered the county at the end of last year and the beginning of this year.  It has taken time to carry out the repairs , with more work still to do in some areas.  I would like to thank the communities which were affected for their continued support during these works.

As well as works being carried out by the Council’s contractor CORMAC, the authority commissioned works through the Environment Agency’s external contractor BMM to ensure the schemes were completed in time for the forthcoming winter.

There are eleven sites remaining where repair works are still ongoing.  These are Portreath, Hannafore - Looe, St Mawes sea wall, Trevone, Talland Bay, Constantine Bay, Gyllyngvase, Portwrinkle, Praa Sands, Wheal Dream and Newquay Towan. 

On these sites measures have been put in place where required to manage the risk of further damage whilst the works are completed.  The last scheme to be completed is likely to be at Towan Beach in Newquay where the works are extensive and complex.  This scheme is expected to be completed by the end of February 2015. 

The funding secured by the Council has also enabled repairs to be carried out at Mullion Harbour and Looe Harbour, both of which are privately owned. 

 

Story posted 11 November 2014

Categories: Cornwall