Luke Watson of Barripper, Camborne and David Watson (unrelated) of Great Wheal Seton, Camborne have pleaded guilty to a total of four offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and the Fraud Act 2006 relating to the unsafe and unregistered installation of three wood burning stoves, and for fraudulently charging for work not undertaken between November 2011 and October 2012.
Luke Watson appeared at Truro Magistrates court on the 02 March 2015 and pleaded guilty to three charges, he was fined 3 x £550 and ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge and costs of £2,113.17.
David Watson appearing at the same time pleaded guilty to one charge, he was fined £400 and ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge and costs of £301.88
Luke Watson, at the time of these installations trading as “County Stoves”, was registered with HETAS, the official government registered body in relation to solid fuel heating appliances. Work was undertaken by the Watsons at properties in Goldstithney and Greenbottom, which was proved to be incomplete, potentially unsafe and not legally registered with the governing body of HETAS. In addition to this, some work was fraudulently charged for when it was not completed. Following a complaint by a consumer, Trading Standards launched an investigation into the historical activities of County Stoves, which was no longer trading.
Anthea Durant, Trading Standards Authorised Officer, and Investigating Officer in this case said, “We are very pleased with the result we have had at Court and feel that the fines issued reflect the seriousness of the issues uncovered. Unfortunately, because Mr Watson failed to engage with our investigation at any stage, we are worried that there are other consumers who engaged County Stoves to undertake work at their home, and we would urge anyone who does remember employing them to check the registration status of their appliance with HETAS, to ensure that it was properly registered.”
Posted on 5 March 2015
Cornwall Council Chairman John Wood welcomed a group of teachers and students from the region of Castilla y León of Spain to New County Hall in Truro on Monday March 02 as they prepare to visit 18 secondary and primary schools across Cornwall.
The visitors will be sharing good teaching practice and, in the case of the Spanish students, teaching Spanish to primary children. The visit is funded by the European Union education programme, Comenius Regio.
“We are delighted to see so many colleagues and young people from Spain” said John Wood, “and pleased to be able to reciprocate the hospitality shown to our teachers and students when they visited Spain in October.”
Over the next week, the teachers will observe classes and help with teaching where appropriate. In Spain, learning a foreign language is given a high profile with many subjects taught through English, even at primary school. The students- aged between 15 and 18- will bring some authentic Spanish songs, games and stories to primary classrooms in Cornwall, acting as junior language assistants and staying with their Cornish partners who did the same in places like Segovia and Burgos in October.
“The students who went to Spain from Cornwall had a wonderful time.” commented Andrew Wallis, Cornwall Council Cabinet member for young people.
“They did an excellent job in the classrooms there. It’s very important that as a Council we encourage initiatives such as this which give our young people experience and confidence as well as vital foreign language skills.”
The EU Regio programme funds regional education projects which can act as a springboard for future collaboration between schools. Helston College is already receiving students from Salamanca on an exchange basis and other schools such as Redruth (with Palencia) and Budehaven (with Avila) are actively planning similar projects. Treloweth Community Primary School in Redruth is using this project as a stimulus to apply for further EU funding to train teachers with its partner school in Soria.
The schools taking part are Bude Junior School, Budehaven Community School, Torpoint Community College, Portreath Community Primary School, Newquay Tretherras School, Treleigh Community Primary School, Redruth School, Parc Eglos School, Helston Community College, Bosvigo Primary School, Richard Lander School, Treloweth Community Primary School, Pool Academy, St Stephens, Launceston, Community Academy, Penrice Academy, Carclaze Community Primary School, Wadebridge Primary Academy and Wadebridge Community School.
The Regio project is managed by Cornwall Learning and led by Rosie Sleep, Languages Consultant, with the active assistance of coordinators in each participating school and in collaboration with the regional education authority of Castilla y León.
Photographs showing Cornwall Council Chairman John Wood with teachers and students from Spain.
Posted on 5 March 2015
At the meeting of Cornwall Council on 19 May 2015, Chief Executive Andrew Kerr gave a Stewardship of the Council report to members. He talked about significant successes including:
- investment in transport infrastructure
- improvements in key services and
- more joined up working with partners.
These were all underpinned by the commitment of staff who are helping to deliver savings of over £31m through the collective agreement.
Story posted 19 May 2015
A group of ten young people aged between 16 and 25 years old who are not in employment, education or training (NEETS) celebrated the completion of a 12 week Prince’s Trust TEAM programme personal development course at the Eden Project on Wednesday 15 April.
Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service and the Prince’s Trust TEAM programme aims to help young people develop the skills and confidence to move into employment, education, training, volunteering or apprenticeships. The courses are run in partnership with and funded by Cornwall Council’s Adult Education service.
The programme is centred on developing team work skills which saw the TEAM transform a waste piece of ground at Mevagissey Activity Centre. The centre is used by Scope and their customers and the transformation has given them and the rest of the community a beautiful, interactive garden.
The young people spent two days digging and flattening the ground before laying membrane to stop weeds destroying the area. They then made footboards to make a path, making sure it was wide enough for wheelchair users to get around the whole of the garden.
Raised flower beds were then built and filled with beautiful flowers that were donated from Wyevale garden centre and Pentewan Valley Nurseries. A garden area was created with benches placed in them so people now have an area to sit and relax outside next to rockeries that were also built by the young people. Finally a boat was used as a centre piece flower bed that gave the garden its finishing touch.
Gordan from Mevagissey Activity Centre said: “The team of young people sent by the Prince’s Trust were fantastic. They planned thoroughly and consulted regularly taking into account everyone who is likely to use the garden on a regular basis. It’s so nice that Scope’s customers get somewhere to go on a nice, sunny day. It’s also given them a responsibility to look after the garden and its upkeep. The area they worked on looks amazing now, especially when you think it was just an end to the car park. I’m delighted with the end product and so happy that the young people voted to do this as their community project. Thank you to all concerned.”
As well as the community project the group also took part in team building activities and challenges, a week-long action packed residential trip to Devon as well as receiving advice on how to write a CV and gain nationally recognised qualifications.
Cornwall Council cabinet member for Homes and Communities Geoff Brown said: “Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service have been extremely successful in helping young people from many areas and backgrounds. This initiative in partnership with The Prince’s Trust is to be applauded. It’s great to see how our fire service can help these young people learn how to become better communicators and leaders as they grow in confidence and, in some cases, turn their lives around.”
Team leader Sam Spooner said: “I’m delighted that the participants have come so far in just 12 weeks. They have achieved so much and each of them should be proud of what they have done. I hope they take their new skills and keep up their levels of confidence and motivation to ensure they enter further education, training or employment. The final presentation is all about them show casing how well they have done the past 3 months. I wish each and every one of them the very best for the future.”
Station Manager Dave Pilling from Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service said: “We are delighted to be able to work with The Prince’s Trust to deliver this very worthwhile programme. Too many young people feel they don’t have any skills and talents, and feel they’ll never amount to anything. The Team programme really does help them to turn their lives around; helping them into work, education or training, furthermore taking part in Team does not affect their benefits”.
Story posted 20 April 2015
Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Safeguarding Adults Board is calling on people and organisations in Cornwall to be on the look out for adults who may be self neglecting or who putting themselves at risk by compulsive hoarding as part of this year’s Safeguarding Adults Awareness Week (15 – 21 June).
With research showing up to 5% of adults experience symptoms of compulsive hoarding and a number of cases of serious self-neglect identified in Cornwall over the past twelve months, Cornwall Council, Devon and Cornwall Police, NHS Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Royal Cornwall Hospital NHS Trust, Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Peninsula Community Health and the independent and voluntary sector are joining together to raise public awareness of the risks of this type of behaviour.
“Compulsive hoarding, where people find themselves accumulating unmanageable amounts of clutter in their homes, is a very complex issue which can impact on the individual’s quality of life and, and pose a serious fire risk” said Rob Cooper, Chair of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Safeguarding Adults Board. “This type of behaviour can lead to people feeling isolated and lonely which can sometimes result in them neglecting to look after themselves properly .
“We want to use this year’s Safeguarding Adults Awareness Week to highlight these issues and make people in Cornwall more aware of the signs of hoarding so they know what to do if a friend, neighbour or member of their family is at risk”.
Although the exact number of cases of self neglect in Cornwall is difficult to confirm, Pete Wild, Cornwall Council’s Senior Manager for Older and Physical Disability People Service, says his staff are currently dealing with 15 active cases of serious self-neglect.
“The issue of self neglect is a difficult one for professionals as there is a fine line between self determination and intervention by the state” he said. “Last year we reviewed our existing policy and practice on self neglect following a Serious Case Review into the case of an older man who lived on his own and was found under a pile of hoarded material. Although he was taken to hospital at that time, he did not want to engage with services when he was discharged and was sadly later found dead in his home”.
“This case followed an earlier one when a contractor raised the alarm over the health of a man with learning disabilities who was living on his own. The contractor, who was working at the next door property, saw that the man had very badly infected legs and referred him to us. Although it took a week to get to see him and deal with the problem, without the actions of the contractor he could have died or had to have his legs amputated. Instead he was admitted to hospital and has now recovered.”
The issue of self-neglect and the significant risk it poses is now much higher on the agenda of practitioners in Cornwall. Last year Michael Preston-Shoot, a leading academic in the field, came to Cornwall to address managers and practitioners about current research. Since then, the guidance on self neglect has been completely revised, with Pete Wild also commissioned by The College of Social Work to write practice guidance for social workers who are working with people who self-neglect.
The guidance on recognising and dealing with compulsive hoarding has also been revised over the past year, with Cornwall adopting the measurement scale in respect of hoarding used by the London Borough of Merton.
“Compulsive hoarding can cause serious problems for both the individual and their relatives or neighbours” said Steve Rowell, from Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service. “As well as the clutter interfering with someone’s day to day living by making it difficult to use parts of their home, it can create tripping hazards and lead to unhygienic living conditions, including rodent or insect infestations and in most cases poses a significant fire risk”.
A recent case in Cornwall involved a 62 year old woman with serious mobility problems living alone in a one bedroom flat in a two floor property, with neighbours either side and above her. Following concerns from her family about hoarding, she was visited by a local fire crew who tried unsuccessfully to gain access to the property. As the fire crew could see access to the property was being blocked by a mixture of furniture, old clothes and gardening equipment, the crew enlisted the support of a Community Safety Officer who finally managed to persuade the woman to let him in and arrange support to help her reduce the volume of her clutter.
“As a result of the support from the Fire and Rescue and Community Safety Service, approximately three tons (40 cubic metres) of clothing, furniture, books and ornaments were removed from the property over a six week period” said Steve Rowell. “Although there is still more work to be done, the woman can now move through her home, and can prepare and cook food safely, and, more importantly, could escape from her building in the case of a fire without tripping or becoming trapped by her possessions”.
In the last two years the Community Safety Service has dealt with 29 cases which are considered to be ‘extreme hoarding’ of a complex nature. However these are only the known cases that have been identified through the Community Safety Service carrying out Home Fire Safety Checks or receiving a referral from a third party. Based on national statistics, it is estimated that there are approximately 700 complex hoarders throughout Cornwall – equating to 25 cases in each of the larger towns within Cornwall.
Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service provide a free Home Fire Safety Check with its main purpose of reducing risk in the home. This service can be accessed by contacting 0800 3581 999 or visiting www.cornwall.gov.uk/fire
Last year there were more than 1300 new safeguarding adult referrals in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Of these referrals, 280 related to people with learning disabilities, 120 related to people with mental health issues and 350 were for people over 85 years old. This includes allegations of physical abuse emotional abuse, neglect, financial abuse and sexual abuse.
“Everyone has the right to live their lives free from violence, fear and abuse” said Jim McKenna, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Care. “Agencies in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are working hard to prevent vulnerable adults from being abused and neglected and we need the public to join with us to help achieve our aim”.
“The aim of this campaign is to raise awareness of these issues among members of the public. We need people to look out for their relatives, friends and neighbours and report anything which gives them cause for concern”.
As well as focusing on the issues of hoarding and self neglect, members of the Safeguarding Adults Board will also be reinforcing the successful “If you see something, do something” campaign with posters at council buildings, hospitals, GP surgeries, libraries and one stop shops, schools and police stations. There will also be an opportunity to watch the ‘say no to abuse’ DVD on the Council’s website - www.cornwall.gov.uk/safeguardingadults and the websites of health partners. Members of the Public concerned about an adult should call Social Services on 0300 1234 131.
The photos are from the case study of the 62 year old woman. The photos are of the bedroom stacked floor to ¾ height of room and are typical of each room in the premises.
Story posted on 15 June 2015
Cornwall Trading Standards Officers warn the motor trade about vehicle safety following successful prosecution
Following the successful prosecution of two local businessmen, Cornwall Council Trading Standards Officers are warning Cornish motor traders to ensure that vehicles they sell are in a safe and roadworthy condition.
On Wednesday 10 June at Truro Magistrates, Nigel Rees of Carnwidden Livery, Longdowns, Penryn and Ian Lewis of West Trevarth Barn, Lanner, Redruth were convicted of selling a dangerously un-roadworthy Mitsubihi Pajero 4x4, contrary to the General Product Safety Regulations 2005.
Magistrates heard that Mr Rees and Mr Lewis had an arrangement, whereby Mr Rees would purchase salvage vehicles from insurance companies and then sell them on – occasionally using Mr Lewis to repair them and assist in making the sale. Whilst neither men’s business exclusively related to car sales, evidence demonstrated that both men were considered to be experienced professionals within the motor-trade sector.
A local man purchased the Mitsubishi for £650 in March 2014 after seeing it advertised for sale at the side of the road. The purchaser later found that there were serious defects with the vehicle. An inspection by VOSA revealed a catalogue of faults, including defective brake hoses and chassis corrosion that was so severe that the use of the vehicle on the road would have posed serious danger to any occupants and that of other road users. The vehicle was subsequently scrapped.
Both Mr Rees and Mr Lewis denied that they had been responsible for the sale. They also claimed that they had no formal business arrangement and that they had made no profit from the sale of the Mitsubishi. Despite these arguments, both men were found guilty and fined £5000 each. They were ordered to pay combined costs of £3400, a compensation payment of £400 and a £200 victim surcharge.
Senior Trading Standards Officer, Gary Webster commented; “I am pleased that the magistrates appreciated the severity of the offence, which was reflected in the level of fines imposed. I hope that this sends a clear message to those in the motor-trade that safety is of paramount importance, irrespective of the value of the vehicle.”
Gary goes on to say: “I am aware that many traders rely on getting a MOT after a sale has been agreed. However, this does not ensure the safety of the vehicle at the time it is displayed for sale or offered for test drives. Trading Standards recommend that, as a minimum, a vehicle should receive a full safety check or MOT from a professional mechanic prior to being offered for sale.”
Story posted by 11 June 2015
Following the first hearings to examine the draft Cornwall Local Plan by Secretary of State appointed inspector Simon Emerson, details of the additional work recommended and possible changes to the Plan to make it ‘sound’ before it can be adopted have been published.
Edwina Hannaford, Cornwall Council cabinet member for planning said: “We welcome Mr Emerson’s letter which provides a clear and constructive way forward for the Plan. While he recommends changes and further work, he has not supported calls for significant increases in the housing targets and has also accepted the Council’s key argument that Cornwall does not need significantly higher housing targets to achieve economic growth.
Encouragingly, Mr Emerson is clear that he thinks the Plan can continue through his examination to adoption with further work.”
The next set of hearings will be postponed to give the Council time to consider his recommendations.
Edwina adds; “The Inspector recommends that the housing target should be increased but also cautions against planning for too many more houses that simply would not be built. In addition, he recognises the Council’s “very strong commitment to delivering affordable housing” which was demonstrated recently when we celebrated building the 1000th affordable home.”
The Inspector’s headline recommendations are to:
- re run the housing model and update the housing target (currently 47,500) using the Government’s housing projections published this year.
- increase the Plan’s housing target to reflect the pressure from existing second and holiday homes and consider if further increase is needed to meet affordable housing needs.
- be clearer about how the Plan’s policies support the economic strategies and employment land, particularly how much and where.
- adjust Affordable Housing targets to a more achievable level .
- engage better with Gypsy and Traveller communities to get better evidence of their needs.
The Council will need to consider whether to agree to the further work as suggested and will do this over the coming weeks. Any proposed changes to the Plan will go out to public consultation.
Story posted 11 June 2015
Primary school places and library future on the agenda for Launceston Community Network Panel meeting
Residents of the Launceston Community Network area are being invited to find out more about primary school places and ideas for the future of the Launceston Library at the Community Network Panel meeting on 17 June.
The panel will discuss the current pressures and demand for primary school places in Launceston and nearby rural parishes as well as looking at future education provision to meet increasing demand associated with local housing development. Guest speakers from housing developers and Cornwall Council’s Planning, Children Schools and Families Service, and Highways teams will be on hand to answer questions.
Launceston Town Council will also provide an update and seek ideas on how best to secure the future of the library for the benefit of the wider community as part of the panel meeting.
Cornwall Councillor Jade Farrington, Chair of Launceston Community Network Panel, said: “Primary school provision is a hot topic for Launceston and the surrounding parishes. A new school has planning permission at Hay Common and local people are keen to see this built as quickly as possible to help meet their children's needs.
“This is your opportunity to question developers, planners and the Council's education providers about the plans for the new school and other primary places across the local area, as well as putting forward your views on Launceston Library. Everyone is very welcome to attend.”
Launceston Community Network Panel meets quarterly to discuss matters that affect the local area and to agree priorities that can be delivered by Cornwall Council and partners such as 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 highway issues.
Launceston Community Network Panel includes all five Cornwall Councillors for the area and representatives of the 16 parishes in the community network: Altarnun, Boyton, Egloskerry, Laneast, Launceston, Lawhitton, Lewannick, Lezant, North Hill, North Petherwin, South Petherwin, St Stephens by Launceston, St Thomas the Apostle, Stoke Climsland, Trewen and Warrington.
The meeting takes place on Wednesday 17 June from 7pm to 9pm at The Guildhall, Launceston Town Hall. The agenda and more information about the panel are available on our Launceston Community Network page.
Story posted 11 June 2015
New multi million pound deal will make Superfast Broadband available to thousands more Cornish homes and businesses
Cornwall Council has agreed a new £7.6m deal that will enable the region to remain at the forefront of digital connectivity.
A new programme of investment is being launched to build on the legacy of the pioneering Superfast Cornwall partnership between the European Union, BT and Cornwall Council, which is forecast to deliver fibre broadband access to 95% of premises in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, far beyond the project’s initial 80% target. 89% of premises are expected to be able to access superfast broadband speeds of 24Mpbs and above.
The new project sees the Council investing alongside the UK Government, through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), and BT to extend the fibre broadband network and provide increased access to superfast broadband speeds across Cornwall. Match funding is also being provided through the Regional Growth Fund and Growth Deal.
Councillor Julian German, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Culture, said ‘Digital connectivity is essential in addressing Cornwall’s peripherality from national and international markets.”
“This new investment will build on the achievements of Superfast Cornwall and enable Cornwall to retain its leadership position as one of the best connected rural areas in the world, increasing prosperity by bringing benefits to businesses and households. We will again be breaking new ground as we deliver fibre broadband into yet more rural areas and will be pushing to bring superfast broadband access to at least 8,600 more Cornish premises across the region by early 2018."
The project has been made possible through £2.96m of investment from the Government’s Superfast Extension Programme. Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said ‘Superfast Cornwall has made incredible progress with their rollout of superfast broadband. Government wants to take coverage even further though, and this additional funding will boost superfast availability in Cornwall as part of our commitment to reach 95 per cent of the UK by 2017.’
Bill Murphy, Managing Director of Next Generation Access for BT, which will invest £1.23 million in the new programme, said ‘BT is delighted to be working with Cornwall Council to make superfast broadband available to thousands more homes and businesses in Cornwall.
“Through our joint investment with the EU and Cornwall Council in Superfast Cornwall, we have already delivered world-leading fibre broadband coverage for a rural area and this new programme will build upon that investment. Our engineers will be overcoming new challenges in rolling out superfast broadband to some of Cornwall’s most remote and rural areas and a detailed planning phase will now commence before the building of the new network gets underway.’
Chris Pomfret, Chairman of the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, which helped to secure Government funding for the project, said ‘We’ve seen the transformational potential that access to superfast broadband can bring so it is crucial that we continue to increase our fibre broadband capability to enable more Cornish businesses to benefit from access to superfast speeds. Increased connectivity also underpins opportunities to specialise in new and emerging markets in areas such as the digital economy, creative, e-health, space and aerospace related industries.’
The project is the first of a two phased approach that aims to bring access to superfast broadband to at least 99% of premises in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly. It will be managed by the Cornwall Development Company, the arm’s length economic development company for Cornwall Council. It is anticipated that the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Growth Programme will be a principal source of investment for the second phase of the project.
Story posted on 10 June 2015
Council tenants across Cornwall asked to update their details in readiness for Universal Credit and online services
All 10,300 Cornwall Council tenants will soon receive a census questionnaire to update their household details in preparation for the change to Housing Benefit and the introduction of new online services.
The census, named ‘Everyone Matters’ will be sent out from 15 June and will require all households to let the housing service know what help they need to be ready for changes ahead.
Universal Credit, the single monthly payment for people in or out of work which is being introduced by the Government, merges together some benefits and tax credits. Universal Credit will replace: Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance; Income-related Employment and Support Allowance; Working Tax Credit; Child Tax Credit; Income Support; and Housing Benefit.
Tenants will be asked to update their personal details, indicate if they have access to the internet and inform Cornwall Housing of what help they need to prepare for the introduction of Universal Credit.
All affected claimants will be gradually moved onto Universal Credit by the Department for Work and Pensions over the next few years. However, most people over 60 will not be moved onto the new benefit.
Martin Emery is a council tenant in Gunnislake and acting chair of the Cornwall Housing Board. He said: “Universal Credit will be a big change for some people, especially as the housing costs will not go directly to the landlord, but to the claimant with their other benefits. Our tenants are telling us that they want time to get ready and prepare: to manage their money monthly and to manage a claim online. If Cornwall Housing know tenants’ current situation, we can inform them of when they’ll be affected by the change to Universal Credit and offer support to get ready.”
Cornwall Housing is also looking to develop more online services so that tenants can undertake simple transactions at any time of day or night.
Joyce Duffin, Cornwall Council cabinet member for Housing and Environment, says “We have a wide range of tenants across Cornwall with very different circumstances and needs. Whilst some tenants have no interest in being online, others are saying that it would be helpful to them if we modernised this area of our service. By understanding what our tenants’ situation, needs, and wants are we can make better decisions about how we can improve the service.”
Managing Director Jane Barlow says “The census is called Everyone Matters, because we do want to hear from everyone. We have asked local company PFA Research Ltd to help us collect the information. They are providing a Freephone and a local number to support people to fill in the census. Because it is important that we hear from every single tenant, we will be following up with the people we don’t hear from to ensure that we understand their situation and whether or not they need support.”
Story posted 08 June 2015
Hackney Carriage licences revoked by Cornwall Council after vehicles are found operating in Birmingham
Cornwall Council’s Miscellaneous Licensing Committee has revoked two Hackney Carriage Licences held by Mr Nadeem Ahmed for breach of the Council’s hackney carriage licence conditions.
At the Miscellaneous Licensing Committee meeting on Friday 29 May 2015, the Committee heard that on 21 May 2015, Cornwall Council’s Licensing Compliance team were notified by licensing enforcement for Birmingham City Council that two hackney carriages licensed with Cornwall Council were operating in Birmingham as private hire vehicles.
Bob Mears, senior licensing compliance officer with Cornwall Council explains: “We found that two Fiat Scudos which were licensed to operate within the Kerrier zone in Cornwall and the proprietor was Mr Nadeem Ahmed. We then confirmed with a private hire company in Birmingham that the vehicles had been operating for them.”
Mr Ahmed was asked to bring in the vehicles for a routine inspection. Mr Ahmed initially agreed to attend and then telephoned back 30 minutes later to inform the officer that he was in Birmingham. Mr Ahmed stated that he was perfectly entitled to operate as a private hire vehicle under the law and was advised that he was actually in breach of Cornwall Council’s hackney carriage vehicle conditions which state:
The Hackney Carriage must operate in Cornwall and principally work from or within the taxi zone that it is licensed for.
Mr Ahmed had provided Cornwall Council with an address in Redruth and clearly did not reside there as he currently lived in Birmingham. The Council had not received any notification of a change of address from him.
In his defence Mr Ahmed stated that he had worked in Redruth but had to move to Birmingham following his mother’s illness, however he was unable to provide a satisfactory explanation as to why he had two hackney carriages operating in Birmingham.
After due deliberation the Committee revoked both hackney carriage vehicle licences.
Following the hearing Mr Mears said: “Cornwall Council Licensing service is very keen to ensure that the vehicles licensed by them are up to a suitable standard in terms of condition and safety. We conduct regular joint agency and random inspections both independently and with the police and VOSA. If a licensed hackney carriage is using a legal loophole and operating in Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol or any other place outside Cornwall, we are unable to inspect the vehicle.
Furthermore we have in the past received complaints in relation to the conduct or behaviour of our licensed drivers and again extreme difficulty is experienced in contacting the drivers and enforcing against them if they live and operate miles from Cornwall. That is why the additional condition that ’the vehicles must operate and principally work from within the taxi zone that it has been licensed for’ was implemented.
In this case Birmingham City Council has no power to enforce a vehicle and driver licensed by Cornwall Council and so such individuals may go unchecked for considerable periods of time.
We discourage any potential hackney carriage proprietor to apply for a hackney carriage plate in Cornwall if they intend to operate as a private hire in another area as the matter will be referred to Committee and a revocation of their licence applied for. This can have severe financial implications for them”.
Cornwall Council cabinet member for communities Geoff Brown said: “It is important for the safety and well-being of passengers that we are able to maintain effective checks on our hackney carriages and breaches of the conditions may, as in this case, lead to revocation of the licence.”
Story posted 09 June 2015
Young people, parents and carers in Cornwall are being asked for their views on sex education as part of a new partnership aimed at promoting healthy relationships and sexual health.
Building on the success of the latest decline in teenage pregnancy rates by more than a half, Cornwall Council’s Public Health and Health Promotion Service teams have joined forces with Brook and the RCHT Sexual Health Hub to launch TALK RSH (relationships and sexual health).
To help the group develop its social media work and resources available, people are being asked to take part in one of two online surveys - one aimed at young people, the other at parents and carers.
The surveys will be used to develop TALK RSH social media work with young people and resources and information for parents and carers later this year.
Timely and accessible information on relationships and sexual health is vital in improving the wellbeing and sexual health of people in Cornwall, explained Louise Sweeney from Cornwall Council Public Health.
“Over the last few years there has been a tremendous amount of work being done in Cornwall to help improve sexual health,” said Louise. “As a result we have seen our rates of teenage pregnancy decline, which is really good news. But we know that there is more to do and the TALK RSH group has put a plan in place to help ensure we can effectively give the people of Cornwall the messages around relationships and sexual health.”
Lex Gainsbury, who leads on the Council's Teenage Pregnancy and Young Parents Strategy, said: “As a large rural county it is vital people get the information they need to make informed, healthy choices around their sexual health and can access services when they need them. We are keen to hear from young people and their parents and carers to ensure we support them in the best way possible.”
A two-way conversation
In one of its first pieces of work, TALK RSH wants to hear from young people and parents and carers.
Ed Hart, Cornwall Education and Training Manager from Brook, said: “Young people aged 16-24 are most affected by poor sexual health and sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia. We want to be able to engage with young people through social media to ensure they receive up-to–date, consistent information about relationships and sex education, in addition to what they learn at school.
"We are also keen that they know where they can access trusted information online when they need it. To do this we are asking young people to complete a survey on how they would like to engage with us on social media, which will be available online and through schools and young people’s projects.”
Mandy Lancaster, Speakeasy Coordinator from Cornwall’s Health Promotion Service added; “Young people in Cornwall also told us they wanted to be able to speak to their parents and carers about relationships and sex, but national research tells us that parents and carers can sometimes find these conversations difficult, especially if their own sex education was patchy.
"We want to find out how parents and carers in Cornwall feel about this and to make sure they know where they can get information and support locally. We’ll be sending out a parents and carers survey alongside the young people’s survey and would love to hear back from as many parents and carers as possible.”
Councillor Andrew Wallis, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for Young People, called for everyone in Cornwall to get involved. “This is an important topic that affects our young people,” he said.
“We know that relationships and sex education helps to reduce teenage pregnancy, and gives young people the knowledge and skills they need to stay safe, but there is still a lot of misinformation, myth and fear out there on these topics. We know we can make a difference on this, but it’s vital we hear from you to help us inform TALK’s work, so please get involved and take part in the surveys.”
Story posted 09 June 2015
Communities can bid for grants of up to £500 to support the development of their emergency and flood plans under a new scheme launched by Cornwall Council.
With towns and villages around the county affected by severe storms in 2010 and 2012, the Council has been working with communities to help develop emergency and/or flood plans.
The grant is available to groups with a plan in place as well as those looking to set one up. Those with existing plans can claim up to £500 to further develop their schemes or buy items such as emergency blankets, torches or high visibility jackets for volunteer wardens. Groups who want to start making their emergency or flood plan can apply for an initial grant of £100 to get the plan off the ground with up to another £500 available on the plan’s completion.
£50,000 has been allocated to this grant scheme in the first instance, with funding coming from the Government’s Severe Weather Recovery grant.
“This funding cannot be spent on infrastructure repairs, so increasing resilience and supporting our communities is a positive use of the funding,” said Councillor Joyce Duffin, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for Housing and Environment. “We are pleased to be able to offer grants to those groups who already have plans in place as well as those communities who want to set up a plan for their area.”
A Community Emergency Plan is something that is developed by a local community to help them be more prepared during the initial stages of an unexpected event or emergency in their area. This could be a flood, fire or another incident that affects part or the whole of a community. By having a plan in place, the community can better support itself until the emergency services and other support agencies are able to attend. Plans can be developed for residential areas as well as other areas such as town centres or industrial estates.
“The call for volunteers to help our Parish in an emergency produced a warm response and many people came forward to offer their skills and services. These included first aiders and trained nurses, those who can drive tractors and four wheel drive vehicles, and members with chainsaws and lifting equipment as well as general helpers to man emergency reception centres, should they be needed,” said Robert Wright, Cury Parish Emergency Plan Coordinator.
“Our emergency plan was developed around the volunteers available and is designed to cope with most situations, there being no specific event that is likely to pose a threat. The launch event last year produced an encouraging number of attendees.”
There are currently thirteen completed plans in Cornwall with another 27 in development. The Police, Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service and the Environment Agency strongly support such plans being put in place.
“If a community has a plan in place it provides us with vital information which enables us to respond quicker and possibly save lives,” said Chief Superintendent Julie Fielding, Policing Commander for Cornwall. “We would encourage more communities in Cornwall to consider creating a plan.”
Cornwall Council will shortly be writing to those groups with completed plans informing them how they can apply for a grant. If you want to find out more about setting up a plan, visit our Emergency Plan pages.
The grant scheme builds on work carried out by the Council and the Cornwall Community Flood Forum (CCFF) between June 2013 and March 2015 to help communities understand and respond to their risk of flooding. One of 13 local authorities to receive Defra funding to deliver the Community Flood Resilience Pathfinder project, the Council has recently published its evaluation of the project.
Among the success stories the project has delivered;
- Bespoke training for flood wardens – developed by the Council and CCFF, this training has attracted national interest. There are almost 300 flood wardens throughout Cornwall, Devon and Somerset who have received this training. Flood wardens help their communities look at how they can best protect themselves before, during and after a flood.
- The funding has helped the CCFF to grow on both a local and national stage. The organisation’s work in bringing together local communities, authorities and interested parties has been cited as an example of best practice.
A joint investigation between Cornwall Council Trading Standards and the police, assisted by specialist tobacco detection dogs has uncovered quantities of counterfeit tobacco and illegally imported alcohol.
During raids at several locations in Cornwall today, a detection dog found counterfeit tobacco hidden in a shop and a car in Bodmin, while illegally imported vodka and other spirits were recovered at a business in Pool. The raids were carried out by the teams acting on tip offs from members of the public.
Both seizures will now result in criminal investigations and potential prosecution.
Nigel Strick, Trading Standards Team Manager at Cornwall Council was pleased with the results; “Today’s action should demonstrate that the Police and Trading Standards are determined to stamp out the sale of illegal tobacco and alcohol in Cornwall and that we will work with the specialist sniffer dog team and anyone else to find those responsible.
“The seizures today should also show the importance we give to information received from the public.”
Andrea Dickens, deputy director of Smokefree South West, says: “All tobacco is harmful, but illegal tobacco poses an additional threat to our children and communities. It is becoming a sophisticated and highly organised crime with criminals using increasingly unusual ways of concealing the product from officers.
“People are often on the hunt for a bargain, but illegal tobacco is not a gamble worth taking, as children who start to smoke at a young age will often carry on for many years, so by accepting illegal tobacco into our shops and onto our streets we are putting lives at risk and communities in danger.”
Story posted 03 June 2015
Libraries in Cornwall will be celebrating National Bookstart Week 2015 from 8-14 June with visits from Bookstart Bear and free events for children and their families, including stories, rhymes and lots of fun activities to inspire families to read together.
Monday 08 June at 10 am - Lostwithiel Library will be celebrating with Bookstart Bear and a special Bookstart Rhymetime
Monday 08 June at 2 pm - Bookstart Bear will also be visiting Penryn Library
Tuesday June 09 at 10.30 am - Saltash Library will be visited by Cornwall Council cabinet member for young people Andrew Wallis who will be joined by Bookstart Bear for song time with David and his guitar.
Later in the week, you can meet Bookstart Bear at Looe Library on Thursday 11 from 10.30 am and he will join in with Redruth Library’s lively Rhymetime on Friday 12 at 11 am.
He rounds off the week with a weekend visit to Helston Library on Saturday 13 from 11 am with music and crafts.
All the events in Cornwall Libraries are free, fun and open to families with babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers. If you can’t get to any of the events listed, please go to the Cornwall Library website pages to see when your local library holds events for very young children as all libraries in Cornwall have National Bookstart Week resources to give away.
‘Every little monkey deserves a story and a cuddle’, so that’s why this June (8-14) UK charity Book Trust is calling for all parents and carers from Cornwall to perfect their loudest ape call and take their cheeky chimps to their nearest library to make some jungle-themed reading adventures.
This year’s theme, Jungle Adventures, is based on Giles Andreae’s beloved picture book Rumble in the Jungle, which will be given away to more than 400,000 families.
National Bookstart Week is an annual celebration of Book Trust’s flagship reading programme, Bookstart. It aims to reinforce to families the importance of getting in to the habit of reading every day - even if it’s just for ten minutes.
Deborah Averill, Bookstart coordinator in Cornwall says “Taking your children to the library from the earliest age possible will show them that stories can be fun and instil in them a lifelong love of books and reading.”
Diana Gerald, Chief Executive of Book Trust said: ‘As a mum, I treasure those wonderful shared moments reading with my child. You are doing something special, and for a few minutes the outside world stops while you read about elephants or pirates.
‘Research has shown that reading to young children every day makes a huge difference in terms of their future confidence, communication skills, well-being and educational attainment. We believe very strongly that a book is not just a book; it’s a doorway. And we believe that doorway should be open to everyone.’
Families can find their nearest National Bookstart Week event at: www.bookstart.org.uk/jungle
If families are unable to make it along to their local event they can join in the fun at home, with plenty of jungle-themed arts and crafts, games and baking recipes all on the Bookstart website.
Story posted 02 June 2015
Marlow magazine for business in Marlow Bucks
This Foster Care Fortnight (1-14 June) Cornwall Council’s Fostering Service is urging people to come forward as potential foster carers with a drop in event being held at New County Hall, Truro between 6pm and 8pm on Thursday, 11 June.
Foster carers look after children who are unable to live with their families. This can be due to a number of reasons, including the illness of a parent or other member of the family, family relationships problems or because they have been the victim of abuse or neglect.
While most fostered children go back to their own families after a short period with someone who understands their background, some are unable to return home and need long term care or, when they are older, help to move on to independent accommodation.
At present, there is a real need for foster carers to care for older children, teenagers, siblings and also a need for people who can care for a child or young person permanently, until they reach independence.
In Cornwall there are 276 families who foster, but more are urgently needed. Foster carers help some of the most vulnerable children and young people by providing guidance, stability and love.
Debbie is a foster carer in Cornwall and cares for older children on a permanent basis, she says” Being a foster carer is one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs in the world. To be there when a 14 year old learns to ride a bike for the first time is an amazing experience, to get a hug for helping them is humbling.
“There are teenagers in care that need adults they can trust, that will listen to their views and opinions with respect, and will communicate with them on their level.”
Rebecca Sargent is the Service Manage for the Fostering Service. “Many people have misconceptions about fostering, and don’t realise that some of the most rewarding experiences can be when caring for a teenager, or offering a child a permanent home. Many of our children and young people live with the same foster family throughout their childhood, and this gives them great security and emotional permanence.
“All of our foster carers get comprehensive training and support and there is a continual development programme that covers a wide range of subjects."
“Foster carers have a vital role in giving children in care the best possible start in life” added Andrew Wallis, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People. “Our foster carersare doing a great job in making a truly positive difference tothe lives of hundreds of children in Cornwall every year but we need more people to come forward .“
“You don't have to have a set income, own your own home or be married to be a foster carer. What's important is you are able to help a child. You can help change a child’s life by becoming a foster carer so please take the time to think about how you can become involved “.
To find out more about becoming a foster carer, you can attend the informal drop-in evening from 6pm-8pm on Thursday 11 June, at New County Hall in Truro, or call the Fostering Team on 01872 323 638.
A fire started by a disposable barbecue caused long term damage to the habitat at Carn Brea, with the ground in the worst affected areas expected to take many years to recover.
Around 7 hectares of gorse, heather and bilberry were destroyed following the fire on the northern side of Carn Brea hill last week. As the blaze spread across the local landmark, more than 200 calls were received by Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service’s Control Room and at the height of the incident, five appliances - from Camborne Pool and Redruth, Hayle and Helston fire stations – were on the scene tackling the blaze.
The Council and fire service are now repeating pleas for people to take care when using disposable barbecues.
Station Manager Nathaniel Hooton from Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service, said: “It is thanks to the swift actions of Fire Control in mobilising appliances and the hard work and professionalism of the responding crews that the fire did not spread further and this incident was brought to a safe conclusion.
“This incident highlights the importance of taking great care when using disposable barbecues – as we have seen, fire can quickly spread with devastating results. Please take care and follow our safety advice.”
“In terms of damage to wildlife, this is about the worst time of year for this fire to happen,” said Jon James, Cornwall Council’s Environment Manager.
“Nesting birds, small mammals, reptiles and insects are all very active in the spring and early summer and will have all been directly harmed by the fire as it spread so quickly through the dry vegetation. There is also long term damage to the habitat - with the ground being relatively dry at this time of year the fire has burned quite deeply in places and the ground will take many years to recover.”
If you are using a disposable barbecue, here are some safety tips:
- Never leave a barbecue unattended.
- Follow the safety instructions provided.
- Always keep a bucket of water, sand or a garden hose nearby for emergencies.
- Never use a barbecue indoors.
- Make sure it is placed on level ground where it will not tip over.
- Never place the barbecue on a flammable surface – the foil base becomes very hot.
- Use the stand provided and make sure the base is several inches above the surface.
- Keep children, pets and garden games away from the cooking area.
- Enjoy yourself, but don’t drink too much alcohol if you are in charge of the barbecue.
- Leave the barbecue to cool before attempting to move it – this may take several hours.
- Fully extinguish the barbecue by pouring plenty of water or sand onto it, making sure the coals are fully covered.
- Do not place a disposable barbecue in a rubbish bin until it has cooled down properly.
More safety advice is available on Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service's fire safety pages
Cornwall’s under 18 conception rate has continued to fall and, according to data released today by the Office for National Statistics, is now, for the first time, less than half the baseline set in 1998 when the National Teenage Pregnancy Strategy began.
The data released today shows Cornwall’s annual conception rate to be 18.2 conceptions per 1000 women aged 15-17, a whopping 54.3% decrease from the 1998 baseline of 39.8 per 1000. This means Cornwall has not only exceeded the national target of a 50% reduction in pregnancy rates, but has also outperformed the average reduction achieved across England and Wales of 40%.
Today’s data release also brings Cornwall’s under 18 conception rate below 20 conceptions per 1000 for the first time and see’s Cornwall performing better than the South West average.
Cornwall Council remains committed to reducing the rate of under-18 conceptions and improving outcomes for young parents and their children through the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy and Action plan. Teenage pregnancy is often associated with negative health outcomes for the mother and child and increased likelihood of them both living in long-term poverty. In addition to this, many teenage conceptions are unintended. Around half result in a termination, an avoidable burden for the young women affected.
Lex Gainsbury, who leads the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy at Cornwall Council said, “Today’s figures are fantastic news and are testament to the hard work of all our services and partners across Cornwall. It demonstrates that sustained effort from committed individuals at every level really makes a difference. We are over the moon to have achieved the national target but it is important that we do not become complacent and face the challenges ahead with the same vigour and enthusiasm as that which has got us this far."
"Evidence shows that the two factors that have the biggest impact on rates are access to young people friendly sexual health services and both formal and informal relationship and sex education, ensuring young people have the skills, knowledge and confidence to make positive choices about their sexual health now and in the future."
“In Cornwall young people can access information and support from a wide range of services including the C-Card condom distribution scheme, pharmacies, their GP, Contraceptive and Sexual Health clinics such as Brook or the Sexual Health Hub in Truro. You can find out about all of these services by visiting the Cornwall SHAC website.”
Louise Sweeney, who also manages the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy, added “we want to do more to ensure we are effectively sharing key messages around relationships and sexual health with the people of Cornwall. Because of this Cornwall Council are currently working with partners throughout sexual health to launch a new initiative entitled TALK Relationships and Sexual Health (RSH). The aim of the initiative is to encourage people across Cornwall to TALK about relationships and Sexual Health and access the support and services they need to do this confidently. You may want to know more about improving your own sexual health, or want support in talking to your own children and young people about relationships, growing up and sexual health, either way TALK relationships is here to help.
“But to make sure we communicate with you in the best possible way, we need your help. TALK RSH has two surveys, one for young people, one for parents and carers. Both surveys are asking for your views around the best way to offer support and communicate with you. The initiative and surveys will be formally launched in the coming weeks."
Councillor Andrew Wallis, the Council’s Lead member for Children and Young People said, "This is really fantastic news and shows how organisation working together for a common goal does produce results and shows what can be achieved. You cannot achieve a 50% conception rate reduction without this cooperation and I would like to thank all those individuals and organisations who have made this possible."
“It is imperative to all people no matter what age or gender to have a positive understanding of sexual health, their bodies and the choices they can make. That is why supporting and enabling good quality, comprehensive relationships and sex education at home and in our schools is a key priority for Cornwall.”
Schools in Cornwall have access to a wide range of support on RSE including Cornwall’s Health Promotion Service, Healthy Schools, Brook Young People and CLEAR’s Healthy Relationships Programme. A new resource available for schools and colleges to use, the Kernow King Sex Tape and Resource which was recently shortlisted for a UK Sexual Health Award.
In addition to support for schools, parents and carers can also get support and training on relationships and sex education, to support them to have conversations with their children, through Speakeasy.
Professionals working with young people are guided by the Relationship and Sexual Health Guidance and can access a free sexual health training programme, all available on Cornwall Council’s website.
Posted on 29 May 2015
Are you planning to visit this year’s Royal Cornwall Show on 4, 5, and 6 June? If so come and visit the Cornwall Council stand where you can find out about the Case for Cornwall as well as information about a range of other Council services.
Each year public spending in Cornwall amounts to about £4.3 billion, however the majority of this spending is either carried out by the Government or by other organisations – with little local choice on how it is spent. We are seeking new powers and freedoms from the Government so we have greater control over the decisions which affect Cornwall.
We want local residents to help shape the final proposals to submit to the Government in July and are currently holding a series of public consultation events to give people the chance to find out more and have their say.
One of these events is taking place at the Royal Cornwall Show where Council Leader John Pollard and other members of the Council’s Cabinet will be at the Council Pavilion on Stand 92 to provide information about the Case for Cornwall and answer any questions.
You will also have the opportunity to give us your views on the future of libraries and one stop shops and have the chance to find out more about our adoption and fostering services.
There will also be displays from our Road Safety team, with advice on how to stay safe on our roads; information from our Communities and Devolution team on how we are working with local communities and partners, and advice on how to protect your home from flooding.
You will also be able to learn some simple Cornish phrases from the Cornish Language Partnership, visit a display of electric vehicles, and talk to officers from our Building Control service.
So why not come along and join us on stand 92 and find out what Cornwall Council is doing for you.
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