HAYLE could be a step closer to having a community-run harbour after the council backed the takeover bid by a community interest group.
Hayle Harbour Trust has been supported by Cornwall Council to take on the running of the harbour and land from current owners ING Real Estate Developments.
As part of a continuing consultation, ING has been speaking with community groups, Cornwall Council and local residents to decide which organisation will take on the assets.
Options include a council-run port, a community group or private enterprise.
In 2011 council officers put forward a draft paper which included an option of converting Hayle from a privately-owned to a municipal port.
However, last week the council confirmed it would not be pursuing an option to incorporate Hayle in its portfolio of municipal ports.
But the council said it would offer advice and assistance if it was to be converted to a community interest company or a trust port.
In a letter to Hayle Harbour Trust, Peter Marsh, Cornwall Council corporate director of environment, said: "Given the current economic climate and uncertainty around local government finances it would not be prudent for the council to take on the management of the harbour.
"I offer the support of Cornwall Council to the Hayle Harbour Trust's community interest company approach."
The trust, which was set up in 2010 and given registered charity status in 2012, includes many trustees who have harbour-related experience and wish to run the harbour for the benefit of the community.
Trust chairman and former Hayle mayor, John Bennett, was pleased to have the council's backing.
He said: "Taking on the management of the harbour, which has suffered many years of neglect and damage (under Rosshill and Carruthers ownership), is a daunting task. Having the support of Cornwall Council will be vital for a successful outcome."
Local MPs George Eustice and Andrew George have shown support for the trust to take over the harbour, as have Councillors John Pollard and John Coombe, for Hayle.
The handover of assets has not been decided by the owners at this stage and ING confirmed it would now press ahead with plans to continue the consultation programme with local residents and stakeholders that would now not include the municipal port option.
Gary Cartmell, ING Hayle Harbour's community spokesman, said: "We would like to thank officers for their work on the options paper and we are pleased that the council has confirmed its ability to advise and support the community body that will operate the harbour.
The Cornwall Strategic Planning Committee has asked us to consult within 12 months of starting work on South Quay and this will be accomplished."
THIS time last year the Orchard family were so hard-up that dad Lee received just a can of deodorant and a supermarket jumper for Christmas.
Living in a rented two-bedroom bungalow in St Austell, he and wife Laura were struggling to pay the bills and provide for their children, Riley, 4, and 18-month-old Frankie.
But 2013 is set to be a markedly different experience – thanks to a £1 million lottery scratchcard win.
Instead of a Quorn joint and a few potatoes, the family will be tucking into roast turkey and all the trimmings in their luxurious new four-bedroom home in Indian Queens.
Gardener Lee said: "A year ago I was working in my parents' garden centre, and Laura had been made redundant. She's a beautician and was hoping to take a course in teaching trainees. But we just didn't have the cash for it. We were so stressed – rarely going out. For Christmas, we had to save up for presents for months, putting away little bits when we could.
"Now we're really looking forward to Christmas. We wanted a proper outdoor display of lights, with blow-up snowmen and all that – something the kids will enjoy. We'll have a huge Christmas tree. Our new house is pretty big, so our families are coming over. We'll have a turkey and drinks, and we can go out with our mates."
Lee, 30, was on his way to work at his parents' garden centre at Black Acre Nurseries in St Columb one Thursday morning in March this year when he decided to stop off at the Co-op store in Roche for some bread and milk.
Using a £5 note from a previous win, he also bought a £1 Million Gold National Lottery Scratchcard … and hit the jackpot.
He said: "I went back to the Co-op shaking, and asked them to check it. The woman said, 'you have to contact Camelot. The prize is too big for us to confirm'. So I did. Then I phoned Laura, and said 'I won on a Scratchcard; £1,000'. She said, 'really?' and I said 'no, not really. It's a million'. I couldn't sleep or eat during the time it took to check the win was legitimate."
Lee said the first thing he wanted to do was move back to Indian Queens, where he grew up.
"I really wanted to move back to the place where all my memories were," he said. "When we bought a four-bedroomed house there a couple of months ago, I cried. My son will be able to go to the same school as I did. That means a lot. For his birthday, I bought him a new bike and some clothes. He was gobsmacked.
"And Laura has started her teaching course. It's lovely to see her doing what she wanted to do. She was always trying to better herself and finally it's possible.
"Christmas is about hope and the future, and now we can look forward to our lives rather than being constantly anxious about them."
An interview with Lee is featured in the December issue of Reader's Digest magazine.
THREE Newquay schools have been given permission to find their own contractors to build much-needed classrooms in a move that could save the county thousands of pounds.
St Columb Minor Academy, The Bishops' School and Indian Queens School are three of those in line to receive Targeted Basic Needs (TBN) cash to meet the growing demand for primary school places.
Cornwall Council originally believed it had secured £18.8 million for the expansion programme – but in October was told this had been slashed to £7.8 million.
Newquay MP Stephen Gilbert asked Schools Minister David Laws to allow schools to make the money stretch by choosing their own contractors rather than Cornwall Council's preferred company.
Now Mr Laws has written to all the Cornish schools set to benefit from the funding, and to Cornwall Council, announcing that the Department for Education will permit this, with Cornwall Council remaining "ultimately responsible".
Mr Gilbert said: "I'm glad the minister has today clarified the position of the Department for Education.
"We all want to see school places delivered in areas of greatest need and to see fantastic schools expand. If schools can deliver these places on budget and on time then local government should get out of the way and let them do so."
Andrew Wallis, Cornwall Council Cabinet member for children and young people, said whoever carried out the work, Cornwall Council would remain accountable for the overall quality and safety of the schemes.
"Cornwall Council is committed to delivering the best possible value for money for council taxpayers and has been working with the schools to provide the additional 840 school places needed within the available funding from the Government.
"As previously stated, the council originally bid for sufficient funding to provide 840 new places at 8 schools. The Government awarded the council £7.8 million to deliver these 840 places, in line with its national funding formula.
"The authority is currently carrying out detailed feasibility studies for each of the eight schemes in order to confirm what the potential funding shortfall is likely to be.
"The results of these feasibility studies will be available in January 2014, when further detailed discussions will be held with each of the 8 schools."
Jo Osborne, head of The Bishops' School, said: "At the moment the local authority's undertaking a feasibility study with our school to see if it's possible to expand with the funds that are available.
"We continue to work with the local authority."
CORNISH education leaders, parents, governors and businesspeople have joined forces to launch a strategy aimed at improving educational standards and encouraging pupils to aim higher.
The Raising Aspiration and Achievement Strategy (RAAS) board, chaired by former principal of Cornwall College Dave Linnell, launched its plans at the Royal Cornwall showground in Wadebridge.
The board will include representatives of the worlds of education, business, commerce and enterprise to work with members of the wider community including parents and carers.
The strategy identifies five specific priority areas where more work is needed to improve overall standards.
The scheme will:
aim to raise aspirations
develop "highly effective leadership and governance to provide robust challenges and accountability for standards"
improve the performance of boys from early years through to A-levels
close the gap between the most vulnerable children and their peers, and
ensure school organisation models are fit for purpose.
Three sub-groups will be set up to deliver these goals, emphasising greater engagement of parents and carers in the education of young people; a "targeted approach" to increasing standards and achievements; and effective continuing professional development to identify best practice and offer peer support.
Mr Linnell said it was the first time the sectors involved had joined together in this way and those behind the initiative felt it marked the start of a new era for education in Cornwall.
"All children and young people are entitled to the best possible life chances," he said.
"The aim of the RAAS is to ensure that partners work together to provide the very best education possible for children and young people in Cornwall from pre-school through to A-levels and beyond, into higher education and the world of work."
The strategy has received the unanimous support of Cornwall Council's Cabinet.
Andrew Wallis, Cabinet member for children and young people, said: "We want to ensure that every child and young person in Cornwall has the best possible start in life, and this means providing access to the highest-quality education opportunities and raising the aspirations of both the young people and their families to encourage them to achieve beyond their expected potential."
Cornwall's director of children's services, Trevor Doughty, said he was certain the strategy would achieve its goals.
"I'm pleased and proud to be part of such a strong Cornwall partnership which puts children's and young people's educational success at the heart of all that we do, I know that this work will give all pupils access to better and brighter futures," he said.
THE only school in Penzance still housed in its original Victorian building is planning to expand.
St Mary's Church of England School has occupied the same premises at Redinnick Place since 1896, but head teacher Hilary Tyreman said the time was long overdue for the school to have some more space – particularly outside.
"Nothing has changed here since 1932," she said. "That's lovely, but it does bring in its own restrictions.
"We're quite cramped inside and it does sometimes prevent us providing all the facilities that we'd like to."
Now the school has drawn up proposals to use part of the adjoining Alexandra play park for outside space during term-time and build a new facility in the current playground.
The scheme is now going through Cornwall Council's pre-planning process.
The head and school governors have been in talks with the council, the Diocese of Truro and Colonel Edward Bolitho, who owns the freehold of the play park, about taking on the end section of the park which currently houses the zipwire equipment.
"The play space will be multi-use, with the school using it during school time and with the facility being hopefully available for community groups outside school hours," said Ms Tyreman.
"There's quite a lot of wasted space in the rest of the park where the zipwire could be relocated and I hope our coming in to use part of the park might act as a catalyst for looking at the whole area and seeing if it could be improved."
Ms Tyreman said she was keen to ensure the new facility was used by the whole community, which worked well in other parts of the county, and that the reaction to the plans so far had been positive.
"Colonel Bolitho was happy to consider us using part of the park," she said.
"We then submitted a pre-planning application in September and the response back from Cornwall Council has been very supportive. The town council has also been very receptive."
Having already held two meetings for parents, the school is now leafleting local residents about the plans, which Ms Tyreman said would also help alleviate parking problems in Redinnick Place: "There would be an extra entrance to the school from the prom, beside the amusement arcade, and there's plenty of parking there."
The next stage is to submit a formal planning application in the next few weeks, which will also include plans for a new building. The new facility could be ready for use in the autumn term of 2014 if approval is given.
Last week pupils from St Mary's handed over £1,000 to Roger Jeff, from ShelterBox, from a joint fundraising effort involving the school and St Mary's Church.
Ms Tyreman said: "The school council raised more than £450 by holding a Wear Your Uniform Backwards day for the Philippines disaster.
"One parent then organised a cake sale following the Hope In Darkness service at St Mary's Church which Archbishop Welby attended; that raised nearly £300. St Mary's Church has also collected for the Philippines fund. By putting this together we were able to donate a fantastic total of £1,000 to ShelterBox."