Cornwall Council is encouraging members of the public to have their say on the budget for next year and into the future at a series of public events taking place across Cornwall over the next few weeks.
Earlier this month the Council published its proposals for saving £196m over the next four years. The unprecedented scale of the savings required means that all areas of the Council are affected by the draft 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.
The budget proposals are currently being considered in detail by Members at meetings of the Council’s Portfolio Advisory Committees. The authority will also be holding 19 consultation events across Cornwall during October to find out the views of local residents, businesses and partners on where cuts and savings could be made and to come up with any suggestions for increasing income.
The Cornwall wide budget consultation is being led by Alex Folkes, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, who wants as many people as possible to be involved in helping to shape the Council’s future direction.
“Over the past few months we have looked closely at everything we do to see how we can protect services by becoming more efficient and changing the way the Council is run. We started with the money we spend on ourselves and have already identified more than £30 million of savings through a radical restructure of senior management, reducing the use of consultants and agency staff by 59%, and a local pay agreement with staff. This work is continuing, with further savings due to come from ongoing restructuring and the sale of surplus buildings, but the sheer scale of the savings we need to make means we cannot rely on these actions alone.“
"We are looking to work much more closely with the rest of the public sector and the voluntary and community sector. We will be seeking to integrate our services and to share support functions and buildings wherever possible. But we know that front line services will also be hit and so we have worked with elected members, with partners and with the public to understand where they feel savings can be made and which services should be protected."
“The draft budget proposals include some things which we would want to do regardless of the need to make savings. These include further reducing the number of buildings and working more closely with partners to share costs. Others are savings we would prefer not to have to make and which we know will have a significant impact on the people who use these services. But, faced with the need to save £196m from our budget , we have very little choice.
“However even implementing all these proposals will still leave us with a £6 million shortfall and this figure could rise depending on Government funding decisions. We have already ruled out a number of options as unacceptable in the current circumstances and, rather than have to revisit them in the future, are asking people to come forward with any ideas on areas for savings we might have missed or where we could go further than we are currently suggesting.
The results of the consultation will be fed back to the Cabinet Council’s to consider before the budget is finalised.
Story posted 19 September 2014
The latest stage of the successful ongoing protocol of co-operation between Finistère and Cornwall Councils saw a group of senior politicians and technical experts from Finistère travel to Cornwall to develop further joint working in agriculture and the marine sector.
The group, who spent two days in Cornwall, also discussed ways of building on previous successes and emerging opportunities to bid for transnational European funding in both regions.
The first day saw delegates visiting Mylor Harbour to discuss their plans for the future and explore potential links with the Falmouth Marine School on marine training. They also met with representatives of A&P and the Offshore Renewables Delivery Programme in Falmouth and took in an overview of Cornwall’s future in Offshore Renewables. Members of the group were also guests of the Environmental and Sustainability Institute, the Organic Study Centre of Duchy College, Riviera Produce and the Green Waste Company.
Future joint working in this area will focus on improving quality, productivity and wealth in agriculture in areas such as vegetable production systems, the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and ecosystem services mapping.
The second day involved visits to Lynher Dairies and Trewithen Dairy to enable the group to compare and enhance dairy production methods. Plans are currently being developed to enable Cornish dairy producers to visit Finistère to discuss collaboration in the dairy sector and get an insight into the cooperative model. The two regions also share the same interest for attracting more people into agri-food careers and partners are currently looking at ways of proposing joint solutions to skills development.
The visit ended with a presentation of the benefits of the protocol of cooperation with Finistère at a reception hosted by Cornwall Council which was sponsored by ACT Cornwall and Groupe Ouest.
Since its signature in 2008, the protocol has seen 18 EU cross-border cooperation projects undertaken with partner organisations in Finistère drawing down €25.2 million of funding by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
These investments have involved many sectors and guests at the reception heard from a range of representatives from the maritime, youth, cultural and economic sectors of the benefits experienced in their areas. These included ACT Cornwall and Groupe Ouest for the Any Resemblance Project; Cornwall Marine Network for Channel Marine Academy; Point Europa and Devon & Cornwall Housing for Do It Yourself.
Julian German, Cornwall Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Culture, said “The cooperation between Cornwall and Finistère is a fantastic example of transnational working; these European projects make a great contribution to the competitiveness, performance and sustainability of both our economies”.
“Businesses, research centres, public sector partners and youth, cultural and social organisations from the two regions have shown a great ability to work together for mutual benefit. I look forward to our continued cooperation and providing even greater outcomes for our residents.”
Story posted 19 September 2014
Cuddling a snake, and making friends with a giant owl, face painting, and tackling a climbing wall were just some of the activities enjoyed by 40 families from across Cornwall at the second Family Fun Day organised by Action for Children and Kernow Young Carers service at the Royal Cornwall showground in Wadebridge.
Almost 150 children and young people, aged 3-18, and their families took part in the day, which also included a dance workshop, arts and crafts activities, a, skate ramp and a bouncy castle. Music was provided by Tom James, with entertainment by Swamp Circus and Flava, who also ran the dance workshop, with stalls from Cornwall Food Foundation and the Wave Project . The day was run by staff from the Action for Children team who were joined by local volunteers from the Kernow Young Carers service.
Following a BBQ provided by the Wadebridge Rotary Club, the day ended with a special appearance by the, The Moorlanders Motor Cycle Club who drove in on their motor bikes before presenting a cheque for £1,000 to Action for Children.
The day proved a great success for the families who took part, with one parent saying they ‘really enjoyed the day and felt able to relax and take part’, and another adding ‘it was great having so much space so everyone could enjoy themselves’.
Other parents added “ We had a thoroughly fantastic day, it was so spacious and not too busy for my son “ while another added” This was a lovely day. It was wonderful for the children to be able to run free and be safe .“
Andrew Wallis, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, was one of those taking part in the day’s activities. “Young carers in Cornwall tell us that they value their caring roles and are proud of the contribution they are able to make in their families” he said.
“An event like this enables young carers and the person they care for to have a fun family day. Families must be given support to use the strength within, on all occasions, to promote outcomes for young carers”.
“There is great value placed on the relationships that the children and young people are part of, whether this is in the family, with friends, teachers or project workers” added Trevor Doughty, the Council’s Corporate Director for Education, Health and Social Care.
“In Cornwall it is important that children and young people are supported in situations where they take on caring roles to enjoy positive childhoods where they are able to learn, be safe, achieve, develop friendships and enjoy positive, healthy childhoods just like other children so they can aspire to achieve their full potential”.
Kernow Young Carers service, which is commissioned by Cornwall Council and NHS Kernow, is a highly valued service which is supporting increasing numbers of children and young people. As well as the fun day, there are holiday activities, support in schools, local support groups and some one to one support for those who need it most.
More information about the service is available from the Kernow Young Carers website.
Story posted 19 September 2014
Cornwall Council has confirmed details of the partner organisations who intend to take space in the new Council offices in Bodmin.
Announcing that BT Cornwall and Cornwall Housing were planning to move staff into the new three storey building at the Beacon Technology Park when it opens in 01 May 2015, Alex Folkes, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, said: “Making better use of our buildings is one of the key ways in which we are delivering savings and supporting front line services for people in Cornwall. The development of these new offices not only allows us to move our own staff out of expensive and inefficient buildings around Bodmin, it also enables us to provide space for partner organisations to help them reduce their costs. Being able to bring new jobs to Cornwall is a significant added bonus."
"The Council has faced a lot of misguided criticism from people who believe that investing in order to make savings is the wrong approach. The precise payback period for this new office will depend on the sale prices of the buildings we are leaving, but we believe that we will have covered our costs in four years."
"At the same time we have managed to maintain our commitment to being a council for the whole of Cornwall. We promised that building this office in Bodmin would not mean the Council pulling out of St Austell or Liskeard and today's announcement confirms that we have kept that promise."
The move will see up to 100 staff from BT Cornwall moving to the new offices. Of these, 50 are staff who have previously been based at Threemilestone. The remaining 50 are new jobs which are expected to be recruited over the next year.
Chris Leggett, chief executive of BT Cornwall, said: “It is great to see the progress being made with the building of these new offices. They will play a vital role in the future success of the BT Cornwall partnership. Their state-of-the-art facilities and communications will be essential for a growing, cutting edge organisation such as ours and will help us attract top quality candidates. Cornwall is a great place to do business.”
Cornwall Housing, which currently has staff based in a number of sites across Cornwall, is drawing up plans to reduce costs by locating its administrative staff in Bodmin.
“Cornwall Housing has been involved since the inception of the scheme, having recognised the need to review their office portfolio” said Jane Barlow. “We will be consolidating our various offices into a smaller number of hubs and our plan, which is going to our Board at the end of the month, is to make Bodmin our main base. We will continue to provide local face to face services in the towns served at present.”
Over the past three years the Council has saved £1.2m by reducing the number of offices and buildings it inherited from the previous County and District Councils from 180 to 94. This has involved moving staff into larger, more efficient and cost effective buildings and surrendering expensive leases on rented properties. These efficiencies have helped the Council to protect front line services.
Story posted 15 September 2014
Are you a Blue Badge holder who does not pay road tax? Is your tax disc due to run out before 01 October when the tax disc system is being abolished by the Government? If so please contact the Council urgently to give us your vehicle registration details so we can continue to ensure that you receive your entitlement to free parking in Cornwall Council run car parks.
If your tax disc is due to run out later in the year or early in 2015 please contact us about two weeks before it expires to give us your vehicle details.
Please remember that only Blue Badge holders who pay no road tax are entitled to free parking in Cornwall Council run car parks. All other Blue Badge holders must pay to park, but are entitled to one hour’s additional parking free.
Earlier this year the Government announced changes to the vehicle taxation system which means there will no longer be a legal requirement for any vehicle to display a tax disc. Although the new legislation comes into force on 1 October, the Government has only recently advised that local authorities must make their own arrangements.
The Council is currently considering its new policy and, after consultation, will introduce the policy in April 2015. In the meantime the arrangements outlined above will apply.
This means that up to two weeks before their tax disc expires, Blue Badge nil tax disc holders should contact the Council’s Parking Service to give details of their vehicle’s make and model and their registration number. This can be done either by e mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to Parking Services, PO Box 664, TR1 9DH.
The Council’s Parking Enforcement Officers will then be able to recognise eligible vehicles using their hand held computers. Anyone who is entitled to free parking and finds themselves being issued with a penalty charge notice should follow the instructions on the reverse of the Penalty Charge Notice providing the PCN number and explaining that they do not pay road tax. The parking service will then verify this and cancel any undeserved charges.
“The Council has had to act quickly to get an interim scheme in place“ said Bert Biscoe, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Waste. “Many Members have been contacted by concerned residents about this issue and I am glad to be able to announce details of the interim scheme today.”
“Please don’t forget to continue to display your nil tax disc while it is valid or to contact the parking service a fortnight before it is due to run out to give us your vehicle details so they can be registered. I am, however, anxious to make sure that our staff are not inundated, hence the “phased” approach. “
Story posted 18 September 2014
With less than 24 hours to go before the results of the Scottish referendum are revealed, Cornwall Council is preparing its case to be given greater powers to raise and spend its own money in the way it wants.
Whatever the decision of people in Scotland on Friday morning, the authority is calling on the Government to give Cornwall more freedom to manage its own affairs.
“Over the past few weeks we have seen the Government offer sweeping new powers to Scotland” said Cornwall Council Leader John Pollard. “At the same time Ministers are doing deals with cities to give them more powers. We want the same freedoms for Cornwall .
“Not only are we a distinct region with a single Local Enterprise Partnership and a single health commissioner covering Cornwall, we were recently granted National Minority Framework Status because of our unique culture and heritage.
“Last month we successfully persuaded the Government to let us decide how to spend the funding we receive from Europe and we now want to build on this success to see more powers transferred from Whitehall to County Hall.”
Adding that transferring powers to the Council would not create an additional layer of bureaucracy, Mr Pollard said that the authority wanted to have a sensible discussion with the Government over how any new system would work.
“We don’t want to see the “cities” system imposed on Cornwall – this is not a case of a single devolution model fits all. We know that Cornwall is unique and we need to ensure that we work with the Government to create a model which is right for us”.
The Council is currently developing a new Strategy which sets out the authority’s aim to create a sustainable Cornwall, which is prosperous, resilient and resourceful with strong communities where the most vulnerable are protected .
“One of the key aims of the Strategy is to create an “Ambitious Cornwall” which has more local control over Government spending” said John Pollard. “This is echoed in the Strategic Economic Plan which was recently published by the Local Enterprise Partnership. We don’t want the way we spend our money and deliver services to people in Cornwall to be dictated by the Government – we want to make our own decisions”.
“Cornwall has a proud history of standing up and fighting for what it believes in and we are determined to take advantage of this moment and shape our own destiny. “
Story posted 18 September 2014
For the fourth consecutive year, Cornwall Council’s Dog Welfare and Enforcement team has been awarded a RSPCA Gold Community Animal Welfare Footprint Award for the high quality way in which the Council handles stray dogs.
The accolade recognises that Council Cornwall has put in place clear procedures to deal with stray dogs including the treatment and welfare of dogs whilst in the Council’s care, re-homing policies, and proactive action to reduce stray dog numbers whilst providing a cost effective service.
Each year Cornwall Council’s Dog Welfare and Enforcement Officers deals with dog welfare issues, noise complaints in relation to dog barking and dog fouling complaints. It also deals with approximately 1200 stray dogs and works with a number of re-homing charities to rehome around 150 unclaimed stray dogs each year. An up to date list of stray dogs that have been found is now also available on the Council’s website.
Cornwall Council Community Protection Manager, Lynn Cartersays: “Allowing your dog to roam puts it at risk of injury or causing injury to other animals or people as well as causing a nuisance by fouling whilst unaccompanied. Our Dog Welfare and Enforcement team routinely deal with dogs straying in public areas, and will pick up any unaccompanied dog in order to minimise the problems they cause.
It is vital that dog owners are responsible for their dogs and keep them under proper control as well as having a collar/ID – this is a legal requirement and also means they can be reunited more quickly if they do escape.
Any dog that is dealt with as a stray incurs expense to the owner including a release fee and kennelling charge as well as an additional charge if your dog is found out of hours – all of which must be paid before any dog is released.
Having your dog tagged and micro chipped means you can be reunited as quickly as possible and minimises charges. I am delighted that the hard work that the officers carry out has been recognised for the fourth year in a row”.
From 2016 it will be a legal requirement that all dogs are micro-chipped. The Council is offering totally free micro-chipping for all dogs until March 2015. If you would like to arrange a free chip, please call us on 0300 1234 212.
Geoff Brown, Cornwall Council Cabinet member for Homes and Communities said: “I am delighted that the team has been recognised for the high standards of their animal welfare. In these financially challenging times it is good to know that we are still able to provide a high quality service. Dog owners can assist the team in their work by ensuring that their pets are kept safe, are tagged and micro chipped and by picking up after them and depositing waste in a suitable bin”.
Anyone finding a stray dog is required to inform the Council or if you wish to report a problem relating to dogs such as fouling, please contact the Dog Welfare and Enforcement Service on 0300 1234 212.
Story posted 17 September 2014
A man from Bugle has received an eight week custodial sentence, suspended for eighteen months in respect of a Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit fraud totalling £20,597.01 which spanned almost ten years and two separate Local Authorities.
Roy Rickards (65) of Carnsmerry, Bugle pleaded guilty at Truro Magistrates Court on Tuesday 09 September 2014 to nine counts of benefit fraud.
Mr Rickards was also ordered to pay the full costs of £832.15 to the Council for their time in investigating the case and bringing the matter before the Courts. In addition, he was also ordered to pay a Victim Surcharge of £80.
Cornwall Council led the prosecution against Mr Rickards and included charges in respect of The Vale of White Horse District Council. Mr Rickards pleaded guilty to seven counts of dishonestly making false statements to the Vale of White Horse District Council in failing to disclose receipt of an Occupational Pension and a bank account to which the pension was paid into. He also pleaded guilty to a further two counts of dishonestly making false statements to Cornwall Council in failing to disclose receipt of an Occupational Pension and a bank account to which the pension was paid into.
Cornwall Council established initially that the claim submitted by Mr Rickards in June 2010 was in fact false as he had failed to report receipt of an Occupational Pension and a bank account that this pension was being paid into. A further check confirmed that Mr Rickards had moved down to Cornwall from Oxfordshire and a check with the Vale of White Horse District Council established that Mr Rickards had claimed with them in 2004 and had not disclosed the pension or the bank account, importantly it was established that the pension had in fact been in payment since 2001.
Cornwall Council and the Vale of White Horse District Council worked jointly in ensuring that all the matters with regard to each Council’s respective claims were dealt with collectively. This collaborative working ensured an effective and efficient investigation was conducted with a swift conclusion being reached.
The overpaid benefits are being recovered from Mr Rickards by both Cornwall Council and The Vale of White Horse District Council separately from this Court action.
Cornwall Council operates a ‘zero tolerance’ policy to fraud and corruption. If you suspect fraud is occurring we would be happy to talk to you on our confidential fraud hotline. Call us on freephone 0800 7316125.
Story posted 10 September 2014
Cornwall Council has confirmed that development expected to include a new supermarket and cinema adjoining Carn Brea Leisure Centre will not now proceed.
The Council’s Cabinet originally agreed in November 2013 to go ahead with the sale of part of the Carn Brea site to release funds to refurbish the leisure centre. The sale price would also have paid for the re-location of the running track from the site to Redruth School.
This decision was dependent on a sale to the appointed developer, Salmon Harvester properties. In turn, Salmon Harvester based their bid on securing a supermarket tenant for its scheme.
ASDA had been in negotiation with Salmon Harvester but has recently reviewed their strategy in common with many other supermarkets and have now confirmed that they no longer wish to proceed. This now makes the sale unviable.
Alex Folkes, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, said “We have seen several other examples of supermarkets changing their strategies recently, and unfortunately the Carn Brea site is no different. We will continue to monitor the market and whilst not expectant of an early solution the Council will continue to support ideas that help a trust with further investment in the area ”.
Rorie Henderson, from Salmon Harvester, said: “We recognise that now ASDA are no longer able to proceed we cannot provide the capital receipt that the Council and Leisure Trust require to facilitate the refurbishment and relocation of the running track. This is disappointing but we retain interest in the site and may return with fresh proposals if the market alters in the future”.
Colin Rowe, Chairman of Carn Brea Leisure Centre Trust, said: “The Trustees are naturally disappointed that after so much time and effort from those involved, this exciting opportunity for the Camborne, Pool, Illogan and Redruth community will not be delivered at this stage. Although this particular scheme will not go ahead, we look forward to working with Cornwall Council to explore alternative development options going forwards. In the meantime, it is very much business as usual at Carn Brea Leisure Centre.”
Story posted 16 September 2014
Cornwall Health Promotion Service, Peninsula Community Health, Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust, Volunteer Cornwall, and Cornwall Sports Partnership have teamed up with a number of other providers to put on a free day of beach activities for people with learning disabilities.
This year is the 5th Big Beach Day event and took place on Friday 5 September when over 100 people came along to Fistral Beach, Newquay. The theme was Hawaii so everyone was asked to go along in their brightest beach shirts or grass skirt.
There was a range of beach activities such as surfing with the Wave Project, beach olympics and a beach litter-pick.
There was also Arts for Health activities on the beach, a wellbeing tent, keyword signing sessions, plus a healthy barbeque and cocktails supported by Soul Food Café and Sanjay Kumar, Chef at Newquay’s Headland Hotel.
The Rhiannon Morris awards were presented at the Big Beach Day this year. The awards recognises outstanding work in promoting healthy lifestyles for people with learning disabilities and is in memory of Rhiannon Morris who was a member of the CHAMPs Team who sadly passed away in 2012. The winners were
The day was co-facilitated by the Cornwall Health And Making Partnerships (CHAMPs) Team. The CHAMPs team consists of eight people with learning disabilities and/or autistic spectrum conditions who are employed by Cornwall Council to raise awareness of the needs of people with learning disabilities.
Toni Reynolds, Health Promotion Liaison for Learning Disabilities, said:‘This year looks to be our best year yet. We had lots of different activities for people no matter their ability or experience with a number of people making use of the beach wheelchairs to access the beach and participate in the activities as well. We hope this event will show even more people how to get the most out of the beach.’
Anthony Dunn, CHAMPs Team member, added:‘The Big Beach Day is about getting people with learning disabilities on the beach to get them healthy and active. We need to do this because lots of people with learning disabilities have worse health than other people.’
Sam Edwards, liaison nurse from Peninsula Community Health, commented:
‘I'm really excited that this event has gone from strength to strength. People are always asking when is the next Big Beach Day. So, I'm pleased that this year we are able to welcome new partner organisations to help run the event and provide even more activities. The impact that these experiences can have on people's confidence is plain to see. Last year, we had a young man in his 20's with profound disabilities who'd lived in Cornwall all his life and this was the first time he'd ever been able to access the beach.’
Councillor Jim McKenna, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Care, explained: ‘Big Beach Day has really grown over the last five years and I am grateful that so many individuals and organisations are willing to give their time and expertise. With their help, we are able to give more people with learning disabilities the chance to enjoy new experiences that many of us take for granted.’
More information is available on the Cornwall Health Promotion Service website.
Story posted 08 September 2014
Maga is celebrating this week as its translation service completes 5000 pieces of work!
The hardworking translators who provide this service for Maga have undertaken translations on a wide variety of subjects from personal milestones, such as births, weddings, congratulations and inscriptions to reports, product names, speeches and house names. The team also have a large number of tattoos to their credit! Many of the most frequent phrases requested can now be found in the “Basic phrasebook” which is one of the most popular pages on the MAGA website.
The demand for new translations continues to grow, with monthly totals higher this year than last. More and more businesses are finding that using Cornish is useful to them and you will now find business cards, signs, products and business names in Cornish, thanks to the translation service.
The MAGA translation team have been hard at work since 2006. The service is free up to forty words while larger translations carry a modest charge. Translations can be ordered on line, but there is always someone at the office who can talk through what is required if that is helpful. If you intend to use your translation in speech then an audio file can be sent to help you get it just right.
If you want to add a bit of Cornish to your day, see MAGA’s basic phrase book, or get a translation, visit the website at www.magakernow.org.
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.
Changes to Cornwall Homechoice, the common housing register for Cornwall and the Council’s housing allocation scheme for letting council and housing association homes in Cornwall, have been agreed by the Council’s Cabinet.
A formal consultation which took place earlier this year with stakeholders including tenants, Registered Providers, Age UK, Disability Cornwall and CAB received more than 2,600 responses.
Cornwall Council cabinet member for homes and communities Geoff Brown said: “Delivering homes to meet the needs of local people is a key priority for the Council. We have had a great response to the consultation and we have taken on board the views expressed.
We want to tighten up our allocations policy to try and meet the urgent need of our communities and the changes agreed today will assist Cornwall Council and Cornwall Housing Ltd to better manage the housing waiting list and ensure that homes are allocated fairly to those in greatest need.
The new policy will require a 3 year local connection on all council owned and controlled properties and I am particularly keen to see the local connection criteria extended to at least five years. One of the recommendations passed today asks for further work to be carried out on the Council’s planning policy so that the five year connection can be applied across the board on new homes.”
The main changes to the housing register include
To allow these changes to Cornwall Homechoice to be applied to all existing as well as new applicants, access to the Register will be limited for up to 6 months although applications will still be considered and accepted from certain groups who may be in urgent housing need.
When applicants register with Cornwall Homechoice, their housing need is assessed and they are given details of their priority banding, eligible date, and the type and size of property they can apply for. They can then bid for vacant properties advertised by partner landlords.
On Tuesday 9 September, following a two day court case, Mr Brian Gray and Mrs Sheila Gray of Venton Vision Farm, Burthallen Lane, St Ives, were prosecuted under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
The couple initially appeared in front of Truro Magistrates in January 2013 to answer summonses relating to the straying of llamas and the dangerous hazards on their farm, for which they pleaded not guilty. Following a two day trial, the Magistrates found them guilty, they were ordered to pay costs and received a conditional discharge for twelve months.
Within days of the above order offences were being reported by residents living close to Venton Vision farm. On 1 April 2013, DEFRA veterinary officer Lorna Stevenson and Local Authority Animal Health Inspector Richard Dack inspected the farm.
On 9 September 2014 at Truro magistrates Court, Mr and Mrs Gray pleaded guilty to three representative charges:
The Magistrates after hearing evidence from the prosecution and defence gave their findings.
Using powers contained in the Animal Welfare Act 2006 the Magistrates disqualified the Grays from keeping farm animals including Llamas for 5 years, a penalty of £165 + £20 victim surcharge was recorded against each of the Grays and full cost of £1300 awarded to Cornwall Council.
Portfolio Holder for Homes and Communities, Geof Brown said:
"This is clear evidence that CC take animal welfare very seriously and whilst initially assisting people with suitable advice will not hesitate to take action to protect animals when necessary.
Throughout September the Safer Cornwall Partnership in conjunction with Cornwall Council Licensing Compliance and members of the taxi trade are working together to highlight the dangers of using illegal unlicensed ‘taxis’.
The campaign team will be attending student events at Saltash, Falmouth, Newquay, Stoke Climsland and Penryn, handing out leaflets and offering advice to young people.
Cornwall Council Licensing Compliance Manager Bob Mears said: “Through social media such as Twitter and Facebook, car owners are increasingly offering taxi services but without the necessary licence for themselves or Hackney Carriage or Private Hire licences.”
Steve Rowell Community Safety officer for West Cornwall said: “It is very important that we highlight the dangers of using unlicensed vehicles and drivers. The licensed drivers in particular go through very stringent scrutiny before they get their licence in terms of a group 2 medical and full CRB check.
If there is any doubt about their fitness to hold a licence they are required to appear before a Miscellaneous Licensing Committee who will examine the information placed before them to determine whether the applicant is a fit and proper person to hold such a licence.
There have been a number of cases in other parts of the country where unlicensed taxi drivers have been involved in nasty incidents including rape, assault and theft, which highlight the importance of ensuring that taxi drivers are suitably vetted through the licensing system.”
Bob Mears, Licensing Compliance Manager added, “All licensed vehicles are subject to serious scrutiny. Apart from an annual MOT, those vehicles over three years old are required to have an interim MOT every 6 months, and are subject to joint agency inspections by the police, licensing and VOSA. Many of the unlicensed vehicles are not fit for purpose; are unroadworthy and are not covered by suitable insurance in the event of an accident.”
Cornwall Council cabinet member for homes and communities Geoff Brown said: “Both the Council and our professional taxi operators take their responsibility to deliver a safe service to the public very seriously and I would encourage everyone to make sure that they use a licensed vehicle when they require a taxi.”
The team will also be promoting alcohol awareness at these events and distributing leaflets and posters through local PubWatch and taxi forums.
If you require any information regarding either licensed taxis or obtaining a drivers or vehicle licence please contact Cornwall Council Licensing Service on 0300 1234.
Story posted 09 September 2014
Smokers across the South West are being encouraged to take the Stoptober Challenge and quit smoking for 28 days this October.
The campaign, which runs throughout October is asking smokers to think about stopping now, to sign up to quit for 28 days on October 1st and receive support direct to their inbox or mobile to help them succeed.
Fiona Andrews, Director of Smokefree South West, said: “We know that most smokers – two thirds – want to quit. There are now millions more ex-smokers in the UK than those still smoking, and we also know there are some practical tools that help turn that decision to go smokefree into real success. According to a recent survey, 4 in 10 smokers have taken steps to quit in the last year. Stoptober is a fantastic campaign because it draws in friends, family and work colleagues to get behind smokers, gives them a real focus, and crucially, the support they will need to quit for good.”
Cllr Jim McKenna, Cornwall Council's cabinet member for Health and Adult Care, said: "Quitting smoking isn't easy, but there's a lot of support out there if you're ready to give it a go. By taking the 28 day Stoptober challenge you’re five times more likely to stay smokefree, so please take that important first step - sign up today and get in touch with our Stop Smoking Service who will help you get through it and make a really positive change.”
This is the third year of Stoptober, which is run nationally by Public Health England. The 28-day target is based on research that says that if you can stop smoking for 28 days you are five times more likely to stay quit. Last year, 18,775 smokers in the South West signed up for Stoptober and nationally 65% of those who took part succeeded in staying quit for the 28 days.
This year’s Stoptober campaign is using comedy to engage smokers and help them through their 28 day smokefree challenge, and stay quit for good. Smoking may be deadly serious but stopping can give a powerful sense of achievement and personal success.
By signing up to Stoptober, smokers are provided with a detailed 28-day step-by-step programme to support them in their smokefree attempt. To find out more, and to join the biggest stop smoking challenge of its kind, search ‘Stoptober’ online.
The benefits of quitting are well known, but smokers who have quit the habit know that while it can be hard to overcome the cravings, the pay-off is certainly worth it and after just 28 days smokers will start to feel the financial, physical and health benefits, including better sense of taste and smell and a reduced risk of lung cancer and heart disease.
With the launch of Stoptober, the 28 day quit challenge just around the corner, 66 year old Geoff, a singer from Saltash is urging other smokers to follow his success, and quit for good.
Geoff Taylor, a singer, first tried smoking when he was 13 years old and was smoking up to 30 cigarettes a day from the age of 16. He stopped in his thirties but relapsed, so this time he asked Cornwall Stop Smoking Service to help him quit for good.
“I went to see Sharon, the Stop Smoking Adviser. At first we tried nicotine replacement patches but I just smoked with them. Sharon was very supportive and we tried different nicotine replacement options until we found what worked for me.”
Geoff decided to quit when he realised he wanted to see his grandson turn 21.
“I knew the way I was smoking I wouldn’t stay fit for another ten years. I was so addicted to roll-ups I was waking at 3am to roll a cigarette. I had friends suffering from smoking-related diseases which affected their breathing.”
He had also been offered a new job and was concerned smoking would affect his ability to work.
“I am a singer so I need power in my lungs; smoking was reducing my lung capacity and making me out of breath. If I hadn’t stopped smoking I wouldn’t have this job.”
Geoff would encourage anyone thinking of quitting this Stoptober to take that next step and use the free help available.
“In the end it was the inhalator that helped me, being able to use the white stick got me through the first few weeks. I used it with the nicotine capsules and then cut down on those and after a month didn’t need it at all. Sharon helped me identify my triggers and come up with ways round these difficult situations without a cigarette. I couldn’t have done it without Sharon counselling and encouraging me.”
“For those thinking of stopping smoking I would say to take all the help you can get.”
If you want to quit this Stoptober, sign up online to the 28 day quit challenge. For advice and support along the way contact the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Stop Smoking Service on 01209 215666 or email email@example.com.
Story posted 09 September 2014
Public Health England has announced compelling new estimates for how standardised packaging could bring strong public health and economic benefits.
The Government consultation on introducing plain, standardised packaging for tobacco products ended on 07 August. However, evidence from Australia already shows what can be achieved. They have seen an impressive 15 per cent decline in the rate of smoking between 2010 and 2013, with a 3.4 per cent fall in tobacco sales by volume in the first year.
If that fall in sales were to be mirrored in Cornwall, Public Health England predicts that total savings would be approximately £5.5 million (£5,566,976). These statistics estimate the potential savings to smokers through spending less on cigarettes, with a potential knock-on benefit for local businesses, as people would have more money to spend elsewhere. Smoking also impacts directly on adult social care, with recent estimates by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) suggesting this costs Cornwall Council £8.2million each year in care costs.
The introduction of standard packs would also be likely to decrease the number of children in the South West starting to smoke. Attractive packaging is a key reason why young people are tempted to try smoking, which can lead to a lifetime addiction.
Stuart Bourne, Cornwall’s Acting Director of Public Health, said: ‘It is widely known that smoking costs lives - in fact one in every two smokers will lose their life to this lethal habit. Tobacco remains the only consumer product which kills when used as intended. The figures for lives lost are startling and hopefully, in addition to the clear health risks, this will both encourage existing smokers to quit and prevent new people starting to smoke.’
Jim McKenna, Cornwall Council Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Care, added: ‘We are pleased that the possibility of standard tobacco packaging is a step closer. Anything which helps people in Cornwall to think again about the risks and makes smoking less attractive will help them to be better off – not just with their health, but financially too.’
Find out more about how to kick the habit in Cornwall from the Stop Smoking Service. They offer FREE help and support to anyone who wants to stop smoking. You can call them on 01209 215666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Story posted 08 September 2014
Cornwall Council has confirmed that from Monday 22 September, the bus service between Callington and Tavistock will transfer from Western Greyhound Ltd to Plymouth Citybus Ltd. The Council is grateful to Western Greyhound for co-operating and ensuring a smooth transition to the new service.
The new service has been revised slightly to give better efficiency. Provision will be restored to housing estates on the north of Callington and journey time between the two mains towns of Callington and Tavistock has also been reduced. Journeys through Harrowbarrow and Metherall will return to the pre June 2014 frequency level of two-hourly. The Cothele area will be served by a dial-a-ride service provided by Darren’s Taxis of Callington.
Peter Oliver, Commercial Manager of Plymouth Citybus Ltd, said “Plymouth Citybus is delighted to be once again operating the service between Callington and Tavistock under the service number 79/A.
“The new timetable maintains a number of important links within Callington and an hourly service between Callington and Tavistock, with journeys now able to accommodate a number of the school movements between the two towns. The new timetable will be available on the Plymouth Citybus website early next week, with leaflets available a few days later. These leaflets will be distributed to a number of shops along the route.
“Fares will be revised, with an increase of between 10p - 20p compared to the fares charged pre June. Passengers will, however, be able to access the range of season tickets available on mobile phone and the internet, with tickets up to 7 days duration also available from the driver. These season tickets will also be valid for use on our Service 42 and 11 which operate from Tavistock to Plymouth with most services calling via Derriford Hospital. We also have services that operate to Okehampton from Tavistock.
“Our goal is to operate a high quality and reliable service.“
The dial-a-ride service is available from Monday 22 September; it will be pre-bookable and will serve a number of communities on the route.
Shopping journeys will be available on Mondays to Fridays from St Dominick, Ashton, Rilla Mill, Golberdon, South Hill and Maders and surrounding areas. On Monday, Wednesday and Fridays, journeys will be available for Chilsworthy, Latchley, Luckett and Cox Park to Callington. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, a service will be offered from St Dominick Park and Cothele linking to Gunnislake Station and Callington.
Bookings for the dial-a-ride service need to be made by 1700 on the day before travel by calling 07861 303101.
Local Cornwall Councillor Andrew Long said: "I would like to thank the staff at Cornwall Council who have worked very hard to ensure we can have a new contract on this route. The reinstatement of the services to the housing estates in the north of the town are very welcome."
Story posted 08 September 2014
Small manufacturing companies in Cornwall are still able to apply for a “break” from paying business rates as part of a Cornwall Council scheme, which aims to help companies grow and take on more staff.
Under the Micro Business Incentive scheme, micro manufacturing businesses receive a “grant” of up to £5,000 to offset the costs of paying business rates. The £100,000 scheme funded by Cornwall Council is being delivered by Cornwall Development Company working with the South West Manufacturing Advisory Service (SWMAS).
A variety of businesses from the manufacturing sector have already benefited from the MBI Scheme. Suresense Technologies Ltd in Perranporth, who provide energy saving solutions to industry throughout the world, has recruited two sales and administrator roles following a successful application.
Ian Hambly, CEO of Suresense Technologies Ltd, said “I heard about the MBI scheme through Martyn Pearson at SWMAS, who has been instrumental in enabling us to build on the success we have experienced in our first two years. I was thrilled when Suresense was successful in our application, particularly as we are a start-up business. The process was simple and straightforward, something I was not expecting, and I would encourage other businesses to look into applying for the scheme.”
Another company benefitting from the Scheme is Bugle based Gripsure (UK) Ltd, who manufacture and sell non slip timber decking throughout the UK.
Gripsure (UK) Ltd Director Mike Nicholson said “By taking advantage of the funding through MBI we have been able to employ a new business development role, which focuses on generating sales within our current UK customer base for our new product - Gripsure Aquadeck. This in turn will boost our profile in the market and ultimately increase production and profitability.”
The pilot scheme is open to manufacturing businesses in Cornwall which employ fewer than 10 people and have an annual turnover of less than EUR 2 million (approx. £1.65m). As a result of the grant, businesses must employ a new member of staff for a minimum of six months for at least 25 hours a week, and demonstrate how this will link to business improvement. Preference will be given to businesses paying people above the average Cornish wage.
The scheme follows changes in legislation which give local authorities more influence on business rate policy, with Cornwall Council seeking new ways to support local business and the use of local workspace.
Alex Folkes, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, said: “Cornwall Council is determined to support the growth of small businesses. These firms are the backbone of our local economy and are some of the biggest innovators. This scheme helps them to grow and helps boost jobs in the manufacturing sector. Even as we face tough budget pressures, we are keen to do what we can to help small businesses succeed”
Businesses have until Friday 3 October to apply for the grant. Details of the application process are available from Cornwall Development Company.
Story posted 05 September 2014
With summer drawing to a close, Chimney Fire Safety Week (9 –15 September) provides a timely reminder to make sure that your chimney or multi fuel appliance flue is ready for the winter months ahead.
Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service attended 247 incidents through 2013/14 which involved a chimney or flue.
As part of the national Fire Kills campaign, CFRS is urging householders to ensure their chimney and multi fuel stoves (such as wood burners) are safe and to have their chimney swept or their flue serviced by a registered chimney sweep.
Open fires and multi fuel stoves not only warm up a home, but also create a unique relaxing ambience. With the numbers of people using open fires growing, CFRS has provided some top tips for safer chimneys.
CFRS Crew Manager Mark Pratten explains: “With the colder, winter months looming, people will begin to start using multi fuel stoves such as wood burners, open fires and their chimneys again. In order to keep you and your family safe from fire and potential carbon monoxide poisoning, you need to take necessary steps such as ensuring your chimney or flue is swept regularly, depending upon what fuel you burn and I would urge all householders to have a working smoke and carbon monoxide alarm installed correctly in their home.”
CFRS recommend the following simple maintenance routines:
Mark adds: “Latest statistics show that there are approximately 7,000 chimney fires a year in England, but most chimney fires are preventable.
“All chimneys and flue-ways should be cleaned and checked during the summer months to ensure they’re free from debris and in full working order before the heating season. A blocked or defective chimney can cause both chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisonings so it’s very important to employ a professional qualified chimney sweep.”
To find a certified chimney sweep, or for more information on chimney fire safety, please visit:
Story posted 05 September 2014