The culmination of a lengthy investigation by Cornwall Council’s Public Protection and Business Support services Animal Health Team supported by the local Animal and Plant Health Agency was finally reached in Truro Magistrates Court today (20 March 2015).
Paul and Thomas Collins of Trenoweth Farm, Gweek were sentenced to 4 months in prison, suspended for 2 years; a 100 hours community service order and were banned from keeping pigs, cattle and sheep for the rest of their lives, this was suspended for 10 weeks to allow the brothers to dispose of their animals. Both brothers were also ordered to pay £12,000 each in costs. The brothers were given until December to pay these costs in full.
The Magistrates Court Trial began on the 21 January 2015 and after several adjournments concluded on 20 March 2015. Evidence was heard from the Council’s Animal Health Inspectors as well as vets from the Animal and Plant Health Agency. The defendants pleaded not-guilty and showed no remorse for their actions. They were convicted of 16 charges under the animal welfare act.
In November 2012, Thomas James and Paul Anthony Collins, of Trenoweth Farm, Gweek were investigated for offences of fraud relating to TB reactors. A farm visit in relation to those offences uncovered appalling conditions on the farm. Since 2012 the farm has been visited over 12 times. At each visit further offences were discovered.
Severely lame cows were not treated for over 2 months; 3 cows that had collapsed were not given veterinary treatment, food or water and pigs were kept in a swamp with little food and no dry lying area, they had only mud to sleep on. Two of these pigs had also been starved to the point that the bones of their spines and ribs could be seen.
Over the course of the investigation several animals were put to sleep to prevent any further suffering.
The Judge said the Collins brothers had rejected advice and warnings and, in Thomas Collins case, in the most vehement of terms. The farm had systemic failures to identify and treat animals that required treatment. He found the lameness in the cows had developed over many days and had caused suffering for several days. The Judge felt that Thomas James Collins’ claim that the case was malicious and trumped up was not supportable and that the prosecution case was persistently compelling.
Cornwall Council cabinet member for communities Geoff Brown said “The Public Protection and Business Support Service will always strive to assist Cornish businesses, including farms. However, when a case of serious neglect such as this is discovered they will take appropriate action. The Collins brothers have shown total disregard for the most basic of needs of animal in their care. This was not an isolated incident but involved numerous charges and I find it unacceptable that in this day and age people are unable to give outdoor pigs a warm, dry straw bed; treat injured animals and to ensure that animals have sufficient feed to prevent emaciation.”
Animal cruelty - first image: Emaciated cow
Animal cruelty - second image: Emaciated pig
Posted on 20 March 2015
The new European investment programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is poised to get underway following agreement with the European Union.
The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Cornwall Council and the Council of the Isles of Scilly have been working together with the UK Government to finalise negotiations.
The LEP said it was hopeful that the first ‘calls’ for EU-funded projects would be made in a matter of days.
The new programme, through which some £500 million of funding will be available from now until 2020, will be called the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Programme.
LEP Chairman Chris Pomfret said: “The LEP and its partners, including Cornwall Council and the Council of the Isles of Scilly, have been working hard behind the scenes to finalise these negotiations and get our programme moving, so this is very good news.
“Together we have secured significant commitments in shaping how the money will be spent, including the creation of a single investment programme that helps us pull together different funding streams for maximum impact.
“We also have the freedom to develop a locally tailored programme of business support through the creation of our own Growth Hub, which will ensure that access to EU funds and projects by local businesses is as simple as we can make it.”
Mr Pomfret said as a result of the negotiations, and its status as a Less Developed Region, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly would be the only region in England able to access specific EU funds for transport infrastructure including road and rail investments, and support for green and low carbon projects.
And the Government had promised to work with the LEP and local authorities to fast-track community-led investment projects.
He added: “Although we and most other LEPs have not ended up with the level of local control and decision making that was initially promised by the UK Government, we and our partners have secured the best deal we could and the focus now has got to be on spending the money to create jobs and boost our economy.”
Julian German, cabinet member for economy and culture at Cornwall Council, which has played a pivotal role in the negotiations, said: "Whilst we are disappointed that we have not been offered a greater level of local control over our EU funding we are pleased that it will start to flow in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Local involvement is key to delivering an effective programme to address the systemic economic issues that Cornwall faces. We will continue to support partners in ensuring that our local voice is heard as we move into delivering investments for the region."
Amanda Martin, Chairman of the Council of the Isles of Scilly, said: “The Islands have benefited greatly from European funding and we look forward to working with partners so our businesses can benefit from these prospective investments.”
Toby Parkins, President of Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, added: “The business community will be breathing a sigh of relief that we’ve finally got our EU Growth Programme over the line. What’s important now is that they are kept fully informed about how they can access and benefit from this funding as projects come on stream later this year.”
The next step will see the Government publish the first round of ‘calls’ for the delivery of the first EU-funded projects in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Investment priorities include support for business, new workspace and skills development.
Further information and any announcements on calls will be available on the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Programme website.
Posted on 19 March 2015
To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2015, Cornwall Learning Education Business Partnership organised a “Have a Go” day for Torpoint Community College on Thursday 12 March where local employers provided ‘tasters’ – bite sized opportunities to try out work-based skills. Year 9 students found out about careers and the pathways to a dream job – including further education and apprenticeships.
Have a Go activities included how to windsurf with a simulator with the South West Lakes Trust, discovering bushcraft with Survival Wisdom and learning how to code with Bluefruit Software. Also offering”Have a Go” activities were: NatWest Bank, Cornwall College Hair and Beauty, the Army and Springboard South West.
“The ‘Have a Go’ day at Torpoint Community College was a fantastic opportunity for students to learn about the world of work and it raised the profile of skills, vocational training and apprenticeships for young people.” said Kate Whetter, Education Projects Manager at Cornwall Learning Education Business Partnership.
“Today’s ‘Have a Go’ day was great fun and our students really enjoyed the activities. As a school we really appreciated the fact that employers are willing to give up their time to give students a taste of such a variety of careers. Helping students make informed decisions about their future is about the most important role schools and employers can play. Our students really benefitted from the experience and especially in this part in Cornwall, students often find it hard to know what is out there for them.” Said Becky Lear Assistant Head.
Matthew Dodkins of Bluefruit Software said “These ‘Have a Go’ sessions are a perfect way of sharing the skills we look for in employees with students. They give students the chance to try programming activities which are close to the ‘real world’, bridging the employment/education gap.
“For Springboard, it is extremely important for our hospitality partners to take part in ‘Have a Go’ days, to ensure students are made aware of the industry and the fantastic range of employment options within it” said Ele Porritt Cornwall Programme manager for Springboard South West.
Story posted on 19 March 2015
Stephen McCann of Pitt Lane, St Columb Major, Cornwall pleaded guilty at Truro Crown Court on 16 March 2015 to three offences relating to shoddy building work, overcharging and failure to give cancellation notices to two elderly female customers in a case investigated by Cornwall Trading Standards.
McCann was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment for each offence, suspended for a period of 18 months, to run concurrently and a 2 month curfew to run from 7pm until 7am daily. He was also ordered to pay £1,140.66 compensation to one of his victims and £4,000 costs.
McCann, who also goes by the name of Jones, was at the time of this offending subject to a three year Conditional Discharge from the courts relating to similar offences committed in July 2012, also investigated by Trading Standards.
Trading Standards were first alerted to these new offences following a call by one of McCann’s victims. Door to door enquiries in the vicinity unearthed further offending at a neighbouring property. McCann had failed to issue both customers with written cancellation rights for the work carried out. McCann had also completed the work to a very poor standard, according to a report by a chartered building surveyor, who quoted that rectification work was required to the tune of £1140.66.
McCann was sentenced by Judge Carr for three offences, two under the Fraud Act 2006 for failing to disclose information required under the Cancellation of Contracts made in a Consumer’s Home or place of Work etc Regulations 2008, and one offence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 for failing to meet the requirements of professional diligence, relating to poor quality workmanship in the field of property maintenance.
Nigel Strick Fair Trading Team Manager for Cornwall Trading Standards said: “The persistent nature of this traders offending has been a concern to Trading Standards. We hope that this sentence will convince the trader to mend their ways, proving that crime does not pay.”
Story posted on 18 March 2015
Pathways to Health – largest interactive careers event takes place in the Knowledge Spa at Royal Cornwall Hospital
On Friday 6 March, 300 young people from schools and colleges in Cornwall visited The Knowledge Spa in Truro to take part in the county’s health care careers event for young people. Organised by Cornwall Learning’s Education Business Partnership in partnership The Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust and Plymouth University, EBP South West and Truro-Penwith College, Pathways to Health was aimed at 14-19 year olds considering a career in medicine, healthcare, engineering or IT and the allied health professions at technical or professional level.
Students had the chance to explore the latest revolutionary technologies used in health and medicine through interactive workshops and stands, guided by health professionals and employers.
Workshops included Operating Department Practice, a simulated ward as well as a Royal Society of Chemistry workshop. They visited interactive stands staffed by health professionals, scientists and technologists representing Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, Plymouth University and other healthcare organisations and industry representatives. Student ambassadors from Plymouth University enabled the smooth running of the day. The wide range of stands offered information on everything from Medical Physics to Optometry. Students even had the chance to discover the contents of an ambulance and their purpose courtesy of the South West Ambulance Foundation Trust.
“The event definitely had the WOW Factor” said Kate Whetter, Education Projects Manager at Cornwall Learning Education Business Partnership. “We were able to showcase some of the most exciting advances in healthcare science and technology here in Cornwall and open young people’s eyes to the opportunities the future holds”
Nick Macklin, Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development at Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust said: “We are delighted to support this event and help inspire young people to pursue a career in healthcare. We employ over 5000 people in a wide range of roles and this event during National Careers Week is a great way to showcase the opportunities and innovative services right here in Cornwall.”
Robyn Clark, Outreach Events Team Leader, Plymouth University said: “Plymouth University is committed to training the healthcare professionals of the future and this was a great event to highlight the range of opportunities open to graduates”
‘Truro and Penwith College is delighted to support this event. STEM provision at our college is based upon a foundation of strong subject development, improving the skills and outcomes of learners. Students will benefit from the cutting edge technologies demonstrated at this event to make informed choices in their work, their future careers and further study.’ Said Paul Britton STEM coordinator at Truro and Penwith College.
Charlotte Molyneux from EBP-SW said ‘We were thrilled to be part of this exciting event providing the opportunity for students from across the region to gain insight into the wide range of exciting careers within the healthcare industry’
Exhibitors included :
- Optometry, Psychology, Human Movement and Function Laboratory - Plymouth University Faculty of Health and Human Sciences –Optometry and Psychology
- Plymouth University School of Medicine and Dentistry – dentistry
- Plymouth University School of Nursing and Midwifery – simulated ward
- Cornwall Mobility Centre, Midwifery, Volunteer Services, Medical Physics, Speech and Language Therapy – all from Royal Cornwall Hospital
- Cornwall Stroke Service,
- Public Health and Protection, Care Ambassadors,– Cornwall Council
- South West Ambulance Foundation Trust
- Exeter European Centre for Environment and Human Health
- The University of St Mark and St John
- Royal Society of Chemistry
- Army Careers
The event was attended by Penrice Academy, Cornwall College – Camborne, Mullion Comprehensive, Wadebridge School, Bodmin College, Sir James Smith's Community School, Callington Community College 6th Form, Camborne Science and Int'l Academy, Penair School, Mounts Bay Academy, Truro- Penwith College, Fowey River Academy and Truro High.
Story posted 16 March 2015
A group of parents will be celebrating their achievements in completing an innovative course run by Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service’s Phoenix Project at a presentation event at St Austell Community Fire Station on Friday 13 March.
The course, which was developed by Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) aims to provide support and training to parents. The course was funded by ESF (Economic Social Fund) and is one of the three pilot courses which will be running over the next few months.
All participants were given the opportunity to gain an APT Entry level 3 qualification together with the HeartStart accreditation in emergency life support techniques. The group also took part in a range of fire service activities to promote teamwork, communication skills and raise confidence.
Throughout the course participants get the opportunity to learn and develop transferable skills through participating in fire and rescue service drills and activities. These skills can then be taken forward to help the individuals to identify future employment, training or voluntary opportunities.
CFRS Acting Chief Fire Officer Paul Walker said: “I am encouraged to see how Phoenix team has been able to use the work and reputation of the fire and rescue service to help this group of people develop useful new skills.”
Geoff Brown, Cornwall Council cabinet member for communities said: “These courses are an excellent example of how we can really make a difference to the lives of individuals. I am delighted to celebrate the people who have embraced this opportunity to learn from the best.”
Story posted 13 March
The Leader of Cornwall Council John Pollard and Jeremy Rowe, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Localism, met with representatives of the Cornwall for Change group at County Hall on Monday, 9 March.
Speaking after the meeting Council Leader John Pollard said “I am pleased to have the opportunity to meet with representatives of Cornwall for Change. This was a friendly and positive meeting which gave everyone the opportunity to outline some of the issues they have. We have listened carefully to a number of concerns and hope that everyone will now work together to try and address them.
“We need to work with all our town and parish councils to ensure that we continue to provide vital services for the people of Cornwall. We are very happy to work with Cornwall for Change and other local and community groups to achieve this”.
“We have presented a dossier of issues and questions raised by Town and Parish Councils across Cornwall” says Paul Dyer, Chairman of Cornwall for Change “and are delighted that both John Pollard and Jeremy Rowe are giving these their full attention. The topics range from housing and planning, through to capital and waste projects (raised by Cornwall Waste Forum), arms-length companies and serious pollution incidents, so we don’t expect everything to be solved at once. However, we look forward to our next scheduled meeting and hope that this promising beginning will materialize into a positive change for Cornwall.”
Further discussions will be held over the coming months.
Story posted on 12 March 2015
Cornwall Council has welcomed today’s announcement from the Chancellor for the Exchequer of funding for a brand new fleet of Intercity trains.
During his Budget speech to Parliament, George Osborne MP announced funding for the new trains to cover the Penzance to London Paddington route.
Replacing the current 40-year old high speed train stock, the new Intercity vehicles will lead to faster and more reliable services for Cornwall and the West and reduce journey times.
Combined with last year’s announcement of £146.6m of improvements to the railway network in Cornwall, today’s news paves the way for transformation of rail travel in Cornwall, said Councillor Bert Biscoe, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for Transport.
Cllr Biscoe added: “Cornwall owes much of its modern identity and economic structure to the railway and, as the realities of climate change become increasingly clear, that relationship is set to evolve in ways which are both essential and exciting. We have worked hard with the Government, Network Rail and the franchisee, First Great Western, to develop a modern railway which connects us strategically and services our local communities.
“The commitment to new intercity trains is excellent news coming on top of the £145m investment in resignalling the mainline to enable us to run a half-hourly shuttle by day and, hopefully, freight by night, to maintain engines and to operate a competitive night sleeper. These are all long-term investments which will affect the immediate future and render Cornwall resilient and positive as the environmental going gets tough.”
Chris Pomfret, chairman of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This is fantastic news for our rail network. Connectivity is critical to our business community and these new trains will enhance the reliability and comfort of rail travel in our region, building on the significant investment we have secured in upgrading mainline signalling and the sleeper service to Penzance. It means we will finally have a railway that is fit for the 21st century.”
Safer Cornwall and Devon and Cornwall Police are once again giving the public the opportunity to ‘Have your say’ through a joint survey to measure how safe people feel living in Cornwall, and to identify the issues that concern them most.
The survey results will be compared with last year’s results and the knowledge gained will be included in the strategic assessment of community safety issues that Safer Cornwall undertakes annually. The Safer Cornwall Strategic Assessment provides a profile of crime and disorder in Cornwall, identifies high-risk people and places, considers future threats and opportunities and the actions that Safer Cornwall and partners are taking to tackle the issues identified.
Members of the public are being encouraged to take part in the survey which is being conducted by Police staff throughout March. The survey only takes a couple of minutes, and you can find it online or paper copies of the survey are available by calling 0300 1234 232
Story posted 06 March 2015
Members of the public are being invited to find out the latest news about the A30 between Temple and Higher Carblake dual carriageway scheme during an exhibition being held at Blisland Village Hall on Monday 23 March.
Taking place between 2pm and 6pm, the exhibition will include drawings of the £56m scheme, featuring information on the construction process, new road layout and junctions. Officers from Cornwall Council, the Highways Agency and contractors Kier Construction will also be on hand to answer questions about the scheme.
The works, which are being led by Cornwall Council in partnership with the Department for Transport and the Highways Agency, are expected to take 19 months to complete, with two lanes open in each direction ready for the school holiday period in summer 2016.
In December 2014 the Government published its Road Investment Strategy. This included a commitment to dual the Carland Cross to Chiverton Cross section of the A30 in Cornwall.
As the first step in assessing potential route options the Highways Agency and Cornwall Council would like to engage with the public to capture the key issues that the Highways Agency will need to consider when developing a new set of proposals for this section of road.
During the events, members of the public will also have an opportunity to learn more about how the scheme will be taken forward.
Drop in sessions will take place on:
- Monday 23 March – Hawkins Arms, Zelah (between 10am and 8pm)
- Tuesday 24 March – Trispen Methodist Chapel (between 10am and 8pm)
- Wednesday 25 March – Starbucks, Chiverton Cross (between 8am and 6pm)
Highways Agency South West Director Andrew Page-Dove said: “Cornwall Council is a key partner and we are delighted to be working with them on these public engagement events and will continue to seek the council’s input as the process continues.
“We have already learnt a lot by working closely with Cornwall Council as they deliver the A30 Temple to Higher Carblake scheme and we wish to continue this collaboration as we deliver the next improvement scheme on the A30.
“We are holding these events to introduce ourselves to the local community, explain what we are planning to do to deliver the commitment in the Roads Investment Strategy, and get initial feedback from the public.”
With the A30 providing the main link in to the county for businesses in Cornwall and hundreds of thousands of motorists each year, the Council wants to ensure that the final scheme is one that works for the majority of residents.
Bert Biscoe, Cornwall Council cabinet member for Transport, said: “Things have moved on since the last scheme was drawn up with increased traffic flows, development and visitors. We want to ensure that the new plans provide Cornwall with an improved road network that is fit for purpose now and in the future.
"This scheme is very important to Cornwall and we will do all we can to support the Agency in developing and delivering improvements to this section of the A30. We are very keen that we take this opportunity to engage with the public and draw out the issues that will need to be considered by the Highways Agency when new proposals are being developed”.
If you are not able to attend the sessions you can still have your say by completing the online questionnaire which can be found on our website pages dedicated to the the A30 Chiverton Cross to Carland Cross improvements. People living along or near the main route will also receive a letter and leaflet about the scheme in the post shortly.
The closing date for comments on this first phase of public engagement is Friday 8 May 2015.
Story posted 17 March 2015
New replacement timetables are available on our website www.cornwall.gov.uk/buses or from the bus operators own websites:
The Council’s Passenger Transport team has been working with the bus industry to arrange alternative services to those that were provided formerly by Western Greyhound.
First, Plymouth City Bus and Stagecoach bus companies are running replacement services; Bodmin Group Travel is running a replacement service for the Liskeard School run until the end of the academic year.
It is hoped that, for the main part, disruption to the general public will be kept to a minimum.
Former Western Greyhound buses will still be running but they will not be operated by Western Greyhound.
All Real Time Passenger Information signs (RTPI) have been switched off to avoid confusion while the service timetables are being updated.
Story posted on 16 March 2015
The news of continued support from the government for the Cornish language, which will provide £150,000 support for the next financial year, has been welcomed by the Cornish Language Partnership, led by Cornwall Council.
‘This is good news, which will allow work on the further development and promotion of the Cornish language’, said Partnership Chair Cllr Julian German. ‘We put forward a case for continued government support which explained the importance of the language to Cornish distinctiveness and therefore to the people and the economy of Cornwall. I am pleased that the government has recognised this and responded positively despite the current difficult economic climate and the forthcoming election. We are disappointed that the funding settlement is for one year only, as we expend much time and effort on securing the funding rather than promoting and developing the language. We hope to work positively with the new government in due course towards an effective longer term plan which will allow for a greater degree of strategic planning’
Cornwall Council has already pledged continued support for the work. The Council has hosted MAGA, the Cornish Language Partnership, which is responsible for promoting the language and works across education, community and the public and private sectors, for the past few years.
Interest in Cornish is strong and the language is being used by more businesses than ever before. We are glad that we will be able to respond to this demand with continued support and development.
After ten years of the current strategy, which was the first for Cornish, the Cornish Language Partnership is currently evaluating how the programme of work is being delivered in order to ensure that we have the best model in place to take us forward.
Story posted on 13 March 2015
The Council’s Private Water Supplies Team (PWS) has won the prestigious Local Government Chronical Team of the Year award. Every year the LGC awards celebrate excellence in public sector services and the team overcame a record number of entries to receive this high profile award at the award ceremony earlier this week.
The team is responsible for providing water testing and risk assessments to over 4000 private water supplies owned by businesses and home owners.
The team has shown exceptional commitment to improving and transforming their service at a time when the Council is facing difficult financial decisions and have been awarded on the basis of:
- their commitment to learning and change
- becoming a leading example of future service delivery
- innovative ideas for service improvement coming from within the team
This has seen significant improvements across the service, including an increase in the range of services on offer and the number of customers seen each year.
Geoff Brown, Cornwall Council cabinet member for Communities said “This national recognition is a fantastic achievement for this very dedicated small team and demonstrates our commitment to delivering a great service to the community despite recent funding constraints.”
Allan Hampshire, Cornwall Council’s Head of Public Protection and Business Support said “This is fantastic news and I am extremely proud of the Private Water Supplies Team and their achievement. The team have worked really hard and this accolade is a credit to the work they do, ensuring private water supplies in Cornwall are safe for consumers”
The LGC judges commented “This is a small team who have successfully moved from under-performing to being forward looking, business focused and motivated in a short space of time. In a challenging financial and geographical context, the team have worked together to create opportunities developing a self-funding model on the back of new legislation. They demonstrated a strong commitment to sharing learning and expertise and to further developing skills and qualifications of those in the team. The team have demonstrated impressive income growth and have clear ambitions for further growth.”
The photo above shows: From left - Sarah Calkin, News Editor, LGC (award presenter), Private Water Supplies Team - Amanda Knight, Martin Gregory, Jen Graham and Sue Perkins (awards host)
The Ship Inn in Looe has become the latest business in Cornwall to sign up for the Council’s Community Toilet Scheme, making their facilities open to members of the public without the need to make a purchase.
Under the Cornwall Community Toilet Scheme local businesses like hotels, pubs, restaurants and shops are being encouraged to work with the Council to make more clean, safe and accessible toilets available to the public.
Members of the public can use the toilet facilities during opening hours without having to make a purchase. Businesses have the right to refuse entry in exceptional circumstances. Participating businesses display a sticker in their window to indicate which facilities are available, this includes wheelchair access and baby changing.
Businesses taking part in the scheme will also be promoted on the Visit Cornwall website as well as being linked from the Council’s website. Signage and branding will also be provided.
“I am delighted that The Ship Inn has signed up to our Community Toilet Scheme,” said Councillor Edwina Hannaford, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for Environment, Heritage and Planning. “The Ship Inn has demonstrated their community spirit by helping to increase toilet provision in the town, which can be under pressure during peak times.
“Community toilet schemes run in other areas of the country have had benefits for local businesses, not only increasing visitors to their own establishments, but also to their local area.”
“We love welcoming visitors to Looe so it’s great to be part of the this scheme and open our facilities to the local community and visitors to our town” said Fergal Bolger, Landlord of the Ship Inn.”
The photo shows Fergal Bolger, Landlord of the Ship Inn and Edwina Hannaford, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for Environment, Heritage and Planning launching the Community Toilet Scheme for the Ship Inn.
Story posted on 12 March
On Friday 6 March 2015, landlord, Mr Hadi Tolui, 69, of 23 Lytton Road, Leytonstone, London E11 1JO was successfully prosecuted at Bodmin Magistrates Court.
Tolui had previously pleaded not guilty to the offence of failing to comply with an Improvement Notice served on his property in Camborne, under Section 11 of the Housing Act 2014. Tolui entered a late guilty plea resulting in a Conditional Discharge for two years and was ordered to pay costs of £2,500 to Cornwall Council with a £15 victim surcharge.
Following a complaint from the tenant, and subsequent inspection of the property, a category one hazard was identified for excess cold as the property was found not to have adequate fixed heating. Tolui failed to resolve these issues and an Improvement Notice was served on 11 December 2013, requiring works to be carried out to the property by 11 March 2014. Tolui appealed this notice claiming amongst other things that he did not have the funds to do the work. The appeal was dismissed, although the Tribunal did allow additional time for the works to be completed. A visit undertaken on 13 August 2014 identified that the notice had not been complied with. The works were subsequently completed on 24 October 2014 and this notice has now been revoked.
Tolui also accepted a simple caution for a second offence. This caution included an undertaking to complete the works within 56 days (1 May 2015). This offence related to non-compliance with an Improvement Notice served under Section 11 of the Housing Act 2004. The hazard identified in this case was for personal hygiene, sanitation and drainage. The only toilet within the property regularly became blocked and overflowed into the property, a camera survey had shown that the pipe work underground was defective and needed replacing. The bath to the property had no hot water leaving the elderly tenant either to fill a jug with hot water from the wash hand basin or boil the kettle down stairs and carry up the hot water from the kitchen.
Joyce Duffin, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Environment said,
“A number of landlords still do not fully understand their legal obligations when it comes to ensuring the health, safety and welfare of their tenants. The Council makes every effort to work with landlords but those who plead ignorance or fail in their obligations will be subject to enforcement action by private Sector Housing.
The Council is committed to supporting landlords with compliance with their legal requirement and is working in partnership with local and national landlord and lettings agent associations to develop the Cornwall Responsible Landlords Scheme and the Private Rental Standard for Cornwall. The scheme will help good and improving landlords understand and comply with what can often be perceived as complex legislation”
Zoe Storer, Senior Environmental Health Officer with Cornwall Council who investigated this case said “Well maintained private rented accommodation makes a vital contribution to the housing market in Cornwall. In this case maintenance and management had not been undertaken leaving a vulnerable tenant at risk. All landlords have a duty to ensure that their properties meet minimum safety standards. Landlords who do not fulfil this duty will be subject to enforcement action and prosecution if they do not comply”.
The work undertaken by officers of Private Sector Housing means that action is taken quickly to ensure tenants do not have to live in properties where hazards are present. Our joint Enforcement Policy with Planning Enforcement and Building Control ensures that there is no undue delay in taking the necessary action to remove hazards which could put the tenant at risk. The policy can be viewed on our Private Sector Housing page.
Landlords or property agents who wish to know more about their legal obligations are encouraged to express their interest in the ‘Responsible Landlords Scheme’ by making contact with the private sector housing team. For more information and to express an interest in the scheme email: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Cornwall Responsible Landlord Scheme Lead Officer on 01872 224543.
2015 sees Cornwall at the heart of the Lorient Interceltic festival in August, but one part of the festival will come to Falmouth!
The Celtikup yacht race is organised each year in conjunction with the festival but as the Lorient festival this year celebrates the Year of Cornwall and the Isle of Man, it is hoped to make the event better than ever.
A delegation from the Brittany, including the President of the Lorient Festival M. Guy Gestin, is visiting Cornwall on Friday 13 March and Saturday 14 March to discuss the arrangements for the event with representatives of the yachting community and launch this year’s event.
Members of the press are invited to join the delegation at the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club at 2.00pm on Friday to hear more about the event.
Leaving Lorient on 1 August the boats will arrive in Falmouth on 4August to a reception from the town and the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club.
All Cornish boats are invited to join the open race back to Lorient, leaving Falmouth on 6August and arriving in the midst of the first celebratory weekend in Lorient where the crews will be warmly welcomed to the big Cornish pavilion and the spectacle of the festival.
Rear Commodore Sailing of the Royal Yacht Club Falmouth Roger Hollingsworth said: “This is a wonderful event continuing the historic ties between Brittany and Cornwall. We are delighted to be invited to be part of it. It promises to be a wonderful sailing event”.
Julian German, Chair of the Steering Group for the Year of Cornwall in Lorient said “Our intention is not only to showcase Cornwall at the festival but also ensure that people in Cornwall can also join in the celebration. The Celtikup is a real chance for Falmouth to take part. I hope Cornish boats will be keen to join in the return race and can assure them of a warm welcome at the other end!”
Story posted on 12 March 2015
Cornwall Council and business leaders have welcome the introduction of free WiFi on board First Great Western Intercity and Night Riviera Sleeper rail services.
The launch of the free WiFi service comes as FGW released the findings of a recent survey which found rail passengers spend an average of half an hour working on board each day.
“It is fantastic news that the Intercity and Night Riviera Sleeper services now feature free WiFi,” said Councillor Julian German, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for Economy and Culture. “Improving connectivity is a fantastic incentive for business users who will be able to work while on board. This, combined with the recent confirmation that the Council has secured funding to roll out free WiFi across the Cornish rail network, will hopefully encourage more people to use the rail network, which in turn will help to secure these services into the future.”
Chris Pomfret, chairman of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Connectivity on the move is hugely important to business so the completion of the free WiFi rollout will be warmly welcomed because it will significantly improve productivity for all passengers. It also complements the multi-million pound Growth Deal investment secured by the LEP and our partners to upgrade the sleeper service.”
Kim Conchie, Chief Executive of Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, said: “Cornwall Chamber of Commerce is delighted that First Great Western trainsfrom Cornwall will include free WiFi. We know the journey takes a long time - such is the price we pay for living in the most beautiful part of the UK - but if every business traveller and, indeed, all passengers can use the time on the train effectively and enjoyably it will make the journey a far more usable part of the day.”
Ann Vandermeulen, development manager for the Federation of Small Businesses in Cornwall said: “We certainly agree that a free WiFi service on trains is of great benefit to business and we welcome moves to increase the provision. In our recent study into the requirements that our members have to improve infrastructure for Cornwall, many stated that the deciding reason for them to use the train is if they know that they can work while they travel. Being able to do this certainly cuts down on “dead travel time” and aids productivity.
“An easy to access, stable and secure system is vital to maximise the work that can be done while on the move. Indeed our members would like high quality, free WiFi to be a standard facility on all services.”
Story posted on 12 March 2015
Trading Standards is issuing a warning to Cornwall residents following a series of reports of roadside sales of electrical goods and knives.
The products are being sold from unmarked vehicles, predominantly around farms and industrial estates, by itinerant traders.
They include generators, chainsaws, hedge cutters and ceramic knives.
Leanne McLean, Lead Officer for Doorstep Crime in Cornwall said: “We would urge residents to only buy goods from reputable suppliers. Electrical products are required to be thoroughly tested before being placed on the market to ensure safety. The danger with buying from itinerant traders on your doorstep or in the street is that you do not know where the products have come from or if they are safe. If you injured yourself or something went wrong with the product you would be very unlikely to find the trader to remedy the situation.”
Reports indicate that the items have been sold in Liskeard, St Austell and Truro.
Anyone with any information should contact Trading Standards on 03454 040506.
For further advice or to make a complaint contact Citizens Advice via their contact Citizens Advice via their website or call 08454 04 05 06
Story posted 12 March 2015
Cornwall’s Together for Families partnership has been praised for its work in turning around the lives of almost 1,000 families with the most complex needs over the last three years.
The aim of the three year national “Troubled Families” programme, which was launched by Prime Minister David Cameron in March 2012, is to support local organisations which are working with families identified as having the most complex needs. Under the programme key workers from a range of services work with families to identify the support they need to address their problems and then help them to access a package of both mainstream and specialist support.
Local partnerships can apply for up to £4,000 of funding from the Department of Communities and Local Government for each family they successfully support to change their behaviour to benefit them and their families. This funding is allocated in two phases - an up front fee and a “payments by results” part which is dependent on providing evidence of positive achievements. Families who meet the criteria for the programme are offered additional support from a range of partner agencies from across the area.
Speaking to MPs Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said that 105,671 complex families across England had benefited from the support provided by local authority teams by February, putting the programme firmly on track to achieve the Prime Minister’s goal of turning around 120,000 by the end of the parliament.
“The Troubled Families programme has been a triumph and I am proud that we will deliver the Prime Minister’s ambition to turn around the lives 120,000 of this country’s hardest to help families” said Mr Pickles. “It has worked because it has been bold and unafraid of getting tough with those who need it most. It has also provided a long-term solution by tackling the root causes of the very complex problems these families face. This innovative approach has not only saved the taxpayer over a billion pounds but had life changing results for the families involved by giving them a hand up when they needed it most.”
Following the introduction of the Government’s Troubled Families programme in April 2012, Cornwall Council has worked with partners to help 975 families to get back on track.
This includes :
- Improving school attendance and reducing exclusion rates *
- reducing anti social behaviour and youth offending **
- Supporting people back into work or onto a work programme
Head of the Government’s Troubled Families programme Louise Casey CB said: “Behind these figures are real people from 975 Cornish families whose lives have changed for the better. Families with an average of nine serious problems each were never going to be easy to turn around, so all credit to the council and other services who have committed to this programme, the frontline staff in the county who have given their all to these families and most of all to the families who have had the courage to change and given themselves and their children a better chance in life than they had before.”
Cornwall’s partnership, which includes Cornwall Council, Devon and Cornwall Police, Health commissioners, Probation, the Drug and Alcohol Action Team, Education Welfare, Youth Offending team, Careers South West and representatives of the voluntary and community sector (including Action for Children and Addaction), was set up in 2012 following the launch of the Government’s Troubled Families programme.
“The Together for Families programme is about providing tailored support to families who really need it” said Charlotte Hill, Chair of the Cornwall “Together for Families” partnership. “The aim is to encourage all services to take a whole family approach, with intensive family support being provided to families with the most complex issues. The programme is also exploring what families need from services that will support them best.”
“The success of the programme in Cornwall means we have been able to work with local services to make the changes that are required to provide timely and efficient support for those families with the most complex needs.“
Andrew Wallis, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Young People, said “Working with the families directly enables the partner agencies to help overcome the difficulties the families face. The results of this programme shows that tackling the issues as a family unit helps achieve real positive outcomes.”
Following Cornwall’s success in achieving positive outcomes for over 75% of eligible families, Cornwall will now progress to the second phase of the programme which runs from 2015 to 2020.
The new programme will build on the achievements of the first phase, with the target of supporting an additional 4,050 families in Cornwall over the next five years(689 in 2015/16).
This will mean continuing to work with key partners in Police, Health, Education and Employment to identify and engage eligible families and working with communities and voluntary sector partners to get people into work , improve school attendance and attainment, reduce crime and antisocial behaviour and tackle health issues including drug and alcohol dependency.
“The new programme provides an opportunity for partner organisations to work closer together to support communities and families in Cornwall and to become better and smarter at how we deliver services” said Andrew Wallis. “This will enable us to meet the needs of these families at the same time as saving money across the public sector.
“To achieve this within reduced levels of funding we will need to engage with families and support them to address a range of complex issues at the same time as getting services to think and work differently with families”.
Story posted 10 March 2015
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