Friday, 23 March 2018

A lovely evening at Rescorla

Thanks to Terry Gosden, Paul Hopewell and Garry Tregidga for providing the wonderful entertainment at tonight's social evening for MK members and supporters at Rescorla,

Thank you also to everyone who battled through the horrible weather to enjoy the evening with us.

I do not support the proposals for planning and housing in "New Frontiers"

This coming Wednesday, amongst other things, Cornwall Council’s Cabinet will be discussing a document entitled “New Frontiers.”

The associated blurb in the report adds that it is a proposition from the Cornwall Leadership Board (which brings together people from across the public sector) and states it is a “proposition to Government that builds on the Cornwall Deal and increases our economic, environmental and social resilience.”

It would be churlish to say that there is not some reasonable stuff in the document, but there is also much content with which I fundamentally disagree.

It is often referred to as “Devo 2” – but there is no proposal for meaningful devolution, as in Wales and Scotland, proposed within its pages. It seems to be about “asks,” “offers” and “policy enablers.”

“New Frontiers” was discussed at a Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday, and I had quite a few things to say.

I raised concerns about democratic legitimacy of the proposals and how the democratically-elected councillors had had little opportunity to be involved with the formulation of what had been drafted.

I queried why there was not one single reference to the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, for example, but focused most of my feedback on matters relating to planning and housing.

The document does not seek the devolution of planning matters but offers to build houses at a faster rate than set out in the Cornwall Local Plan and seeks financial support for developments such as the so-called eco-town / eco-village / garden village near Penwithick – which, as most people will be aware, I opposed for a decade!

The document also seeks the ability to build new settlements in the future.

Those people at the meeting were left under no illusion about my views on the planning aspects of the document – and that it most certainly does not have my support.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Cornwall needs its own National Planning Policy Framework

My article in this week’s Cornish Guardian explores the proposed changes to the UK Government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). It is as follows:

The UK Government recently launched a consultation on a revised version of its National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which dictates how local councils deal with planning matters.

The NPPF has often been described as a “developers’ charter” and the so-called “presumption in favour” of growth has certainly led to much development which has been opposed by local communities.

I am presently working my way through the document and trying to understand the implications of the changes. A briefing from Cornwall Council states that there are over 80 reforms, though “mostly these are minor changes” or clarifications of ministerial statements.

But this includes confirmation that housing targets for council areas will be calculated using a top-down “standard method,” and Cornwall Council has already advised that “the scope for local influence over the target is very small to nil.”

As a local councillor, I was heavily involved in the production of the Cornwall Local Plan. This contains Cornwall’s present housing target, which covers the period 2010-2030, but the process of finalising the target was a charade and local politicians ended up having to agree what was acceptable to the UK Government.

This latest NPPF announcement finally removes the illusion that such important decisions are actually being taken locally. 

In addition, the revised NPPF confirms that an uplift in housing delivery would happen in 2021, from which point it would be expected that 2,900 new properties should be built each year – up from the annual target of 2,625 in the Local Plan.

The tone of the consultation launch was also quite bombastic. The Housing Minister, Sajid Javid, announced that the UK Government would take planning powers away from local councils if they did not meet central government targets for house-building.

He even told a Sunday newspaper that he would be “breathing down” the necks of local authorities and threatened that, instead of councillors, government inspectors could make planning decisions in their areas.

On behalf of MK, I condemned the threat as an “undemocratic outrage.” It will certainly take local planning decisions even further away from local communities, and I do not believe, for one second, that Government officials inside the M25 corridor know what is best for Cornwall and its people.

If remains my view that the people of Cornwall should be making these important decision for ourselves. That means we need a National Assembly of Cornwall, with power over all aspects of planning and housing through a Cornish NPPF which would allow housing and other targets to be agreed locally without interference from Whitehall.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

All invited to an MK social event

The St Austell and Newquay Constituency Party of Mebyon Kernow will be holding a social event on Friday 23rd March at the Rescorla Centre, in Rescorla near Penwithick.

There will be some musical entertainment and a few snacks, plus an opportunity to talk about politics (or something else) with leading members of MK.

All are welcome to attend.

And if you would like to find out more about the Party for Cornwall … why not come along and meet with us on the 23rd!

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Cornish Nation no. 77 … available now!

Mebyon Kernow has just published the latest edition of its Cornish Nation magazine, which is in the process of being sent to MK members.

If you are not already a member and would like a complimentary copy, please get in contact via

Please specify whether you would like a paper or digital copy.

This latest includes information about the Cornish language album from Gwenno Saunders, plus other features on the many people who have also promoted Cornish through song, the efforts of MK members and others in trying to secure a Cornish tickbox on the 2021 census, MK campaigns to protect our public services, a tribute to Richard Gendall, and so much more.