We’ve had a busy first full year at Cornish Stuff – here’s some of the popular and memorable stories that made the headlines this year, from the near 1,000 articles we have published this year.
The discussion of future delivery of Cornwall’s NHS and Health & Social Care Services has been one of the running stories of the year as bosses try to integrate health and social care. The year started with a round of ‘public consultations’ run by NHS communications experts. The first such meeting held at St Johns Hall in Penzance descended into chaos as health campaigners disrupted proceedings and made their feelings clear.
The initial findings of the consultations were subsequently thrown out by Cornwall Council as being ‘not fit for purpose’ and the STP, now rebranded as Shaping Our future had to start over. Despite not delivering a final plan or business case, Shaping our Future will now form the basis of the creation of an Accountable Care System for Cornwall’s NHS.
Capital of Culture bid :
In December 2016 Cornish Stuff exclusively reported that Julian German, at the time Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Culture, wanted to launch a Cornish bid for the European Capital of Culture 2023. At the time the news was welcomed but then in January, with an election looming, Cornwall Conservatives, out of nowhere and catching the administration on the back foot, hooked on to the bid as a demonstration of the LibDem/Independent coalition’s reckless and wasteful spending. Fueling the fire, The Tories ‘called in’ the cabinet’s decision, Rob Nolan, Mayor of Truro claimed he hadn’t been consulted, the City council lukewarmly backed the bid by one vote and the issue was one big hot potato, straight out the pre election pressure cooker. Public opinion had been set. The bid limped on til May, with many bruised egos and was finally put out of it’s misery after the council election when new leader Adam Paynter stopped it on day one in office.
St Austell Murder
Police charged three men in connection with the death of 31-year-old Stephen Bull, whose body was discovered in Truro Road Park just after 5am on Wednesday 11 January 2017.
The victim and his attackers were residents of the nearby homeless shelter, Cosgarne Hall and local MP Steve Double used the incident to continue his calls for the homeless shelter to do more to control it’s residents.
In July, Daniel Altass, 22, pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to 27 years minimum in prison. Joshua Buscombe, 24, was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 19 years minimum and Jordan Bishop, 21, was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to eight years.
6th Form Bus Passes: Owen Winter, Member of UK Youth Parliament from Wadebridge, hit out at Cornwall Council’s decision to axe bus and rail basses for post-16 students. He called the cuts ‘foolish and shortsighted’ and highlighted the effect they might have on students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Devonwall – Despite huge public opposition, several motions at Full Council and a record amount of representations to the Boundary Commission, the plans for a cross Tamar parliamentary seat were confirmed at the end of February just as the Duchy was preparing to celebrate St Piran’s Day.
#1 Ever wanted to own your own lifeboat? We revealed how a lifeboat that used to serve the Isles of Scilly was now up for sale on the other side of the world. What may surprise some readers but for all the politics, this was by far our most popular story of the year!!
Minority report – The Government was heavily criticised by the Council of Europe in the first report into how well the UK was implementing Cornwall’s national minority status, which was granted in 2014. The Opinion Report raised serious concerns over the way in which the UK Government is currently not meeting its legal obligations. The report called for more money for the language, a tick box on the census, no Devonwall and it criticised the BBC.
Cornwall’s University Campus allowed to expand – The strategic planning committee at Cornwall Council narrowly accepted the planning application to expand the university numbers at Tremough from 5000 to 7500. The committee voted 8 -7 with one abstention. University allowed to expand – watch the Mabe councillor let rip at the plans!
Stadium plans announced – The Pirates, Truro City FC & Truro and Penwith College signed a deal to build and jointly occupy a privately funded Stadium for Cornwall at Langarth, Truro.
The new stadium will have capacity for 6,000 spectators
Cornwall geared up for Council elections and the candidates were announced for the snap general election. The Lib Dems were confident of gaining votes in Cornwall and were the first party ever to field a candidate in every ward in the Council elections. When the candidates for the General election were revealed it would mostly be a re-run of the 2015 vote, as 4 out of Cornwall’s 6 constituencies had the same candidates as before. There would be no progressive alliance to gang up on the Tories.
RAM RAID AT PORTHLEVEN JEWELLERS – Thieves caused extensive damage to a Porthleven Jewellery Workshop in a ram raid
Election fever – Political commentators have suggested that the breaking of the PM’s seemingly impregnable pre-election stature and her self inflicted problems that have followed ever since can be traced to a disastrous day’s campaigning in Cornwall. The PM was becoming notoriously awkward with the public and examples of her team’s efforts to keep her away from the electorate and their control freakery were already emerging when they visited Cornwall and decided to exclude all local media from her visit. A Cornwall Live reporter and a photographer were tipped off to her whereabouts but were shut in a small room whilst the PM toured a factory in Helston. The incident was leading the lunchtime headlines around the country before she arrived at Mevagissey, where Steve Double suggested they go to local chippy. The result was one of the year’s iconic photographs, taken by Reuters snapper, Dylan Martinez. From that day on it’s been downhill for Mrs May.
Council Election leads to weeks of negotiations and a new Tory leader – The Cornwall council election results threw up no clear winner and so weeks of shennanigans ensued at County Hall to form the next administration. The Lib Dems were the losers as they had hoped for gains and possibly up to 70 seats out of 123 but ended up with only 37. The Conservatives emerged as the largest single party but fell well short of a majority with 46 councillors. Just as talks were to begin the Cornwall conservatives ousted leader John Keeling and replaced him with Cllr Phil Seeva. They then made an offer to the Independent group which was quickly dismissed as the Indie councillors accused the Tories of heavy handiness. This opened the door for the Lib Dems, the second largest party, to talk to the Independents to form a coalition. Lib Dem Adam Paynter emerged as Council leader and the powerful cabinet of Cornwall Council is now made up of 5 Libs and 5 Inds.
Police & Thieves – Police were hunting a thief with a good taste in music, unfortunately it wasn’t his own. The vinyl was contained in a silver coloured metal box with handwritten dividers. The records, mostly 7″ singles are a mixture of reggae, rock steady, ska, dance hall and dub. Rare vinyl stolen from house in West Cornwall
After a video of Sheryll Murray MP saying she was ““Really pleased we have foodbanks in South East Cornwall” went viral, and the MP had election posters defaced with swastikas, she complained of feeling intimidated and threatened by some of her constituents. Our brilliant new columnist Leah Browning asked Threatened by her constituents? Or a threat to democracy? Who Sheryll is really afraid of?
The General election returned the same 6 Conservative MPs as before. Andrew George came close in West Cornwall but overall the Lib Dem’s vote fell off the proverbial cliff, their anti – Brexit stance appearing to cost them Cornish votes. The Libs were beaten into second place in two constituencies by Corbyn’s Labour who were only 2,000 votes short in Camborne & Redruth. There was nobody more surprised about those results than Cornwall Labour who had actually sent activists away from constituencies here to help out in Plymouth in the last few days of the campaign.
Following the horrific fire at Grenfell Tower, Cornwall responded in the most glorious way with Cornwall Hugs Grenfell and now hundreds of holidays in Cornwall have now been offered free of charge to survivors, their families and to the emergency services. Cornwall Hugs Grenfell – 60 holidays offered so far in 24 hours + one company now offers 50 lodges!
We will continue our review of the year with part 2 tomorrow!