We’ve had a busy first full year at Cornish Stuff – here’s some of the popular and memorable stories that made the headlines in the second half of the year, from the near 1,000 articles we have published.
Alison Hernandez -Back in June Devon & Cornwall Police Commissioner Alison Hernandez hit national headlines again when she suggested to the BBC Cornwall Laurence Reed show that gun licence holders in rural areas could be used to fight a terrorist attack. “Devon and Cornwall has one of the highest levels of firearms licence holders in the country. We have 50,000 – that’s how many guns we’ve got around. We’re a highly armed community” she said. The Police were quick to distance themselves from any idea of vigilantes roaming the countryside. “Under no circumstances would we want members of the public to arm themselves with firearms, not least because officers responding would not know who the offenders were, and quite obviously they would not have the time to ask” a quickly issued statement on the same day said. Ms Hernandez said that her quotes had been taken out of context. The conversation is transcribed here:
Queen’s Speech – Of most importance to Cornwall in a pared down Queen’s Speech were mention of Farming & Fishing Bills to replace EU quotas. There was also a Space Industry Bill will introduce new powers to permit launches from British soil. Cornwall is a leading contender to win the UK spaceport contract – the LEP is leading a bid to create Spaceport Cornwall at Cornwall Airport Newquay as part of the Aerohub Enterprise Zone, which now includes Goonhilly Earth Station.
In July, an ingenious DIY traffic solution caused a row in Porthleven. The Harbour & Dock Company, owners of the land had painted some fake double yellow lines on the road outside the Harbour Inn to deter tourists from parking there. Local Councillor Andrew Wallis says it has just ended in more chaos. The harbour master said they had asked Highways to do it but got fed up waiting. “So we said right, we’ll put yellow lines down there, we can’t enforce it, but if anybody new to the village sees yellow lines there, they will not park on it. Which I wouldn’t do if I went to a strange village and seen yellow lines, I wouldn’t be parking on them”.
A30 improvements – It was a good month for Cornwall’s road users. Plans to transform the single carriageway on the A30 between Chiverton and Carland Cross into a new dual carriageway took a step closer when Highways England announced the preferred route for the £290 million scheme. The roadworks at Temple were also finally completed and four lanes of dual carriageway between Temple and Higher Carclake on the A30 were opened.
Rough Sleeper Strategy – With Cornwall having the third highest number of rough sleepers in the country, a new £1.1 million approach to preventing and reducing rough sleeping was launched at County Hall Truro in July.
The multi-agency rough sleeper reduction strategy will work to prevent rough sleeping in the first instance by helping those most at risk, help new rough sleepers quickly access housing, help and support people to get off the streets as well as identify and provide support for entrenched rough sleepers to help them off the streets permanently.
Universal Credit – With imminent roll out of Universal Credit in Cornwall, columnist Leah Browning asked Is Kernow ready for Universal Credit? No! But it desperately needs to be
Corbyn visit and rally – The Labour leader visited Cornwall and held a rally at Heartlands, Pool.
Anti cornish hate crime – Cornish Stuff revealed that after Will Coleman had helped First Kernow launch the fleet of new ‘Tinner’ buses earlier in the year, the buses had the Cornish Language phrases, which are displayed proudly and prominently on the new fleet, had been deliberately vandalised and targeted. Campaign group Kernow Matters to Us reported the damage as a racially motivated crime (D&C Police now include anti-Cornish incidents in their list of Hate Crimes) and offered a cash reward for information “leading to the identification of such anti-Cornish racist offenders to the proper authorities”.
A spokesperson for First Kernow told us “The reaction that we have had from the community has been fantastic since we introduced this feature earlier this year. We will be getting the buses repaired soon and we will continue to look for new ways to put the spotlight on Cornwall’s fantastic heritage.”
Council has ‘lack of business’ – At the end of August, as most readers dragged themselves back to work after the summer holidays, Cornish Stuff revealed that the Cornwall Council thought it had no business to discuss. The Full Council meeting for September had been cancelled due to ‘lack of business’ and Full Council didn’t meet again til 21 November. So from the election in May to November only one proper Full Council meeting was held!
The UK’s most expensive council house – Devon & Cornwall Housing Association sold an ex-council house overlooking Porthmeor beach, St Ives for £1.44 million. They’ll use the money to invest in affordable housing. The new owners plan to demolish the existing house and build another.
But Mevagissey became the latest Cornish community to stand up against the curse of second homes. The favourite destination of many holidaymakers, the south coast fishing port follows St. Ives and St. Mawes who have already started the process in their Neighbourhood Plans. Mevagissey Neighbourhood Plan seeks to “preserve the living and vibrant nature of our community by restricting new builds to permanent occupiers only.”
How many councillors does it take to run Cornwall? – To widespread consternation, The Boundary Commission confirmed Cornwall will have only 87 Councillors from 2021 – despite all the “consultations”, 36 fewer than currently. Speaking on behalf of Mebyon Kernow, Party Leader Cllr Dick Cole described himself as “extremely disturbed” by the attitude of the LGBCE and their determination to launch an “assault on democracy in Cornwall.” Only the Conservative group on the council supported the reduction in numbers. Tory leader Phill Seeva said there is a need to cut waste and councillor numbers, and that Cornwall Council can be run more efficiently.
Keslowena! Man Engine won the Best Arts Project in the National Lottery Good Causes national public vote
Treliske on Special Measures – At the beginning of October Treliske Hospital was put on ‘special measures’ – meaning it’s failing so badly that external managers will be brought in to run things following another disastrous CQC report. Steve Double MP said “the reports make shocking reading and certainly the people of Cornwall deserve better than this.”. Derek Thomas MP criticised his own government by saying “Philip Hammond and Jeremy Hunt must recognise that the transformation our health and care system needs will only be delivered with significant increases in spending on the NHS both in community and urgent care”
Tintagel Bridge approved – the controversial plan to build a footbridge at Tintagel was approved by Cornwall’s planners.
Fortnightly bin collections – Cllr Sue James’ Waste and Recycling inquiry recommends fortnightly bin collections but weekly recycling in an effort to improve Cornwall’s recycling rate. However the known issue of holiday lets illegally using domestic collections for free rather than having a trade contract, a subsidy to rich holiday let owners at the expensive of Cornwall’s council taxpayers, will not be looked at til 2020. Final decision will be made at next February’s cabinet meeting.
Cornwall ‘loses a champion’ – Sad news at the end of October as ex MP Candy Atherton died at the age of 62. Colleague Jude Robinson paid tribute Falmouth – and Cornwall – has lost a champion
“What followed was half an hour of hackneyed consultant speak that wouldn’t have been out of place on the BBC’s W1A.”
Our story that Cornwall council had paid £75,000 to Lancashire based ‘place consultants’ thinkingplace only to be advised that we should concentrate on ‘Poldark and pasties’ went everywhere! We also revealed that thinkingplace had actually been paid twice by the council. We were especially proud to get a mention in Private Eye!
MP promoted – Truro MP Sarah Newton was promoted to Minister for Disabilities and therefore will be in charge of the controversial welfare to work polices, fit-to-work assesments and applications for PIP. Newton promoted to DWP Minister of State for the disabled
Post Brexit Farming
New research showed that Cornish farms were already unable to fully harvest crops this year due to a sharp fall in migrant labour. Around 17,000 EU nationals are estimated to be living and working in Cornwall. The LEP and the Council called on the government to protect the industry when considering post Brexit immigration rules. David Simmons of Riviera Produce, one of the biggest producers in Cornwall predicted dire impacts: “If we put strict limits on Eastern European migrant labour or devise alternative immigration policies that limit so-called ‘low-skilled’ labour, the Cornish horticultural industry is finished.”
The plans to transform NHS and Social care services have morphed into hurried plans for the creation of an Accountable Care Organisation. We looked at the possible ‘Americanization’ of Cornwall’s health services.
New link road – more good news for Cornwall’s road users as funding for a new road from the A30 to St Austell was announced in the budget.
The creation of the ACO dominated December’s headlines. Cllr Colin Martin, a member of the inquiry panel, outlined the 28 concerns he has before that need to be addressed before he can back the plans
With protesters outside the first sitting of the inquiry panel, it turned out that NHS bosses may be basing their whole ACO plans on an outdated document that was rejected months ago by the council.
Ban on Bass fishing – Whilst fishermen have welcomed progress on the withdrawal from the EU Common fisheries Policy, recreational anglers are dismayed that they will be banned from keeping any bass at all next year under new EU quota rules, despite reports of thousands of pounds worth of bass being discarded by commercial fishermen, unable to land the catch due to EU rules.
We looked at the issue of post brexit fishing and our future relationship with the EU in a major article by CS editor Milo Perrin.
And finally, if a life working for yourself on the beach in Cornwall is your dream then check out the list of new ‘Pop-up’ sites, now available from Cornwall council
Here’s to another busy year!
Blydhen Noweth Da!