MEVAGISSEY PARISH COUNCIL
Chairman Clerk to the Council
Mr M Roberts Mr PJ Howson
Tregoney Hill School Hill
PL26 6RF PL26 6TH
01726 842267 07570 832669
Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held at the Mevagissey Activity Centre
On 19 May 2016 at 6.30pm.
- Roberts, Chairman of the Parish Council, took the chair.
- Proposed by Mrs S Hrydziuszka, Seconded by Mr M Facey that the Minutes of the previous Annual Parish Meeting, held on 21 May 2015, be Accepted.
- The Parish Council Chairman presented his annual review, which will be posted on the Council’s website.
- Mrs Diana Littlejohns addressed the meeting to say that parking in Cliff Street was now out of control and there was real potential for access problems for emergency vehicles. The yellow lines had faded and needed repainting. The Ward Member, Cllr. James Mustoe, replied that the repainting of the yellow lines in Cliff Street had been included in a required package of works submitted to Cornwall Council last year, and this work was still awaited.
- The Ward Member, Cllr. James Mustoe, presented his review of the year’s highlights.
- The Chairman ruled that there was no urgent business.
- The meeting ended at 6.48pm. Date of next meeting: 18 May 2017.
Signed …………………………………………………………………………….. Dated ………………………………
Review of the Year
Once again council has seen changes during the year with the resignation of Alex Williams and most notably the death of long standing councillor Ester Chesterfield. Ester had been battling with illness for some time but had returned to her seat on the council vowing to carry on, however it was not to be and she became the first Mevagissey parish councillor to die in office. In tribute council has agreed to place a plaque on one of the seats in the cemetery to commemorate her contribution to the community. We have, however, been joined by Dawn Speed, Amanda Chesterfield and Ken Robinson.
Our relationship with Cornwall Council continues on a somewhat hit and miss basis with some departments being helpful while others require the intervention of our county councillor James Mustoe who has tried his best to get answers and sort out problems. James has worked hard to represent the parish and the parish council, we trust this will continue.
We still have the services of PCSO Tony Hemmings and he attends as many parish meetings as possible but always submits a monthly report, however a community policeman has yet to be seen and police policy for the future would still seem to be unclear, fortunately the past few months have been relatively crime free.
Meanwhile the parish council has continued to represent residents to obtain the best possible return for their council tax and ensure Mevagissey does not lose out on services or status.
Perhaps the most important project sponsored by the council, is of course, The Neighbourhood Development Plan under the chairmanship of Garth Shephard, what started out with great enthusiasm and expectation and in spite of having to overcome additional obstacles that Cornwall Council kept identifying, the plan was finally completed some weeks ago, however proposed changes in the government housing bill and the inspector’s decision on School Hill has prompted the committee to consider a change in development policy. Fortunately because the EU referendum has forced Cornwall Council to postpone N.D. Plans means we will not lose out by delaying our plan to consider any changes. Hopefully Cornwall Council’s Local Plan currently being examined for the second time will be adopted. Following the acceptance of their NDP by the population of St.Ives together with their second home policy and a possible legal challenge may help us decide before we submit our final version. Again I must thank Garth and all those who have put so much hard work into this plan and trust it be adopted before the end of the year.
In the meantime the provision of affordable housing is still a priority of the council even though the proposed changes in policy make any short term decision extremely difficult. The sub-committee is currently discussing several options and trust that when a clearer picture of government policy emerges and the neighbourhood plan is resolved further progress can be made.
In spite of criticism from the public and parish councils on their decision to no longer be responsible for public toilets, Cornwall Council finally pulled the plug on the 1st April this year. After much debate the parish council agreed to lease and run the Valley Road facilities from that date and in anticipation of the cost involved raised the precept accordingly. The toilets were brought up to standard by Cornwall Council before handing them over and the parish has now painted and made the building as attractive as possible. It remains to be seen if the costs involved match the estimate provided by Cornwall Council.
Another blow to public services came from the closure of the Post Office earlier this year and the inability to find commercial premises suitable as a replacement, the parish council acted as broker to find a solution, and the Jubilee Hall as a last resort is now an outreach post office providing full services but with limited hours. At present there is little sign of any change in this arrangement with no other business showing interest.
Council is also actively involved with John Brewster to get sapper Elijah Bond, who was tragically killed in Afghanistan, name properly engraved on the war memorial rather than on a separate granite slab. John has done all the hard work in finding a stone mason qualified to do this specialist work which hopefully will be carried out before the summer and while there will be some noise and dust we trust people will understand and be tolerant.
Following the tragic drowning at Portmellon early in the New Year we have been trying to get Cornwall Council to upgrade the lifesaving facilities in the cove, Restormel council previously provided this equipment, however, as usual Cornwall Council will do everything possible to get out of their obligation so probably the Parish will be left to provide any additional equipment.
Fortunately over the past year there have been no incidents of serious flooding, nevertheless the flood wardens still respond to flood alerts issued by the environment agency, new volunteers are urgently needed to ease the burden of those existing wardens who have been carrying out this role since the floods of 2010.
The foregoing is just some of the more important issues dealt with by council but, of course, there are a multitude of mostly minor issues brought to our attention, many of which fall to the clerk to sort out with the relevant authorities and all praise to Phil he has built up a good working relationship with contacts in those authorities so that most are resolved promptly and satisfactorily.
Planning has always played a major part in the role of the parish council and we continue to take our responsibility seriously when dealing with applications that come before us and it is fair to say that the vast majority of decisions we make continue to concur with the recommendations of the planning department and few have to called in for a decision by the planning sub-committee.
However, our biggest disappointment this year was the School Hill application, after our objection and refusal by Cornwall Council permission was granted on appeal. This in itself was bad enough but the reasoning put forward by the inspector has laid doubts on various aspects of our neighbourhood plan and our efforts to protect the most sensitive areas of the parish. We now have the task of revisiting policies within that plan to access the way forward.
Finally after years of neglect an application to develop the Tall Trees (Hollies) site was agreed and passed by Cornwall Council, it is now to be hoped that work to renovate and build on this site will not be delayed for much longer. At the other end of town we have the saga of 59, Polkirt Hill, having been granted permission to demolish and rebuild the existing building, although the parish council were not entirely happy with the proposal, we had been waiting for the applicant to produce a traffic management plan that is crucial to ensure disruption to local residents is kept to a minimum. When, long overdue, the plan was submitted we had an incredible situation when it was approved, without consulting the parish council, an exchange of angry emails and an admission that the plan was really designed for a major development rather than a small scale one and most of the important issues were in fact governed by streetworks permissions that have still to be submitted. So we are no further forward but as far as I am concerned Cornwall Council’s handling of this matter leaves a lot to be desired, we can only hope we are kept informed and consulted with when they are eventually submitted.
Our endeavours to have those areas of the village that are both untidy and eyesores are still under investigation by the enforcement officers, it is an incredibly slow process, however we must not give up and continue to keep the pressure on to ensure that eventually we achieve the desired result. Council has also co-operated with the enforcement team to try and resolve the long running dispute concerning planning conditions relating to the Compass Point development on Polkirt. While it may not have produced positive results, at least the opportunity was given for all parties to express their views.
Finally I would like to thank the clerk Phil Howson and all councillors for their hard work, often unappreciated, in representing the parish to ensure as far as possible the village we live in continues to thrive while remaining as unspoilt as possible. I trust in this last year of the current council it will be a successful one.