Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Community Network Meeting - mostly flooding

Two parish councillors attended the Truro & Roseland Community Network Meeting yesterday evening. Councillor Charlotte MacKenzie was elected chair of the group.

Roger Paynter and I sat through an extensive discussion on flooding with presentations from the Environment Agency, South West Water, Cormac and a couple of seasoned councillors who had particular expertise in flooding.

Among other things we learnt that the name Truro is derived from 'Tri-veru' meaning 'three rivers' - the Kenwyn, the Allen, and the missing Tinney which apparently runs under the Trafalgar Roundabout and Tregolls Road but now seems to be much smaller than previously described. We learnt a new word 'riparian' (see below) and heard about the grants and funding support that Cornwall Council could provide to community projects. We heard that crime figures are generally down and the police station in Truro will definitely be moving.

There were also some useful pieces of information relevant to Grampound with Creed.

Keeping waterways clear

A waterway in Grampound near Fal Bridge
One of the duties of the Environment Agency and Cornwall Council is to work to prevent flooding. This involves ensuring that waterways are clear. However, landowners whose property is bordered by or includes a river are also responsible for the free flow of water. There is advice on the Environment Agency's website for these so-called Riparian Owners. There are a few such properties in Grampound with Creed and it may be that the Parish Council needs to work with them to identify what maintenance needs to be undertaken on the waterways.

Drainage and flooding on the highway

The Cormac representative at the meeting reminded us of the contact number for any blocked drains affecting highways. They have a schedule of maintenance and inspections but welcome notification of problems.

Urgent problems of flooding should be notified 24 hours a day to 0300 1234 222. The same number is used for non-urgent problems such as blocked drains or gullies during normal opening hours (8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 4pm on Saturdays), or email or report it online at For more information see the Cornwall Council Website page for drainage and flooding on the highway (

There were a couple of 'at risk' drains noted in the recent village walk at the bottom of Old Hill and in front of the gates to the recreation ground.

Debris blocking drains

When drains and gullies are unblocked by Cormac the waste may not taken away because of the risk of incurring landfill tax. The Cormac team may take this waste away if it is not contaminated with oil and rubber (such as on rural roads) or if there is a local site identified for the waste. Councillor Chris Jones from Ladock, who is a farmer, said that he has a license from the Environment Agency for receiving such waste and welcomes it. Councillor Rob Trethewey from St Erme also mentioned the composting of tons of such waste at Ocean View (?) in the past.

As this has been an issue in Grampound with Creed, mentioned in previous minutes, it is something worth investigating to try and ensure that debris blocking drains is taken to a suitable local site for disposal and not left near the drain to block it again next time it rains.

See also: May 2013 Community Network Meeting.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Local Planning update for Renewable Energies

In May, at the Truro & Roseland Community Network Meeting, there was a discussion about a 'Landscape Report' that informs Cornwall Council's Local Plan. Previously we listed the two Landscape Character Areas covering Grampound with Creed and gave a summary of the design statements for renewable energies from the Landscape Report. (The full title for this 'Landscape Report' is Technical Paper E4 (a) An Assessment of the Landscape Sensitivity to Onshore Wind and Large Scale Solar Photovoltaic Development in Cornwall).

Daffodils and wind turbines in Cornwall
© Copyright Rod Allday and licensed for reuse.
Members at that meeting asked that Cornwall Council was urged to make the advice into a 'Supplementary Planning Document (SPD)' putting it out for formal public consultation.

There has now been an update in a letter to the network members from Terry Grove-White, Assistant Head of Planning, Housing & Regeneration, Cornwall Council. It says:
"As well as informing Local Plan policy, the Landscape Report also sets out detailed siting and design guidance for each of Cornwall's 40 'Landscape Character Areas'.  Although the Landscape Report contained some information on assessing cumulative impact the Council felt that further, more detailed guidance would be useful.  Such work has now been undertaken and is nearing completion.

I can confirm that the Council's planning guidance for wind development, including both the landscape guidance and additional guidance on cumulative impact will be published for consultation before being adopted as a formal 'Supplementary Planning Document (SPD)'.  The programme for undertaking consultation and progressing the guidance as a formal SPD is currently being developed but it is anticipated that it will be considered by the Environment, Heritage and Planning Portfolio advisory committee at its meeting in September to agree its approval for consultation."
It appears therefore that additional work has been undertaken looking at cumulative impact of wind turbines and solar farms and this will be reviewed by Cornwall Council in September - possibly going for public consultation after that.

Note: "Supplementary planning documents provide guidance on local planning matters. They can be quicker and simpler to prepare than development plan documents. There is no requirement for them to be listed in a local planning authority’s local development scheme, so they can be brought forward as circumstances change. Whilst they are not examined by an Inspector, a supplementary planning document is still subject to a process of consultation and engagement with relevant parties". Source: Planning Advisory Service.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Understanding substantive motions in Bodmin.

I attended a training session led by Sarah Mason, County Executive Officer of the Cornwall Association of Local Councils (CALC), in Bodmin on 17th July. It was about chairmanship skills for parish council meetings - the role, the preparation, rules and standing orders, and the skills required.

Shire House, Bodmin
It was a lot more useful than I had anticipated. Although quite a dry subject - and the PowerPoint wasn't working - the subjects covered were very relevant to our meetings. Even though we have a relatively small budget and population in Grampound with Creed we need to strive to make clear decisions that are legal and, hopefully, sensible. Also it was useful to talk to other chairs, vice-chairs and even a deputy mayor about shared challenges; lengths of meetings, understanding the precise rules of debate, getting an efficient agenda, and knowing the difference between an amendment and a substantive motion. [A substantive motion is the one that is finally voted on - after all the amendments have been dealt with].

Finally there were a couple of points which may be useful to bring up at future parish council meetings to see what council thought:
  • Many councils have a statement in their standing orders to restrict the time a particular chair may expect to stay in post. Although the law states that an election is undertaken each year there is often the practice that the person in post tends to get re-elected. The feeling at the session was that restricting this expectation was generally a good thing allowing diversity of opinion within councils and sharing of the workload. It is worded in a way that says something like 'a chair would not normally be elected for more than 2 consecutive years'.
  • Bigger, busier, councils tend to have more sub-committees to delegate work and decision making to.
  • Some councils have a 'staffing sub-committee' to allow for two tiers of decision making in the unlikely event of an appeal.
  • Some councils have their public participation session (public forum) after the members' declarations of interest.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Meeting with Post Office Limited

The Parish Council coordinated a meeting today with representatives of Post Office Limited to discuss options for maintaining a post office service to Grampound with Creed.

The current post office is due to close in November 2013 when the Hollies Store lease ends. The whole community is grateful to the hard work that Graham and Jenny have put into Hollies Store and post office and saddened that they have been unable to make a smooth transition to retirement.

Laura Tarling (Senior Stakeholder Manager) and Colin Pound of Post Office Limited presented the background to the 'network transformation' scheme which offers financial support to existing sub-postmasters wanting to change to a Post Office Local service. They said that the post office does not want to see closures and the current government scheme is designed to make additional options available. There would be a post office service but what shape that would take is uncertain.

Parish Councillors Dean Jenkins, Pauline Davies, Roger Paynter and Peter Wootton were present and so were representatives of the Community Shop Margie Lundie (co-chair), Mark Jones (treasurer) and Stephanie Cairns (post office liaison). Peter Wootton is the other co-chair of the Community Shop committee. The local need for postal services was expressed by all present. However, the current uncertainty of the future of a community shop - which requires more community support, planning consent, and additional finances - was also discussed.

The Community Shop committee will discuss with all their members the financial and logistical implications of a Post Office Local service and whether this is feasible. There seemed to be three possible options for the continuation of postal services in Grampound with Creed:
  • Post Office Local within a temporary building run by the Community Shop.
  • Post Office Outreach Hosted Service run by a neighbouring sub-postmaster in a convenient building - e.g. Heritage Centre etc.
  • Either a Post Office Local or an Outreach Hosted Service run at the Community Shop at a later date should the shop be successful.
If anyone from Grampound with Creed has views about the future of post office services in our community then now is the time to voice them.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Items seen on Village Walk

The village walk took place yesterday evening but poor weather prevented us seeing the full list of items. However, a number were seen and this will inform the discussions about these items at future parish council meetings.

There are a number of photos of the items in a Village Walk album on the parish council facebook page. A fuller list of items can be seen in the village walk itinerary.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Road Closure notice

Part of the road to Caerhays will be closed between 18th and 31st July. It is a short section of the road that joins at the Gargus Farm entrance off the B3287 to the fork junction signposted Polmassick. This can be a busy road in the summer holidays.

The notice is as follows:

Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 S.14: Temporary Prohibition of Traffic

Location: Road from Borough Boundary at Middle Gargus to Tucoyse Hill, Tregony, Truro
Timing: 18th to 31st July 2013 (0730 to 1800 hours weekends included)
Reason: CORMAC Solutions Ltd - Surface Dressing Works
Contact: Jamie Gerry, CORMAC Solutions Ltd, Tel: 0300 1234 222

A map of the road section affected and the diversion route can be seen below.