Funding announced for A39 at Trispen
Cornwall Council has welcomed confirmation of funding for the renewal of the A39 at Trispen.
The funding will pay for a range of measures including resurfacing the entire 8km route from Carland Cross to Truro, refurbishing the drainage system and adding provision for cyclists, as well as safety fencing.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin MP confirmed the upgrade would go ahead following his visit to Cornwall on Monday (23 March).
A key arterial route connecting the north side of Truro with the A30, the A39 carries around 13,000 vehicles each day. The Department for Transport will put £5.22m towards the scheme, with the Council providing the remaining £1.1m. The work will start later this year and be completed by March 2016. This will be planned to minimise disruption and further details will be made available nearer the time.
Cornwall Council cabinet member for transport Bert Biscoe said: “Maintenance is a constant and complex challenge, a capital scheme such as this will secure an important improvement however, I remain anxious that the new government must realise the need for more revenue funding to support the long term planned maintenance programme.”
Story posted 24 March 2015
Transport Secretary cuts first turf on A30 Temple dual carriageway scheme
Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin MP has cut the first turf on the A30 Temple to Higher Carblake road improvement scheme, heralding the start of preliminary works on dualling one of Cornwall’s most notorious bottlenecks.
Many years in the planning, the works will replace the existing 5km stretch of road with a dual carriageway, a scheme which has been welcomed by motorists, the business community and residents alike.
During the ceremony the Minister was joined by representatives from Cornwall Council, the Highways Agency, the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, the Federation of Small Businesses, Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, Visit Cornwall, contractors Kier and local residents.
Following the granting of the Development Consent Order last month, there was a six week period in which the decision could have been challenged in the High Court. As this period has now ended, preparatory works, including vegetation clearance and the issuing of compulsory purchase orders can begin at the site.
And with one A30 dual carriageway road scheme shortly due to come to fruition, the Minister also took the opportunity to learn more about the potential improvements further west during his visit to Cornwall. Ahead of the first of three public engagement events to find out views from road users and residents on the potential to build a dual carriageway on the A30 between Carland Cross and Chiverton Cross, the Minister met with representatives from the Council and Highways Agency at the Hawkins Arms in Zelah.
Councillor Bert Biscoe, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for Transport said: “The partnership to undertake this project marks another stage in a journey which began many years ago, in which Cornwall's excellence in managing, maintaining and developing its transport infrastructure is sufficient to encourage the Government and the Highways Agency to have confidence in our ability to work to the highest standards in the modern setting.
“The setting of this road is at one of Cornwall's finest environmental assets - Bodmin Moor - and the scheme needs to blend high quality engineering with a minimal impact - it is a positive challenge which the design and delivery teams will, I am sure, meet with distinction.”
Mick Martin, Chairman of the Temple to Bodmin A30 Action Group, said; “The road improvement at Temple is fantastic news for the local community, the whole of Cornwall and our many visitors. Today I am proud to report that as a result of our dogged determination we have achieved the goal we set ourselves seven years ago.”
Chris Batters, Cornwall Council Local Member for Lanivet and Blisland, said; “For many years, motorists travelling the A30 road have suffered a hiatus when reaching the Temple stretch east of Bodmin, but finally after years of campaigning, the dualling of this stretch of the road is about to be commenced. Congratulations to all the parties taking part in this campaign, and the motorist and Cornish business owners can now look forward to a less stressful and far quicker journey across the beautiful Bodmin Moors.”
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin MP said: “Boosting Cornwall’s road links will make the county an even more attractive destination for businesses and visitors.
“I am absolutely committed to delivering the road, rail and air infrastructure Cornwall needs. This is a key part of the government’s long term economic plan to boost jobs and growth and improve the lives of hardworking families up and down the country.”
Chris Pomfret, chairman of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said; “We are delighted that work is getting underway on the A30 at Temple because this stretch of road is used by almost 40% of Cornish businesses at least once a month. Road congestion costs time and money which is why dualling the A30 remains one of the top priorities for our business community and the LEP.”
Andrew Page-Dove, Regional Director for the Highways Agency, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to bring about benefits to both businesses and visitors to the region by removing the bottleneck from the A30 and opening up Cornwall to visitors and local residents.
“We are now starting to look at the next section of single carriageway between Carland Cross and Chiverton Cross which we hope we will be able to complete by 2021.”
Story posted 23 March 2015
Launch of scheme to stub out smoking in play areas in St Austell, Launceston, Four Lanes, West Looe and Penzance
Six children’s play areas run by Cornwall Council are to become the first in Cornwall to sign up to a voluntary code that discourages people from smoking in them.
The initiative will be launched on Saturday 28 March 2015 with a fun day event at Roche Park from 11 am – 1pm. On the day there will be health promotion stands including the ‘Smoothie making Bike’, face painting and a magic show.
The six play areas across Cornwall which will be covered by the smoke free code developed by the Smokefree Cornwall tobacco alliance and Cornwall Council are Roche Park, St Austell; Sandy Hill Park, St Austell; Coronation Park, Launceston; King George V Park, Four Lanes; Millpond Park, West Looe; Goldsithney Park, Penzance.
A survey conducted recently in the South West found that almost 60%* of those questioned said that smoking was a problem in their local play park. 98%* of those interviewed said that they would support a voluntary ban on smoking in the play parks themselves.
The code already has strong local backing and is supported by the local Parish council’s and park groups to discourage people who persist in smoking in play areas. Special signage has been developedrequesting that children be allowed to play smokefree.
Gareth Walsh from the Cornwall & Isles Scilly Stop Smoking Service, said: “Research shows that reducing child exposure to smoking decreases the uptake of smoking amongst young people in the long term. Children learn their behaviour from adults and so it’s essential that in our communities tobacco use is not seen as part of everyday life.
“For example, children who live with smokers are at least twice as likely to become smokers themselves. We’re piloting this across Cornwallto protect future generations from taking up the habit.”
Nationally, 12% of children aged 11-15 years old currently smoke ** with children smoking on average 37 cigarettes per week***.
Launching the scheme will be local member for Roche and Chairman of Cornwall Council John Wood, who said: “We’re committed to the role our parks play in helping Cornish resident’s live active, healthy lifestyles. We’re especially proud to be leading the way in Cornwall in discouraging smoking around children in our play areas, helping to reduce the number of young people who smoke and reduce litter in the park.”
Internationally, smoking in public housing play areas and parks is already banned in Spain, Hong Kong, Latvia, Singapore and in cities in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and California. In the South West, South Gloucestershire has implemented a voluntary ban in all play parks. In other parts of the UK, Inverclyde Council in Scotland has made all of their open air play parks smokefree and in the North West, Pendle Council in Lancashire introduced a voluntary smokefree code to all of their 57 outdoor play areas and skate parks in 2010.
Story posted on 23 March 2015
Council welcomes Government award to Penzance
Cornwall Council has welcomed today’s announcement from the Department for Communities and Local Government that Penzance has been awarded £10,000 to support work already being undertaken in the town.
The funding will support the work being undertaken by stakeholders including Cornwall Council, Penzance Town Council, businesses and residents, on a number of schemes such as the revival of Jubilee Pool and consulting on a Neighbourhood Plan.
The award to Penzance reflects the collaborative work being undertaken in the local community to improve the town and add to the economic regeneration for the wider area.
Julian German, Cornwall Council cabinet member for economy and culture said: “Coastal communities are an essential element of our local economy and there is a strong community resolve in Penzance as everyone works together to improve their area. I am delighted their efforts have been recognised in this manner”
As a result of being named as one of the pilot areas, Penzance will now be eligible to bid into a £3million Coastal Revival Scheme announced by DCLG last month which provides assistance to coastal community efforts to improve their local economy.
Story posted on 20 March 2015
Cornish farming brothers given suspended 4 month prison sentence for animal cruelty
The culmination of a lengthy investigation by Cornwall Council’s Public Protection and Business Support services Animal Health Team supported by the local Animal and Plant Health Agency was finally reached in Truro Magistrates Court today (20 March 2015).
Paul and Thomas Collins of Trenoweth Farm, Gweek were sentenced to 4 months in prison, suspended for 2 years; a 100 hours community service order and were banned from keeping pigs, cattle and sheep for the rest of their lives, this was suspended for 10 weeks to allow the brothers to dispose of their animals. Both brothers were also ordered to pay £12,000 each in costs. The brothers were given until December to pay these costs in full.
The Magistrates Court Trial began on the 21 January 2015 and after several adjournments concluded on 20 March 2015. Evidence was heard from the Council’s Animal Health Inspectors as well as vets from the Animal and Plant Health Agency. The defendants pleaded not-guilty and showed no remorse for their actions. They were convicted of 16 charges under the animal welfare act.
In November 2012, Thomas James and Paul Anthony Collins, of Trenoweth Farm, Gweek were investigated for offences of fraud relating to TB reactors. A farm visit in relation to those offences uncovered appalling conditions on the farm. Since 2012 the farm has been visited over 12 times. At each visit further offences were discovered.
Severely lame cows were not treated for over 2 months; 3 cows that had collapsed were not given veterinary treatment, food or water and pigs were kept in a swamp with little food and no dry lying area, they had only mud to sleep on. Two of these pigs had also been starved to the point that the bones of their spines and ribs could be seen.
Over the course of the investigation several animals were put to sleep to prevent any further suffering.
The Judge said the Collins brothers had rejected advice and warnings and, in Thomas Collins case, in the most vehement of terms. The farm had systemic failures to identify and treat animals that required treatment. He found the lameness in the cows had developed over many days and had caused suffering for several days. The Judge felt that Thomas James Collins’ claim that the case was malicious and trumped up was not supportable and that the prosecution case was persistently compelling.
Cornwall Council cabinet member for communities Geoff Brown said “The Public Protection and Business Support Service will always strive to assist Cornish businesses, including farms. However, when a case of serious neglect such as this is discovered they will take appropriate action. The Collins brothers have shown total disregard for the most basic of needs of animal in their care. This was not an isolated incident but involved numerous charges and I find it unacceptable that in this day and age people are unable to give outdoor pigs a warm, dry straw bed; treat injured animals and to ensure that animals have sufficient feed to prevent emaciation.”
Animal cruelty - first image: Emaciated cow
Animal cruelty - second image: Emaciated pig
Posted on 20 March 2015
Cornwall and Isles of Scilly EU programme ready for take-off
The new European investment programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is poised to get underway following agreement with the European Union.
The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Cornwall Council and the Council of the Isles of Scilly have been working together with the UK Government to finalise negotiations.
The LEP said it was hopeful that the first ‘calls’ for EU-funded projects would be made in a matter of days.
The new programme, through which some £500 million of funding will be available from now until 2020, will be called the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Programme.
LEP Chairman Chris Pomfret said: “The LEP and its partners, including Cornwall Council and the Council of the Isles of Scilly, have been working hard behind the scenes to finalise these negotiations and get our programme moving, so this is very good news.
“Together we have secured significant commitments in shaping how the money will be spent, including the creation of a single investment programme that helps us pull together different funding streams for maximum impact.
“We also have the freedom to develop a locally tailored programme of business support through the creation of our own Growth Hub, which will ensure that access to EU funds and projects by local businesses is as simple as we can make it.”
Mr Pomfret said as a result of the negotiations, and its status as a Less Developed Region, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly would be the only region in England able to access specific EU funds for transport infrastructure including road and rail investments, and support for green and low carbon projects.
And the Government had promised to work with the LEP and local authorities to fast-track community-led investment projects.
He added: “Although we and most other LEPs have not ended up with the level of local control and decision making that was initially promised by the UK Government, we and our partners have secured the best deal we could and the focus now has got to be on spending the money to create jobs and boost our economy.”
Julian German, cabinet member for economy and culture at Cornwall Council, which has played a pivotal role in the negotiations, said: "Whilst we are disappointed that we have not been offered a greater level of local control over our EU funding we are pleased that it will start to flow in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Local involvement is key to delivering an effective programme to address the systemic economic issues that Cornwall faces. We will continue to support partners in ensuring that our local voice is heard as we move into delivering investments for the region."
Amanda Martin, Chairman of the Council of the Isles of Scilly, said: “The Islands have benefited greatly from European funding and we look forward to working with partners so our businesses can benefit from these prospective investments.”
Toby Parkins, President of Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, added: “The business community will be breathing a sigh of relief that we’ve finally got our EU Growth Programme over the line. What’s important now is that they are kept fully informed about how they can access and benefit from this funding as projects come on stream later this year.”
The next step will see the Government publish the first round of ‘calls’ for the delivery of the first EU-funded projects in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Investment priorities include support for business, new workspace and skills development.
Further information and any announcements on calls will be available on the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Programme website.
Posted on 19 March 2015
Employers lead “Have a Go” day at Torpoint Community College
To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2015, Cornwall Learning Education Business Partnership organised a “Have a Go” day for Torpoint Community College on Thursday 12 March where local employers provided ‘tasters’ – bite sized opportunities to try out work-based skills. Year 9 students found out about careers and the pathways to a dream job – including further education and apprenticeships.
Have a Go activities included how to windsurf with a simulator with the South West Lakes Trust, discovering bushcraft with Survival Wisdom and learning how to code with Bluefruit Software. Also offering”Have a Go” activities were: NatWest Bank, Cornwall College Hair and Beauty, the Army and Springboard South West.
“The ‘Have a Go’ day at Torpoint Community College was a fantastic opportunity for students to learn about the world of work and it raised the profile of skills, vocational training and apprenticeships for young people.” said Kate Whetter, Education Projects Manager at Cornwall Learning Education Business Partnership.
“Today’s ‘Have a Go’ day was great fun and our students really enjoyed the activities. As a school we really appreciated the fact that employers are willing to give up their time to give students a taste of such a variety of careers. Helping students make informed decisions about their future is about the most important role schools and employers can play. Our students really benefitted from the experience and especially in this part in Cornwall, students often find it hard to know what is out there for them.” Said Becky Lear Assistant Head.
Matthew Dodkins of Bluefruit Software said “These ‘Have a Go’ sessions are a perfect way of sharing the skills we look for in employees with students. They give students the chance to try programming activities which are close to the ‘real world’, bridging the employment/education gap.
“For Springboard, it is extremely important for our hospitality partners to take part in ‘Have a Go’ days, to ensure students are made aware of the industry and the fantastic range of employment options within it” said Ele Porritt Cornwall Programme manager for Springboard South West.
Story posted on 19 March 2015
Guilty pleas for shoddy home maintenance work
Stephen McCann of Pitt Lane, St Columb Major, Cornwall pleaded guilty at Truro Crown Court on 16 March 2015 to three offences relating to shoddy building work, overcharging and failure to give cancellation notices to two elderly female customers in a case investigated by Cornwall Trading Standards.
McCann was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment for each offence, suspended for a period of 18 months, to run concurrently and a 2 month curfew to run from 7pm until 7am daily. He was also ordered to pay £1,140.66 compensation to one of his victims and £4,000 costs.
McCann, who also goes by the name of Jones, was at the time of this offending subject to a three year Conditional Discharge from the courts relating to similar offences committed in July 2012, also investigated by Trading Standards.
Trading Standards were first alerted to these new offences following a call by one of McCann’s victims. Door to door enquiries in the vicinity unearthed further offending at a neighbouring property. McCann had failed to issue both customers with written cancellation rights for the work carried out. McCann had also completed the work to a very poor standard, according to a report by a chartered building surveyor, who quoted that rectification work was required to the tune of £1140.66.
McCann was sentenced by Judge Carr for three offences, two under the Fraud Act 2006 for failing to disclose information required under the Cancellation of Contracts made in a Consumer’s Home or place of Work etc Regulations 2008, and one offence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 for failing to meet the requirements of professional diligence, relating to poor quality workmanship in the field of property maintenance.
Nigel Strick Fair Trading Team Manager for Cornwall Trading Standards said: “The persistent nature of this traders offending has been a concern to Trading Standards. We hope that this sentence will convince the trader to mend their ways, proving that crime does not pay.”
Story posted on 18 March 2015