Outreach Piece for February 2024

Posted on: 1st February 2024


There are a couple of Cornwall Council matters to pick up on and then I’ll update you with Town Council news, including car parks; the facts.

Cornwall Council has begun upgrading streetlights with new LED fittings; I think most in our Parish have been upgraded. This project is to deliver the following;

  1. Help Cornwall Council progress towards being Carbon Neutral Cornwall by 2030;
  2. The old stock was reaching end of life and there is a worldwide component shortage for maintaining them; and
  3. With the surge in energy costs, there will be a cost saving on energy bills.

£15.5 million is being invested, over a three-year period, to convert all Cornwall’s streetlights to LED. The Council currently spends £1.6 million a year on energy use for streetlights. By converting to LED, it is anticipate they will use around 65% less energy; a saving of £0.6 million a year (as of prices at October 2020). If energy prices continue to rise as predicted, the saving will be even greater.

There will not be a reduction in Council Tax as a result of this replacement programme as each year there are increasing pressures on the Council’s funding. Converting the lights to LED is one of many spend to save measures.

In the past, shields have been installed where light glare has been an issue for residents. Cornwall Council believe the new lanterns will reduce the need for shields because the light source is set into the body of the lantern rather than protruding. The lanterns have a higher number of LEDs but a low running current to make them more comfortable to the human eye. Officers advise that if light glare is an issue one month after installation, contact them using the “Report a problem with a street light” link on the Cornwall Council website.

Subject to safety assessments, there are also plans to turn off street lights between midnight and 5 a.m. in most places. For those worried about this move, evidence is that opportunistic crime reduces as potential thieves cannot see in your vehicle or that a window has been left open. The turn off will not be applied at key junctions or where road users safety would be compromised. If you are out after midnight on a regular basis, now might be the time to invest in a luminous vest and a torch!

The new waste and recycling service is gradually being rolled out throughout Cornwall. West Cornwall is the 3rd area to change so, hopefully any problems will be ironed out before the scheme reaches us. Before anything changes, all households will receive an information leaflet, basically explaining that your current recycling bags and glass box will stay the same but you will get a new, smaller than Penwith days wheeled bin and 2 food waste caddies – a small one to go in your kitchen and a larger one for outside and for collection purposes. Food waste will be collected weekly and recycling and general waste will be alternate weeks. For those that subscribe to the garden waste service there will be no change.

There has been all sorts of speculation and rumours regarding the white lining in our car parks and the height restriction barrier installed at the entrance of the St Just main car park. There are no secret plans, it is just that since we took over responsibility for the car parks (and toilets) last March, we have been struggling on how we increase capacity and get enforcement in place against those not using our car parks appropriately.

The Pendeen car park and the parking area in St Just, where the recycling bins use to be, have never had white bay lines so people park the best they can. Our hope is that with the introduction of bay lines, more vehicles might be able to safely use the areas. We thank users of the Pendeen car park for leaving the area free of vehicles to allow this work to be done.

At the time of writing, getting the bay lines re-established in the main car park and putting bay lines in the old recycling area has proved challenging. Despite signage and notes on vehicles, neither car park was empty enough to be completed. We are working with contractors to find ways of achieving this aspect of maintenance and I hope by the time you are reading this, our mission has been accomplished.

Turning to the height restriction barrier in St Just, that is in place as the only means available to the Town Council to stop over sized vehicles using the car park when not supposed to. By them parking in the car park they restrict capacity because they usually spill over into adjacent bays. It has only been in place a short time and many have noticed that they can get in the car park with a choice of spaces rather than driving around and around hoping someone will leave. Some will say, “The town will lose out if campervans cannot stop off in the town to use our shops.” For those stopping to shop, they can park in the old recycling area but they should not be overnight camping; we have very good camping and caravan sites for that purpose! To help this, we would ask those with vehicles that can fit under the barrier (2.1 metres height) to park in the main car park.

The car parks and toilets are funded by local residents who pay council tax. This money has to service and keep them clean as well as do repairs. St Just Town Council does not get any funding from local Business rates and of course people who visit our town pay nothing, but local businesses welcome their trade. Some council tax paying residents, without any vehicles or who would walk if shopping locally, are questioning why they should pay but others park completely free. Most residents though, as shown when we held a public meeting many years ago, prefer them to be free at the point of use to keep our town thriving.

Whilst there have been some informal conversations between councillors on whether funding our car parks and toilets through local residents is fair, there are no plans to change this. If a future council wanted to consider charging at our car parks, through some kind of pay and display scheme, the parking order (this legally sets the rules) would have to be altered. There is a legal consultation process to do this so, no decision of that nature could be taken without a public consultation showing that is the way local residents want things to change; it could be discussed at a Council meeting but no decision, beyond consulting the public, could realistically be made.

I will continue as Mayor until our AGM in May. Whilst I am happy to do the full 4 year term as Mayor, given that I do not intend to seek re-election to the Town Council, Members may feel it is better that someone else learns the ropes whilst a lot of experience is around the table. There will be readers relieved to hear I do not plan to continue, others might be disappointed in me ‘giving up’. For the latter group, I have been involved in local Politics since November 2007 when I joined the Town Council at a by-election. I will be receiving my state pension in 2024 so I think it is time for younger folk to be involved in deciding the future of our wonderful Parish. I’m happy to talk with anyone wondering whether or not to stand, especially anyone under 40!


Outreach February 2024