Report to St Just Town Council

Posted on: 24th January 2017

Report to St Just Town Council is going to become a monthly news feature. I will publish the Tuesday morning after the second Town Council meeting of each month. These reports have been produced and read at meetings but probably not read by the wider public.

Here is the report for 23 January 2017.

Since last reporting to you in November, Health and Social Care in Cornwall seems to be dominating my time more than I expected. This is largely because, whereas many local authorities are complaining that Sustainability and Transformation Plans, known as STPs, are developing without much consultation or with Councils passing motions to have nothing to do with them, in Cornwall we have become partners. To explain, this is because of the integration of Health and Social Care was part of the Devolution Deal for Cornwall before STPs arose. Therefore, wrongly or rightly, the work that started under the Devolution Deal for Cornwall has become subsumed within the wider matters within the STP. In addition, the Council’s agreed Governance arrangements are that the Council will review the development of the STP, and any emerging decisions, through a sub-group of the Health and Adult Social Care Scrutiny committee. The final complexity of the relationship between Health and the Council locally is that the Chief Executive of the Council has become the Chair of the Transformation Board, leading the whole STP process. If you are struggling to keep up with all that then you are not alone but for me it makes the role of the Council confusing to the public and it is why, under the constitution, I requested a Full Council debate to give a democratic and strategic steer to this work. As my request was denied, I and other Councillors and a member of the public have questions to the Leader of the Council tomorrow.

On more local matters, a steering group continues to meet informally with local Chapel members and leaders, plus historic building experts to find the best route forward for our local Chapel building. We are at the stage of seeking feasibility study funding. The Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes, the corporate body that owns the building, are being asked to clarify options it will consider regarding lease and/ or sale and timescales.

Officers at Cornwall Council were delighted that Councillors Marna Blundy and Gilly McQueen attended a Neighbourhood Training come workshop event with me at County Hall and hopefully this has secured good links should this Council decide to take the next steps. It was clear that help and advice is on offer. Linked to this and arising out of the Penwith Landscape Partnership, the “That’s Our Parish” project will be looking to work with the people of St Just and this Town Council from April 2018 to complete a Local Landscape Character Assessment. This will enable us to have expert support in considering and describing the special features of our landscape and consider their protection and enhancement. This could form a strand of a neighbourhood plan, should one be started.

Regarding St Just Library. Whilst the Devolution and Library teams continue to work towards 1 April for the devolution of Libraries, where meaningful discussions are taking place, as in the case of St Just, the final deadline has been extended by a year. They will still be looking to most libraries either being devolved or alternative arrangements being explored early in the financial year, in situations like ours, the Library will continue to operate as it is now beyond 1 April. In our case, Cornwall Council accepts that delays are beyond the control of the community group seeking devolution.

Today at the Tin Coast project meeting it was confirmed that the bid to become a Coastal Community Team was successful for the St Just area. £10,000 has been awarded to further develop the Tin Coast project and develop an economic case to apply to the Coastal Community Fund for a further grant. This fund is designed to promote sustainable economic growth, which can include funding for local infrastructure to benefit locals and visitors.

My next local drop-in surgery is Saturday 28 January at the Library, between 10 and 11 a.m.