Posted on: 22nd May 2024

ST JUST TOWN MAYOR’S ANNUAL REPORT FOR 2023/24: Presented to Annual Town Meeting on 20 May

Mayor, Sue James and Deputy Mayor, Daisy Gibbs, ending another year of Service

Business as usual for Town Council is running St Just Library, keeping Pendeen Playpark safe, managing our public car parks and toilets, and several open spaces, including Plen An Gwarry and keeping many public footpaths accessible. Increased responsibilities over the years has led to increasing our staffing team and this year the post of Business Administrator Apprentice was created, filled by Callum Evans June 2023. Following the retirement of our Town Clerk, Cas Leo, we appointed experience Town Clerk, Sue Ninnis, who joined us in October.

It has been an on-going struggle to keep 12 members of the Council and, as last year at our AGM we are down 1 as Cllr Brian Clemens recently resigned. The process has started towards finding a replacement for our final year so do please get in touch with our Town Clerk if you might be interested. Cllr Clemens remains our local Cornwall Councillor so we will still work closely together, I know. Thank you Clemo.

As before, I have prioritised local engagements as Mayor, in addition to supporting the Clerk with planning our Council meetings. The highlights of my Mayoral year have been:

On 23rd June I attended the Annual Midsummer bonfire, organised by the Old Cornwall Society at Chapel Carn Brea.  It was a bit breezy but dry and well organised, as ever.

We had a Circus themed Lafrowda in July and I led the Children’s parade (can never quite work out that logic) and helped shake a collection tin at other parades.

On 9 August I joined other local Mayors and many residents to protest against plans to close the ticket office at Penzance Station and am pleased to report that we were listened to and that office remains open.

ON 24 September was the traditional Mayor’s Sunday Service and reception, with a focused on our young people and organisations that support them. It was held in Pendeen Church with a buffet next door in the Parish Rooms.

29 October was our Annual FEAST followed by Remembrance Sunday on 12 November so 2 parades through our town, which always seem popular.

In October I attended a 2 day Radical Housing Conference, which gave much food for thought and encouraged me to continue with what feels like an uphill battle to provide local homes for local people; but no quick fixes sadly, just perseverance.

10 May this year, I welcomed visitors from our twin town of Huelgoat, Brittany at a reception at the Jackson Foundation gallery. Whilst Kurt Jackson did us proud, addressing them in French, I stuck to English!

The Council have given out £27803 in grants this year to a total of 23 community associations.

Car Parks and parking remain a challenging issue for residents and Town Council. In January, a height barrier was put in place to stop large vehicles that should not have been using the main car park from entering. This has made spaces more readily available for vehicles the car park is aimed at. In response to concerns that larger vehicles did have legitimate reasons for visiting the town, the old recycling area has been designated for larger vehicles but sadly some car drivers are still using it, thus reducing spaces to intended for those vehicles and causing some upset that displaced large vehicles are now parking in the Lafrowda Housing estate.

Town Council will continue to work with residents and visitors to educate them into considerate parking and try to find a way to encourage those in campervans to use our many camping and caravanning sites. Solutions are not easy as we do not own suitable land on the edge of town for parking so we can implement the Park and Stride idea suggested in the St Just Town Vision report.

Linked to car parks, Town Council has applied for funding to install electric vehicle charging points in St Just and Pendeen car parks. Regardless of the success or otherwise of that application, this is something we will achieve, hopefully within this administration.

Town Council has agreed that most 30m.p.h roads in our Parish will reduce to 20m.p.h but we are dependent on Cornwall Council to implement those plans.

Following on from the Town Council getting Town Vitality Funding in 2022/2023, we became eligible to bid for other funding pots. We have recently received almost £12,000 Town Acceleration Fund to enable us to accelerate the delivery of some of the proposals in the St Just Vision Report and £30,000 (with a potential further £10,000) to deliver the wayfinding information giving ideas, to assist people finding and utilising our town facilities and we hope to develop a pilot electric bike sharing/ hire scheme for St Just. The money will also help us further develop some of the resources established by the Tin Coast Partnership for businesses, visitors and residents of our town and wider Cornwall. The Town Vitality Steering group has re-formed and will work with the Tin Coast Partnership, Town Council and local business community to implement agreed ideas in the Town Vision report.

The Town Council website is undergoing a revamp and it will hopefully be easier to navigate and assist residents in going to the right place when things are not working properly in our community.

We have Community Infrastructure Levy funding to allow us to upgrade Pendeen Playpark in the coming months.

I want to end by thanking fellow councillors that have stayed the course with me. I also want to extend my thanks and appreciation to Library staff and volunteers for keeping our Library Services vibrant – we just love the Lego; and of course our Town Council Officers, led by our Town Clerk.

May we have another productive year ahead where we celebrate what has worked well and learn from what we might not have managed quite so well!