And the roads get worse…

The appalling state of the roads in Withiel was the primary concern at the Parish Council meeting on July 2nd; Sue Kirkby, in the Chair, described them as a “disaster area” and nobody disagreed. What is to be done?

Councillor Kirkby had driven all the roads prior to the meeting and had noted where the worst potholes were. The worst stretches, she said, were between the two crossroads south of Withiel, where a near-permanent pool of water obscures some dangerous traps for vehicles, and between Councillor Harper’s farm and Butterfly Corner. Other sections like Withiel Hill were also bad.

Councillor Kirkby is to pass a report to County Councillor Chris Batters, who will take it to the County Council highways engineers and request a site visit. Once that has been done, he said, he can put pressure on the County to push the work up the schedule. Councillor Batters had driven over the road at Withielgoose and agreed it was as bad as anything he’d seen. He’d had some success with road repair in Lanivet, Blisland and elsewhere, and would work to get an urgent fix for Withiel.

Mr John Partridge from Pleasant Streams spoke of the floods coming down the road to Butterfly Corner, some contaminated with effluent from farmland. Lack of drainage meant repair would be short-lived if drains were not made part of the solution. Councillor Batters said road flooding was the County Council’s responsibility, flooding from agricultural land was the responsibility of the Environment Department.

Councillor Harper said he had contacted the County Council to complain about the state of Ellers Lane and had said that if they provided the scalpings, he would put them down. After first saying they’d charge him for the scalpings they had agreed to provide them for nothing, but he had heard nothing more.

Councillor Batters is to ensure these roads are on the scheduled list of repair and begin agitating to have them moved up the agenda. All over the county, he said, the old six inch drains are being replaced with nine inch and twelve inch pipes. Councillor Kirkby is providing Councillor Batters with her report on the main areas of damage.

Councillor Batters reported briefly on the site visit to the bridge at Ruthernbridge, which has been hit yet again; they are still waiting for input from English Heritage.

Councillor Batters also brought up an email he had received via the Hon Clerk from a member of the public raising issues from the ‘Barns’ namely that the member of the public had not been consulted about a proposed wind turbine, noise during the quiet hours from reversing vehicles, and possible infringement of planning conditions – failure to plant shrubs and trees to shield the noise and view.  The Chairman (who had also seen the email) said she is already looking into the planning aspects of this, and is talking to the Cornwall Council Planning Department.  She would keep Councillor Batters updated on what help she might require from him.

Our PCSO Linda Thomas reported that there had been a crime in Withiel since the last meeting – an assault at the car boot. This had been dealt with by way of ‘restorative justice’, under which the victim has a say in the perpetrator’s punishment.

She had contacted a number of motorcyclists who had previously used Cork Woods in order to appraise them of the new situation – the woods cannot now be used by off-road motorcycles. The word was getting around, she said. Councillor Coy said there had been little noise nuisance in the last month.

The new Clerk, Robin Turner, attended the meeting as an observer; he will be in post for the next meeting. Details of his contract had previously been circulated to Council members; a few clarifications were requested, and the contract was agreed. It was agreed to purchase a number of books to assist the Clerk in his work; the total price will be £138.70.

Councillor Shearer was elected Vice Chairman and Footpaths Officer, Councillor Malone continues as Communications Officer, and Councillor Coy will be Finance Officer henceforth.

Under finance, Councillor Kirkby reported that the Council has £3,329 in the bank, and it was required that we maintain a reserve of £1,600. An invoice had been received from Sam Chapman for £200 for the first cut of the footpaths; a cheque was sent. Councillor Coy reported that the internal auditor Paul Roberts had completed the audit and found the books to be in order. He had made a number of helpful suggestions which could reduce the council’s insurance bills. The books now went to the external auditors, Grant Thornton. The timing was such that the new clerk starts work with a clean sheet.

Other matters – Councillor Kirkby said the new bridge at Tregawne will be officially opened by Odile Faull at 5:30pm on August 8th, just before the Duck Race; Cormac are keen to have representatives there. With all the pressure on the County Council at the moment, it must be novel for Cormac to have satisfied and grateful customers.

Councillor Kirkby has also printed flyers for the public consultation on the Neighbourhood Plan; these will be circulated with News & Views, and arrangements have been made for their collection. If you prefer you can drop yours into a special box to be provided at Withiel Garden Show.

The official Minutes of the meeting are published below.

The next Parish Council meeting will be on Wednesday August 6th. – Pat Malone