Withiel Parish Council’s April meeting was notable for raised voices and robust discussions of everything from wind turbines to ASBOs. The Council decided to express its opposition to the construction of a new wind turbine at St Wenn. During the discussion Councillor Malone produced documents showing that Cornwall Council had set aside £16 million and was applying to itself for planning permission to build wind turbines on its own land – something that had been described as “balderdash” by County Councillor Chris Batters at a previous meeting. In a frank exchange of views, Councillor Batters told Councillor Malone to take it up with Cornwall Council’s Chief Executive Andrew Kerr, who had told him (Batters) that such claims were “balderdash”.
A forceful exchange of views also arose when Councillor Harper requested that the text of a notice rescinding an ASBO be read out at the meeting. The Chairman, Councillor Kirkby, declined as the matter was nothing to do with the Parish Council. Councillor Harper alleged that Councillor Kirkby had herself informed a Parish Council meeting of the original ASBO. Councillor Kirkby said this was not so; she had never mentioned the ASBO at the Parish Council, the matter had never been discussed by the Council, and it was not Council business.
The meeting covered a range of subjects, from the health of Retire Common to the state of Neighbourhood Watch. The Chairman suggested that an application from the Retire Commoners Association for a grant of £8,000 from Section 106 be deferred until there was clarity on several aspects of the request, and this was unanimously agreed. Philip Cardew, Withiel’s de facto Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator, explained the workings of the system and the factors which have led to its decline across the country in recent years. The Bodmin Community Forum is to discuss this issue at its next meeting, and Withiel will be represented.
Councillor Kirkby reported on a meeting she had attended at Lanhydrock on broadband problems. The meeting was informative, although the circumstances there were different. The second tranche of funding for superfast broadband is due to be decided in June, after which the position for Withiel will be clearer. The Chairman also briefed the Council on the Areas of Natural Beauty annual conference, where it had been proposed that the whole of Cornwall be designated a National Park. Councillor Malone commented that as wind turbines were banned in National Parks because of visual blight, this seemed unlikely.
On planning, the Council discussed yet another application to extend the agricultural building at Great Brynn; despite advice from Councillor Batters that little could be done and the application would be processed by council officials without reference to Councillors, it was decided by a vote of 5-1 to record an objection because previous conditions had never been complied with. The Council unanimously voted to support an application for alterations to a dwelling at Trevidgeowe, and noted that an application for a wind turbine at Kathellen, St Wenn, had been refused by the County Council, while another had been lodged for a turbine at Lancorla Farm, St Wenn.
Councillor Shearer has been appointed Parish Council representative on the Playing Fields Committee, footpaths maintenance contracts and waymarker issues are being pursued, and some financial issues were settled – details in the official minutes. The next Parish Council meeting is on Wednesday May 6th, and will be preceded by the annual Parish Meeting, beginning at 7pm. Reports will be received from all the Withiel organisations, as well as entities such as the Church; all are welcome.