Parish Council meeting report – August 2017

The August meeting of Withiel Parish Council was enlivened and accelerated by the presence of Roche Brass Band, which had hired the Village Hall for practice and kicked off a serenade that threatened to swamp discussions in the committee room. We managed to conclude the business before they progressed beyond the tuning stage – either that or they were practising Stockhausen.

The Parish Clerk Robin Turner had managed to ferret out from the people in charge of the roll-out of broadband in Cornwall their plans for extending the service across Withiel. In answer to questions about specific PL30 postcodes, Superfast Cornwall said Read more

February Parish Council

The strange and bewildering story of the BBC and Withiel’s treasured signpost was set out at the February meeting of Withiel Parish Council, where it was explained that hopes had been raised, then dashed, that the historic but deteriorating fingerpost would be refurbished at no cost to the Parish.

Councils in Cornwall had been contacted by the makers of a new BBC2 series called ‘The Repair Shop’ who were looking for interesting items of sentimental value which could be repaired by their team of experts. They particularly specified community items such as statues, weather vanes, sundials or carvings that might have special meaning to the community.

The beautiful cast iron signpost in Withiel has been causing concern for some years as its condition continues to deteriorate. It is rusting badly and the fingers have been replaced by inappropriate aluminium arms, one of which is drooping alarmingly. Cornwall Council, which is responsible for maintenance of the sign, prefers to spend its money elsewhere.

Responding to the invitation, Parish Clerk Robin Turner proposed to the programme makers, Ricochet Productions, that the suffering signpost would be an appropriate subject for The Repair Shop. The programme’s Associate Producer Ben King responded with unbridled enthusiasm. Merv Davey, the Grand Bard of Cornwall, who lives opposite the signpost and has made an exhaustive study of historic signposts in the area, was prepared to be fully involved in the making of the programme. Emails and phone calls flew back and forth. A filming schedule was proposed. Parish Council Chairman Janet Shearer, County Councillor Chris Batters and several County Council officers were involved in getting the required filming permissions, and a film team was sent to Withiel to interview Merv Davey and procure evocative footage of the beautiful village and its sorry signpost. With them came one of the programme’s repair experts, master craftsman Don Barker, who was expected to take away the top half of the signpost to begin repairs at the programme’s workshops in Chichester.

But after the filming had taken place, the idea was suddenly dropped. Assistant Producer Ben King wrote to the Parish Clerk saying the item had hit “a momentous bump in the road” and that while he personally loved the item, they would not be proceeding because of a “mixture of factors”. Furthermore, those involved would not be able to get further information from him as he was emigrating to Australia the following week. Councillor Shearer told the Parish Council that it seemed that the cost of the refurbishment had been beyond the means of the producers. Mr King had said in his final communication that if the programme was recommissioned by the BBC, it would probably be with “a larger pool of resources” and the Withiel signpost item might be resurrected.

Signposts apart, the February meeting noted the banking of a VAT refund of £182.86 and a Local Maintenance Partnership grant of £292. Councillor Cubitt reported progress on the Neighbourhood Development Plan, where responses had been received from statutory bodies and we could now move to the next stage – a meeting of the Steering Group was arranged for the following week. The Council noted the Cornwall Association of Local Councils position on the Local Government Boundary Commission report, which is due out in May. The Council also discussed a letter complaining of increased traffic through Ruthernbridge from vehicles carrying cyclists to the mountain biking track at Grogley and will monitor the situation.

The next meeting is on Wednesday March 1st at 7:15pm; all are welcome.

Withiel Parish Council

A long and lively Parish Council meeting covered a lot of ground on August 3rd; we welcomed a delegation from St Breock Parish Council, led by their Chairman Ray Jarrett, who sought our support to change the arrangement under which WREN, the Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network, administers the community fund from St Breock Down wind farm.

Mr. Jarrett was critical of WREN’s management of the wind turbine money, saying it was not cost-effective, the administrative fee of £10,000 was excessive, and WREN’s accounting and auditing procedures were not transparent Read more

Development Plan consultation

The final draft of the Withiel Neighbourhood Development Plan is available for downloading from Dropbox here… and although the public consultation on the draft is behind us (it was held in the Village Hall on June 18th) you can still make comments by contacting any member of the steering group: David Cubitt, Janet Shearer, Mike Cherry, Pat Malone, Jo Ashby, Merv and Alison Davey, Anna Hoyle and David Horn. If you can’t download the plan, there are some printed copies they can let you have.

Local speed limits bill

North Cornwall MP Scott Mann has successfully introduced his first legislative bill in Parliament to give parish and town councils the power to hold community referendums to alter speed limits.

Since taking office, Scott has met with constituents, parish councils and schools, and says he has noticed the clear need for empowerment of communities to set speed limits themselves to make their roads safer. These include the communities of Stratton, Werrington, St Teath and St Kew, which Scott mentioned in his speech.

Scott introduced the Bill through a Ten Minute Rule Motion after Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, 18 November. Its short and long titles are as follows:

Speed Limits on Roads (Devolved Powers) Bill 

A Bill to amend Part VI of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, and the Local Authorities’ Traffic Orders (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1996, to make provision about the powers and duties of parish and town councils in relation to applying for speed limit orders; to provide for the conduct of local referendums to determine whether such applications should be made; and for connected purposes.  Read more

November Parish Council report

Damage to the bridge at Ruthern once again exercised Withiel Parish Council at its November meeting. It has been proposed everyone who has an interest in, or authority over the bridge, should attend a meeting at the site; it should draw quite a crowd. The centre of the bridge forms the boundary between three parishes, Lanivet, St Breock and Withiel, while the County Council and an extraordinary array of NGOs like English Nature have a say over what can be done there. The Chairman, Councillor Shearer, said action had to be taken – the bridge had been hit half a dozen times in recent years, and repairs had cost us all tens of thousands of pounds. We can’t go on doing the same old thing, and expecting a different result.

Attending the November meeting were councillors Read more

September Parish Council meeting

September’s Parish Council meeting had something of a late-summer-holiday air – there was very little business to transact, with no new planning applications and no County Council planning decisions to report. Our Clerk, Robin Turner, was absent on holiday, as was Councillor Simon Coy, our Financial Officer, so the Financial Report was held over to the October meeting. County Councillor Chris Batters and PCSO Andrea Crocker also sent their apologies for absence.

We approved the payment of two cheques – £17.96 to the Cartridge Shop for printer supplies, and £120 to our auditors Grant Thornton. Our audits are usually free because our turnover doesn’t reach a certain threshold, but this year we handled £10,000 on its way from the Kerriers solar farm fund to the Village Hall, so Read more