The intractable problem of motorcycling in Cork Woods, which has defeated Parish Councils for years, seems to be coming to a resolution, Withiel Parish Council believes. At its November meeting, clarity was obtained for the first time on who owns what land, and Councillor Harry Harper said he had stopped the motorcycling in his fields and the portion of Cork Woods he owns.
The Council is also pushing ahead with the Neighbourhood Emergency Plan and has begun planning for next year’s precept, and is warning that with Cornwall Council facing budget cuts of £194 million over four years, services they currently provide may disappear. If town and parish councils take the work on, they’ll have to pay for it themselves.
The meeting opened with a tribute to the late Ivan Martyn. Councillor Coy said Ivan had given years of service to Withiel Parish Council as Clerk and as a Councillor. He brought to the Council the benefit of his wide legal experience and a wealth of local knowledge, and was instrumental in getting the Village Hall built. A minute’s silence was observed in recognition of his contribution to the Council, and to the community.
Councillor Harper raised the plight of Anna Hoyle, whose home in Retire burned down while she was on holiday, saying she is staying with a friend in Bodmin. Councillor Cubitt said Anna only has the clothes she took on holiday, so donations of warm clothes would be acceptable. The Chairman said there may be some ways we could help.
PCSO Linda Thomas reported that there had been a burglary in August, and a theft of signs from Cork Woods in September which is under investigation. The theft of a Land Rover from Ruthernbridge appeared to be planned, rather than being an opportunist crime. She has also delivered an ASBO in the parish. PCSO Thomas said she had met with local men who had traditionally ridden bikes in Cork Woods and were upset that their children would not be able to do so because of the problems that had arisen there. They were happy to work with Cork Woods Neighbours Group to see what can be done.
Councillor Harper said he was vexed that the Council had given permission for a group to do whatever they liked on his property. The Chairman said the Council had given no-one permission for anything. Councillor Harper said a committee had been formed, but nobody had come to him. He had stopped motorcycling on his place, but nobody had said thank you. The Chairman asked why he had stopped it. Councillor Harper said it was because there was something he could be charged with, and his lawyer had said he was bound to lose and declined to represent him. The Chairman observed that he had not stopped because the community was upset, but because he knew he was going to get charged. Councillor Harper said whenever he had asked anyone, nobody was upset. The Chairman said Councillor Harper had previously maintained that Cork Woods was nothing to do with him, but now claimed he should be consulted. Councillor Harper said some of Cork Woods belonged to him. The Chairman produced minutes of a previous meeting where Councillor Harper said he owned part of the lane, but not Cork Woods. He said he had now closed the woods, and the bike track in his field. After looking at maps, the Chairman said it was good finally to get some clarity on who owned what.
Under finance, cheques were approved for footpaths maintenance and for the defibrillator fund. The Chairman said the financial situation was healthy and the Council had £5,256 in bank, of which £3,386 is available. After outstanding expenditure had been settled, the balance is £3,501, out of which the Clerk’s salary will come. Decisions on next year’s precept will be made at the next meeting. The Chairman warned that footpaths and lighting, salting and gritting may no longer be paid for by the County Council.
The council debated a timetable for considering and agreeing a Neighbourhood Emergency Plan covering flood, snow, serious accident, fire, medical, flu pandemic and animal issue such as foot and mouth disease. This will be roughed out for the next meeting.
Councillor Malone reported that 15 complaints under the Code of Conduct by Mr Richard Thomas against himself and Councillor Shearer had been rejected by the Monitoring Officer, and an appeal by Mr Thomas had also been rejected. The Chairman read a letter from Mr Thomas quoting a portion of the report, while Councillor Malone read other portions. The full documentation can be read on the Cornwall Council website.
Councillor Coy reported on a meeting he had had with Mr Thomas and representatives of ITS Technology who proposed to provide a wireless broadband system for Withiel if there was sufficient interest. An article was to be placed in News & Views.
The next meeting will be on December 3rd.