from Cllr Steph McWilliam

There is much to fit in this month. Let’s start with more good news. CC Children’s services had a good Ofsted report. Quote – The final report confirms that we have received an overall rating of ‘Good’ for these services – putting us in the top 25% of children’s services in the country that have been inspected under the tougher new inspection framework. Well done to all concerned.

There is a campaign underway to try and persuade people to look after the sewerage systems by not flushing wet wipes. If you do, please don’t.

Blue badge holders – Those eligible for free car tax can register (for a £10 fee) to have abluebadge card that permits free parking. The system had to change when government did away with tax discs being displayed but Cornwall Council was keen to find a mechanism to continue helping those with blue badges but you do need to reapply.

eu ukI know some people are still upset about the referendum result and concerned that we will lose all the funding. Please bear in mind that we are still in the EU and Article 50 hasn’t yet been triggered. It will be at least two years after that when we actually leave, which takes us up to mid-2018. Since the programme finishes anyway in 2020 and any contracts in place before we leave will be honoured under international law, it is very unlikely to have any impact on our economic development funding.

Four of our councillors from SE Cornwall have been to Westminster to meet with our MP and the Secretary of State for Transport about the improvements to the A38 urgently required for our economic development. It was a very long day for them but it sounds as though they put our case well and received a favourable response. However, please don’t expect to see any significant improvement works in the near future. All this is just to get it onto the next road improvement programme. I am delighted to have been part of this cross-party work by all the Cornwall Councillors in SE Cornwall and even more delighted not to have been one of the “travelling four”.

More good news alert! You will already be aware of the ongoing concerns about housing need across Cornwall. Despite the huge number of new homes receiving planning permission and thousands having been built in recent years, the number on the housing register is still stubbornly stuck at more or less the same level. The Housing and Planning bill currently going through parliament has quite a few sections that concern me and risk making our situation worse so I am delighted to report that Cornwall Council officers have been working hard on a scheme to try and address this. I can’t begin to explain the complexities of trying to work within the existing rules and regulations handed down from central government but it has not been easy and the people working on this deserve our thanks and great credit for their perseverance. It isn’t complete yet but it is looking as though they have found a way to provide genuinely affordable homes which will be economical to run, be a decent size, protected from the right to buy with more secure tenancy and cost neutral to the council – and hence not a charge on your council tax.

And finally, please don’t leave valuables in sight in cars. This is still happening and it is such a shame to have a great day out ruined when you return to your vehicle. The overwhelming majority of people are good, decent and honest but it only takes one opportunist to cause you distress and inconvenience. Please don’t give them the chance.

Thank you. Cllr Steph McWilliam        email