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Council branded 'a dictatorship'

By West Briton  |  Posted: August 02, 2014

By Caroline Chick

Comments (6)

A PARISH council has written to all 213 town and parish councils in the county branding Cornwall Council an "emerging dictatorship".

The letter from Chacewater Parish Council is a call to action, criticising the unitary authority's communication, savings plans, planning policy, highly paid officers and arms length organisations.

The highly-charged letter, which was sent three weeks ago, has prompted a robust response from Cornwall Council's leader John Pollard.

Almost 40 parish or town councils – one in five – have responded giving their backing to Chacewater's demands for some degree of change. Two declined to be involved.

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The letter levels criticism that there has been a blatant lack of communication and support from 'One Cornwall' and a lack of cost savings since the amalgamation of the former district and county councils took place.

It slams some officers' salaries as "far exceeding" that of the Prime Minister" and hits out at planning decisions.

Cornwall Council is currently imposing a number of cuts to services aimed at meeting a shortfall in government funding.

The letter from Chacewater Parish Council reads: "Planning decisions should be free of politics, reflect the wishes of the communities and NOT be used as a carrot."

It goes on to brand the council's contract with Cormac "inefficient" and hits out at the role of officers in the council's business arm, demanding "more clarity as to where the public purse is being spent".

Chacewater Parish Council said it was receiving responses on a daily basis but was yet to decide its next move.

Cornwall Council leader John Pollard has refuted many of the arguments and has written back to all councils saying it was wrong to claim the council had not made savings, citing a workforce slashed from 22,000 to 12,000 in five years.

"To put a figure on this, we have delivered £15.6 million of year-on-year savings directly from the formation of the unitary council," he wrote.

He also said only five per cent of planning decisions were made contrary to views of the local parish councils, praised Cormac and called the comments regarding its employees and those of the Cornwall Development Company "unfair".

St Austell Bay Parish Council is backing much of the sentiment written by Chacewater Parish Council.

Chairman Bill Leach said: "St Austell Bay Parish Council shares a number of the concerns expressed. We could add many more, like the failure of officers to respond to letters or e-mails, the non-transparency of the planning process, the lack of understanding of 'localism', the failure to realise that devolution is not devolution unless it is accompanied by funding – I could go on."

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6 comments

  • SCOLOAS555  |  August 24 2014, 7:34PM

    Please could any of the posters here advise me as you all seem more conversant with Cornwall Council than me. After a five year battle with Cornwall Hsg and a meeting at my bungalow with Director of Housing, Mr Peter Jarman and attended by my local vicar, Mr Jarman has emailed me, rather stroppily that he is severing all communications with me but will not say why. Mr Jarman seemed amused at all my complaints and unable to give a straight answer to anything. The same email to Mr R. A. Williams, Head of legal services has been returned repeatedly by online postmaster. Told that Mr Williams may have been advised by Mr Jarman to do this deliberately . Can anyone advise me ? I am 62 years of age, disabled and worn out by Cornwall Hsg`s low standards and apparent inability to deal with problems of their own making. Editor of Cornish Guardian told me in phone call that it all sounded like a "kangaroo court" and would get reporter to ring C Hsg who say call never made . Editor not contactable and has not replied to my emails. Cannot believe adults behave like this. Help appreciated.

    |   1
  • Doitdreckley  |  August 05 2014, 1:47PM

    Cridgers neglects to say that there was never a fair poll on whether the unitary was wanted: only highly biased and leading unofficial household question forms by some districts. Alec Robertson and Kevin Lavery's privatisation plans caused huge concern at the Council amongst Members from all parties and the staff. The reason the Council is having to make huge cuts is down to the national Tory Liberal Government.

    |   2
  • StanStill  |  August 02 2014, 11:47AM

    Cornwall CC has had many Jobsworths in the past(and present)as Leader, over-paid, under-worked, and pompous. They cut their own throat with greed over Ryanair and Newquay, putting a tarrif on all passengers, they lost thousands when Ryanair pulled out. Why do they employ these Jobsworths on such high salaries and expenses.

    |   7
  • 28daysearlier  |  August 02 2014, 12:31AM

    I can't really see the what point is being made...what was being spent on 6 district councils and 1 county council and what is being spent on 1 Unitary Council? Logically less property and staff has to have led to millions in savings. Its not CCs fault that any savings that have made have been swamped by over 30% funding cuts in core funding. If anybody has the actual figures i'd be grateful.

    |   1
  • Cridgers  |  August 01 2014, 10:24AM

    Never forget that the unitary Council was imposed on Cornwall, against residents' wishes, by the Lib Dems working in cohorts with a Labour Government. It took a Conservative led Council to sort out the enormous mess created by the Lib Dems (failing adult social services; children's services going into Government intervention; Fire & Rescue Service under Government intervention; criticism from the Audit Commission, etc.). No one should be surprised at anything the Council do now as the Lib Dems have their hands back on the controls.

    |   1
  • POStIves  |  July 31 2014, 11:09AM

    So the parish and town councils have finally realised, what a unitary Cornwall council are capable of, running up bigger bills. Are we still chasing the 17 million saving? They have spent an awful lot of our money, over 250 million and those that caused this chaos, have trousered their pay offs and run! I would also like to point out that cutting 22000 staff, to 12000 staff has left the authority unable to adequately perform its duties, as well as making the remaining staff fear for their jobs!

    |   6

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