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Transfer plans against the spirit of localism

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: September 27, 2012

Hayle mayor, Jayne Ninnes.

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HAYLE councillors have criticised Cornwall Council financial proposals saying they go against the spirit of localism and taxpayers' interests.

The authority sent the Proposed Procedure of Devolution and Asset Transfer document to all local councils in August.

But Hayle Town Council voted unanimously to strongly reject the proposals, which state that services such as toilets or recreation grounds can be devolved to local councils if "the financial and other benefits to Cornwall Council and the wider community are sufficient to justify" it.

Hayle councillors felt this definition did not best serve taxpayers or fit with the spirit of localism.

They felt the document should read "whether the financial and other benefits to the wider community are sufficient to justify the devolution to the local council".

Mayor Jayne Ninnes said: "It is the fact that it (financially benefits Cornwall Council) is their primary concern. For us, localism was meant to be about local communities taking control of local assets and running them for local people. We don't believe that it was put in place for the financial benefit of Cornwall Council."

A spokesman for the unitary authority said it would consider all responses before finalising the proposals.

Councillors at the meeting also said it was essential funding associated with assets should be devolved to local councils otherwise devolution of assets would result in a tax increase through the local precept, as happened with the withdrawal of support for the town's outdoor swimming pool.

"Where Cornwall Council has got control over income and expenditure it is reasonable that they control an asset," said Mrs Ninnes. "If they wish us to control that asset we should have the same access to income as well as expenditure. It is not reasonable to expect us to take it on with unsupported costs. It is a double taxation to the local taxpayer."

She added that the council was keen to take on assets and work with Cornwall Council.

She said: "Hayle Town Council wanted to take control of local assets, such as the Frank Johns Centre, and hoped to work productively with Cornwall Council to move forward but to do that Cornwall Council has to look at the benefit to local communities of such moves and not prioritise financial benefits to Cornwall Council."

A Cornwall Council spokesman said: "This is a consultation exercise prior to taking a report to Cabinet for formal consideration. We will consider all responses prior to finalising the report for Cabinet.

"We look at the devolution of all assets on a case by case basis and allocation of funding is part of this consideration. In many cases the asset will have an external income stream source that a local town or parish council will have direct control of."

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  • Doitdreckley  |  September 20 2012, 11:32AM

    I thought Hayle was in Cornwall!. Is the implication of what Hayle is saying that the rest of Cornwall can 'get stuffed'? This is where localism could detract from the strength of Cornwall as a whole. In these times of course Cornwall Council has to think about the impact on the services it provides to the whole of Cornwall, Hayle included.

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