THE new chairman of Cornwall’s branch of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) says he will keep up the pressure to get mobile phone coverage extended to the whole of the county.
Jonathan Batchelor said coverage – or the lack of it – affected every aspect of rural life from crime to tourism, and for those working in isolated jobs away from their farms or families the ability to call for help could become a critical safety factor.
Mr Batchelor, who farms with his wife Sally at St Gennys, near Bude, said while the emphasis had been on access to superfast broadband, mobile phone “not spots” had been neglected.
“We’ve recently had another accident at Crackington Haven, and yet another victim’s first comment was that he was unable to get a mobile phone signal,” he said.
“What seems to have been forgotten is that superfast broadband is a useful business tool, but a mobile phone signal can be vital.
“Some might argue having large areas of the county not covered by mobile signal is little more that negligence.”
The couple moved from a mixed farm in West Sussex in 2000 to “escape farming in the commuter belt”, with the bonus that part of the St Gennys farm was previously owned by his great-grandfather, who was vicar at Jacobstow for 34 years and married into the Trelawny family.
They run 150 Sussex/Hereford suckler cows and grow 150 acres of crops. Stores are sold on at around 12 months via Hallworthy market and they also let three self-catering holiday cottages.
“My ambition for my term of CLA office is to enable the very diverse and supportive branch committee to bring forward the issues that worry members most,” he said.
“Many local problems are not unique to Cornwall, but we need to target the best way to deal with them, be it professional advice from the CLA or lobbying of local, national and EU governments.”