5 July 2010

I shall post here continuing good news for Cornwall, developments which will positively help the people of Cornwall and the local economy and everyday lives. Everyone who wants the people of Cornwall to succeed in the modern world will welcome them. This post covers the first half of 2010. Vorsprung Cornwall 1 and 2 cover 2007, Vorsprung Cornwall 3 and 4 cover 2008, and Vorsprung Cornwall 5 and 6 cover 2009.

* The annual week’s festival of Golowan has ended in Penzance with a spectacular Mazey Day. It is good to see people thoroughly enjoying themselves and a local Cornish festival thriving, having been successfully revived for some years now. (June 2010)

* The building of fifty four affordable houses mainly for rent but with some for part-purchase at St Ives has begun. Completion is due spring 2011. This is a project of Devon and Cornwall Housing Association/Penwith Housing Association and ROK Construction and is largely financed by the taxpayer through the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA, called the Housing Corporation until late 2008). More details here. (June 2010)

* A formal agreement has been made between Orascom Development and Imerys to establish a company, Eco-Bos, to develop an ‘eco-town’ in the clay country around St Austell. The plan includes more than five thousand houses and the first phase begins in the first half of 2011. This is an exciting, pioneering initiative which will help the Cornwall economy and provide eco homes for people. Read the details here. (May 2010)

* Camborne, (including Roskear and Tuckingmill) have got £520 000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to repair the town’s historic buildings. The project includes skills training, and the involvement of local people in creating proposals for looking after conservation areas and local six-formers in energy-saving research. There are some more details here. (May 2010)

* mycornwall.tv , launched last summer, has a fresh look access website. It’s a lively enterprise, offering a genuine county service with programs about Eden, the Pirates rugby match, an election meeting in St Ives, and an events diary, for example. It’s chock-a-block with stuff about life and enterprise in Cornwall. (May 2010)

* From October 2010 the mandatory national minimum wage will rise to £5.93 an hour (full adult rate). The present rate is £5.80 an hour. The rise is modest and responsible and will continue to help very many people in Cornwall. (March 2010)

* From next month, April 2010, the rents of social housing in Cornwall will go down; the average fall of Penwith social housing rents will be 1.6 percent. This reflects a fall in the retail price index last September and a government decision to carry that through to social rents throughout England. This will give a small increase in income to tenants which they will probably spend in the local economy. There is a possible downside: the rental income of the housing association will fall and that could impact adversely on their spending on housing. (March 2010)

* Cornwall has been awarded £69 million from the Labour government’s Building schools for the future program for a first stage of school physical improvements. Initially six schools will benefit from rebuilding or refurbishment: Camborne, Humphry Davy Penzance, Poltair, Pool, and Redruth secondary schools, and Curnow special school. Read about it here. (March 2010)

* Work progresses on the wave hub project in west Cornwall. An electricity substation is to be built at Hayle and preparatory work is beginning now. Read here. (March 2010)

* Two companies based in west Cornwall are prospering. PTT (Providers of telecommunications training) has won a contract with BT to be part of its apprenticeship training scheme. The day that, a photographic company, has now opened a USA office. Additionally, in east Cornwall, Cornish Crabbers, which builds yachts, has forward orders until June; good news after previous difficulties in 2008.

All very good news for the Cornwall economy and workers.

* St Austell is one of four areas taking part in the building of evironmental homes. See here.St Austell clay country villages will receive £9.55 million from the government in 2009/10 and between £2 and £6 million in 2010/11 for homes, along with £300 000 for ‘greening’ schools. Apprenticeships and other jobs will be created by the project. (February 2010)


10 November 2008

Parliamentary questions from Andrew George, the MP for St Ives, have exposed
the extra costs for people in Cornwall using the government’s national Warm Front scheme.

This provides help with paying for heating and insulation for vulnerable householders undertaken through selected installers. There’s a grant from the government but the householder has to pay towards the cost if it exceeds the grant. The scheme covers things like central heating, loft and wall insulation, and draughtproofing.

Here’s what the questions revealed.

Percentage of those helped under the scheme who had to pay something 1 June 2005-31 March 2008 (I have turned the numbers in Hansard into percentages):

St Ives 31 percent
Cornwall 29
England 20

Average contribution requested from householders helped under the Warm Front scheme in £:

St Ives constituency 1025.74
Cornwall 1018.99
England (all) 538.00

Hansard 3 July 2008 columns 1087W-1088W for percentages and 4 November 2008 columns 400W-401W for costs.

Andrew George, the MP for St Ives, raised this issue back in February. He has recently suggested that the scheme should “ make greater use of local contractors who can complete work at a cheaper rate than the centralised private management company currently in charge of the scheme.” That is a sensible proposal which would help local people and bring financial fairness to the scheme in Cornwall.

The parliamentary answers reveal unacceptable price differences. The government must look again at the working out of the scheme in Cornwall and ensure more equality.

15 June 2009

Matthew Taylor asked how many people over sixty had received a Warm Front grant in Cornwall: the answer is 10 681 households were helped in the eight years 2000/01-2007/08 and 1383 April 2008-January 2009 (Hansard 15 June 2009 column 128W)

18 May 2012
Hansard 17 May 2012 column 692 Andrew George (Libdem St Ives):
“…Warm Front was, in my view, undermined by the extortionate charges of a small cartel of suppliers. Given that only 22 companies are so far among the providers for the green deal, can the Minister assure us that local fitters and local suppliers can be part of the programme, so that costs are competitive?”


19 December 2007

I shall post here continuing good news for Cornwall, developments which will positively help the people of Cornwall and the local economy and everyday lives. Everyone who wants the people of Cornwall to succeed in the modern world will welcome them. This post covers 2007 from July onwards. Vorsprung Cornwall 1 covers February-June 2007 onwards.

*December 2007: Newquay Airport continues to expand its services. Ryanair are increasing their flights to London Stanstead and flights to Spain, from March 2008 Skybus will be operating two additional routes, and in summer 2008 Flybe will be operating five new routes.

These expansions will help the airport, create jobs, and help the Cornwall economy. Welcome them.

* 26 November 2007: A parliamentary answer has revealed that the proportion of 16-18 year olds in Cornwall who are not in education, employment, or training (NEETS) is 6.1 percent of the Cornwall age group. This is much lower than in many places; for example the figure for Hackney is 13.1 percent, for Liverpool 13.2, for Birmingham 11.4, and for Plymouth 7.4. Cornwall is in the bottom third of the figures, where bottom is best. This is good news about young people in Cornwall though 6.1 is still too high.

Read the details in Hansard 26 November 2007, columns 141W-144W. Similar information is given in Hansard 21 November 2007, columns 958W-964W.

Addendum February 2008: Hansard 25 February 2008, columns 1284W-1290W gives NEETS figures for 16 and 17 year olds. At December 2007 the figure for Cornwall was 5.5 percent of the age group; this puts Cornwall at the 64th percentile of the 149 local authorities.

* 7 November 2007: Starting in September next year Cornwall, along with thirteen other local authorities, will begin to offer fifteen hours of free early education to all three and four year olds for thirty eight weeks of the year. This is to help to give every child a good start in life and to help parents work out a life/work balance. The scheme will be funded by the government. Details are in Hansard for 7 November 2007, columns 3WS-4WS.

* 2 November 2007: today is the official opening of the new heart centre at Derriford Hospital, Pymouth. There’s an account of it in the Western Morning News.

Yes, I know Plymouth isn’t Cornwall but patients from east Cornwall use the hospital and the heart centre will be used by people from all over Cornwall. This cardiothoracic unit is very good news for people in Cornwall who no longer have to travel as far as London for treatment such as a heart bypass.

* 25 October 2007: the future of Newquay airport is assured after investment of around £44 million has been agreed to change it from an RAF to a wholly civil airport. This involves money from the EU, British government, and the regional development agency. The airport is important to Cornwall’s economic development. Read more here.

* 10 September 2007: Kerrier district council has deservedly been named by the government as a champion for homelessness. It will share with other councils its expertise and good, successful practice in reducing the use of temporary accommodation and in helping people to avoid homelessness. See here for more details.

*From September 8-22 St Ives, Cornwall is holding its annual festival. Music, poetry, painting, film, talks, everything to enjoy in the arts from Cornwall and the wider world. Not a time to be gloomy about this place.

* From 6th to 12th August Newquay is hosting its annual rip curl boardmasters (RCB) surf contest. Okay, Cornwall isn’t Hawaii but one estimate is that surfing brings £40 million into the Cornwall economy and this RCB contest attracts thousands of visitors each day. The rip curl boardmasters is actually a surfing, skateboarding, and music festival/competition. See here for vigorous details. Oh, and there is a bikini competition too.

Cornwall: a fun, energetic place for talented people and great for unenergetic spectators.

* August 2007- a regeneration of the centre of St Austell is going ahead. The cost will be £75 million, of which £31.5 million will be from the south west of England regional development agency (SWRDA) and the rest from the developers, David McLean Developers.

The regeneration will be mainly retail and includes new shops, cafes, a cinema, and an underground car park, but also seventy flats.

For several years now St Austell has been the forgotten town of Cornwall with an uninspiring town centre. Things can only get better.

Details are here and here.

* July 2007 – A group restoring the Steeple nature reserve on Worvas Hill, St Ives was given £36 000 by the heritage lottery fund. The money will help to fund restoration, improvements, tree planting, and educational work.

* An architecturally impressive new art gallery has opened in Penzance in July. St Ives has its Tate and now Penzance has its Exchange. See details and pictures here in the Daily Telegraph for 21 July.

* Marks and Spencer opened a new store on 19 July at the shopping site by the roundabout on the eastern outskirts of Hayle. As well as shirts and skirts and the usual M and S things, it will sell food and has a cafe, and has created nearly a hundred jobs. This is very good news for Hayle and western Cornwall. There are other shops on the site (Next, Boots) though I’m not sure if there’s enough car parking there. On the adjacent site there are other shops selling fabric, tiles, cars, etc; it’s all a good shopping area now.

* July 2007 – A fast computer network which links all the hospitals and doctors’ surgeries in Cornwall and Scillies has been launched.
This enables information to be shared among medicos speedily; for example, doctors will be able to see patients’ xrays from hospitals in their surgeries.

This technology is clearly a beneficial way of meeting the medical difficulties of a spread-out rural county.

See here for details from PublicTechnology.net.


26 June 2007

I shall post here continuing good news for Cornwall, developments which will positively help the people of Cornwall and the local economy and everyday lives. Everyone who wants the people of Cornwall to succeed in the modern world will welcome them. This post covers February-June 2007. Vorsprung Cornwall 2 covers 2007 from July onwards.

* June 2007 – Cornwall’s first “extra care” project has been launched. Sarsen Housing Association is to work with Caradon district council to provide fifty five “extra care” dwellings at Liskeard for elderly people who will be able to live independently but with care and support. There is a hurdle: central government funding will be needed from the Housing Corporation and Department of health but the providers are optimistic about this. See here for information.

* June 2007 – SOLD, a shared housing ownership program for people with learning disabilities, has got substantial funding – capital and revenue – from the department of adult social care of Cornwall county council to provide around twelve shared ownership dwellings in Cornwall. See here for more details and here for details about SOLD.

* June 2007 – As part of its dignity in care program the government (Department of health) has given Cornwall county council £740 000 for improving the material environment in care homes in Cornwall.

* Two Redruth companies have developed an eco surfboard of which more than half is from renewable materials. See www.suscomp.com.

* A good time for Cornwall. Last month (April) at Twickenham the Cornish Pirates and Mounts Bay rugby teams won their trophies and this week Truro City football club won the FA Vase at Wembley – all of them capital sports successes for Cornwall. And we have just had Helston Flora day, St Ives May day, and Padstow Obby Oss day festivities. A great time for Cornwall.

* May 2007- The Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust (RCHT) is serving organic meals, largely sourced in Cornwall, to patients. More than four fifths percent of the RCHT food budget was spent in Cornwall in 2006, a doubling. The distance travelled by the food is down by two thirds. The cost of all these improvements is the same.

This is good news for patients who rate RCHT food much more highly than is general in hospitals in England, good news for the Cornwall economy as local producers get more business, and even good news for the environment in the cut in food travel miles.

* May 2007 – Several miles of new dual carriageway of the A30 is now open in a bypass of Goss Moor and the hit-me rail bridge. It gets easier and easier to get into and out of Cornwall.

* April 2007 – The wave hub, the proposed wave energy project off St Ives Bay, has now received a total of £28 million which, subject to government and EU approval, means it could be built next year. It could produce about three percent of Cornwall’s domestic electricity. About two hundred jobs are likely to be created initially. The money comes from government and EU aid to Cornwall.

See www.southwestrda.org.uk for more details.

* St Julia’s hospice at Hayle has been given £35 000. This is part of a £40 million tranche of grants from the Department of health announced on 9 April 2007 for 146 hospices to improve their built environments. See here.

* The government has given £575 000 to public bodies in Cornwall, led by the county council, to tackle child poverty. This will be match funded by the local public bodies. The focus will be on prevention of poverty and the aims include more parents in employment, reduced inequalities in opportunities, and better take-up of benefits and tax credits. See here.

* A scheme since 2004 has been quietly bringing preserving and renovating historic and architecturally worthy buildings in Redruth. So far eleven buildings have been or are in the process of being renovated.

The Redruth heritage economic regeneration scheme (Redruth HERS) gives grants for renovation to be done in away that respects the historic and architectural value of the buildings.

The reasonable hope is that this will build pride and confidence and foster the economic life of the town.

See more about Redruth HERS here.

* The Cornishman reports 15 March 2007 that ninety six pupils of Cape Cornwall school who live at Pendeen are getting free transport to school after a campaign by a mother who moved to Pendeen from Bedfordshire in September 2006. The road was found to be hazardous.

* There is good news for disabled people in Cornwall.

In 2007/2008 the government (Department for communities) is giving £1 455 000 to help disabled people in Cornwall with adaptations to their homes. This is a ten percent increase on the previous year’s grant. See here.

* Newquay airport is getting £11 million from the EU, having had £8 million from the South West Regional Development Agency at the end of last year. The airport sees the start of daily flight to Gatwick and the return of the seasonal flights to Edinburgh next month, and in May the start of flights to Belfast. See the airport website.

* The duchy of Cornwall is proposing a project near Newquay which will include shops, offices, a primary school, and about 850 houses, including affordable ones. The project will have ecological features such a solar panels, biofuel heating, and first class insulation, a real attempt at sustainable and green development. See the design and development part of the duchy’s website.

* In February 2007 a start has been made on the bypass for Dobwalls on the A38. It is due for completion in September 2008 and will be a very welcome relief for the people who live there – and the people who presently drive through.

* On 22 February the Department of Transport announced that in 2007/08 two railway stations in Cornwall are among those getting grants for improving access for disabled people. Saltash gets £27 000 for improvements in lighting, signing, and paving. St Austell gets £250 000 for disabled parking and a new bridge with lift access.

* Hayle day care centre has got a lottery grant of £50 000 provided it can raise another £61 000 in the next few months. The money will be used to make a new dining room for the eighty elderly who people eat lunch at the centre every day.

Original post Vorsprung Cornwall was dated 15 February 2007