It’s hard to believe that I am writing this annual report looking back over the last 12 months and that we are already a quarter of the way through this council term. As I said at the time it was an absolute honour to be elected as the first Divisional member to serve the newly formed Altarnun and Stoke Climsland Division, but with it would come the responsibility of having to cover the largest Division by land area in Cornwall. I was one of the Councillors who objected to cutting the number of acting councillors from 123 to 87 and I still maintain this position. We all go about our work in different ways and I try to help all those who require assistance on Cornwall Council matters but there is no doubt in my mind that there was far better representation for constituents under the old format. The position was always deemed to be a part time job but from my own experience with the extra parish council meetings and duties and an ever increasing casework load there is a danger it is being pushed towards the realms of a full time position. I actually think this is fine if that’s how they want to package it, but unless they offer a competitive wage which I don’t envisage them doing I’m not sure how they will ever get a diverse mix of future candidates to come forward, which cannot be a good thing for democracy or giving the electorate a choice of candidates.
The change in Division boundaries was always going to throw up some interesting results, where in some instances putting acting members to stand against each other. Following the election it became apparent there had been a massive swing in how the people had voted, with many experienced Cornwall Councillors losing their seats which they had held for a number of years, with the Conservative Party sweeping into power and taking full control of the Council. Interestingly ours was the only Division the Conservatives didn’t field a candidate!
So within this at full council and committee level it’s been a big shift from the previous four years in the role. I relinquished my position on the strategic planning committee remaining on the East Cornwall planning committee whilst going from being within the administration making decisions to being in opposition without really knowing what would be coming down the track. The first six months felt quite quiet without much change but then things moved up a gear, as I have detailed before, with cuts being made to many of our essential services which I fear will affect the most vulnerable in society combined with a council tax rise against the backdrop of escalating rises to the cost of living right across the board.
Locally we’ve had storm Franklin and Eunice batter us in quick succession leading to losses of power and internet connections which for some of our rural folk took far too long before being reconnected. With the twenty is plenty pilot scheme now being implemented in Camelford hopefully when this is rolled out across North Cornwall we will be able to lower the speed limit past Altarnun primary school to 20mph. With also another possible scheme in the pipeline to improve the safety for pedestrians in Five Lanes.
With the first year now coming to a close I would like to say we can look forward to the next one in a positive manner, at this moment in time I’m afraid I don’t see things improving to much but I hope if we work hard there will still be opportunities within the system where we can deliver benefits for the residents that we represent.
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Notice Date: 01/06/2022