Monday, 5 March 2012

Cornwall Conversations comes to Launceston

This evening, Cornwall Council's cabinet came to Launceston as part of the Cornwall Conversations roadshow. The event was aimed at town and parish councils and gave them the chance to ask questions on issues that mattered to them.

I'm not sure what the turnout in other areas has been, but I have to say that it wasn't the best here. And that gets to the root of the flaw with this scheme. It's good, of course, that the Cabinet has come to Launceston. But it was perhaps a mistake to limit the invites to just town and parish councillors. After all, the cabinet isn't able to be here all the time. In fact, this is the first time that we have had more than two cabinet members in Launceston since the authority was formed almost three years ago. So if this isn't to be a regular occurrence, surely it makes sense to open it up to as many people as possible. Town and parish councillors are at the forefront of localism, but they aren't the only partners for Cornwall Council and others deserve their chance.

The event itself was useful in that everyone who wanted to ask a question was able to do so. These were the key points that I picked out:

- The Council is looking to relocate a range of services from the old magistrates court building to the tax office (Madford House) next to the library.
- The Leader said that he was in favour of local pay rates. "If it has the word local in it then I'm generally in favour" he said.
- Although Cornwall has a number of 'very small schools', cabinet member Neil Burden said that, at the moment, there are no plans to close any.
- The Leader denied once again that there are any agreed plans to put council funding into the stadium or any supporting infrastructure. (My own take on this is that although what he says is true, council officers have clearly worked up schemes which might be agreed).
- Launceston town councillor Paul O'Brien asked why Cornwall Council wouldn't agree to allow a new CCTV camera in the town to be mounted on a lamppost and plugged into the council's electricity supply. He even offered to pay. Lance Kennedy promised to look into it.

And finally... a parish clerk asked if emails from the localism team could be clearly marked as being either for action, for information or merely spam. I'll buy a pint for the first officer who takes the courageous decision to label an email that they send out as spam.

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