Monday, 14 June 2010

Cornwall Councill's centralisation streak is showing

I've written before about the centralisation tendencies of Cornwall Council. From the decision to put localism on hold to scheduling a Launceston planning meeting in Truro, the signs have not been good.

Now comes the news that planning meetings for North Cornwall might be moved from Camelford to Liskeard.

Cornwall has three local planning committees. One of these covers the whole of East Cornwall - the old districts of North Cornwall and Caradon. Until now, the planning committee has met in both Liskeard and Camelford and the officers have tried to make sure that North Cornwall applications have been heard in Camelford and Caradon in Liskeard. It's not always been perfect, and more local meetings to consider applications of very local significance have been hard to come by.

But now the meetings at Camelford are under threat,

Cornwall Council is seeking to get the Police station in the town moved to the Council building. That will save money, but it will also mean that the meeting area will no longer be available for planning and other meetings.

Council officers have promised that the planning committee will continue to meet in the town, but have so far failed to come up with definitive proposals for how this will happen. The alternative is that all planning applications will be discussed in Liskeard.

Such a move would not be the end of the road for councillors, but would be the kiss of death for local people who want to be able to listen to, and contribute to the debate, on issues that affect them.

My colleague Jeremy Rowe has written eloquently on this issue.

I hope that council officers will act urgently to make sure that planning issues continue to be discussed locally.

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