Thursday, 28 August 2014

Labour councillor Michael Bunney resigns

Michael Bunney, the Labour councillor for Mevagissey is resigning from Cornwall Council. His resignation will take effect this Sunday, 31st August.

Cllr Bunney is a teacher and has recently been appointed to a position at a council maintained school in Cornwall. That makes him an employee of the authority and therefore ineligible to be an elected member on the same council. Until now, Cllr Bunney has worked in Devon and so was not barred.

When he was elected in May 2013, Michael Bunney won 30% of the vote. In second place was UKIP with 28% and the Conservatives came third on 24%. The Liberal Democrats won 14% and the Greens 5%. A by-election will be held this autumn.

Congratulations to Michael on his new job and sorry to see him go.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Local MP pushing for Launceston Medical Centre expansion

North Cornwall’s Liberal Democrat MP Dan Rogerson has written to NHS England urging them to approve the expansion of Launceston Medical Centre without further delay.
The centre’s plans to expand to meet demand from people in and around the town are ready to go to the next stage, but things cannot progress until NHS England publish new guidelines covering the expansion of surgeries.
In a letter to Dan Rogerson in early July, NHS England pledged to be able to assess the Centre’s application to expand within a few weeks, but the necessary NHS guidelines have still not been published, despite a delay of more than a year.
Dan Rogerson has written to NHS England to demand urgent action. Surgeries across Cornwall and the rest of the country are facing the same predicament so Dan has also asked Government Health Minister Lord Frederick Howe to look at the situation.
Dan Rogerson said:
“It is clear that Launceston needs NHS approval and quickly. The Medical Centre has plans in place but we are still waiting for NHS England to publish its new guidelines and decide whether or not to give the go ahead and agree to the expanded GP service. The NHS’s delay in publishing its new guidelines is also hitting several other doctors’ surgeries across North Cornwall who have ambitions to expand or secure new premises.”
Launceston Medical Centre is the only GPs surgery in the town and serves an area of approximately a 10 mile radius from the town.  The Practice currently has 17,600 registered patients and the list is growing each year – in the last 12 months more than 300 extra patients joined.
Peter Harper, Launceston Medical Centre’s business manager explained:
“From 1st October this year, to meet the demands of our patient list, we will have 11 GP’s working out of 9 GP consulting rooms at the Medical Centre– we are desperate for additional internal space to enable us to provide the service our patients need.

“Virtually every month we have chased the NHS Local Area Team to see if we can submit expansion plans, only to be told each time that the guidelines for new premises have still not been finalised. Without this initial approval it is not worth starting work on detailed plans.”
Liberal Democrat Cornwall Councillor for Launceston South, Jade Farrington, added:
“With plans coming forward for much-needed affordable and open market housing for Launceston, the need to expand the medical centre is growing. This should tip the balance in Launceston’s favour and help prove the town needs to be at the top of the queue for NHS approval of our medical centre's expansion plans.”

Monday, 18 August 2014

Costa Coffee given Launceston go ahead

Costa Coffee have been given permission by Cornwall Council to open in the town square in Launceston. The decision was taken this afternoon by the council's planning committee.

The application was for change of use permission to allow the company to open at 24 Broad Street, a building formally known as the Health Counter and previously occupied by both Boots and Day Lewis pharmacies.

The move was opposed by many in the town including the owners and operators of a number of existing coffee shops. However the committee decided that there were not sufficient planning grounds to deny the application which will fill an empty shop and create 10 full time equivalent jobs.

This was always going to be a balanced decision, but I was disappointed that the company had failed to give any commitments to the level of community contributions which might be provided.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Plymouth introduce fines for too much rubbish

Plymouth City Council is apparently introducing a system of fines for householders who fill their bins too full or put out too much rubbish. They become the latest council to say that if you cannot close the lid on your wheelie bin (all households have them in the city) then it will either not be collected or you will be fined. The council also say that they will not collect bags of rubbish put out alongside the wheelie bin.

Here in Cornwall our attitude is that so long as you put out your rubbish at the right time and make sure it is in sensible containers like tied up bags or sealed boxes, we will collect it.