Chairman’s Report 2020-2021
This past year has been a challenging year for all, business, local government and on a personal level for us all. The civic functions of the parish have been curtailed along with the generally accepted community activities. The Parish Council is very grateful to those organisations that have found novel and innovative ways to continue to support and encourage limited community engagement whilst still remaining Covid-19 compliant. Breage Post office and Godolphin Cross Community Association received a letter of appreciation from the Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall for their efforts in supporting parish communities. As in previous years the Unitary Authority continues to devolve more and more responsibility to Town and Parish Councils under the localism agenda but seldom with the funds to allow its implementation. I am pleased to report that Breage Parish Council has managed to maintain a zero percent increase in the portion of council tax that it sets via the precept. This is despite Cornwall Council indicating a 1.2% increase in the tax base and an approximate 5% increase overall. This should also be seen against the financial requirements of the Police and Crime Commissioner. The Chairman of the Finance and General Purposes committee and committee members have kept the council within its budget and compliant with all local authority financial requirements with a clean bill of health from the auditors. This has been achieved in no short measure by the diligent work of our Clerk and Financial Responsible Officer Mrs C Macleod. The play and exercise areas at Ashton, Breage, Carleen and Praa Sands continue to be well used. Breage Parish Council continues to ensure that the areas remain compliant with Health and Safety through monthly inspections and by updating the Covid 19 requirements as laid out by central government. Breage Parish Council was recently asked to take temporary responsibility for the custody and care of the ex snooker club at Ashton due to the closure of the membership and the lack of officers. I am pleased to report that the villagers have come forward to form a committee which will take custody of the building and explore various ways of making the building available for the benefit of the community. During the second phase of the lockdown it became apparent that the public toilets at Praa Sands were not fit for purpose and beyond the scope of the Parish Council resources to operate in a safe manner. In order to ensure that this vital public service was maintained for our parishioners and visitors Cornwall Council were invited to reassume responsibility, both financially and operationally for them. They have now done this. Breage Parish Council as a burial authority is delighted to have been able to strengthen its ties with the Church of England at Breage via Reverend Kirsten Richards and the church wardens in refurbishing and renovating the War Memorial closed graveyard and the open Cemetery. The first phase is nearly complete and we have received many comments from parishioners about how splendid it looks. Despite working hard to promote various road safety and traffic control schemes, including a “20 is plenty” speed control for our villages, I have to report that we have not been very successful in persuading Cornwall Council of their merits but we are resolved to push hard for these in the next financial year. Our footpaths and general rights of way under the Public Rights of Way
(PROW) have been well maintained under the stewardship of Councillor Phil Darby and we hope to engage in the enhanced PROW scheme during the coming year. Breage Parish Council has taken over the responsibility of “Lengthsman”, clearing ditches, drains and culverts and generally looking after the fabric of the non-classified roads in the parish. This has been a successful partnership with Cormac that has resulted in no significant flooding in the parish and prompt attention being given to problem areas. We hope to continue this scheme into the future. All the Commons and Greens over which we exercise a duty of care are in good repair and we operate a zero tolerance to fly-tipping in the parish which with support from other agencies helps to keep them clear of rubbish. Cornish Tin, a mineral exploration company, has released details of its intended exploration of old tin mine working in the Wheal Vor and Carleen areas to assess the viability of further exploration of the mineral deposits should they prove viable. Breage Parish Council has hosted one meeting between the residents and the company and stands ready to assist both parties as required to ensure that an accurate and unambiguous understanding of the current situation is achieved. We hope this year in conjunction with the University of Plymouth to engage in a system called
“CoastSnap”. This will see a fixed post position that will accept a smart phone and record the status of the beach and sediment shift at any given time. You simply place your phone in position, take your shot and email your photograph off to the University to become a part of the research effort. Councillor Chris Ralph and his steering group have worked tirelessly to complete the Neighbourhood Development Plan which will hopefully inform any future developments within or that affect the parish. Details of the referendum by parishioners to approve its adoption will be promulgated later. Shortly after this report is produced, the Unitary Council, Parish Council and the Police and Crime Commissioner will all be subject to scrutiny and the subject of an election on the 6th May 2021. This will see Cornwall Council councillors reduced from 123 members at present to 87 and Breage Parish making up part of the new Porthleven, Breage and Germoe division. Time will tell what, if any, impact this will have on the activities of Breage Parish Council. We all hope that the route out of lock down and freedom from the restrictions caused by this pandemic will materialise as forecast and we can all get back to some sort of normality soon. As soon as we are able as a council we intend to get back to actual meetings rather than the remote Zoom or Team meetings which have become the norm. We look forward to being able to welcome our parishioners back to our meetings – usually held on the first Tuesday of the month commencing at 1900 and the Planning and land use meeting on the last Wednesday of the month, again commencing at 1900. If you require further information with regards to this report or any other activity of Breage Parish Council please contact the Clerk, Mrs C Macleod on 01326 574781 or (Mobile) 07767165077.
In closing I would like to thank all my Councillor colleagues for their support and encouragement and the parishioners for their engagement with the council over this difficult period, our Clerk Mrs C Macleod for looking after the administration of the Council and Mrs Orpin for ensuring that our offices are maintained and kept clean. Finally thanks to all the unnamed, unsung volunteers who have toiled long and hard to keep the fabric of the parish together and to the local contractors who have carried out work in the parish. Thank you all.Councillor Tony Woodhams Chairman Breage Parish Council