Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The New Cornish Authority

Yesterday evening three intrepid parish councillors (that's Mrs The Millbrooker, Auntie Sharon and Yours Truly) took a trip to the St Mellion Golf & Country Club to attend a "consultation" meeting with some of the people who are closely involved in transferring control of Cornish public services from the current district councils to one central Unitary Authority in Truro.

My hackles rose almost immediately as the Assistant Director of the Cornwall children and young people's department , one Mary Cooper, made her presentation which largely consisted of how the new authority was going to save pots of money for the Cornish people by throwing lots of Cornish people who work for the old authorities out of work.

Naturally this was all couched in the sort of spin that we've become used to from fork-tongued bureaucrats and governmental leaders: any new jobs that are created will be open to applications from all current employees even if they're from different geographic areas apparently. How very kind; the fact that there will be far fewer jobs at all and that many people wouldn't want to move away from family and friends seems to have escaped the powers that be.
However the point of the meeting was actually to let us councillors know how things are progressing so...

We are to be given "One Stop Shops" in larger settlements and towns where residents can access information and raise issues with new Authority employees. This might be a reasonably good idea. I wouldn't hold out much hope for Millbrook (despite being the single largest village in Cornwall) getting its own "OSS" though. I reckon we can more or less count on Torpoint (as usual) being our nearest facility.
Cornwall is to be divided by the new Authority into areas of "Community Networks". It looks as if our "Community Network Area" pretty much follows the west bank of the Tamar northwards to Gunnislake, includes Callington and also covers the coast from Cremyll westwards to Downderry and Seaton. The CNA also includes Landrake, Saltash and St Germans. We don't get anywhere near Liskeard with this new arrangement.
The Unitary Authority is expected to hold elections for around 82 seats (possibly more) in 2008 or spring 2009 latest; even the electoral ward boundaries are not yet decided. I would expect Millbrook to form at least the greater part of one ward.
The Authority is expected to be up and running by April 2009. By then Caradon will have ceased to exist as a council as will every other district council and the county council will have been subsumed into the "One Cornwall" authority.

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