Thursday, 25 April 2013

Priorities for Cornwall & Redruth

Are you satisfied with the way Redruth Town Centre is developing? What do you think could and should be done to invigorate the town?

Ian Thomas (Independent)

Well the short answer is no, despite the incredible efforts of the Town Council, some of its Members and Officers.  Your Town Council has invested significant resources in both the post of Town Development Manager and in partnership with a number of other ‘good souls’ from the community by trying to promote the town and increase footfall by the building of the ‘Events Programme’ and other initiatives.

What else can be done?  My view is that the Unitary Authority should invest capital – maybe just a slice of what has been/may have been invested in Eden, Newquay Airport, the Stadium for Cornwall or Falmouth Harbour - in the Redruth Action Plan which they have previously adopted as the Strategic Development Framework for the town. 

Traders, businesses and the Chamber of Commerce should be encouraged, again in partnership with the Town Council, to participate more freely in the obvious development needs of the town.  Maybe, the business community should pursue the Business Improvement District (BID) scheme which has been successfully implemented elsewhere in the County and Country.

Other things to be considered are the cost of Car Parking and Business Rates which are both high and at an unacceptable level. 

Will Tremayne (Labour)

The town council as a team effort has been working hard in Redruth centre to promote the heritage industries as well as our more traditional shops. We are all very excited about the development of the brewery site and it’s potential to invigorate the town. Also with a new wave of convergence money available now is the time to be looking for new projects and this is something I would encourage the residents to consider. Projects that Redruth could bid for funding on. However it’s important that a town council is able to work closely with Cornwall Council that is equally committed to Redruth.

What do you see as Cornwall’s main priorities over the next 4 years and how can Cornwall Council help to address them?

Ian Thomas (Independent)

To grow stronger communities through the building of affordable homes to rent and buy, not only to meet local needs, but as a driver for employment, regeneration and the sustainability of communities.

To make further capital investment in the ‘Local Transport Plan’, connecting people, communities, businesses and services and alongside the roll-out of the Broadband Super Highway.

To invest in and promote the sustainable use of low carbon technology and our natural resources such as solar and wave power in an effort to reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions.

To devolve some powers and responsibilities to the Parish and Town Councils with the transfer of assets, services and budgets as intended under the ‘Active Partnering’ initiative. 

Will Tremayne (Labour)

My main priorities for Cornwall are;

  • Promote a strong local economy.
  • Keep Cornwall moving by protecting and improving public transport.
  • Protect the elderly and vulnerable.
  • Safeguard public services; Education, Libraries, social and youth services.
  • Fight for Carn Brea Leisure centre.
  • Support the National Health Service and Treliske Hospital.

Cornwall Council has frozen Council Tax again for next year and is planning to make some budget cuts in order to balance the books. This looks likely to mean reductions in some Council services and result in some job losses. Do you agree with the decision to freeze Council Tax for another year?

Ian Thomas (Independent)

No!  This freeze in Council Tax will, no doubt, result in a further reduction in the scope, quality and frequency of services to the community.  It is also likely to cause the cessation/closure of some services and further job losses and redundancies.  More people on benefits, a greater loss of skills and experience and a bigger demand on the welfare and caring services which remain.

Will Tremayne (Labour)

Make no mistake, the funding formula from central government means that that saving will have to be made. I will do my upmost best to ensure that front line services are protected particularly those for the elderly and vulnerable.

What do you consider should be the main principles underpinning financial strategy for 2014/15 and beyond?   

Ian Thomas (Independent)

My starter for ten would be a zero-based budget approach.  I mean by this that rather than just adding inflation or growth to the previous year’s budget as a given, each service and budget manager should be required to identify the needs of the community and the service (quality, standards, frequency etc) before identifying by estimate the cost of the provision or supply. 

This approach together with an improvement in efficiency and performance could/would release financial and possibly human resources to be better utilized elsewhere within the Council.

Will Tremayne (Labour)

Cornwall councillors should never forget that the authority exists to deliver local services to local people and therefore financial principles should reflect this.

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