General Election 2017 update
Unlike previous Members of Parliament for St Austell and Newquay, I have not sat on the fence when it comes to planning applications that could have a major potential impact on our constituency.
I am delighted to have worked with local residents to persuade Cornwall Council to once again, as I did when I was local councillor for the area, see off Wainhomes’ plans for another huge inappropriate housing development north of Cornwall College in St Austell.
To find out more, see here
In Newquay I have worked with local residents on the campaign to save the footpath above Whipsiderry Beach from inappropriate development which would ‘concrete the cliffs’.
These plans were defeated once and have now returned. I am opposing these plans on behalf of local residents as well as planning to meet with the Minister in Parliament to try to change the outmoded policy which I believe has led to the plans progressing further than they should have.
To find out more, see here
Our beautiful county is an asset for residents and our tourist industry. Any threat to the local environment is also a threat to the local economy.
Working with communities such as Golant, Grampound, Fowey and Gorran, I have fought to protect Cornwall's unique landscape from unwanted wind turbines.
The Liberal Democrats pushed through a housing target figure of 47,500 for Cornwall. I have consistently opposed this. Whilst we need to provide housing which is affordable to local people it is clear that the current model isn't working. The housing stock continues to grow, yet owning their own home remains out of reach for too many people in mid Cornwall.
I will continue to work with local communities and developers to find sustainable ways to provide affordable housing, as well as the infrastructure to support it.
Stopping wind turbines
I have always opposed the building of wind turbines without the support of their local communities, which blighted Cornwall for too long. I therefore welcomed the news that the Government is ending new public subsidies for onshore wind turbines from April 2016, a year earlier than originally planned.
For too long mid-Cornwall has had to shoulder far more than its fair share of these turbines, which have been propped up by publicly funded subsidies. This Conservative Government is delivering on its manifesto commitments and I hope this is a boost in the fight against these inappropriate developments.
Since my election I have worked with colleagues both in Cornwall and in Westminster to voice the strong concerns that many of those in our constituency have raised about turbines. I am meeting with the Energy Minister today to continue to press the issue and ensure that St Austell and Newquay has a strong and continuing voice in the ongoing journey to make our renewable energy industry fit for purpose.
This in turn led to Cornwall Council’s change in strategy regarding wind turbines, which put a stop to a number of Council wind turbines planned for Mid-Cornwall.
The figures in Cornwall Council’s strategy just did not add up, particularly in the light of the Government’s new policy regarding turbines that has cut the subsidies that make them so lucrative for developers at the cost of bill payers.
I have pointed out that essentially the figures were unsustainable and yet another waste of hard-working Cornish taxpayer’s money and I am glad that Cornwall Council listened to common sense and I am delighted that they have scrapped their plans.
I will continue to work with colleagues both in Cornwall and in Westminster to make the renewable energy industry fit for purpose.
Protect our Waves APPG
With Newquay the premier surf resort in the country, I was absolutely delighted to be asked to chair the Protect Our Waves APPG in this new Parliament. The protection of our marine environment is crucial, both to preserve and nurture our beautiful seas and coastline, but also to grow the valuable surfing industry, which contributes so much to our constituency’s economy.
Working with Cornwall-based charity Surfers Against Sewage, The Protect Our Waves APPG was launched on 15th October 2014 and looks to address the most urgent environmental issues highlighted by the Protect Our Waves (POW) petition– marine litter, recreational bathing water quality and coastal development.
I am now working with the team at Surfers Against Sewage to ensure the Protect Our Waves APPG is a powerful voice in Parliament both for the protection of our bathing water quality and in the fight against marine pollution.
In conjunction with the delivery of the POW petition, Surfers Against Sewage also published the findings of a new economic survey highlighting the £1.8 Billion value of UK surfing to call for increased action to protect the UK’s surfing habitats. This ground-breaking study is good news for the UK with the value of £1.8 billion comparable to the economic value of sailing for the UK or tourism for Cornwall.
Saving Porth coast path
In 2015 I worked with residents of Porth in a campaign to get Cornwall Council to reject plans for housing at the site of the former Paradise Cove Hotel, Newquay.
The plans, which would have seen public access denied to a stretch of coastal footpath, had received strong opposition from local residents, and on the strength of this feeling, Steve had written to the Council, highlighting these objections and urging the Council to save the footpath.
Our precious coastal footpaths are irreplaceable and community assets that should be nurtured and kept for ours and future generations to enjoy.
I was pleased to see Cornwall Council has listened to my concerns as well as those of so many of the local community who contacted them and me regarding the planning application at the former Paradise Hotel site and has come to a sensible decision.