Jeremy Steventon Barnes, BT’s Network Director for Superfast Cornwall, and Julian Cowans, Programme Manager for Superfast Cornwall at Cornwall Development Company, came to Withiel on August 26 to explain why part of the parish is not getting a fibreoptic broadband service in the immediate future and to sketch out options for those of us who are among the deprived.

In broadband terms, this was the equivalent of getting the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury along to explain nuances of scripture. We are grateful to them for making the trip, and to Cally Law, whose article in the Sunday Times about broadband in Withiel raised the profile of the issue.

Jeremy and Julian came to Cally’s house at Ketty’s Close to meet a group of Withiel people who find themselves off the fibreoptic ‘footprint’ and were concerned to know how they might best rejoin the modern world. Present were

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Members of Withiel Parish Council are hereby summoned to attend:

Withiel Parish Council Meeting

Village Hall

Wednesday, 3rd September 2014 at 7.15 pm

Members of the Parish and Public are invited to attend

AGENDA

307/14 Attendance. Apologies from Cllr Coy – unavoidable absence due to prior military

commitment.

308/14 Members Declaration of Interest and any requests for dispensations.

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The march of turbines across Withiel continues, and the worst is yet to come. The three monster turbines on the parish boundary at Roche may soon be joined by a tower of similar size at Great Brynn Barton, the Firkin and Varcoe turbines are running in adjacent fields nearby, the Drake turbine has been joined by the Hawkey turbine and the Piper tower is expected soon to rise between them, while REG Windpower will be erecting five of the tallest turbines in Cornwall on St Breock Down. Across Cornwall hundreds more turbines are in progress, and we can expect little help from our councillors or MPs – Cornwall Council is said to have applied to itself for twelve turbines.

While they are generating fabulous sums of money for their owners – the Dingle Brothers’ fly-built turbine at Bodmin makes them £300,000 a year – the galling fact is that these turbines are practically useless and most will never save the amount of greenhouse gas that was generated in making them and putting them up. The public has been fed a diet of propaganda by well-funded interests; the rich are getting richer at the expense of the poor, and the issue of climate change is

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Draft Minutes of the meeting of Withiel Parish Council held at the Village Hall on Wednesday 6th

August 2014, starting at 7:15pm.

 

295/14 Attendance Cllr Kirkby (Chair) Cllr Coy Cllr Shearer, Cllr Harper, Cllr Malone, Cllr Nott-

Bower,Cllr Cubitt , also present: County Councillor Chris Batters , Parish Clerk R Turner and six

members of the public.

Cllr Coy joined the meeting approx 10 minutes after the start

296/14 Declarations of interest and requests for dispensations: None

297/14 Approval of the minutes of the Withiel Parish Council meeting of July 2, 2014. Proposed

Cllr Kirkby, seconded Cllr Cubitt, passed unanimously.

298/14 Invitations to address the meeting.

– Cornwall County Cllr Chris Batters reported that Ruthern Bridge would be closed 13th

October for repair work on the grade 2 listed bridge

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Withiel Parish Council is seriously concerned that the money promised to the Parish as compensation for the establishment of the solar farm at Kerriers – a total of £35,000 – may not be paid. The Council has always been dubious about the promised money because of anecdotal evidence of renewables companies selling their assets, thus avoiding having to pay what was due to communities. The Council originally opted to take the Kerriers money as a lump sum rather than in instalments over ten years because of its worries that the money could disappear. At a meeting with executives of Munich-based  Kronos Solar GmbH, the company that developed the solar farm, Parish Council Chairman Sue Kirkby asked directly whether the obligation to pay compensation to communities under what’s called ‘Section 106’ would carry over to new owners if the installation was sold, and was assured that it would.

It is now believed that Kerriers was sold even before the mud was dry on the road, with Kronos capitalising on the asset while a new company invested to draw the 25 years of guaranteed subsidies. The problems raised by contract-flipping

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bridge updateThere was a terrific turnout for a short ceremony to open the new footbridge immediately preceding the Duck Race at Whitehay.

Present were Cormac’s Senior Countryside Officer, Chris Monk, who was responsible for the reinstatement of the missing bridge which was washed away in the floods of 2012, and also the Senior Chargehand, Jason Keverne, who built its magnificent replacement. Cormac’ s Communications Facilitator, Cerys Hartt, made an enthusiastic short film about the event for Cormac’s publicity and the event was also attended by The Cornish Guardian.

Local resident Odile Faull – whose late husband Jeremy had been a long standing Parish Councillor – snipped a yellow ribbon stretched across the bridge to officially mark its opening and a toast was drunk to celebrate the occasion.

The Parish was effectively cut in half by the loss of the bridge in 2012 and more than fifty local residents applauded as the ribbon fell away from the fabulous new bridge and everyone agrees that it will be of great benefit to the community in the future.

 

Withiel Parish Council

Members of Withiel Parish Council are hereby summoned to attend:

Withiel Parish Council Meeting

Village Hall

Wednesday, 6th August 2014 at 7.15 pm

Members of the Parish and Public are invited to attend

  AGENDA

295/14             Attendance

 

296/14             Members Declaration of Interest and any requests for dispensations.

 

297/14             To approve the minutes of the meeting of 2nd July 2014

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Many homes in Withiel are among the small percentage in Cornwall which are unable to receive ‘superfast’ fibreoptic broadband. This is bad luck – only 13,000 houses in the whole county are outside what they call the ‘fibre footprint’ – and it’s especially unfortunate for those who are excluded while people across the road can get the service. The Parish Council has been concerned for the past year that this would be the case, but only in the last few months has Superfast Cornwall admitted that many of us in the Parish are outside the fibre footprint and will have to make alternative arrangements or be left behind.

The only real solution at the moment is satellite broadband, where a company puts a Sky-like dish on your house through which you download your emails, surf the web and so forth. Superfast Cornwall will pay for the installation of your satellite dish if they cannot provide you with fibre, but the satellite companies charge monthly and some of their charges are quite ferocious. If you want to download films or spend your whole life on Facebook, you could be looking at serious bills.

Good advice is thin on the ground. In my experience Superfast Cornwall is keen to broadcast its successes but would rather forget its failures – those areas which cannot be fibre-enabled. ‘It’s all on the website’ is the tone of their curt emails. And indeed it is – to check whether you can get fibreoptic broadband, go to www.superfastcornwall.org and click on ‘check your line’ near the top of the page. Put in your landline number, and if fibre is available to you it will say so. You can then follow the instructions on how to get it.

For much of Withiel Parish, however, it will say: ‘Sorry, superfast fibre broadband is not available to you just yet’. It offers you the option of registering for further information. It’s not worth doing this, as all you’ll get is a series of emails about Superfast Cornwall’s latest successes, and it will only make you jealous.

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The appalling state of the roads in Withiel was the primary concern at the Parish Council meeting on July 2nd; Sue Kirkby, in the Chair, described them as a “disaster area” and nobody disagreed. What is to be done?

Councillor Kirkby had driven all the roads prior to the meeting and had noted where the worst potholes were. The worst stretches, she said, were between the two crossroads south of Withiel, where a near-permanent pool of water obscures some dangerous traps for vehicles, and between Councillor Harper’s farm and Butterfly Corner. Other sections like Withiel Hill were also bad.

Councillor Kirkby is to pass a report to County Councillor Chris Batters, who will take it to the County Council highways engineers and request a site visit. Once that has been done, he said, he can put pressure on the County to push the work up the schedule. Councillor Batters had driven over the road at Withielgoose and agreed it was as bad as anything he’d seen.

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Draft minutes of the meeting of

Withiel Parish Council

at the Village Hall on

Wednesday 2 July 2014

Chairman declared the meeting open at 7:15pm

281 /14 Attendance: Councillor Kirkby (Chair) Councillor Coy (Hon Sec) Councillor Cubitt, Councillor Nott Bower, Councillor Malone. Apologies  received from Cllr Shearer.

Plus County Councillor Chris Batters, PCSO Linda Thomas, four members of the public and newly appointed Withiel Parish Council Clerk Robin Turner as an observer.

 

282 /14 There were no members’ declaration of interest or requests for dispensations

 

283 /14 The minutes of the meeting of 4th June 2014 were approved and signed. Proposed Councillor Nott Bower, seconded Councillor Harper. Passed unanimously.

 

284 /14 Invitations to address the meeting:

Cornwall County Councillor Batters mentioned the site visit at Ruthernbridge involving County Council engineers who are working on ways to get vehicles to straighten up before they hit the bridge parapet. Nothing had yet been heard from English Heritage,

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