Monday, 16 January 2012

All voices must be heard as Cornwall’s new planning strategy is decided

I had a great start to the first week of Parliament this year with a lovely dinner in the Truro Cathedral restaurant and a talk to the two Truro Rotary Clubs of Truro about as my role as an MP as well as answering  their questions. I always value the opportunity of meeting with groups of constituents and listening to them so please invite me to a group you are involved with.

Cornwall Council launched a consultation on ‘Planning Future Cornwall’ – planning the next twenty years of Cornwall (the core strategy). This is really important. The Government has recently given people and communities the power to develop their own neighbourhood plans. These plans need to work with the overall plan for Cornwall – the core strategy. This is not just another consultation where nothing happens at the end of it. Once Cornwall Council has decided on ‘Planning Future Cornwall’ that will be the plan for years to come.

It is vital that you have your say now, either by going to an event or by writing in. I met with the Leader of Cornwall Council last week and he assured me that my constituents would be listened to and that housing targets and development would not be forced upon communities. Too often in life it is he who shouts the loudest gets heard the longest – while Cornwall Council is responsible for planning decisions, I will do my best to ensure that all voices are listened to. This must be a genuine consultation and not just a tick box exercise.

This is Big Fuel Week – and for me the culmination of months of work with local organisations such as the CAB in Truro and Community Energy Plus as well as local poverty forums and housing associations to ensure that everyone has the information they need to save money on heating their homes, especially people on low incomes. Every winter millions of pounds put aside for people who need help go unspent and unclaimed and I am determined that this should change. Please get in touch if you would like a leaflet or visit my website for this free and straight forward information.

I was delighted that a bid led by Cornwall Council, was successful in winning £140,000 from the Government that will enable people who simply do not have enough money to both eat and heat their homes to have the help that they need this winter. I believe it is an exciting and innovative project that brings together the NHS, Public Health, Cornwall Council housing and social care teams with a range of highly effective local voluntary organisations to target people in need and make sure they receive the advise and help to stay warm and healthy this winter. For more information on what help is available and how to get it just call my office.

Finally on Sunday, before heading back to another week in Westminster, I very much enjoyed spending the morning with the congregation of the Baptist Church in Truro.

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