Does Cornwall really have a budget crisis?

14 Dec

Every time you open a paper of listen to the local news, you hear how services are being cut to save money for the cash strapped Local Authority.
I cannot help feeling there must be some kind of political choice being exercised over what is cut and what is not.

Recently, I have heard that Cornwall Council are going to withdraw the service for spraying weeds sprouting through the pavements and paths. This is now going to be down to Parish and Town Councils. In most cases it has been suggested that the local contractor responsible for grass cutting in the Parish takes on the weed control, provided they have suitable training. However, nobody is going to perform this additional duty for free, and so the cost will be met from the Parish precept or rate. In other words the public will have to dip into their pocket for extra payment.

There are areas of Cornwall Council expenditure where it is not quite so easy to turn off the tap. These include duties performed by so called “arms length” bodies, who provide out sourced services. They rely on their income from contracts with Cornwall Council. One of these bodies is Cormac.

Now for some reason, it would appear that more work has to be found for Cormac employees. It cannot be that there are no pot holes to fill or roads to resurface, it might be that Tarmac is difficult to work in the cold weather, or that the budget for road work has been spent. Therefore somebody has had to sit down and dream up something else to keep Cormac workers employed.

The thing that they have come up with concerns parking, or rather no parking. It turns out that if you have a stretch of yellow lines, parking regulations cannot be enforced unless you display a sign saying how parking is restricted.
Some of you who have spent a quiet off-season day at Poly Joke, or West Pentire, or a relaxing pint at the Bowgie, will know the narrow road leading from Crantock village to the headland car park. This stretch of about three quarters of a mile has yellow lines either side, and is in any case too narrow to park on, or traffic would be unable to pass.

In recent days, without any reference to local people or the Parish Council, Cormac have erected 57 two metre metal posts either side of this stretch of road with plates at the top that state that parking is restricted April to September. This unfortunately infers that parking is allowed at other times. This is a very scenic area and these poles are hideous.

Therefore when it comes to spending money, green weeds no – metal weeds yes.

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