Minutes of Cornwall AONB Partnership meeting held on Thursday 5th Dec 2013 at 10am at the Millennium Rooms, The Square, St Mawes, nr Truro.
Peter Mansfield Cornwall AONB Partnership Chairman (Outgoing)
Bob Kirby-Harris Cornwall AONB Partnership Chairman (Incoming)
Cllr Edwina Hannaford Cornwall Council
Cllr Neil Hatton Cornwall Council
Cllr David Hughes Cornwall Council
Cllr Loveday Jenkin Cornwall Council
David Appleton Natural England
Victoria Whitehouse Cornwall Wildlife Trust
Jimmy Scobie Cornwall Land and Business Association
David Rodda Cornwall Agri-Food Council
Tim Light Fal River Cornwall
Patrick Aubrey-Fletcher NFU
Mary Combe FWAG South West
Neil Duffield FWAG South West
Hannah Harris Transport Planning, Cornwall Council
Deborah Boden World Heritage Site Team
Andy England Planning, Cornwall Council
Alyson Cooper Historic Environment, Cornwall Council
Colette Beckham Cornwall AONB Partnership Manager
Karen Johns Cornwall AONB Office Manager
Jon Smith Roseland Neighbourhood Development Plan
Peter Mansfield confirmed that this is his last Partnership meeting as Chairman as he is stepping down. Robert Kirby-Harris was welcomed to his first Partnership meeting – Robert (Bob) is the new Chairman taking over from Peter today (5 Dec). Jon Smith, Chairman of Roseland Neighbourhood Development Plan Steering Group was also thanked for attending the meeting to provide a presentation on the Roseland Plan.
1. Apologies – National Trust; English Heritage; Environment Agency; Peter Jefferson (CRCC); Sean Bennett (FWAG SW); Malcolm Bell (VisitCornwall); Ann Reynolds, Kath Statham and Toby Lowe, (Cornwall Council); CALC; Rupert Hanbury-Tenison (CLA), Pete Maxted and Nigel Sumpter (Cornwall AONB Unit)
2. Minutes of last Partnership meeting (20 June 2013) – these were AGREED. The following matters arose:
Agenda Page 2, item 2, CPRE – CPRE Headquarters convened a meeting and have adopted a new constitution and membership for Cornwall CPRE – so CPRE looks set to have a more active role in Cornwall than it has over the past few years.
Agenda Page 3, item 4, Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Nature Partnership – the Chairman reported that environment and sustainability is at the heart of the LNPs remit.
Agenda Page 4, item 9, Nare Hotel, Roseland - the Secretary of State has confirmed that Cornwall Council should carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment on this planning proposal.
Agenda Page 4, item 9, Cornwall Local Plan – Cllr Hannaford reported that figures for new housing to be included in the Plan will be reported at the next Full Council meeting. 2 different figures are being reported for debate and consideration.
3. Minutes of last Exec Board meetings (July 2013, Sept 2013, Nov 2013)
All 3 sets of minutes were included in the agenda papers, but as no matters were arose from the July and September minutes, the Chairman ran through the November minutes only.
Agenda Page 13, item 5, Recruitment of new Chairman – arising from the recruitment process, Sir Ferrers Vyvyan of Trelowarren Estate and Harold Tinworth, with substantial public sector experience at CEO level, had both expressed an interest in contributing to the Partnership. The Chairman suggested that the Partnership considers offering them an expert advisory role on the Partnership with future Task and Finish Groups potential.
4. New EU Funding Strategy – David Rodda
D Rodda, Cornwall Agri-food Council, presented the new EU Funding Strategy – Rural Development in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly 2014 – 2020. D Rodda explained why there is need for the Funding Strategy, outlined the Vision, Priorities, proposed split between ERDF and ESF and Defra Rural Development Fund, Governance structure etc.
The LEP Strategy has 4 Priorities and the EU Funding Strategy links to those 4 Priorities. The EU Funding Strategy has 3 priorities – Future Economy; Growth for Business; and Conditions for Growth (investment areas).
Discussion took place on types of potential projects and the way to develop project ideas to gain funding – maintenance of coast path network is needed but funding won’t be approved for maintenance alone, local businesses, community groups etc need to demonstrate how the maintenance of paths will provide economic growth.
Copy of D Rodda’s presentation will be circulated with the minutes for information. AONB Unit
5. The Roseland Plan – Jon Smith
Jon Smith, Chairman of Roseland Neighbourhood Development Plan Steering Group provided a presentation on the Roseland Plan. A cluster group of parishes in the Roseland are working together to develop the Plan.
Jon Smith outlined what has happened so far on the Plan e.g. questionnaires were circulated to the local community to ascertain feedback on what the local community want to see included in the Plan. Local businesses and other stakeholders will also be asked for their input.
Jon Smith included detail on the barriers/problems experienced so far and any possible future issues; how the Plan is being resourced; and what further help will be necessary from agencies to deliver the Plan.
Andy England will enquire within Cornwall Council to discuss resources that could be offered to help parishes with the production of Neighbourhood Plans. Edwina Hannaford confirmed that parishes do not have to pay for the referendum, Cornwall Council pay for this. Andy England
The Cornwall AONB budget has funded a Neighbourhood Plan pilot in St Minver, working with the parish in detail to help them develop their Plan. Findings from this pilot will be extremely useful in being more aware of the level of detail that parishes can work at to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan.
Jon Smith was thanked for a very interesting and informative presentation.
6. Cornwall AONB Business Plan 2014-16 – Colette Beckham
The 2014-16 Business Plan has been written in light of the most severe cuts in public sector funding the Partnership has faced in its 11 year history. Partners were made aware of the sensitive nature of this Business Plan as it includes an AONB Unit staff re-structure which directly affects current staff in the Unit. These staff member were therefore not present at the meeting.
C Beckham presented the Business Plan setting out the rationale; Vision of the Partnership; Delivery – Partnership working and working with businesses and communities; Governance; alternative income source; Policy and Planning and other Strategic influencing. Current core functions that Defra expect the AONB Unit to undertake was also outlined.
The Executive Board has already considered a draft Business Plan at its meeting on 11 Nov 2013. The Exec Board suggested the Plan should include more emphasis on joint working with other AONBs for example. C Beckham has a meeting with Tamar Valley and Isles of Scilly AONB Managers tomorrow (6 Dec) to discuss resource sharing in more detail.
D Appleton raised the question of AONB Units getting the balance of still delivering at the current high standard, but with also concentrating time on developing ways to generate income from other (non public sector) sources.
D Appleton therefore queried why the new Development Manager that would undertake this role of income generating is only suggested as a 0.6 FTE. C Beckham clarified that the Development Manager would generate income for activity not just for securing the post. The Planning Officer is suggested as a 0.8 FTE as it is hoped that Tamar Valley AONB will possibly provide additional funding to make it a 1 FTE role.
T Light mentioned the BID model as being a good model to follow as the way forward with business involvement. The value of AONBs and awareness of what an AONB is still needs to be communicated to businesses etc.
The Partnership AGREED to the 2 recommendations set out in the report, namely …….
1. that the Partnership approves the draft Business Plan detailing the work of the AONB Unit and Partners for April 2014 to March 2016, and
2. that the Executive Board reviews the membership of the Partnership in relation to the business plan to ensure that the make up of the Partnership is fit for purpose to delivery the Plan.
7. AONB Unit activity report
Planning – a summary of case of the planning application for 31 dwellings (21 affordable) at Mevagissey Bay View, School Hill, Mevagissey was provided to partners with the agenda papers. The paper concludes that the decision on the second application submitted by the developers is still awaited. The Secretary of State did not request that an EIA be requested but the SoS has requested an EIA for the Nare Hotel planning application.
Outstanding Excursions project – C Beckham, specifically expressed thanks to Pete Maxted, Communications Officer and Jules Powis, Volunteer at the AONB Unit for development and delivery of the Outstanding Excursions project which has proved very successful – the pilot project involved getting elderly people out into the AONB.
Art in the Environment Calendars – Partners were given a complimentary copy of the Cornwall AONB Calendar 2014 which had been produced in partnership with Falmouth University MA students. Copies are available from the AONB Unit at cost price of £3.50 each.
A round table update was provided by partners:
Fal River Cornwall - Tim Light – a Rural Bus Company has been set up which is being trialled in areas in the Fal River and surrounding areas – but the cost of running this service is challenging.
CC Historic Environment - Alyson Cooper – HLF funding has been awarded to train volunteers to assess the quality of heritage assets. There may be opportunities of sharing best practice with the AONB and its future proposed volunteer scheme, monitoring of information/data collected etc
WHS - Deborah Boden – joint working with AONB would be useful on Governance arrangements and Planning training as WHS are looking at both of these activities too. REG application was not appropriate but now something the AONB and WHS can approach the LNP on.
CC Planning - Andy England – biodiversity and ecology meeting being held – Edwina involved.
NFU Cornwall - Patrick Aubrey-Fletcher – continues to work with their NFU members in their food production.
Cornwall Cllr Neil Hatton – link of landscape/seascape is important – he sits on the SAC and can see many opportunities of joint working. The demise of the SDF is disappointing as it was a great way of awareness raising in and of the AONB.
FWAG SW - Neil Duffield – has taken up new post with FWAG SW.
CC Local Transport Board – Hannah Harris – their transport scheme for the next 5 years has been agreed. Improvements to signalling on the main railway line is included. Future of the Local Transport Board is unknown as the LEP has now been given funding for transport.
Environment Service within Cornwall Council is currently undergoing a staff re-structuring review so it is possible that representatives from the Environment Service at the Partnership meetings in future may change.
Cornwall Wildlife Trust - Victoria Whitehouse – whole farm advice across West Penwith – social and economic aspects advice provided to farmers not just biodiversity advice – it is important this continues. Fowey and Looe working with farmers regarding pesticides issues and woodland management – bringing soil and water resource and protection aspects together. Other Community sector work – working with 6 Marine Conservation Area groups delivering projects in their areas. South Coast Inter-tidal Project to gather much needed marine data. CWT Strategic Plan is being reviewed – CWT is very committed to working with the AONB and its partners going forward.
Natural England - David Appleton – following review of EA and NE – they will remain separate agencies for the next few years. NE is undertaking a staff restructure – a Devon and Cornwall team will be established again from next year to work at a local level. Updating National Character Area Statements – Cornwall ones nearly completed – D Appleton thanked officers that have provided comments on the drafts.
CLA – Jimmy Scobie - suggested looking into the extending the AONB in the West Penwith section.
9. Any Other Business
Thanks to Outgoing Chairman - D Appleton thanked Peter on behalf of the Partnership, for his work as Chairman of the Partnership for the past 10 years and excellent steering of discussions at Partnership meetings. J Scobie also extended his thanks to Peter Mansfield on behalf of the Partnership and wished him well for the future.
10. Date of Next Meeting
June 2014 – date and venue to be confirmed.