8 .11. 2012 Cornwall AONB Partnership

 Minutes of Cornwall AONB Partnership Meeting held on Thursday 8 Nov 2012 at 1.30pm at the Old Cattle Market Building, Helston


The meeting was preceded with morning site visits from 10.30 until 12.30pm with Alastair Cameron and Mike Hardy from the National Trust.  Site visits included Penrose Estate and in particular Nansloe Farm with information on the projects and initiatives the National Trust are involved in.

In attendance:


Peter Mansfield           Chairman, Cornwall AONB Partnership

Cllr Jim Flashman       Cornwall Council

Cllr David Hughes       Cornwall Council

Cllr Neil Hatton            Cornwall Council

David Appleton           Natural England

Jimmy Scobie             CLA

Victoria Whitehouse    Cornwall Wildlife Trust

Paul Walton                 National Trust

Lucy Thomas              NFU

Manda Brookman       CoaST


Supporting Officers:

Hannah Harris             Cornwall Council, Transportation

Toby Lowe                  Cornwall Council, Countryside

Ann Reynolds             Cornwall Council, Historic Environment

Jo Traill Thomson       Cornwall AONB Partnership Manager, Cornwall AONB Unit

Nigel Sumpter             AONB Officer, Cornwall AONB Unit

June Crossland           Planning Officer, Cornwall AONB Unit

Pete Maxted               Communications Officer, Cornwall AONB Unit

Julian Powis                Volunteer, Cornwall AONB Unit

Karen Johns                Office Manager, Cornwall AONB Unit

1.  Apologies

 Paul Cottington, NFU; John Mortimer, CLA; Ed Nancekivell, Bodmin Moor Livestock Initiative; Malcolm Bell and Emma Rojano, VisitCornwall; Alyson Cooper, CC Historic Environment; Andrew England and David Edmondson CC Planning; Philippa Hoskin, CC Environment; Kath Statham, CC Landscape; Sonia Thurley and Cathy Turtle, Environment Agency; Joan Symons Cornwall Councillor; Nick Russell & Phil McMahon, English Heritage; Deborah Boden, WHS; Peter Burton, CRCC.

2.  Minutes of last meeting (7 March 2012)

Page 2, item 2, Davidstow Windfarm – developers have submitted a scoping report to Cornwall Council, which the AONB Unit has been consulted on and is commenting on this and liaising with NE.

Page 2, Item 3, LNP (Environment Partnership) – the Chairman reported that LUC completed their work and the conclusion had been that there is strong support for an LNP in Cornwall and IoS.  A successful application had been made to Defra and the Initiation Board has been progressing the work of setting up what will be the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Environment Partnership (CISEP), but with LUC finishing their involvement, momentum has slowed.  Philip Hygate from IoS is the current Chair.  The Board will have a Technical Advisory Group (incorporating Environment Kernow) which is intended to draft detailed work with the CISEP Board meeting bi-monthly.  CC has included in its draft 2013 budget funding for 2 support posts for the LNP to be co-located with the LEP.

Page 3, Item 4, Revised structure and function of the Partnership – the Chairman has spoken to Tim Light - Cornwall Ferries and Fal River Links Cooperative - who has accepted the invite to join the Partnership.  He will be invited to the next meeting.  Links have also been made to University of Exeter and the Health and Wellbeing Board to explore their participation.


Page 6, item 9, Rural Roads Protocol – the draft document is now complete and currently out for consultation, with the final version due to be completed in the New Year.  The document was commended as being well written and easy to understand – the authors should be congratulated.  It was originally scoped to also include Rights of Way, but this will be worked up and added at a later date.    

3.  Minutes of last Executive Board meeting (18 Oct 2012)

Page 12, Item 8, Bodmin Moor Commons Council – Natural England are supporting the Bodmin Moor Commoners in their discussions to develop a Bodmin Moor Commons Council which will require Secretary of State approval.

Page 10, Item 3, Penwith Landscape Project – concern was expressed that the CLA had not been contacted regarding this project and that landowners working the land are not always included when decisions and projects are taking place.

Victoria Whitehouse confirmed there is a community consultation exercise currently taking place by consultants, via a series of meetings.  Notification of the consultation has been made in the NFU newsletter.  Victoria said that CLA has not yet been contacted – she will contact Jimmy Scobie to send him information that he can circulate to the CLA Cornwall Committee and individual CLA members in Penwith.

Victoria Whitehouse

1.    AONB Unit activity report – projects, planning, communications

Neighbourhood Planning - Emma Critchley, Community Planning Asst left the Unit at the end of October 2012 to take up a Neighbourhood Planning post in London.  The Unit has commissioned CRCC to undertake Neighbourhood Planning work to keep that moving forward.

Annual Review Apr 2009 – Mar 2012: 3 yr review document is complete and printed – copy circulated to partners at the meeting.

South West Coast Path Assn is celebrating their 40th birthday anniversary and have contacted all AONBs and National Parks in the SW to ask for funding and support in their celebratory events.  The lead partner in the identification and delivery of the projects as part of the celebration is Cornwall Council Countryside Service.  The event has also received tremendous support from the National Trust.  In terms of financial contribution, the main match funding to the sponsor money raised is coming from RDPE, Natural England and the private sector.

The main event is a series of walks in April/May 2013.  Partner organisations are encouraged to join in, support the events etc.  The walks are open for everyone to join – local communities, local businesses, tourists.  The Great South West Walk flyer leaflet was circulated at the meeting.  Pete Maxted will be leading one of the walks (Porthcothan to Padstow).  Money raised from the event will go back into coast path improvement work.

All partners

Resources for Cornwall Council to maintain the coastal path was mentioned – other local delivery methods will need to be investigated over and above Cornwall Council’s statutory responsibilities to ensure adequate maintenance levels are achieved.

The Chairman reported that a Cornwall Council Tourism Review document is about to be issued which will be of significant interest to the Cornwall AONB.

Penwith Landscape Project – end of December 2012 the first phase of the consultation will end.  Findings of the project will include the importance of farming to the Penwith Landscape etc. 

Valuing Green Infrastructure in Cornwall – a Cornwall AONB supplementary report – has been produced and a copy of the document was circulated at the meeting.  An electronic copy will be circulated with the minutes.

ONB Unit

Nigel Sumpter, AONB Officer – Brief Project Activity Update – Nigel provided a presentation on some of the projects and initiatives that he is currently and has recently been working on.

  • Marazion seafront enhancement pilot – a joint project between the AONB, Marazion Town Council and St Aubyn Estates.  This is to reduce beach clutter, signage etc.
  • Rural Highways Best Practice Guide – this has been included in the Local Transport Plan 3.  One of the elements in the Guide is preservation of highways heritage.  A pilot project has taken place on replacing old fingerpost signs - Roseland Historic Highway signs project.  The local community and school children were involved in helping to paint the new signs.  
  • Dualling of A30 on Bodmin Moor – the Rural Highways BPG has been used to enhance the landscaping scheme of the new A30 dualling proposals.
  • Off road cycle survey – survey currently underway which includes cycle-ways and by-ways – also includes the World Heritage Site as well as the AONB. 

There may be an opportunity for a best practice guide to be produced on ways to replace and maintain fingerposts etc in the highway.  E.g. Cllr Hatton and Cllr Hughes mentioned maintenance of fingerposts they have undertaken in different ways in their areas – including Cornwall Council Highways helping with structural work in some areas.

5.  Cornwall AONB Neighbourhood Planning Toolkit

June Crossland reported that the Cornwall AONB Unit has been working with Cornwall Council and consultants LDA Design to produce a web based Neighbourhood Planning Toolkit – which will explain how to embed landscape into the Neighbourhood Planning process.  3 pilot workshops were held throughout the County with parish/town councils attending to raise awareness and act as a taster to the process.  The workshops were designed to help inform parishes on the tools they require to include landscape in their neighbourhood plans.

Feedback from the workshops confirmed that the methodology of undertaking a Neighbourhood Plan was welcomed, but further workshops were requested.  These will be taking forward local landscape assessments in parishes/towns.  These will be arranged by CRCC and AONB Unit for a cluster of parish/town councils in the New Year.


In discussion it was suggested that it may prove necessary to use professional facilitation to produce robust LCA’s for parishes.

CRCC will be taking the Neighbourhood Planning work forward for 3 months following Emma Critchley’s departure. 

Victoria Whitehouse suggested that biodiversity information etc, needs to be included as a link to the Landscape Character information as that data on County Wildlife Sites etc is not included with the Landscape Character Assessment at present.


6.  Business Plan for Defra 2013/14

The Cornwall AONB Partnership Business Plan 2013-2015 sets out in broad terms the key areas of work for the Partnership and staff Unit for the next 2 years.  It will be reviewed annually with the involvement of the Partnership.

The Business Plan is in 3 parts:

Part OnePartnership structure and external changes – internal communications – monthly managers report (via email) to Exec Group providing brief update on Unit activities, Task and Finish Group activities and monthly e-news from the Unit to the full Partnership – also external communications.

Allocating planning resources – planning policy; development management; neighbourhood planning


Part Two – Core Function and Management Plan Priorities

Condition Monitoring – Unit will let a contract to revisit Baseline Monitoring of 2009 including looking to recruit local volunteers to help with local condition monitoring which will be useful for neighbourhood plans.

Neighbourhood Planning – continue toolkit work to raise awareness


Part Three – Delivery

Landscape Character – social forestry, cycling hub and linking sections

Community Planning – Neighbourhood Planning and Outstanding Champions – local contacts to develop community links

AONB Businesses – Outstanding business awards, food trails, Outstanding picnics and walks

West Penwith/Integrated Land Management – taking Penwith Landscape project work forward, pilot project to generate social, economic and environment benefits

The Executive Board has been helping to feed into the Business Plan, and will continue to do so.  Partners were asked to let the AONB Unit have any comments on the Business Plan, there is still time to make comments, before the Plan is submitted with the funding bid to Defra at the end of December 2012.   

All Partners

Jimmy Scobie congratulated Jo for undertaking this work and developing the Business Plan.  He welcomed the idea of monthly email updates from the Unit and Partners as the Partnership meetings are only now held twice a year - it will provide more regular information which can be passed onto colleagues in their partnership organisations.

Cllr Flashman reported that Scott Mann, Deputy Chair of the Planning Committee is now writing a policy on siting of windfarms in the County and it would be worthwhile the AONB Unit liaising with him on this.  The AONB Unit confirmed it is aware of a policy that is being written.

Hannah Harris reported that CC Democratic Services are preparing training plans for new members after the May 2013 elections.  It was agreed that the Unit contact CC Democratic Services to suggest AONB training which would be beneficial to new and existing councillors.


7.  Partner updates and monitoring of Management Plan Actions

The AONB Partnership Manager distributed spreadsheets which showed progress on the actions detailed in the management plan as reported by the Unit and by those partner organisations who had provided updates.  All partners were asked to provide any further updates and let the AONB Unit know if they are involved in or wish to be involved in any of the actions/projects, even if their organisation is not currently listed as a lead/key partner.

RCM4 – Toby Lowe queried who was involved in the project – he suggested that N Sumpter contacts the Beach Officer, Jolyon Sharp to discuss.   

All partners

N Sumpter


8.    Communications Strategy

P Maxted presented the Draft Communications Strategy circulated to Partners with the agenda papers. Two small changes were requested by Partners – one to the key messages section (to include the ‘great weight’ message from the National Planning Policy Framework) and one to the target audience section (to include council members as well as policy makers).

J Scobie moved that the AONB team be thanked and congratulated on a fine piece of work.



9.  AONB Partnership Position Paper on National Park Status – The Chairman explained that he had written the paper in response to CPRE’s recent press release on whether Cornwall should become a National Park.  The position statement is not intended for publication as such, but to establish an agreed position for the Partnership. 

Natural England’s 2012 Designations Strategy Implementation Plan includes “a strategic review of the extent and diversity of the existing set of AONB and National Park designations to establish whether there is potential scope for future new designations – by end August 2014”.  However, the conclusions on NE’s practical position on changes in designation give no grounds for any optimism that a Cornwall National Park would result in the foreseeable national circumstances.  The meeting expressed agreement with the conclusions.

10.  Schedule of Future Meeting Dates for 2013/14

The list of future meeting dates was noted.  It was suggested that the next Partnership meeting be arranged in June 2013, allowing time after the May elections for the appointment of representative Councillors. 



11.  Any Other Business

·         Planning Approval - Mevagissey Bay View, School Hill, Mevagissey – erection of 31 dwellings (21 affordable) – the AONB Unit has submitted comments to CC Planning to advise that this Exception Site application be refused as the proposed dwellings would be prominent in this sensitive coastal landscape; it would result in a developed appearance which would erode the quality of the natural appearance of the coast.  CC Planning Officer had recommended refusal to the CC Central Sub-Area Planning Committee, but the Committee approved the development. 

The Partnership welcomed David Appleton’s suggestion that he would raise the case with Natural England as a dangerous precedent and agreed with his recommendation that the Partnership should raise this issue with Dave Webster, Chief Exec of NE. 

D Appleton


CC Local Plan public consultation is due in January 2013.  Agreed a special meeting of Partnership members could be convened to discuss the final consultation draft.




12.  Date of Next Meeting – Thursday 20th June 2013 (after CC elections) and Nov 2013.  AONB Unit will circulate dates.  The Cornwall AONB Annual Forum (Central) will take place on Saturday 16th March 2013.