St Mellion Parish Election 2013 – Response to Alan Twist

Following my previous post regarding the Parish Council elections, I’d like to proffer my thanks to Alan Twist for his concise comments.  Alan, please accept my apologies for the false supposition that the Solar Farm was the driving force behind the collaborative efforts of St Mellion Park.  I did hear rumours of the precept issue but discarded it because I didn’t feel the facts supported it.  I’ll try to set out my reasons for arriving at that conclusion.

Firstly, you state that St Mellion Park houses are rated at Band H.  This is partially correct but for the sake of completeness, here are the actual bandings for St Mellion Park.

Street A F G H Total
Dunstan Lane 1 15 16
Keason Hill 15 1 16
Lake View 7 2 9
Oak Avenue 1 3 4
Oliver Court 1 1 2
Orchard Close 4 9 13
The Rowans 6 6
Wood Drive 5 2 7
Total 1 5 61 6 73

Unfortunately I did this exercise after obtaining precept details from the council for only Band H properties in the parish.  Suffice to say, the Band G properties pay less than Band H.  The following table shows the current St Mellion Band H precept and the Cornwall county average for Band H.

St Mellion Band H Annual Precept £29.00
Average Cornwall County Band H Precept £139.44

St Mellion’s precept is approximately 21% of the county average for Band H property owners.  To put it another way, the six highest banded properties in St Mellion Park contribute less than £0.56 each per week to the parish.  This seems unworthy of the term “lion’s share”.

In your comment you expressed concern that St Mellion Park residents were paying for projects that mainly benefited the village.  Do you have any examples of these projects?  I do my best to follow parish matters but I’m not aware of a single parish project, current or proposed.  I presume that if such plans existed, the incumbent parish council would have raised the precept last year to accommodate them.  They did not.  I’d also like to point out that despite its unique characteristics; St Mellion Park is part of the very village you express distaste at contributing towards.  St Mellion village (and indeed parish) lacks many of the facilities available to other parishes.  In fact the only parish asset I’m aware of is a granite seat located across the A388 from the Coryton Arms and the small patch of grass it occupies.

Prior to the election, the five candidates representing St Mellion Park distributed a flier around the parish, it included the following manifesto statement:-

“Our objective during the coming electoral period is to reflect the interests of the parish and to utilize any resources for the benefit of all the residents of St Mellion.”

This statement seems completely at odds with the objective stated in your comment of preventing Band H precepts from rising in St Mellion Park.  I appreciate though that your views are your own and might not be those of the candidates representing you.

Despite my points above, I fully understand your desire to have representation on the parish council.  St Mellion Park is a significant component of the parish and has every right to representation.  In your comment you express surprise at four candidates responding to a request to represent St Mellion Park.  Four would have given them, not only representation, but majority control over the parish council.  This begs the question as to why St Mellion Park then co-opted a fifth candidate and was declined by a sixth.  This suggests that mere representation was never the objective.  St Mellion Park sought, and indeed achieved, complete control.

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3 Responses to St Mellion Parish Election 2013 – Response to Alan Twist

  1. Alan Twist says:

    It is good of Steve to acknowledge that the desire to have St Mellion Park representation on the Parish Council was driven by concern at the “uncapped” nature of the Precept rather than the solar farm issue.

    I am also indebted to him for his thorough analysis of the Precept payments that show a Band H property currently pays £29 per year when the Cornwall average is £139. With a potential rise of over £100 it is only fair that St Mellion Park be represented. As the number of residents constitute almost half of the parish perhaps it is democratic that they should hold half of the six seats.

    In my view it is worrying that so much experience has been lost in this election. With both Viv Malsom and Helen Dowdall leaving at the same time it will be very hard for the new Council at the beginning and it will need the support of all of us.

  2. Ian Waite says:

    Your point about represention is the problem Alan. You say, as you are nearly half of the parish, its only fair you should have half the seats. St Mellion Park has 43% of the properties in the parish but you have 83% of the seats. Would you consider that fair representation Alan?

  3. Alan Twist says:

    I agree with Ian that, with around half the parish living in St Mellion Park, it is fair that they should only have half the seats out of the six available. But four candidates came forward and got in so the Park representation is two thirds or 66%.

    I suppose another, not very democratic, way of looking at this is that 62% of the precept is currently paid by the Park and this is uncapped and, from Steve’s analysis, could rise by a factor of 5 to reach average Cornish figures.

    As I said in my last comment I am concerned that so much experience has been lost but, on the positive side, it has been unacceptable that for years half the parish has been too remote from issues affecting the wider community and this election has, at least, got people talking!

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