Cornish Campaign Group Sends Government Planning Minister Broadside

News from Kernow Matters To Us:

'Kernow Matters to Us' (KMTU) sent members to speak at the recent hearing and examination of the so called 'Cornwall Local Plan' held in Newquay.

This was run by an unelected Planning Inspector sent down from Bristol.

It was apparent from the outset that the developers from up country were being given preferential treatment.

Kernow cannot sustain the level of housing proposed.

This has resulted in the following letter of complaint being sent by one of our members to the government.

"Dear Sir,

CORNWALL LOCAL PLAN: Mr Simon Emerson, Inspector

The Cornwall Local Plan Inquiry resumed this week at the Atlantic Hotel, Newquay, and the conduct of the Inspector, Mr Emerson, has been called into question by observers.

There is considerable opposition to the unrealistically high level of new housing proposed under this draft Plan, after Cornwall has developed at several times the rate of anywhere in England over the last 20 years, and seen a two-fold rise in population over the last 50 years, again, considerably higher than anywhere else in the UK.

Mr Emerson has allowed a highly disproportionate number of external developers, seeking to drive those figures even higher, to dominate this Inquiry at a distinct disadvantage to locally resident representatives. The excuse he gives is that local public submissions are broadly similar, yet he has not applied this to the developers, of whom the same is equally true.

This is in clear in breach of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCPNM) in that the National Minority, i.e. the Cornish people, are not being afforded equality by Mr Emerson who has also treated them with considerable disrespect.

Article 15 of the FCPNM clearly states that: “The Parties shall create the conditions necessary for the effective participation of persons belonging to national minorities in cultural, social and economic life and in public affairs, in particular those affecting them.”

On Tuesday 17th May, a local gentleman, an elected Town Councillor, had been properly registered to speak.

Mr Emerson had prior sight of a resumé of his submission and knew what to expect but nonetheless switched off the gentleman’s microphone several times during his speech and, at one point, threatened to have him removed.

This, in the view of many who were present, also breached that gentleman’s Human Rights, in particular, Article 10: Freedom of Expression, in particular the right to “to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers” (which phrase is also contained in Article 9.1 of the FCPNM).

On Wednesday 18th May, an elderly lady was similarly registered to speak. This lady has, for several decades, served her community as an elected Councillor at City and District level, and is a Bard of the Cornish Gorsedh, an honour bestowed for her services to the community. Her husband was the former Coroner for Cornwall; the current Coroner being her daughter. Nonetheless, Mr Emerson treated this lady with considerable disrespect, which greatly upset her.

A third local speaker was also treated in a disparaging manner by Mr Emerson who has, at all observable times, treated the developer lobby very differently and with considerable courtesy.

On Tuesday 17th May, Mr Emerson was heard to say that he “might take the FCPNM into consideration”. It is not his place to “consider” a Framework Convention, which is legally binding upon his employer, HM Government, and all other parties.

Mr Emerson was made aware of the FCPNM in 2015, and has proceeded to ignore it. Since then, he has added a further 5,000 houses to the already unnecessary proposal for 47,500 houses in order to “facilitate the demand for second homes”. This part of the Local Plan specifies “Housing Requirement”. It should not cater for external housing desire.In fact, the vast majority of this total figure of 52,500 houses will be unaffordable to most Cornish residents, the lowest paid people in the entire UK, in an area that is the most deprived in the UK (equally with West Wales).

This figure implies an upsurge of inward migration to Cornwall in the next 14 years of up of approximately 150,000 people: a population increase of 28%. This will further dilute the numbers of Cornish national minority residents, which have steadily decreased since 1960.

Article 16 of the FCPNM states that: “The Parties shall refrain from measures which alter the proportions of the population in areas occupied by persons belonging to national minorities and which are aimed at restricting the rights and freedoms flowing from the principles enshrined in the present framework convention”.

The second part of this suggests that intent would have to be shown. It is my contention that such an intent was shown by Mr Emerson adding 5,000 houses to “facilitate the demand for second homes”, despite being fully aware of FCPNM requirements at the time, and also of the effect of the draft Local Plan on population proportions.

I respectfully contend that Mr Emerson has shown undue discrimination against the Cornish national minority in his allocations of representation at this Inquiry, and in his conduct towards that national minority, in contrast to the respectful courtesy and apparent favouritism he is awarding to the external developers.

Already, there is talk of an application for Judicial Review of the entire Cornwall Local Plan process.

It is clear to myself, and many observers, that Mr Emerson is not a fit person to continue in his present role.

I therefore request that he be removed from that role, to be replaced with an Inspector who will show impartiality and equal respect to both sides of the debate.

Yours faithfully,"


John, Teresa, Craig, Tony, Matt, Mike, Clive, Samuel & Ronan

Elected Members of the KMTU Steering Group

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