Baroness Parminter to visit West Cornwall on policy shaping mission

Posted on: 20th October 2014

Leading Liberal Democrat peer, Baroness Parminter is visiting West Cornwall, Friday and Saturday October 24th/25th on a fact finding and policy shaping mission. She will visit a number of constituency projects, organisations and enterprises with West Cornwall MP, Andrew George; and will meet local planning, housing and community enterprise project coordinators and St Just Cornwall Councillor, Sue James.

Baroness Kate Parminter is Environment Lead for the Party in the House of Lords and has a pivotal role in advising and shaping policy for the forthcoming General Election Manifesto for the Liberal Democrats. She has asked to visit the area to seek advice from local people while she discusses a number of issues affecting the area, ranging from the impact of public sector funding constraints and badger vaccination as a contribution to bovine TB reduction to concerns about the impact of development pressures.

The itinerary of the visit includes:

October 24th:

6.45pm: St Ives MP, Andrew George, has called, and will host, an open meeting in the Council Chamber at The Guildhall, St Ives on Friday 24th October commencing at 6.45pm, to explore the concerns which locals have raised about development pressures in the area. As Kate Parminter is a former Chief Executive of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, she has deep experience of the patterns and pressures for development in sensitive environments like West Cornwall.

October 25th:

6:30am: Andrew will introduce Kate Parminter to the team managing the volunteer led badger vaccination project he has set up with the Zoological Society of London and which is now being rolled out across the Penwith peninsula. Prof Rosie Woodroffe (Project Manager) and Seth Jackson (local coordinator) will demonstrate the project.

10am: Cornwall Councillor, Sue James will welcome Andrew and Kate Parminter to St Just Library to meet the Friends of St Just Library to explore the options to improve the sustainability of the Library as it faces Cornwall Council consequences of central Government budgetary cuts.

10.30am-12.00 noon: Councillor Sue James will take Kate Parminter and Andrew George on a tour to meet local residents and to survey local opinion on national and local issues.

12.30pm-1pm: Visit to an Affordable Housing project being delivered by a charitable company, Lands End Peninsula Community Land Trust, chaired by Sue James. This will include a site naming event at 12.45pm on site at Moorland Close, Pendeen. (More details in separate press release).

18:45pm: Baroness Parminter is Guest Speaker at a Constituency Dinner to be held at the Kota Kai restaurant in Porthleven.

Cornwall Councillor, Sue James said, “This provides an opportunity to discuss many of the issues currently affecting individuals, organisations and communities across the constituency. I look forward to visiting St Just Library with Baroness Parminter and Andrew George MP to meet with a few members of the ‘Friends’ group that has formed.

“The ‘Friends’ group formed due to concerns about the reduced opening hours of the Library in St Just due to budget cuts by Cornwall Council. With further financial pressures, there is a real concern that the town could potentially lose this valued facility which also serves the surrounding villages.

“On the Council we recognise the wider community benefit of libraries and no-one wants to see their hours reduced and certainly no councillors would take pleasure in seeing library doors closed. I am working hard with people at County Hall and in the local community to try to find the best solution that will work for St Just.”

Co-chair of the Friends of St Just Library, Kate Beckly, said “I am keen to keep the plight of smaller libraries at the heart of the political agenda. Libraries are so important in our communities. It’s not only about accessing books and information but also for the many older people and young parents libraries help to combat feelings of isolation which can be so detrimental to health and welfare. Also, in many of our communities (St Just for example) the library houses the only public access to a computer, essential for so many of us now, not least for jobseekers.

“Whilst understanding that financial situation is really difficult for our councils, we hope that the ‘Friends’ group can be a part of the solution. I think if we lose our smaller community libraries we will not see them re-opened again.”

Mr George said, “Baroness Parminter was particularly keen to visit West Cornwall to see what we’re doing, how we’re responding to the challenges of central Government budgetary restrictions, assess the potential for badger vaccination to contribute to the efforts to combat bovine TB and gather more information on how to ensure that local communities can withstand development pressures to promote affordable housing.”