Local Government Boundary Review - Treverbyn Parish Council
The Manor of Treverbyn is recorded in the Domesday Book (1086) when it was one of the 28 manors held by Richard from Robert, Count of Mortain and the Parish was formed in 1847.
The Treverbyn Parish Council Formation Committee was created in 1978 and in 1983 the Treverbyn Parish Council was formed. In creating the parish area advice was sought from the Treverbyn Parochial Church Council and the area created corresponded to Treverbyn Church Parish. Whilst respecting the neighbouring parishes of Roche and Luxulyan to the East, West and North, the boundary to the South in essence followed the old (1933) boundary that divided the Urban and Rural District Councils of St Austell. Those submissions were accepted and the new parish of Treverbyn was established and its boundaries have never been challenged.
A study of the map of Treverbyn Parish will reveal that the parish is essentially rural with extensive areas of China Clay workings and sites of previously worked tin and copper mines. Much of the land was principally owned by the Clay companies and most of the Parish footpaths were probably used by the workers to get to their employment at the various clay pits. These clay workings have been a dominant feature of the landscape and formed the character of the area. Settlements were created with the larger centres of population (Bugle, Carclaze, Penwithick, Stenalees and Trethurgy) that housed mainly workers within the industry, whilst smaller hamlets of Bowling Green, Carthew, Carluddon,Rescorla, Rosevear, Ruddlemoor and Scredda were created with their own individual identities within the mining community.
Treverbyn Parish has a uniqueness all of its own and we are adamant we do not want to lose this heritage and will therefore firmly oppose any proposed alterations to our Parish boundaries.
Treverbyn Parish Council was formed in 1983, boundaries were established and even when St Austell Town Council was created in June 2009 there was never any challenge to those boundaries. The renowned Cornish historian, A L Rowse often referred to Treverbyn Parish and its rural connections as the 'higher quarter, an area where people have chosen to live'.
One of the key requirements of this Community Governance Review states that the arrangements must reflect the identities and interests of the community in that area. The proposals suggested by St Austell Town Council will totally negate that essential arrangement and its principles.
It could be argued that if the China clay industry and the growth of the unique clay villages had not been created there would never have been the town of St Austell.
Whilst most of the Parish is steeped in mining history which is magnificently re-created at the Wheal Martyn Museum at Carthew, it is the other jewel which is the beautiful area of Menacuddle Woods incorporating the Holy Well and Baptistery that has attracted the envious eyes of our neighbouring Town Council. When one considers St Austell Town Council’s proposal for the North West boundary reference needs to be made to their submissions conclusions which totally contradicts their recommendations for ‘suggested boundaries which are stronger than the existing boundaries with greater reliance on physical barriers such as hills, railway lines and major roads’. By suggesting the boundary should be moved St Austell are in conflict with their own recommendations because the current situation is that the historic boundary to the Parish of Treverbyn is and for many years has been the railway line and bridge. It suggests that the only reason to include this area in their proposal is the kuodos of the area around the medieval Menacuddle Well and Baptistery. For many years Treverbyn Parish Council have been very supportive of the organisation known as the Friends of Menacuddle Well who have transformed the area into one of outstanding beauty.
The whole proposal made by St Austell will remove approx. 10 % of our parishioners. The areas of Boscoppa, Carclaze and Tregonissey are densely populated with a fair percentage of modern affordable homes and former local authority properties. The area currently contains 1151 dwellings with an electorate of 2023. The financial implications for a change would be financially damaging for not only the people living in the properties proposed to be transferred but the remainder of the Parish. Precept figures show a Band C property in Treverbyn Parish is £22.83 whilst St Austell’s figure is £97.59 a difference of £73.76 per household. Whilst we as a Parish Council have major concerns for our parishioners in this area it will also have a knock- on effect to all the rest of our Parish in future precept calculations. The whole area is classed as a deprived area within the low- income bracket and we as a Parish Council have controlled our Budget and Precept to ensure that our Parishioners are not forced into more financial constraints. Changes in the boundaries would undoubtedly create an increased Council Tax income for St Austell but the loss to Treverbyn would be catastrophic. The additional liabilities and workload in terms of services provided to our Parish and Parishioners increase annually as a result of taking over more and more functions from the unitary authority. Provision of these vital services would become increasingly difficult. There will be an obvious financial knock-on effect and social impact to Cornwall Council and their departments.
Over the past few years the precept for St Austell Town Council has increased dramatically whilst we have been conscious of the financial restrictions of our parishioners and despite the demands created by the devolution within the County of Cornwall we have only asked for small additions to our precept.
Comparative figures clearly reflect these differences.
On the current band rating a further 1151(Boscoppa/Carclaze) + 8 (Trenance/Trethowel) properties for St Austell will create at least an additional revenue of £85,5487. In these times of extreme austerity we have to consider all members of our community.
The suggested proposals are purely one of financial gain for St Austell Town Council. This was emphasised most when an amendment was made to their original proposal for boundary change by adding the small triangular area at Scredda which would then incorporate a recent development of 20+ properties. There are to quote St Austell Town Council’s conclusions ‘no suggested boundaries which are stronger than the existing boundaries’ ,stating that the A391 and the railway line are those existing boundaries. Yet their submissions on Map 1 North East St Austell encroach on to the other side of the arterial A391 road at Scredda and on Map 6 North West St Austell drifts away from the current railway line boundary into Menacuddle. This is purely an opportunity of ‘land grab’ and is definitely not a development that currently crosses any boundaries.
In their submissions St Austell Town Council recognise and concede ‘the largest and most significant impact is on Treverbyn Parish Council’. Their gesture of compensation through the transitional period up to the development of the West Carclaze Garden Village is an insult. There is no guarantee on how long the 'proposed Garden Village' will take to achieve completion when one considers it has taken over ten years to get to the planning approval stage. Even if a compensation arrangement is legal and the money were available Treverbyn Parish Council cannot accept the loss of so many Parishioners. Indeed the very suggestion of compensation shows that St Austell Town Council is fully aware of the damage this will inflict.
Indicative of the extent of damage to Treverbyn are the suggestions from St Austell Town Council that it would be necessary to create a new ward to cover Boscoppa, Carclaze and Scredda with 2 additional councillors. Undoubtedly this acknowledges the distinctness of this area and its separate identity to the rest of St Austell.
St Austell Town Council challenge that many residents living in the area use the facilities of St Austell including the parks and library. It needs to be stated that all the larger populated areas of Treverbyn have at least one recreational play area, community halls, sports grounds and open spaces. In fact the ample open spaces on the North East boundary are frequented by walkers, cyclists and dog owners on a regular daily basis from the all areas of St Austell and surrounding villages. The library at Treverbyn Community Hall is highly acclaimed and is a well- used service for the whole of the Parish.
On reflection of the proposal submitted by St Austell Town Council there is absolutely no gain for Treverbyn Parish. It is generally acclaimed that Treverbyn Parish Council has a strong identity within the County of Cornwall. We treasure that identity, our history and will strongly oppose any intrusions into our heritage.
These were our submissions that we prepared for the committee for consideration previously and we are aware that following the local elections in May 2021 the personnel of the committee considering this matter will have changed. We have therefore added an addendum to our original document although the fact is very little has changed except the comparative figures in the various bands in Council Tax for the area which have widened even more creating a greater strain on our households. (copy of figures attached). In stating the obvious, the cost of living for everyone has soared dramatically and we need to acknowledge that this increased expenditure will continue for some time to come. Many of the villages in our Parish are recognised as areas of social depravity which has been highlighted by the continued demand for food banks and community larders in the area. The contested area that St Austell are demanding reflects approx. 28% of our total precept and this severely tests the sustainability of our Parish Council.
The period of the pandemic dramatically changed all our lives and any argument by the Town Council that the provision of extra services supplied could be vehemently challenged. The need to visit the town has diminished, it lacks quality stores, the need to visit banks has decreased with the encouraged increased use of internet banking and the popularity of home delivery shopping services from supermarkets on the fringes of the town counteracts any claims for an increased footfall in the town centre.
Treverbyn Parish Council is dedicated in taking care of our community with well- maintained open spaces, village parks and walking areas with over 38.5 metres of footpaths plus the added provisions of litter bins, dog bins, benches and winter salt bins. Since this item was deferred by the previous committee our Parish Council has been consulted and have been in dialogue with Cornwall Council and their Devolution programme. We have been asked to consider over 50 different types of property in our Parish and we need the reassurance that our borders and the financial income remains stable.
Probably by the time of any future similar boundary review we foresee that the West Carclaze Garden Village will be operational and producing financial input to the Parish. At that time we concede there would be an opportune time to perhaps consider using the A391 distributor road as a recognised boundary to assist the spread of the town of St Austell. Recently we offered the Town Council an opportunity to have a joint meeting to consider this proposal but nothing was forthcoming.
One final thought to contemplate. At a time of reflection on a world that is in conflict there is an uncanny resemblance of the bigger power casting envious eyes on monopolising its attractive boundaries.
Cornwall Council Tax bands 2022-2023
St Austell Band A £1403.65
Treverbyn Band A £1329.12
Difference + £74.53
St Austell Band B £1637.60
Treverbyn Band B £1550.64
Difference + £86.96
St Austell Band C £1871.54
Treverbyn Band C £1772.16
Difference + £99.38
St Austell Band D £2105.48
Treverbyn Band D £1993.68
Difference + £111.80
St Austell Band E £2573.36
Treverbyn Band E £2436.72
Difference + £136.64
St Austell Band F £3041.25
Treverbyn Band F £2879.76
Difference + £161.49
St Austell Band G £3509.13
Treverbyn Band G £ 3222.80
Difference + £286.33
St Austell Band H £4210.96
Treverbyn Band H £3987.36
Difference + £223.60