Monday, 9 June 2014

What does Penzance need to do to get storm money from the government?!?

One hundred and fifteen days ago, or if you prefer 3 months and 26 days ago, Penzance was hit by ferocious storms culminating in the biggest one on St Valentine's day. Despite various promises at the time when the media spotlight was on the government, precious little has been done since in the forgotten west. In a stark contradiction to the prompt repairs in Aberystwyth. As many coastal communities, the Somerset levels and riverside properties feared for their homes and livelihoods it was boom times for the gentleman outfitters in the vicinity of Westminster with a big run on wellington boots. As members of all the Westminster parties were quick to turn and practice their concerned faces:

Here in Penzance millions of pounds worth of damage was caused, the prom was a mess, Newlyn Green was like a demolition site, the harbour wall had blocks missing, the rail line was flooded. As this video from the day after amply demonstrates (just some) of that destruction:

Credit to the emergency services, Cormac and Cornwall Council I often criticise the latter in their approach to Penzance. But they did a really good job of getting the road back open and making the area safe. Unfortunately precious little has happened since, despite government promises at the time that money was no object, Cameron's promise has had little effect on the ground. Despite the fact I wrote to the Prime Minister on the 23rd of February  asking when storm money would be spent in Penzance I never received a reply from David Cameron. I wasn't reallly expecting anything to come of it, but I was surprised when Penzance Town Council wrote to the government asking when promised storm damage monies and urging government to work with other bodies to build a breakwater but also received no answer.

So here we are the picture above was taken the other day. What does it say about Penzance, hardly inspiring for locals or visitors to be faced with that every day. But could things be different?
Yes it turns out, I came across this story the other day, with a commitment from the Welsh Assembly government to carry out works to Aberystwyth prom before easter. By the local authority (Ceredigion Council) and the national government working together to get this fixed as fast as possible releasing monies necessary, no heel dragging, blaming bureaucracy making everyone jump through long and convoluted bid processes. What a great example of devolved government being closer to the people, more in touch with local areas and working better with other authorities. What a refreshing story compared to central government who couldn't even be bothered to reply to letters let alone spend some of our taxes for the common good. I'd write to someone and complain but what would the point be?

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