COUNCILLORS, Dorothy Kirk and Andrew Long have expressed concerns over the proposed changes to Cornwall’s Community Networks.

The councillors are unhappy with Cornwall Council’s plans to reduce the number of community networks and to join the Caradon parishes with Launceston.

The council are reducing the number of community networks in a bid to reduce staff and expenditure.

Cornwall currently has 19 community networks which are the main way that Cornwall Council connects with communities and drives improvement locally.

The Caradon Community Network covers eight parishes of Callington, Calstock, Linkinhorne, Pillaton, South Hill, St Dominick, St Ive and St Mellion. The Caradon network consists of a Community Network Panel. The panel includes Cornwall Councillors and representatives from town and parish councils within the area. The priorities in the parishes are decided by the panel. The panel work together on issues such as highways, policing, the health service and allows partners to talk to one group and the panel can then disseminate that information out to the local population.

Cornwall Councillor and Calstock Parish Councillor, Dorothy Kirk expressed concerns that the community network that is ‘working well’ could be negatively impacted as a result of cuts, in particular the proposed plans of joining the Caradon and Launceston network. Dorothy objects to the grouping with Launceston and said: ‘It’s not in the interest of the people that I represent.

‘The proposed Community Network based on Launceston could disadvantage us because of the inherent discrepancies between our communities such as health services, main arterial roads, travel to work areas, access to services and lack of public transport.’

Andrew Long, Callington Town Councillor echoed Dorothy’s concerns and said: ‘There are connections, but it would’ve been better to have the Caradon network as it is which is working quite well. The rush to cuts means that we are left with the only solution being who to go with rather than whether to go with anybody.’

The reduced number of networks means that more councillors will be involved with the decision-making process.

Andrew said: ‘You become a smaller fish in a bigger pond. It goes against devolution. The Caradon network was something that was created that actually worked for our area and now they’re taking it and that’s a disappointment.’

Meetings are ongoing between council officers and Tamar Valley councillors and after a meeting last week attended by Dorothy Kirk, she is hopeful that the council will try an accommodate their concerns.

Dorothy said: ‘The meeting went well. Both officers saw the logic of my concerns. We are working on possible alternatives, perhaps looking towards Liskeard instead of Launceston. I was encouraged by the fact they listened to and understood the issues and were prepared to re-examine the previous proposals which I felt left Calstock parish out on a limb.’