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Changes to scrutiny and solar farms lead agenda at full Cornwall Council meeting

Changes to the way the work of Cornwall Council is scrutinised have been approved at a meeting of the full council in Truro today.

The changes will see a new committee, the Budget Development Overview and Scrutiny Committee, created next month, and changes to the way the chairman and vice chairman are elected for each committee from May 2025.

Cllr Jordan Rowse, vice chairman of Cornwall Council, chaired the review of scrutiny, and presented the proposals at today’s meeting.

He told the chamber: "I do believe the changes to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee procedure rules and the constitution will help us do scrutiny better at Cornwall Council. Even before we have concluded this piece of work, we already have other local authorities looking to us as leading by example and when it comes to reviewing and improving how local authorities ‘do’ scrutiny.

"However, one of the most important factors in making this work, and I want to take the opportunity today while you are all here in one room, is that we need the buy in from members and officers. We need both members and officers to embrace these changes so we can finally get scrutiny right, once and for all."

Councillors also debated the loss of farmland to solar farms, and called for the chief planning officer to commission research to establish the economic role of grade three arable land in order to create the right balance between the use of such land for agriculture and for solar farms.

After a long debate, the motion was approved to widespread applause from members.

A second motion calling for the reinstatement of dental services for children of school age in Cornwall was also debated and received support from across the chamber.

The meeting also saw councillors vote to approve an uplift to the Capital Programme, including an extra £10 million funding for the Pydar project in Truro, and heard from the new councillor for the Looe West, Pelynt, Lansallos and Lanteglos division, Cllr Jim Candy, who was elected last week.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Linda Taylor, leader of Cornwall Council, said: “This was a really important day for Cornwall Council, and the improvements to scrutiny we have seen approved will make a real difference.

“I would like to thank Jordan and the rest of the committee for their hard work, and it is pleasing to see other local authorities now looking at Cornwall as an example of how to do it right.”

 You can watch today’s meeting via our webcast service online.

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