PLANS for a new community group to run events on Falmouth’s Prince of Wales Pier have been slammed as undemocratic by a town councillor.
Oliver Cramp has also warned the creation of the ‘community interest company’ could lead to the town’s assets being managed by private companies with no links to Falmouth.
Community Interest Companies (CICs) are a new government initiative that allows groups of people to form a company to run events and raise money. He is concerned that the Falmouth group have applied to take over and manage the buildings and run events on the Prince of Wales Pier, which is a publicly owned Cornwall Council asset. However, they say that this will only be the first step and they plan to move on to take over and run other unspecified areas and activities around the town.
Mr Cramp says that because these people are not democratically elected, they are self-appointed, and will not be responsible to the people of Falmouth. “They will have a job for life if they so wish, and cannot be voted out of office by the community if we do not like what they are doing.”
He added: “There is no guarantee of continuity. “When an elected council run public activities there is a certainty of permanent long-term management on behalf of the community.
He also fears that if people running the CIC want to close it down, all its money, assets and responsibilities must by law be passed to another CIC which might be anywhere in the country. “Do we really want to run the risk of our town being run by managers based up-country?”
Many of the public areas around the town are managed by the elected town council in co-operation with locally based residents and Cornwall Council. Groups behind CIC schemes must, by law, show that they have the approval of their local community. “ I do not believe the Falmouth group have shown this,” said Coun Cramp “Nevertheless, Cornwall Council seem to have approved their proposal without asking for any such proof.
“Your elected town councillors are strongly of the opinion that there is no need for change and no need for this C.I.C. and that responsibility for the management of the pier and other public areas in the town should be with the elected council in co-operation with Cornwall Council and others they choose to appoint. “If these people want to help run Falmouth they are welcome to get involved, but first of all they need to stand for election to the town council next May and show they have the approval of the people of Falmouth.”