Public consultation on Cornwall devolution deal produces mixed results
Thousands of people took part in a 10-week public consultation on a devolution deal for Cornwall, which would bring in additional funding and give new decision-making powers to Cornwall Council.
The results of the consultation, published on Wednesday, show that there is a mixed bag of views on the proposals.
Two separate types of surveys were undertaken which asked the same questions: one was an open ‘consultation questionnaire’ which was available online and via hard copy to all residents.
The second was a ‘representative survey’, undertaken by independent survey experts which guarantee a sample of public opinion from a cross-section of the whole population which reflects the proportions of gender and age group in each geographical area.
Some 69% of respondents to the open consultation survey were against the deal, with 25% in favour.
In the representative survey, 65% of respondents were in favour of the deal, with just 16% against.
However, both surveys showed that there was a significant inclination by younger people to support the deal, compared with older residents.
Those in support of the deal pointed to the benefits the new powers and funding would bring Cornwall, both for current and future generations. Whereas those against the proposed deal were clear in the fact that their opposition came down to the change to an elected mayor for Cornwall.
The feedback from key stakeholders and partners was also mixed. Town and Parish Councils across Cornwall who responded were mainly negative regarding the deal, with 40 of 211 Councils asking for a referendum to be held on the deal, and 14 stating their opposition to a mayor.
Feedback from key stakeholders including the University of Exeter, Falmouth University, the Cornwall Place Board, the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, Visit Cornwall, six housing providers, the Council of the Isles of Scilly, the National Trust and the Police Commissioner was positive, acknowledging the value of specific powers and funding to support Cornwall’s ambitions.
Cllr Linda Taylor, leader of Cornwall Council, said: “Firstly I want to say thank you to everyone who took part in this comprehensive consultation.
“It is clear from these results that those who are opposed to the deal and the introduction of a mayor feel very strongly on the issue.
“However, we know that most people want more decisions about Cornwall to be made in Cornwall, and the ‘silent majority’ seems, on balance, to favour the deal, including an elected mayor.
“It has also been interesting to see such a positive response from the younger generation and such a large number of people who believe that this deal will be good for Cornwall.”
The Council’s Cabinet committee will discuss the consultation results and make a recommendation to the full Council at its meeting on Wednesday 5 April.
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