Old Post Polzeath New Surf School




A Cornwall Council response from the Cornwall County Countryside Officer, Jolyon Sharpe, has been forwarded to Polzeath Voice, copied below.

Pete Craske's views in response to this letter can be seen below it.

 The licence awarded to the existing provider of surf tuition from the Polzeath Car Park recently expired after a long period of operation. The Council has a duty to achieve best value from publicly owned assets, which informed its decision to advertise two opportunities for licences through a publicly advertised competitive process . The existing provider was notified of the Council’s intention to tender.

The Council has now evaluated the tenders received and has offered the opportunity to trade from the car park to two successful businesses catering for surf tuition and hire. The Council’s proposed licence agreements would contain the same standards covered by the former WAVES scheme to ensure the highest operating and health and safety thresholds are met.

The Council recognises the importance of the beaches to the environment and economy of Cornwall and is committed to ensuring that it works with both local communities and businesses to ensure that these are managed in a sensitive way. Revenue generated from the issuing of licences is used to support the provision of services such as beach cleansing and Lifeguards and the authority is required to ensure that it generates the best possible value for Council Taxpayers’ money. Local authorities in this area have worked with activity providers on the beach for a number of years to try and improve standards and manage the quality of experience in the surf zone.

Polzeath has a number of surf hire outlets (including the surf schools) and shops in the village selling surf equipment, many of which operate without the formal structure that relate to Cornwall Council’s procedures. Establishing the new licensed framework for surf tuition from the Council’s land will enable the authority to set minimum standards to ensure a quality experience for the user in line with the historic standards within the former WAVES scheme.



Jolyon Sharpe - 01208 262 836 / 07974 916505 jolyon.sharpe@cornwall.gov.uk

Pete Craskes email and comments: 

With so many people following this story, I thought I'd keep the updates coming. We are truly humbled by the support. I've just seen a response sent out today by Jolyon, Countryside Officer for Cornwall County Council, who I believe lacks the experience to head this up. I've inserted my comments - the lies, inconsistencies and inference that by adding a further surf school represents a step forward re. beach safety is totally incorrect, dangerous and foolish. Letter and reply as follows....
The licence awarded to the existing provider of surf tuition from the Polzeath Car Park recently expired after a long period of operation (18 years). The Council has a duty to achieve best value from publicly owned assets, which informed its decision to advertise two opportunities for licences (where and when was the consultation process to turn the car park spaces into a trading pitch - apparently the reason why this isn't being done on any other beach is because the consultation process is lengthy) through a publicly advertised (wrong dates, not on tender website, no reply to questions asked, submission date on bank holiday) competitive process . The existing provider was notified of the Council’s intention to tender (the first we heard about this was through our main competitor the day before it went in the paper - upon which we were given 14 working days. The previous tender was carried out over an 8 week period).

The Council has now evaluated the tenders received and has offered the opportunity to trade from the car park to two successful businesses catering for surf tuition and hire. The Council’s proposed licence agreements would contain the same standards covered by the former WAVES scheme to ensure the highest operating and health and safety thresholds are met. (except the numero uno condition - they've taken away any restrictions on numbers ie we can take in as many students as we like with no reference to tide or season. Really? Wow! At high tide we used to be restricted to 20 students, we could now take in 100? plus the two other schools, plus any other surf schools operating on the beach as they've taken away that restriction too. Free for all.)

The Council recognises the importance of the beaches to the environment and economy of Cornwall and is committed to ensuring that it works with both local communities and businesses (the council have received over 500 e-mails opposing the introduction of a new surf school - it has not in any way worked with the local community or businesses) to ensure that these are managed in a sensitive way. Revenue generated from the issuing of licences is used to support the provision of services such as beach cleansing and Lifeguards and the authority is required to ensure that it generates the best possible value for Council Taxpayers’ money. (which brings us back to - the tender sum will be the key criteria and why not roll it out on ever beach).

Local authorities in this area have worked with activity providers on the beach for a number of years to try and improve standards and manage the quality of experience in the surf zone. (so why change it now - why the backward step?) Polzeath has a number of surf hire outlets (including the surf schools) and shops in the village selling surf equipment, many of which operate without the formal structure that relate to Cornwall Council’s procedures. Establishing the new licensed framework for surf tuition from the Council’s land will enable the authority to set minimum standards to ensure a quality experience for the user in line with the historic standards within the former WAVES scheme. (Absolutely total rubbish!!! That is a complete falsehood of the situation and the statement should be retracted. What has actually happened is they've taken away any restrictions - ie we can teach as many people as we like at any state of time, whilst at the same time allowing any surf school to operate on the beach - the situation before was that there were only two surf schools permitted to operate, now any surf school can operate).


So in summary - it's all about the money, end of, cloaked in misleading info about making the beach safer. The statement 'new licensed framework for surf tuition from the Council’s land will enable the authority to set minimum standards to ensure a quality experience for the user in line with the historic standards within the former WAVES scheme.'.... is absolute nonsense. Complete nonsense. No one would agree with this statement. I think the council is assuming that you have no knowledge of how the beach works. With their actions I think you have more. This is a fob off and totally unacceptable. With falsehoods such as this, into misleading the general public that this is going to better.... I truly believe now that enough is enough and the council officers need to stand down (save £20k a year or more?) or at the very least hold an open meeting so that the points can be discussed in an open and transparent way.
I believe that there may be a fourth Muskateer who is watching all this from his ivory tower... you might like to make your views known.
Alford Jonny (jalford@cornwall.gov.uk)
Jolyon Sharpe - 01208 262 836 / 07974 916505 jolyon.sharpe@cornwall.gov.uk
Off to see the solictors this afternoon - Compliants Procedure in process, Ombudsman informed and watching. Will consider a Judicial Review, may consider setting up a fighting fund in return for lesson vouchers to go down that route as it's costly. But all so unnecessary.
Other news - erm, well obviously this is dominating our every waking hour. Massive thanks to everyone who's shown such amazing support.. it's been quite a journey! We feel we need a knees up, music soothes the savage beast, so the Surf's Up! rock band Mahoustic (Wailo, lead guitarist; me, vocals and weak link; Grattman, bass former instructor; Will, drums and mate) - we're going to play up at the Oystercatcher this Saturday. Might just have a bit of angst to release with our Foo Fighter, Pearl Jam covers. All welcome!! Be great to see you there.
P of the Deep Blue C

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