A community group has taken control of their parish council after wanting to get rid of negativity in the council.

Independents for Rame and Maker (INFORM) put forward eight candidates for the election to Maker-with-Rame Parish Council.

And when the votes were counted they managed to get seven members elected out of the 11 seats on the council.

The parish council had been part of an ongoing planning row in the area after the former chair of the parish council, Chris Wilton, was granted planning permission by Cornwall Council to build a new house on the Rame Peninsula.

That led to a judicial review application from some local objectors which saw the case end up in the high court.

While that had led to some wanting to see changes at the parish council Malcolm Cross from INFORM said it was almost a separate issue.

He said: “The thinking behind INFORM was more about the parish council as a whole rather than the planning row. We didn’t think they did well in that application but it was not the only issue.”

Malcolm said that he established INFORM after speaking to others in the area about how the council was operating.

“We were talking about the election and because the parish council had been poor and dysfunctional in our view, not just in planning but in other ways.

"Local residents were not able to contribute and it was a really negative culture.

“We felt we should make a concerted attempt to try and change that. We came up with the idea of creating what the Electoral Commission calls a minor political party. But we did that with the aim of maintaining independence.”

He explained that INFORM’s candidates did not have any political affiliation and were just standing as a group for the election.

After creating a website and social media accounts INFORM then started to get candidates together for the election. And last week they had seven elected to the parish council.

Malcolm said: “We are very pleased with that outcome. We had a very positive agenda and we have gone out of our way to be positive and that worked.”

And Malcolm is sure that the parish council will now have a brighter future: “We are very certain that it is better now. The previous chair and vice chair came very near the bottom of the polls, that is quite significant really, people were fed up of the negative culture.”

The Maker-with-Rame Parish Council election also saw a significant number of people turn out to vote. While the average turnout across Cornwall for the local elections was 39% in Maker-with-Rame it was 67 per cent.

Malcolm said: “The turnout was extraordinary – 67 per cent for a parish council election is almost unheard of. You would be rather pleased if you got that for a Westminster election.

“That is all down to the marketing, if you like, the website and use of Facebook to make people aware of the election and encouraging them to get involved.”

INFORM is just one of several community groups which have been set up in Cornwall to encourage people to get involved in their local councils, inspired by the Flatpack Democracy campaign which started in Somerset.

Malcolm said that they had been helped by that group and encouraged others in Cornwall to take control of their parish council.

“It is exciting and encouraging and it is a good story as far as we are concerned. There had been a bad feeling locally, we wanted nothing to do with that and we are hoping that will be behind us now and we can move forward positively.”