Looking at options for Helston’s Coronation Park

The front page headline of the Helston Packet is running a story on the future of Coronation Park. From this, I have also done a BBC Radio Cornwall interview on the same subject.

I have been quite open about looking at how best to bring the boating lake up to its former glory. Two ways this could happen. The first is for Cornwall Council to invest (as they own it) with the other option is to transfer the ownership to a local organisation.

Since being the Cornwall Council for the area, I have long argued with Cornwall Council that they should fund this, but do realise finding £300k plus for lake repairs and improvements in these difficult austerity times is a lot to ask. We should not blame the Council for this, as there has been a lack of investment in boating lake in the Kerrier DC days. Though there was investment in the children’s play area, and building of the new cafe.

If there is a community devolution way forward this will be community led, and not from Cornwall Council. If someone does not want to take it over, then it stays with the local authority.boatinglake

The lake is over 100 years old, and from reports, has not been fully drained and cleared since the 1970’s (when damage was done to the clay bottom of the lake). Furthermore, issues with the Leats, built up of silt, the lake leaking due to the damage, and the invasion of the green algae, which the seeds have got under the silt has added to the lakes issues.  The work required to repair/improve/ the area could be over £500k, and that includes the skate park, which also needs to be replaced.

Two reasons why the transfer of the area would be in the beneficial. The first is I believe the asset could be run by a community organisation, for the community. The second is how the area finds future funding for investment. On the point of investment,  we all know the area is in need of it, but with the current financial climate with the Cornwall Council having to deal with 30% budget cuts,  it is hard for Cornwall Council to find the required funds to bring the area back up to its former glory. Furthermore, most of the large funders out there will not fund a local authority owned area. I believe by potentially devolving to a local organisation, there will be more funding options available.

To date, the Council – with my support – has been talking to interested parties who would be willing to take on this asset. Part of that negotiation is the scope of what could be transferred. That scope has not been finalised, but option include the whole site including pay areas and car parks, or certain aspects of the site. However, I expect it to be finalised soon, and from that, it will go out to tender. The scope of the tender is heavily weighted on community benefit. The Town Council were asked if they would be interested in the asset, but have said (from my understanding) they would not be interested in taking this on.

My view is this site would be best to be transferred as whole to give the new operators the best chance of seeking the funds to bring this site back up to its former glory. As the local member I want this area to be a jewel and therefore I want to help that happen by looking at all options for the site. Doing nothing will result in the area further deteriorating

If a transfer goes ahead, there will be robust diligent test to make sure everything works for both parties. I do not want to transfer the site, for it to fail.

I hope this explains the current position.


Helston’s Coronation Lake Centenary Celebration

Months of hard work by the working group for Coronation Lake centenary celebration finally paid off on Saturday 21st July with a truly amazing day and evening. Any outdoor event relies on the weather and the centenary celebration’s weather was just perfect (I was very worried about the weather) after weeks of very poor weather.

The event was opened by Sir Ferrers Vyvyan, The Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall, who made a great speech about his own memories of the lake and area because of his local connection between his family and Helston. Sir Ferrers then unveiled a wonderful plaque to mark the celebrations.  Helston Town Band then played throughout the afternoon, but with short breaks for other entertainment to take place.

The first step 100 years ago

I was truly amazed to see so many people at the lake. I reckon there was least a couple of thousand who enjoyed the many community stalls, entertainment, or just chilled out. The ten displays of pictures of the lake from the last 100 years were also very popular. The Old Cattle Market (OCM) provided live music from 5pm till midnight.

The final two parts of the celebration was the 100 lanterns, made by local school children to float on the lake and the firework display. Both of these events left me speechless, especially the firework display which was truly epic.

Huge, huge thanks must go to all who helped leading up to the day, and on the actual day. Cornwall Council and Cormac certainly stepped up to the plate by cleaning up the area before the event, supplied extra bins, and an environmental team who patrolled the area during the day clearing up any litter.

However, very special thank you’s should go to Charlotte Chadwick for being my right hand-woman, Jude Carroll who helped all the school children make the lanterns, Rob and Sue Ford for putting on all the music, Simon and Kym Stone and all at the OCM and SKA. Furthermore, if you ever want to have a firework display, you must use this company Celebration Pyrotechnics. Of course, a thank you should go to those who financially contributed to the event which includes Downsland Trust, all the Cornwall Councillor of the Community Network and Helston Town Council.

The Centenary Plaque

Children painted on this throughout the day. It will now be framed and put on display at the park.

The launch of the lanterns

The lanterns at night

The lanterns


More bangs!


Mystery £250 For Boating Lake Celebrations

In organising any event funding always plays an important part, especially if you are keeping everything as free as possible. On large-scale events, like the forthcoming centenary celebrations at the Boating Lake in Helston more money is often needed. This often proves difficult due to the limited funding options.

So far, my fellow Cornwall Councillors in the Helston and the Lizard area have agree to help with the funding to the tune of £250 each. Helston Town Council has also agreed to £250 (I will blog about this separately). The Downsland Trust has been the most generous so far with a grant of £2008. This will enable all the planned activities to take place. Which is fantastic news.

However, there is more. A day ago,  I received an envelope containing £250 along with a printed letter saying: Please find enclosed a £250 donation towards the cost of the celebrations for Helston’s Coronation Lake centenary.

I am really grateful for this donation. I would like to thank publicly this person whoever they are for their generosity in this donation. I wish I could say thank you personally.

Thank you

Helston’s Coronation Lake Centenary Event Poster

With just under three weeks to go, here is the official posters for the event



100 Years of Helston Boating Lake

On 20th July, Helston’s boating lake, or to give it its official title of Coronation Park and Boating lake, will be 100 years old. I plan to hold some sort of celebration event on this day. This park and lake might be in Helston, but I know many people from the surrounding area use this lake. It is quite simply a jewel, and I am very proud to have in my division.

One of my plans is to reintroduce the on-the-lake firework display (subject to funding/costs) that was a common event in the early days of this lake. I think this would be a fitting celebration. This is not the only event planned to celebrate the event as I have formed a working party that includes the Cornwall Councillors of Helston, The Community Network, South Kerrier Alliance, Helston Town Band and Helston Town Council to help organise the day/eve. I am really pleased Helston Town Band has said it would attend this event, which I am really grateful to.

Helston's Boating Lake (Thanks to Helston People for the photo)

During my monthly report to Helston Town Council I talked of this event, and said I hoped the whole community of not just Helston, but the surrounding areas would attend these celebrations. This met with approval of not only the town council but from the many members of the public in attendance.

It was after the public participation one member of the public pressed into my hand a £20 note. I said, rather shocked, I could not take this. His simple reply was “I want to, it will help pay for the fireworks.” I had to ask another member of the public who this gentleman was. It just goes to show how generous people can be. Hopefully, at the next town council meeting, I will get the chance to say thank you.

The date for your diaries is the 20th July with more details will be announced once the working group has met and discussed any ideas. Of course, feel free to send me any ideas you have for this event.