How Should Helston Spend The Supermarket Money?

Last Tuesday evening I attended along with several other members of the public, and my Cornwall Councillor colleague Judith Haycock to listen to Helston Town Council discuss how they are going to spend the money handed over to the  town council as part of the planning approval for Sainsbury’s and Tesco new stores.

This money totalled £800,000, with each supermarket stumping up £400,000. This money was to be used to mitigate the impact on the town centre from these two new supermarkets. Part of the money is set aside for the employment of a Town Centre Manager. This leaves roughly £255,000 for ‘public realm’ work.

Now this is where is all get’s slightly tricky, as the town council has until July 2015 for Sainsbury’s and November 2015 for Tesco to spend the money, or this money is returned to the supermarkets. Also adding to the situation is up to Tuesday night the town council could not decide how this money was to be spent.

The brief for Tuesday meeting was to come up with schemes, which could be costed, and then see if £255,000 would cover the scheme. However, this simple brief had the habit of going around in circles for a couple of hours. Worse, the public was not allowed to speak during the meeting to offer ideas. One member of the public did write in to suggest and idea, but as this was not discussed, I have no idea what the idea is. I really think the town council missed a trick in not allowing the public to speak. After all, if  someone takes the time to turn up to a meeting that is discussing something that will affect them, then they should be heard.

In the end these ideas were put forward:

  • Coinagehall Street pavements and kennels;
  • Reduced improvement scheme at Horse & Jockey (Click HERE for the link to those details part 3, page 29)
  • A long-term scheme that included making Coinagehall Street one-waywith a turning space at the bottom and additional parking, restricted traffic movement at the town end of Church Street, and improvements to pavements and street furniture to the same standard as recently introduced in Redruth and Camborne.

Ideas not taken forward:

  • Improvement to steps near the museum
  • New toilet block at the Monument
  • Public ‘art’ in areas of the town centre
  • Used for Match-funding by the Town Centre Manager
However,  not all the schemes would be classed as public realm work, and the money could not be used for those. The scheme in question is making Coinagehall Street an one-way and restricting traffic at Church Street. Even though this issue was pointed out repeatedly to the council members by a senior Cornwall Council planning officer, and the town clerk they were still included in ideas for costing.  I am really struggling to see why the town council included them if this money cannot be used for those ideas/schemes. After all money has to be spent on costing any scheme, and as we know, these costs are not cheap.

So what do you think of these ideas? Do you have any alternatives that could be submitted? If you do, then I suggest you let the town council know before it is too late and this money is spent. As one Councillor at the meeting said “If we get this wrong, we will be hung-out to dry.”

 

3 comments

  • David McCarron on Facebook

    it should be used to push forward a retail strategy – local business owners should have a say. No point in making one way systems/repairing pavements if the footfall isn’t increased.

  • Zoe Willey on Facebook

    How about closing Meneage Street to traffic, making more of a cafe culture, encourage people to stay in the town longer, you could also have street markets along there every week, with free parking on that day. Deliveries would have to be made before 9.00 or after 4.00

  • Martine Knight on Facebook

    You sum up very succinctly a meeting which was, indeed, wearing and baffling!

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