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27.07.04
'Very positive' meeting as 11 Downing Street hears Cornwall's regeneration plans

Chancellor Gordon Brown's closest advisers were presented yesterday afternoon with a blueprint for the continued regeneration of Cornwall and Scilly by members of a high level delegation to the Treasury. On the agenda were improvements to the A30 and the future of Newquay Airport.

Falmouth and Camborne MP Candy Atherton had created the opportunity for Cornwall to lay out its plans for further revitalisation of the local economy.

Delegates were invited to meet Economic Secretary to the Treasury John Healey, one of Gordon Brown's key Ministers.

Candy Atherton MP and members of the delegation to 11 Downing Street

The delegation, pictured above (left to right) consisted of: John Berry - Managing Director of Cornwall Enterprise; Candy Atherton - Falmouth and Camborne MP; Carleen Kelemen - Director of the Objective One Partnership for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly; Tim Williams - Chief Executive of the Camborne Pool and Redruth Regeneration Company; Nigel Costley - South West Regional Development Agcney; Colin Molton - Director of Development, South West Regional Development Agency; John Lobb - Leader, Cornwall County Council and Peter Stethridge - Chief Executive, Cornwall County Council.

Objective One Partnership Programme Director Carleen Kelemen gave a presentation detailing the good work already started under Cornwall and Scilly's current Objective One programme.

Delegates agreed that the meeting had been 'very positive, with excellent dialogue'. Minister John Healey had 'recognised the challenges faces by Cornwall, the success of the existing Objective One programme, and the approach to partnership working.'

The Minister was very interested in how a further round of structural funding could be taken forward, and asked the partner organisations to work up the case for how future funding streams could be more 'joined up'.

The delegation stressed two current concerns – the long awaited dualling of the A30 across Goss Moor, and the uncertainty over plans for the future of Newquay Airport following last week's defence review.

Mr Healey promised to write to Candy Atherton and John Lobb on the future of St Mawgan air base, which is inextricably linked to the civil airport's own growth plans.

In presentation focused on six points for the future regeneration of Cornwall and Scilly:

1. The first is the need not just for more jobs, but for better-paid jobs, encouraging Cornwall's numerous small businesses to grow, to add value to raw materials, and therefore to be able to offer higher wages. Incubating higher quality, knowledge-based businesses is a key target, and is one of the expected outputs of the Combined Universities in Cornwall project, and 'enterprise friendly' local development.
2. Secondly, Cornwall needs to continue to modernise its transport and communications infrastructure - removing trunk road bottlenecks like Goss Moor and Dobwalls, continuing the roll-out of Broadband internet connections, and keeping Newquay Airport on target, were all mentioned in this context.
3. Cornwall's key towns are considered economic drivers, and the refurbishment of St. Austell town centre, Camborne/Pool/Redruth regeneration, the spacial strategy for Newquay, and Bodmin's status as an industrial and commercial hub, were all mentioned as vital. There was also recognition of the opportunities for smaller towns.
4. Tackling social exclusion was another vital element of the plan, building on the success of JobCentre Plus initiatives and high quality vocational training.
5. Repositioning Cornwall's traditional industries and its environment was another point under discussion. The Haskins review of the delivery of environmental, farming and rural services would be one of the drivers for Cornwall playing a greater role in determining its own future.
6. The final point was developing what is known as the 'Cornwall Brand'. Services and products in Cornwall needed to be a sign of quality, particularly in terms of foodstuffs and agricultural produce. Rolling those attributes out to other aspects of the Cornish economy, particularly backing quality tourism initiatives like the Tate St. Ives extension, is part of the route map to prosperity described at the Treasury yesterday.

Delegates described how Cornwall and Scilly had made the best of their initial Objective One programme, and how a further round of support from both the Government and the EU was the best recipe for creating sustainable economic growth.

One of the successful features of the way the programme is being delivered is through strong partnership working, across the many agencies charged with delivering a brighter future for Cornwall.

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Editor's notes:

 

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Sue Wolstenholme
Objective One Communications
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01579 370991

lmroberts@cornwall.gov.uk

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