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New life for old mine workings as £1 million project takes place

An historic Cornish building which was at the heart of the Cornwall's industrial revolution is to once again be the hub of a thriving business community – safeguarding and creating 23 jobs and injecting hundreds of thousands of pounds to the local economy.

The old tin mine engine house at Wheal Kitty near St Agnes has lain idle ever since it shut in the early 1930s after the prosperous age of tin mining drew to a close.

But now thanks to a substantial package of investment from the South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA), Objective One and Carrick District Council, new life is being breathed into the site offering small businesses a prime location from which to trade.

Using traditional materials to ensure the site retains its sense of heritage, the finished scheme, called Wheal Kitty Workshops, will see the former engine house restored and converted into office space. Five new units are also being built for office or workshop use.

The project, which will create more than 700 sq metres of office and workshop floor space, is set to be completed at the beginning of June 2005.

The £1,032,331 development is the second phase of regeneration work at the site. SWRDA has invested £516,166, Objective One £412,932 and Carrick District Council who are the project managers, has provided the remaining investment.

The South West RDA's Head of Operations in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Stephen Bohane, said the Wheal Kitty project would provide a major boost to the small business community.

"The Regional Development Agency is committed to helping businesses get off the ground and develop with quality premises. It's all part of our aim to raise productivity, increase economic inclusion and improve regional communications. The creation of new workspace at Wheal Kitty Workshops is exactly the kind of project we want to support, as there is a strong need for space for businesses across the county in the more rural and coastal areas and this scheme will help to meet that demand."

Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Objective One Partnership, said: "These types of units are much in demand in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Objective One investment at Wheal Kitty is not only helping to preserve and enhance the region's historic landscape but also creating workspace, easing the move from the traditional mining industry to more modern businesses."

Roger Radcliffe, Carrick District Council's Economic Development Officer, said: "The engine house is one of Cornwall's icons and this project will allow it to be rescued from dereliction, brought back to life and given a new, useful purpose. It's estimated that by regenerating Wheal Kitty and providing these opportunities for new businesses to move to the site, we should see the creation of 10 jobs and a further 13 will be safeguarded. In excess of £240,000 will added to the local economy as a result of the development."

He added: "The project is running to schedule and the weather has been particularly kind to us this autumn. It was a very careful decision we took to utilise this building and we've been very sensitive with the materials that we have used for the refurbishment."


Editor's notes:

The South West Regional Development Agency was established in 1999. Our most important role is to ensure the long-term economic success of the region, by promoting the right skills among its workforce, the most innovative businesses, and a high quality environment.

For further information contact:

Mark Binnersley
Deborah Clark & Associates
01872 276276
07980 834368


Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

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