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31.10.05
RDA Chairman Launches New St Austell Business Park During Tour Of Cornwall

South West RDA chairman Juliet Williams and Stephen Bohane, head of operations for the South West RDA in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, discuss the start of work on the Brunel Business Park in St AustellSouth West RDA chairman Juliet Williams and Stephen Bohane, head of operations for the South West RDA in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, discuss the start of work on the Brunel Business Park in St Austell

Juliet Williams, Chairman of the South West of England Regional Development Agency (RDA), has announced the start of work on a £4.78 million business park in St Austell after investment for the project was approved by the Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Ms Williams, who was in St Austell on Friday October 28 as part of a tour of South West RDA-funded projects in Cornwall, marked the official start of work on Brunel Business Park which is due to be completed in early 2007. It is being built adjoining the St Austell urban village off Carlyon Road, the first phase of which is now complete.

The South West RDA has already committed more than £3 million to the project to help attract new businesses and jobs to St Austell. With an additional £1.64 million just approved from Objective One's European Regional Development Fund, preparatory works have now begun with the main construction starting in November.

Ms Williams said: "Brunel Business Park will be another landmark development for St Austell and once complete will support 200 well-paid jobs. The South West RDA is committed to addressing the shortage of quality workspace in Cornwall and our long-term goal is to overcome the market failure we have seen in many areas so that the private sector has the confidence to invest and develop premises itself. We have already committed more than £18 million towards the town centre scheme and today's announcement is further evidence of St Austell's continued regeneration."

Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Objective One Partnership, said: "Objective One investment is being ploughed into creating much needed workspace across Cornwall. So far more than £21 million has been put into developing 36 projects with a total of 221 work units. These have been developed in partnership with both the public and private sector and are designed to help businesses in the region expand and improve and to create space for those wishing to relocate.

"St Austell has been earmarked as a key area for regeneration and Brunel Business Park will be aimed at ICT and creative industries, both fast growing areas of business. In this case it has been developed with our leading public sector partner, the South West Regional Development Agency."

Ms Williams began her all-day tour of South West RDA-funded projects in St Austell where she also unveiled a plaque at The Keay on Cornwall College's campus to mark the South West RDA's £250,000 contribution to the new performing arts centre. After meeting with James Staughton, chairman of the St Austell town centre strategic group for an update on the town centre regeneration scheme, Ms Williams then visited the Eden Project's new £15 million Education Resource Centre, known as The Core. Part-funded by the South West RDA with a £2.9 million investment, The Core is home to exhibitions, events, and Eden's pioneering education programmes. Ms Williams said: "The Core really is a remarkable building. It will help Eden broaden its educational programmes and remain one of the top paid-for attractions in the UK, with tremendous benefits for South West England's economy."

Ms Williams' next stop was the former St Lawrence's Hospital site in Bodmin which is being transformed by the South West RDA into a £4.3 million high tech business park that is expected to support 800 jobs once fully developed. The South West RDA has committed £2.94 million to the project, with a further £1.26 million of investment from Objective One and £100,000 from North Cornwall District Council.

Work is currently underway to build a new loop road around the edge of the business park and create five development plots linked to essential services like water, drainage and electricity. The 17-acre site will be landscaped, creating a parkland setting with a new pond and a series of footpaths and cycleways linking the area to the rest of the town, all of which will be open to the public.

Ms Williams, who took the controls of a steamroller while visiting the project, said: "Beacon Technology Park will breathe new life into this derelict site. By providing much-needed high quality office space we hope to attract new companies and hundreds of jobs to the Bodmin area and it is another example of how the South West RDA is addressing the issue of the shortage of office space in Cornwall."

Ms Williams' final stop of the day was at the Former Webbs Hotel, now known as Webbs House, in the centre of Liskeard. Once a symbol of failed regeneration for more than a decade, the South West RDA supported private sector developer Wykeham Securities with a £296,000 investment in transforming the building into offices with residential accommodation to the rear. Most of the building is now occupied by local newspaper, The Cornish Times.

Ms Williams said: "Webbs Hotel had a long history of failed regeneration attempts so I'm delighted to see it totally transformed. It really has acted as a beacon for the regeneration of Liskeard and it shows what can be done when the public and private sector work together."

Speaking at the end of Ms Williams' visit, Stephen Bohane, the head of operations for the South West RDA in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said: "I'm delighted that we have been able to show Juliet such a variety of South West RDA funded projects in Cornwall, and demonstrate how we are fulfilling our role of ensuring the long term economic success of the region."

For further information please contact Jason Clark on 01872 276276 or email: jason@dclark.co.uk.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in Brunel Business Park, Cornwall College, The Eden Core, and the Beacon Technology Park at Bodmin through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

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Editor's notes:

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

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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