Big plans for green future of the town
WADEBRIDGE could become an ecofriendly centre of excellence after bold new proposals were put forward for the town.
Plans are under way to establish a low-carbon enterprise zone in the town and a draft computer-generated image has even been produced to show what it could look like.
The idea is the brainchild of pioneering social enterprise the Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network (WREN) in collaboration with Wadebridge and District Chamber of Commerce and Cornwall Council.
"Modern communications mean that there's no reason these facilities can't be built here," said WREN chairman, Professor Stephen Frankel.
"The basic point is that distance is dead and that means there's no barrier to doing something really world class right here."
Land for the siting of the eco-park has already been identified. If the project gets off the ground it's hoped it will create a nucleus for jobs, sustainable innovation and excellence.
"The sun, wind, the tide, biomass and geothermal energy sources along with energy efficiency is a real source of wealth," added Professor Frankel.
"It's estimated that for every 1,000 people we spend about £1 million on energy. What we aim to do is mobilise that spend to develop our low-carbon industries here.
"It's a real model for prosperity. Just as in the 19th century in Cornwall we dug tin out of the ground and created wealth, now we can use our natural resources in a sustainable way to create wealth."
The plans for the eco-park mean it would be powered by renewable energy sources that would supply the green industries that would be attracted to the site.
Units would be built to high standards of sustainability, the plan's backers also envision being able to offer reduced business rates, sustainable district heating and links to universities, leading academics and schools.
"We are already in contact with academic experts from Exeter University," added Professor Frankel.
"We are also keen on working with schools. Our ideas are all very simple, but we want to show that external breaks are the problem. Once you take those brakes off things can roll along."
The idea was backed by members of Wadebridge Chamber of Commerce in March and has been put forward to both Cornwall Council, the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership and Cornwall Development Company.
"We believe our model could transform Cornwall's economy. The power of this approach, we hope, will be the catalyst for change, jobs and prosperity elsewhere as well."