Report favours Redruth
ST AUSTELL'S community leaders have told of their disappointment after a report recommended Cornwall's new £10 million archive and record office is moved to Redruth.
The three possible sites for the project are at Hayle, Carlyon Road in St Austell or Redruth.
St Austell's site is the only one on land already owned by Cornwall Council.
A report was published this week and members of the communities overview and scrutiny committee will discuss it today.
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The report recommended the brewery site in Redruth is chosen, despite reports of flooding problems.
The predicted costs of the Redruth site – including purchasing the land and alleviating flooding – are £2.7 million higher than the St Austell site.
It said: "Members felt that the Redruth option had a significant case for unlocking wider employment potential on the site and adjacent areas."
It added that there would be greater economic benefit to the St Austell site, currently a car park, if it was instead used for residential development.
"There are minimal direct economic benefits of the [St Austell site] in comparison to the other sites due to the constraints in adjacent sites to develop on the back of this scheme," it said.
"There would be increased direct economic benefit to St Austell with alternative uses for development on this site, but clearly there is a wider culture and heritage drive for the scheme in the town."
David Pooley, St Austell Town Council clerk, said: "I've been campaigning to get the centre to St Austell.
"I have written to the committee highlighting the benefits of St Austell."
He said these included the fact St Austell is central to Cornwall, it is close to rail and bus stations, the town has "as much heritage and historical interest as the others", the land is already in the council's ownership and that the Redruth site has flooding issues.
"I wouldn't have thought you should put the valuable record and archives of Cornwall on a potential flood site," he said. "St Austell is the more economical solution."
St Austell MP Stephen Gilbert said he thought there was a more political agenda behind the recommendation.
"This decision has been taken not with the best interest of Cornwall in mind, but with the re-election chances of councillors in west Cornwall," he said.
"I know that our town's Cornwall councillors will continue to push St Austell as the right location."
Cornwall Council said in a statement: "No final decision has yet been made on where the proposed new archive and record office should be sited."