Residents give views on Bodmin town centre regeneration proposals
FAR-REACHING proposals to regenerate Bodmin into a booming town have been unveiled to residents.
Cornwall Council's Bodmin Town Framework includes plans to pedestrianise the town centre, and ideas by the Better Bodmin Group to create designated zones to encompass food and drink, and leisure and culture, plus a new multistorey car park.
A new primary school and an expanded Bodmin College are also outlined to accommodate the influx of 10,000 new residents when 3,000 homes are built over the next 15 years.
The local authority has estimated 2,400 extra jobs will have to be created in Bodmin by 2030, and has identified the Beacon Technology Park and the Callywith area as potential employment hubs.
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There are also proposals for a Lostwithiel Road-Carminow Road link, with a new bridge proposed across the line operated by Bodmin and Wenford Railway.
A core strategy within the regeneration proposals is to revitalise town centre trading by incorporating a new transport strategy.
The two options that will enable Fore Street to become a pedestrian-only zone are the Priory Link Road, which would also lead to the pedestrianisation of Turf Street, or alternatively, new traffic flow measures at Church Square, which would leave Turf Street open to traffic.
The Priory Link Road is estimated to cost £14 million to implement, while the alternative Church Square option will cost £8 million.
An exhibition of the plans at the Shire House Suite last weekend attracted 560 visitors over the two days.
A straw poll of residents who attended the exhibition, showed the majority were in favour of pedestrianising the town centre, but views on creating the new link road through Priory Park were split.
Local resident Kevin Metcalfe said: "For the shopkeepers, pedestrianising is probably not good but it will be a safer environment to take the family shopping. The pollution on the three sides of the school concerns me if the link road is built and it would devalue what is currently a nice green space."
Publican Wendy Hudson said: "I wouldn't say no to pedestrianising, we need to lure bigger stores to the centre and that will encourage more people to come into Bodmin.
"I'm definitely against the link road, though; it would affect too many things."
Rita Watkins, from Bodmin, was in favour of making Fore Street a traffic-free zone and the construction of the link road.
"I'm for pedestrianising, absolutely, because the town is dying – we've got to move on like other towns.
"Bodmin always says no to these things and the people have to learn to compromise.
"I'm for the link road, how else will the traffic be taken away from the town centre?"
Alan Brown, from Bodmin, said: "I think Fore Street should be pedestrianised, but cars should still be able to trickle up there at 5mph. The link road is unnecessary."
Improved shopping and leisure facilities planned
MULTIMILLION-pound plans to encourage the growth and prosperity of Bodmin have been hailed as a golden opportunity for the town to expand into a vibrant centre for trade and employment.
The Bodmin Town Framework, drawn up by Cornwall Council and the Better Bodmin group of local business people, envisages improved shopping and leisure facilities and alterations to the traffic network.
The most contentious proposal is to create a new Priory link road cutting through Priory Park, which many residents oppose.
Cornwall Council says if the road gets approval, Bodmin Town’s clubhouse may have to be demolished and relocated.
Residents have until December 2 to send comments to the local authority, after which the council will adopt a strategy for the future development of Bodmin over the next 20 years.
Steve Rogerson, Cornwall councillor for Bodmin East, said he was very excited by the proposals.
“This is an opportunity for Bodmin to move forward and attain the level of commercial development it really needs, and the consultation gave folks in Bodmin a chance to be involved. I’m not in favour of the link road, my feelings on that have already been made clear.
“I wait with bated breath to see the results of the consultation and the views of the residents.”
Bodmin mayor Ken Stubbs, said: “Although I don’t necessarily agree with some of the things that have been proposed, the majority of the ideas will certainly give Bodmin a real boost and we will have to see if the majority of residents support them.
“I want to see Bodmin expand, with more jobs created, which will bring more shops into the town. I’m also pleased that they are looking to do more to bring the Camel Trail route right into the town centre, which will attract more tourists and help improve trade,” he said.
Cornwall councillor for Bodmin St Leonards, Pat Rogerson, said: “I think the development is fantastic for Bodmin. A lot of people want to see bigger stores and bigger facilitates but that won’t happen with the current population in the town, so it’s not going to happen overnight.
“I wasn’t in favour of the link road and the second option isn’t ideal either, but that is what we will need to go for if it’s the best alternative to the link road.
“I’m very excited, having lived in Bodmin since 1973 and having taught so many different people and families, I’m really excited for the future and the opportunities that it will bring to young people.”
Hundreds of jobs set to come to Bodmin
HUNDREDS of jobs will come to Bodmin with Cornwall Council expected to announce that a planned office complex on the former St Lawrence’s Hospital site will now be expanded to cater for 675 workers, including BT Cornwall employees.
It will mean some local government staff relocating from their present offices in Liskeard and St Austell to the new administrative centre at the Beacon Industrial Park.
Although some 400 workers would remain at the former Restormel Borough Council headquarters in St Austell, there is no guarantee Cornwall Council will retain the Penwinnick Road site in the future.
The local authority previously agreed the new offices in Bodmin would be built to accommodate 325 of its staff who now work at various locations within the town.
Now councillors are expected to approve an expanded complex costing £14 million, which will double the staff capacity.
The new building will also see BT Cornwall staff moving there, which is likely to pave the way for the new BT Telehealth centre to be established at Beacon.
BT Cornwall is a ten-year partnership between Cornwall Council, Peninsula Community Health, Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and BT. It will deliver a range of services including ICT support, Telehealth and Telecare, document management, invoice processing, payroll and employment support and improved information sharing.
The company will also create 197 new jobs in Cornwall with a further 313 new jobs expected through offering Telehealth services to other parts of the UK within five years.
Cornwall Council’s Cabinet member for finance and resources, Alex Folkes, has confirmed the authority is looking to maintain a significant presence in St Austell and Liskeard as part of the reorganisation, but building a larger complex in Bodmin made financial sense.
Mr Folkes said that his preferred option would be to maintain a strong staff presence in Liskeard and St Austell, and instead move staff from BT Cornwall into the new building.
He said: “Under this option up to 30 staff working in offices in and around Liskeard could move to Bodmin, with around 300 staff being retained in Luxstowe House.
“There are a number of proposals being considered for St Austell, including relocating staff from Sedgemoor to Penwinnick Road. At the same time, we are looking at possibly moving around 30 staff currently at Penwinnick Road to Bodmin – however, this would still leave around 400 working in St Austell.
“We are not guaranteeing the future use of the Penwinnick site, as we are still reviewing options for the site, but if we do relocate staff from there then our first priority will be to look to other offices in the town.”
He said full consultation would take place with all affected staff.