Superstores will suck the lifeblood of town – MP
HELSTON'S MP Andrew George says he fears that supermarkets are going to "suck the lifeblood" out of the town centre.
Mr George made his remarks as he offered his support to an initiative that could win the town £10,000.
The cash, plus a support package, is being offered to all the towns which were unsuccessful in their bids for Portas Pilot funding earlier this year. Helston lost out in both the two rounds of bids. Success would have won it £100,000.
Liskeard was the only successful bidder in Cornwall.
Now, however, Local Government Minister Grant Shapps has written to all MPs in the areas that submitted proposals, calling on them to take the lead on behalf of their communities and show support for their local town teams by applying to become Town Team Partners.
The commitment of the towns' MPs is the main criterion for town teams to access the package.
Mr George, who has already contacted Helston town centre manager Jonathan Birkett to offer his support, took a swipe at Sainsbury's and Tesco, accusing them of damaging retailers in the town centre.
Many shops in the retail heart of Helston have closed in recent years.
He told the West Briton: "I have made it clear to the town council and Mr Birkett my support for the regeneration of the town centre.
"I feel very passionately how wonderful Helston town centre is and I feel it's a tragedy it's surrounded by such powerful supermarkets, which I fear are going to suck the lifeblood out of the town centre."
Mr George said he had already told the council and Mr Birkett they could depend on him: "I stand ready to move into action and do what I can or what they ask me to do."
Mr Birkett said the application form for the Town Team Partners' scheme was already with the town council.
He said if Helston was successful in its bid for the £10,000, the cash could be used to help new businesses to start up in the town centre, or support existing businesses to fulfil their plans.
A small part might also be spent on the town's markets.