Will £27m link road really create 6,000 jobs for locals?
AS A multimillion-pound road scheme was given final approval, claims that it will bring 6,000 new jobs to Camborne, Pool and Redruth have been greeted with scepticism.
Controversial plans to construct the £27 million east-west link road from Wilson Way to Dolcoath Road were cleared by the Department for Transport (DfT) this week.
Cornwall Council said work could start as early as February, subject to any legal challenges, and be completed by the end of 2014. The authority said it expected 6,000 jobs to be created across the Camborne, Pool and Redruth area as "various development and regeneration proposals are taken forward by the private sector".
A spokesman cited the reopening of South Crofty mine as one example – but the council was unable to substantiate its claims of job creation any further, instead saying the area was identified in the draft Camborne-Pool-Illogan-Redruth Area Action Plan published by the former Kerrier District Council in 2009.
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Local MP George Eustice said: "This will unlock the potential for thousands of jobs and new businesses to be created in the coming decade," while Jon Stoneman, Cornwall councillor for Camborne Central, said: "I think it will improve the area, create jobs and some housing and act as a relief road for Tuckingmill and make it a nicer area to live."
However, the project has also come in for heavy criticism.
Stuart Cullimore, councillor for Camborne South, has campaigned against the road and mass housing in the town and said: "The road allows the development of 7,000 houses in the Camborne area. The jobs would appear to be aspirational; the houses unfortunately are not."
Camborne-based campaign group the Trelawney Alliance has asked the council to identify where the 6,000 new jobs will be created. Its chairman Jean Charman, also the town's mayor, said: "We also ask how many of these jobs are involved in building the link road and the housing for inward migration into Cornwall.
"How many will be for local Cornish people and who is going to fund the infrastructure for the possible 21,000 additional people?"
Councillor Bert Biscoe, Cornwall Council's Cabinet member for transport and highways, said the area would have a much better chance of building the future it desired when the link road project reached fruition. "We can then breathe new life into one of the historic industrial powerhouses of the local economy that has suffered such dramatic decline since the collapse of the mining industry," he said.
The DfT is contributing £16 million, with £1 million committed by the ERDF Convergence Fund and a bid for further Convergence funding being developed. The rest would be raised by Cornwall Council and local developers.