Helston has secured funding from Cornwall Council’s Town Centre Revitalisation Fund to help develop projects aimed at regenerating the town centre.

The funding bid was developed by Helston CIC working with local Cornwall Councillors, Helston Town Council and various community groups. It is based upon a ‘Place Shaping Plan’ which is aimed at improving Helston town centre and bringing much needed vitality back to the town. The Plan has been discussed and developed with input from councillors, community groups and consultations. Those who attended the Helston CIC public consultation sessions through 2019 will already have a flavour of the projects included.

‘Place Shaping’ is promoted by Cornwall Council as the process by which funds will be allocated and projects prioritised for the recovery and re-development of town centres in Cornwall. The funding is for design, development and public consultation activities which will define projects to a level where applications for capital funding can be made.

This is the first major step in achieving the investment that Helston town centre desperately needs. The money will enable us to design, consult, fully cost and agree detailed plans which we can then propose for capital funding.’ said David Turnbull of Helston CIC.

The Helston Place Shaping work done by the voluntary team, including many meetings and presentations to senior Cornwall Council officers, established Helston as a strong contender for funding. Helston is one of only four towns in Cornwall to so far reach this stage.

The plan includes proposals to refurbish Helston’s Market Place and Drill Hall Yard, and potentially creating an outdoor event space in that area; measures to promote the conversion of empty high street premises for residential and workspace use; plans to improve transport connectivity around Helston; as well as improvements to pavements, paths, traffic flow and cycle ways in the town.

Tim Dwelly, Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for culture, economy and planning, said: ‘Communities across Cornwall will have ideas about how they can breathe new life into their high streets and improve the future for their residents. But for these ideas to become a reality they need to be backed up with research, planning and consultation – expensive activities that many communities can’t afford without support. We set up this fund to act as the catalyst for change – helping towns to rethink their centres by working up truly deliverable projects for future investment that will improve town centre vitality, making them places where the community want to live and work.’

Mayor John Martin and Cornwall Councillor Mike Thomas issued a joint statement: ‘Helston has missed out on many rounds of funding opportunities and we’re pleased that our work within Cornwall Council has established that it is time for Helston to have its share of support. This is only the first step and we are certain that with strong projects on the table, the capital resources we need will follow. The team has worked extremely hard to achieve this funding and we’re all grateful for their dedication.’

Helston CIC advertised in November for local residents and community group representatives to become part of a Place Shaping Board which will oversee management of the funding. Several residents and businesspeople stepped forward and a Board has now been established which will meet on a regular basis. A new website will include project information and meeting minutes as well as forming part of the consultation process for proposals. It is hoped that funding will be available from April after which project work can then commence.