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Prime Minister David Cameron vows to look into travel subsidy between Penzance and the Isles of Scilly.

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: May 02, 2013

  • David Cameron talks to the Penzance Town Team. PZPM20130429F-021_C.JPG

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THE Prime Minister has vowed to look into the issue of a subsidised link between Penzance and the Isles of Scilly.

David Cameron used his visit to west Cornwall to meet members of the Penzance Town Team and discuss ways to help boost the fortunes of our high street and struggling economy.

He also promised to look at the possibility of a cash incentive to help people making the 28-mile journey between Penzance and the remote islands.

"I am going to look at the Isles of Scilly connection," he said.

"It is important for the people who live there and also for the tourist trade, which I know is vital, to make sure that the connectivity is there. I am going to have to look at that."

Despite his upbeat talk of helping the area to flourish, Mr Cameron refused to be drawn on when the Government would re-evaluate business rates, a major bugbear for many in Penzance who would be keen to see the levy lowered to more affordable levels.

"We will look at a business rate revaluation in due course, we don't have plans for it now," he told The Cornishman.

"Obviously there's the opportunity to try and make sure that landlords show flexibility so rents can come down and there's all the other things we can do to make shopkeeping more affordable by continuing with the rate relief scheme," he said.

During his visit, the Prime Minister also met members of the Town Team, made up of local business leaders brought together as part of the Portas Pilot scheme.

In a meeting, he thrashed out ideas to help boost the fortunes of the town's high street, including ways to access extra funding streams, take more control of parking charges and the possibility of changing the face of high streets to offer a mix of business and residential use.

Speaking to The Cornishman after the PM had travelled on to Redruth, Robin Turner, a member of the Town Team and one of those behind plans to launch a monthly market, said he thought the visit was very positive for those that wanted to work hard and reinvent Penzance.

"He intimated that he would like to find money to help Penzance achieve the goals of the Town Team volunteers," he said.

"He agreed with the Town Team's thoughts on parking, change of use planning and saw that business rates prevent businesses from being viable in their early years.

"He also stated he wanted to cut red tape, aiding funding streams to be drawn down for start-up business."

Also among the team members to pose questions to Mr Cameron was Peter Wood, manager of Wharfside Shopping Centre.

He was keen to hear what the leader of the country had to say about lowering parking charges.

"I think that like all good politicians he listened to our arguments, he took on board the car park pricing arguments, but I felt that he expected us to sort this out through the localism route and I think that he is right, perhaps we should protest more," said Mr Wood.

"He was interested in the debate on rates but he said that there were financial constraints.

"He did respond to The Cornishman's letter, he did appear interested and he did listen."

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