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Town shows a united front in bid for money

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: December 26, 2013

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PENZANCE will present a united front as it campaigns to get more than £1 million of supermarket cash diverted to the town.

Penzance town councillors overwhelmingly agreed at last week's meeting to join with other bodies and attempt to renegotiate Sainsbury's Section 106 agreement.

They will back the chamber of commerce, the Business Improvement District (BID) steering group and local Cornwall councillors in trying to get the £1.2 million which had been earmarked for a park-and-ride scheme at the Eastern Green store into Penzance itself.

At present £249,500 of 106 money will go on five different town centre projects.

These are: £130,000 for improvements to the public realm, £49,500 for a town centre co-ordinator, £25,000 apiece for the organisation of town centre events and for the promotion and marketing of the town centre and £20,000 for formulating a strategy to improve the centre.

But, earlier this month, Dick Cliffe, chairman of Penzance's chamber of commerce, wrote to Cornwall Council requesting that, given the pressure on the town centre, as much of the 106 mitigation money as possible which is currently set aside for a park and ride is re-directed to the five town centre projects.

Mr Cliffe, who is also a town councillor, said: "We are trying to present a united front for Penzance. If the park-and-ride does not go ahead, then all those funds could be redirected into the town centre.

"Penzance lost out (in s106 negotiations) in the past because it was not united.

"This initiative is about correcting that weakness.

"The problems in the high street are now better understood – it is not a passing crisis but a permanent change which is still unfolding and which we need to adjust to.

"Spending £1.2 million on town centre programmes would deliver more certain benefits in the short to medium term than a park and ride scheme."

Councillor Michelle Paine said: "I hope that we all want to move forward for the town and it means moving forward alongside Cornwall council."

And councillor Cornelius Olivier also backs the initiative. He said: "I am delighted that we can present a unified front for the Penzance."

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