Falmouth High Street

I am delighted that Falmouth has made it onto the shortlist of Great British High Street Competition, in the coastal communities category. This year’s competition saw a record 900 entries.

This is a terrific achievement for the team that works day in and day out to improve Falmouth. The town team of Richard Gates and Richard Wilcox are supported by a wide range of people in our community.

If Falmouth wins, Falmouth high street businesses will benefit from a share of the prize pot worth £100,000 and expert training from Google’s digital taskforce for shops, bars and restaurants and a trip to Twitter UK’s London office to further boost social media skills.

The Great British High Street Competition celebrates the great work that is being done to revive, adapt and diversify the nation’s high streets. It is one of a number of Government initiatives to help champion high streets as the cornerstones of communities.

My great grandparents and grandfather lived above the family shop on High Street in Falmouth. The town centre is as important to the community now as it was then. It’s the life and soul of Falmouth.

Voting is incredibly important as because, along with a visit from expert judges, it makes up 50% of the final decision as to who should be crowned the Great British High Street of the year.

You can vote by visiting this website http://thegreatbritishhighstreet.co.uk/high-street-of-the-year-award. A person is allowed one vote per day in each category, which will be registered through the website using their email addresses.

Voting ends on 18th November so please share this good news with your friends and please get voting daily!

Finally, if you feel that you could offer support for refugees coming to Cornwall, please contact me.

Local Infrastructure

I was delighted to join Highways England, Cornwall Council Highways team and local people at the first day of public consultations on the new section of the A30 between Carland Cross and Chiverton Cross. I am pleased that the proposals include keeping the existing A30 and building a new section of dual carriageway nearby. Following the current consultations, I am sure improvements will need to be made before the final road scheme is agreed. I understand that people along route will have lots of questions and I encourage them to engage fully with the Highways England project team.

I worked hard to help secure the funding for this important road improvement and am determined to see work start in 2020. It’s important to get it right but it’s also important to maintain momentum. As Cornwall Council is  allocating  land around Truro, Newquay & St Austell for considerable numbers of new homes, work and retail spaces, ensuring we have the right transport infrastructure is essential.

Alongside this significant investment in our road infrastructure, I continue to press for more investment in our rail services. Last week, Network Rail published its plans to improve the resilience of our main line and future proof the track near Dawlish. I will be doing everything I can to secure the necessary investment.

Finally, in last week’s West Briton, the editor made a compelling argument – that Truro would benefit from one stadium, a home for both the Pirates and Truro City Football Club. Last summer I was unsuccessful in trying to get the leadership of both clubs to work to this end. While it is very much for the clubs to decide, in light of recent events, I hope that conversations are reopened. It may not be possible but I think it is worthy of further consideration.

Antisocial Behaviour

I am pleased that our Police and Crime Commissioner is meeting with Cornwall Councillor and Mayor of Truro, Rob Nolan, along with the City Councillors and other organisations to discuss the current problems of antisocial and criminal behaviour from a small group of people in the centre of Truro.

Getting all the organisations that have the power and resources to help tackle antisocial behaviour and the causes of the behaviour around the same table to understand the issues and develop an action plan is a very welcome step forward. One that I believe is the most effective approach.

A few weeks ago, I raised this issue with the Chief Constable for Devon & Cornwall Police as well as the Mayor and I am pleased to see their concerted determination to work together to find solutions for all those concerned. I look forward to learning about the actions that are agreed and see progress as the plans are implemented.

Some of the perpetrators of the anti social behaviour might need help to tackle their problems, including substance abuse, and that will need to be part of the solution.

Keeping the city centre a safe and enjoyable place for all members of our community is not the sole responsibility of our local Police, it requires effective partnership working between our local NHS, Cornwall Council, local businesses and the wider civil society of Truro. This needs to include those voluntary organisations working with the most vulnerable people in our community. There are lessons to be learned from other towns in Cornwall and beyond where good partnerships have tackled similar problems really well.

I will of course provide any assistance that I can to ensure the antisocial behaviour that is currently blighting Truro is brought to an end as soon as possible.