A DEMONSTRATION led by a scantily dressed woman on horseback has failed to persuade Cornwall Council to suspend progress on Bodmin’s regeneration plans.
The news is a blow to action group Bodmin Pride of Place (BPoP) which staged a Lady Godiva-style publicity stunt through the town to draw attention to its demand for greater public participation in the Bodmin Masterplan.
The group wants the masterplan halted, claiming residents have not been properly consulted on the wide-ranging proposals to revamp the town over the next 20 years and beyond.
BPoP says it is alarmed that up to 5,000 new houses could be built in Bodmin, and claims the masterplan does not contain the necessary infrastructure details that would support such a huge increase in the population.
Last Saturday, Erin Niering from Helland rode through the town centre as Lady Godiva, followed by a dozen members of the action group, including Bodmin rector the Reverend Canon Graham Minors.
BPoP chair Orlando Kimber said he was delighted the stunt had drawn attention to the group’s demands, and said it had been well received by startled shoppers.
“We wanted to get the message over to residents that the masterplan has extreme implications for Bodmin, and feel more local people should be engaged in the consultation process,” he said.
“People want jobs, not just houses, and we’re very concerned at the huge population growth outlined in the plan.
“We want to engage with Cornwall Council in achieving a better Bodmin through the knowledge of local residents.”
However, Mark Kaczmarek, Cornwall Council’s cabinet member for planning and housing, dismissed the action group’s call to halt the masterplan.
“People can still have an input into the masterplan by putting their views online at the Cornwall Council website, but we can’t stop the process and start again,” he said.
“The Core Strategy document (which includes the Bodmin Masterplan) is going before the cabinet in September, and we need to have a way forward by adopting a plan that will be best for Bodmin in the 21st century.”
Mr Kimber said the next move would be to petition the council, and if that failed, stronger protest action might follow.
“We need real plans that everyone can support – it’s a battle that can be won,” he said.
Residents can sign the online petition by going to www.bodminprideofplace.co.uk