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Redruth selected for new archive centre

By West Briton  |  Posted: September 27, 2012

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THE economy in Redruth should be able to expect a windfall as the plans to build the new Archive and Record Centre for Cornwall in the historic mining town were approved.

The Redruth Brewery Site won the controversial bid hands down against St Austell and Hayle, as Cornwall Council's Cabinet made its decision.

The site, supported by chief executive Kevin Lavery and council leader Alec Robertson, was said to unlock a greater range of economic benefits and most likely to succeed in a bid for £8 million Heritage Lottery funding to match the council's financial commitment to the project. The benefits for the town are estimated at about £1.7 million a year.

The St Austell site was said to offer easier access, wind and solar opportunities and the least risky option, in line with the scrutiny committee's recommendation.

But Councillor Graeme Hicks said the people of Redruth would never forgive the council if it chose St Austell.

"Without a shadow of a doubt this would be a devastating blow for my hometown and would be met with huge uproar.

"The town centre is in a desperate need of regeneration and businesses are struggling and the archive centre would help increase footfall and help secure its future prosperity.

"Without this I would genuinely fear for the town's future."

Councillor Mark Kaczmarek said the centre would help turn Redruth around.

He also belittled claims Redruth was in a greater flood risk area than St Austell.

He added: "It would be an economic driver, attract more funding into the town and restore the pride in one of the worst-affected towns by economic decline than any other town in Cornwall."

But Councillor Judith Haycock, chairman of the scrutiny comittee, which had voted 11 to 1 to recommend St Austell, said it was not "happy with the current climate change and what could happen in the future".

She also said there was no room for extension in Redruth and no formal land acquisition had been agreed for the privately owned site, while the council owned the land at St Austell.

She added: "It is about creating a flagship project for Cornwall and not an economic driver. We want to ensure the building would be built on a tight timescale on the most deliverable site."

Mr Lavery told the meeting that officers recommended Redruth, where "we are more likely to get funding.

"A lot of work has been done and the deal is done on the ownership (Redruth site)".

Mr Robertson added: "From my perspective the economic benefits that can be drawn in addition to the cultural ones can't be ignored given the world's situation."

The deadline for Lottery funding is November 30.

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