On Tuesday last week I was delighted to attend the first ever Cornwall Expo, hosted by Cornwall Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership (the LEP). Held over two days in one of the hangars at the Aerohub at Newquay Airport, the Expo launched the next round of European funding for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
I was particularly struck by the energy and optimism at the event, there was a real buzz of expectation and a feeling that Cornwall is at last being given the attention that it deserves from central government.
The exhibits covered everything from rail, road and air expansion plans, to the Spaceport at Newquay airport and the wave hub at Hayle. First Group took the opportunity to launch their new or rather, old, brand GWR and their new sleeper carriages. It is exciting to see the iconic brand return to our railways alongside new and improved rolling stock.
Patrick McLoughlin, the Secretary of State for Transport, attended the event and gave the keynote speech. He noted the progress that Cornwall has already made in the transport sector and finished his speech; “So now, with a clear mandate from the general election, we can press forward with our long-term transport plan for Cornwall. We have the funding, the vision and the political will to deliver the transport changes the southwest needs. Over the next 5 years we will work with you to make sure Cornish businesses play a full part in Britain’s economic recovery.”
There are exciting times ahead at Newquay Airport. On Tuesday night I met with members of the Bloodhound Supersonic Car team. They are very enthusiastic about the time they will be spending at Newquay next year testing the car in preparation for the world land speed record attempt in South Africa. They are likely to be at Newquay Airport for a month and I encouraged them to make the car available to as many local people as possible during that time.
The possibility of the UK Spaceport being sited at Newquay Airport was also explored on one of the stands at the Expo. I believe that Newquay remains the most obvious choice for the UK Spaceport. Newquay has one of the longest runways in the UK, appropriate airport infrastructure and is located in a county that would offer many other attractions to space tourists. I will continue to lobby for Newquay as the obvious choice as the Government moves into the next stage of decision making.
Apart from the airport developments, it is time Newquay had its fair share of European funding. The LEP will be coming to the Town Council Committee Room, Newquay at 2pm, on 9th November to discuss how to apply for funding. I encourage you to attend if you are considering expanding your business. Let us work together to ensure that Newquay gets all of the support and help that is available.