Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Newspaper column 7 October 2015 - St Austell edition - The Cornwall Expo

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.” 

After he gave this speech he was shown a map of St Austell and the Clay villages and the possible routes of the A30 link to St Austell.  This important link was mentioned in the summer budget and is one of my top priorities for the next five years.  But it didn’t stop there.  The Secretary of State was then whisked to a waiting helicopter and flown from Newquay to St Austell Bay to see the logistical challenges that this road brings, first hand.  It was a beautiful day and I was told that St Austell Bay looked tremendous from the air. 

The St Austell and Clay villages stand at the Expo also mentioned the long-discussed northwestern link.  A road from Carludden across country to join the A 390 somewhere near St Mewan, has long been seen as the necessary next step to alleviate traffic volumes in St Austell.  I was heartened to see this back on the agenda and will be supporting this scheme in the coming years.

Apart from the transport developments, it is time St Austell had its fair share of European funding.  The LEP will be coming to the White Hart Hotel, St Austell at 10am, 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 St Austell gets all of the support and help that is available.