Back track on Helston community centre funds

This is The West Country: Money from the sale of the Passmore Edwards Institute is no longer being set aside for a new community centre Money from the sale of the Passmore Edwards Institute is no longer being set aside for a new community centre

A tetchy and passionate debate by Helston’s town councillors has resulted in money from the sale of the Passmore Edwards Institute no longer being set aside for a new community centre.

The council received £158,000 from the sale of the former community centre at 3 Penrose Road last August, two thirds of which has been ring-fenced for a project that complies with a covenant put on the centre.

This insists that the money must be spent on an institute of technical instruction.

The rest had been earmarked for a community centre to replace the loss of the institute, as agreed three years ago.

Including church halls, Helston already has at least ten buildings available for community use and last week Councillor Mike Thomas suggested the funds now be spent differently.

Mr Thomas said: “Three years ago, when we decided we would use the money from the sale for a new community centre, Helston was a very different town.”

At that time the future of the Old Cattle Market was still being discussed, and it was not known the town’s Light and Life Church would create a “fantastic and highly useable” centre on the Water-ma-Trout industrial estate or that the Epworth Hall would progress so far.

“As custodians of this money we have got the opportunity to reappraise and our original plan can probably be slightly changed. Instead of planning for a community centre we make money available for community projects,” he suggested.

“I personally see no discernible evidence that at the moment, in 2013, there is any perceived need for any additional community centre.”

His view was not shared by all of the members. Councillor Niall Devenish said: “When this council took the decision to sell the building it was under the very specific condition that it would be to provide a new community centre for Helston, fit for the 21st century.”

He said around 1,000 extra homes were planned for Helston in the coming years, particularly in the north of the town, where there was a need for more facilities.

“There is a large swathe of this town that has no community facilities,” he added. “To make a decision without properly looking at this issue and to dilute the money would be very, very remiss.”

Mr Devenish said he would not have the council “bounced into a decision by a little bit of PR” from certain groups in the town, adding the “ridiculous proposal” would result in the “frittering away” of the money.

Councillor Sue Swift said more facilities were needed for the elderly of the town.

Mr Thomas did, however, have support from Councillor Keith Reynolds, who said: “There is no shortage of community space, but we could do an awful lot of good.”

The proposal that the currently un-ring-fenced money be ring-fenced for community based projects was carried by five votes in favour, with four against and two abstentions.

The announcement resulted in an uneasy silence, broken only by Mrs Swift telling members: “You should be ashamed and disgusted.”

Do you still want to see the money spent on a community centre in Helston or would it be better spent on other projects? Have your say online at thepacket.co.uk, email editorial@packetseries.co.uk or write to the usual address.

Comments (9)

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7:31am Thu 24 Jan 13

Gill Zella Martin 09 says...

I believe the money would be better spent on other projects. As mentioned, the Cattle Market is now a reality and as such available for use for many things, as are the many other community buildings in Helston. If a new community building is sought, them the running costs of it will be an additional ongoing expense.
I believe the money would be better spent on other projects. As mentioned, the Cattle Market is now a reality and as such available for use for many things, as are the many other community buildings in Helston. If a new community building is sought, them the running costs of it will be an additional ongoing expense. Gill Zella Martin 09

7:46am Thu 24 Jan 13

Gill Zella Martin 09 says...

Previous post should have said 'then' not 'them'

What may have been appropriate several years ago is not necessarily appropriate now. That amount of money would not in my opinion go far anyway for a new community building.
Previous post should have said 'then' not 'them' What may have been appropriate several years ago is not necessarily appropriate now. That amount of money would not in my opinion go far anyway for a new community building. Gill Zella Martin 09

7:53am Thu 24 Jan 13

Gill Zella Martin 09 says...

Incidentally I did not realise Councillor Sue Swift was Mr Devenish's wife as stated in the article.
Incidentally I did not realise Councillor Sue Swift was Mr Devenish's wife as stated in the article. Gill Zella Martin 09

9:37am Thu 24 Jan 13

meerkats says...

Gill Zella Martin 09 wrote:
Incidentally I did not realise Councillor Sue Swift was Mr Devenish's wife as stated in the article.
I wasnt aware of that either .Now ,that the Cattle market is being used for various community things, i fail to see that spending the money on another community building would be an asset to the town and the money should be spent elsewhere.
[quote][p][bold]Gill Zella Martin 09[/bold] wrote: Incidentally I did not realise Councillor Sue Swift was Mr Devenish's wife as stated in the article.[/p][/quote]I wasnt aware of that either .Now ,that the Cattle market is being used for various community things, i fail to see that spending the money on another community building would be an asset to the town and the money should be spent elsewhere. meerkats

9:51am Thu 24 Jan 13

Greg Fountain says...

Thank you, this mistake has been corrected.
Thank you, this mistake has been corrected. Greg Fountain

10:13am Thu 24 Jan 13

Cornishnett says...

Dont think that amount of money would be enough for a new center plus who will pay for its up keep us again theres a good large hall that can be used for community already
Dont think that amount of money would be enough for a new center plus who will pay for its up keep us again theres a good large hall that can be used for community already Cornishnett

10:20am Thu 24 Jan 13

ronedgcumbe says...

Agree with this decision but fear the money will be wasted by this council as the 106 money is currently. A few ideas on other options would of been good.
Agree with this decision but fear the money will be wasted by this council as the 106 money is currently. A few ideas on other options would of been good. ronedgcumbe

7:52pm Thu 24 Jan 13

telstar1962 says...

Times change,and Mr Thomas is correct on this occasion.

And don't forget,when the Institute has been renovated,it will also contain further valuable public space.
Times change,and Mr Thomas is correct on this occasion. And don't forget,when the Institute has been renovated,it will also contain further valuable public space. telstar1962

8:34am Sat 26 Jan 13

molesworth says...

Am I alone in thinking anything with the word 'community' attached is bound to be ghastly and a mistake in any case? Fun Day. Get Together. Coffee Morning. Traffic Warden. Hippy. Sailing. Gated. Religious. Housing. Business.
Spend the money on anything but a 'centre'.
Am I alone in thinking anything with the word 'community' attached is bound to be ghastly and a mistake in any case? Fun Day. Get Together. Coffee Morning. Traffic Warden. Hippy. Sailing. Gated. Religious. Housing. Business. Spend the money on anything but a 'centre'. molesworth

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