In a 180 degree turn of events it seems likely that Helston WILL now have a new community centre purpose built.
Only last month the town council agreed to free up money previously set aside for the building of a centre, in order to support ‘community projects’.
While this did not preclude the money still being spent on a building, the intention was to broaden the scope of projects it might benefit.
Although not technically a reversal of last month’s decision, a new allocation of the money effectively takes the council back to where it started.
The full £158,000 left from the sale of the Passmore Edwards Institute (after fees were deducted) is now in a dedicated budget, meaning it cannot be spend on anything other than a community centre.
Two thirds of the sale proceeds must be spent on an “institute of technical instruction” to comply with a covenant put on the 3 Penrose Road building, which carries over with the sale, and this will have to be taken into careful consideration in any building plan.
The decision came after town clerk Chris Dawson sought clarification over whether to begin the previously agreed search for land on which to build.
This was time-consuming work that could potentially be wasted if further down line money had already been given out in grants.
Mr Dawson said: “I’m very keen this council leaves a legacy; I would like to leave a legacy before I go. I would be very enthused to find a piece of land and design a building.”
Earlier, councillors had heard from David Harris, a member of the public, who said he had “left in a huff” after the decision at the previous meeting to un-earmark the funds.
He claimed there were never discussions in meetings about matters affecting the north of the town, such as Trenethick Avenue and Bosnoweth.
“Nothing is done for these people. Why can’t they have a community centre? There’s plenty of land up there,” he said.
Councillor Sue Swift agreed that there were an “awful lot” of elderly people who said they felt “isolated” at the top of town.
She added: “They are complaining they can’t go down the town all the time to get to things.”
Councillor Niall Devenish said he had people “bending his ear” after the last meeting, with Mr Harris not the only person who was upset.
However, councillor Mike Thomas said, conversely, he had been spoken to by people who said it was the centres that already existed that needed improvement.
Councillor Mark Upton questioned whether any research had been carried out to find whether people wanted a community centre, for example by looking at the town plan questionnaires. However, Mr Dawson said the council was not at that stage yet.
Despite these concerns the majority agreement was to ask the council’s asset working party and town clerk to start looking at a purpose built community centre for Helston and allocate funds to a community centre budget.
Councillors Mark Upton, Mike Thomas, John Boase and Nicola Boase asked for their names to be recorded as voting against this.