Thursday, 29 August 2013

Archive Centre takes major step forward

This week, plans for Kresen Kernow, the new Cornwall Archive Centre to be built at the old brewery site at Redruth took another major step forward as land deals with the owner of the site were finally completed after months of complicated discussions. Late last year Redruth beat competition from other towns to win designation by Cornwall Council as the preferred site for the project and in the spring Redruth saw off fierce competition from dozens of other bids nationally to successfully land funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Things that are worth doing are never easy and this project has been no exception. But Redruth has so far managed to clear each obstacle put before it and there is now a lot of momentum behind this idea with a planning application now imminent. The success so far is a credit to many different people from the enthusiasm of Reduth Town Council to the patience of Horace Yao, the owner of the brewery site and the hard work of regeneration officers at Cornwall Council who have had to hit challenging deadlines for their work.

I have been arguing for the last two years that Redruth was the natural home for this archive project. Redruth is the most international of Cornish towns. Of the 8 million strong world-wide Cornish Diaspora, around a quarter can trace their roots back to Redruth. We exported mining expertise around the globe from Australia and South Africa to California, South America and Mexico. Redruth Town Council has shown tremendous enthusiasm for the new archive project and credit should also go to both existing and former local councillors for their support.

I have met Horace Yao, the Honk Kong based owner of the brewery site in Redruth, on many occasions now to try to help progress plans. Mr Yao bought the brewery site some twenty years ago and ran the famous Cornish Rebellion and Newquay Steam beer brands for several years. Since then there have been a couple of schemes to try to find a future for the site which didn't work out in the end and he has shown tremendous patience in being prepared to go through another process which actually looks set to succeed his time. The most sought after residential address in Hong Kong is actually along Cornwall Street which shows how far our international connections spread and it is fitting that there should be a Hong Kong connection in creating the most sought after venue in Cornwall.

The time scales for submitting various funding bids and plans to make a reality of the project have been very demanding and credit is due to the various regeneration and planning officers involved at Cornwall Council. As well as being an amazing resource celebrating Cornish history and culture, the archive project is the answer to ending the dereliction of the brewery site and will be the catalyst that kick starts the long awaited revival of Redruth.

George Eustice can be contacted at george.eustice.mp@parliament.uk or 1 Trevenson Street, Camborne, Cornwall TR14 8JD or by telephone on 020 72197032.