When it was opened a couple of years ago the Heartlands project at Pool symbolised the start of regeneration in the Camborne Redruth area. Like all new projects it has suffered from its share of teething problems but I think there are now some positive signs that it's turned the corner and we need the community to get behind it.
A couple of weeks ago over 14,000 people attended their bonfire night celebration which must have been the biggest bonfire party in Cornwall. Earlier this autumn the first ‘Live at Heartlands’ concert was held which attracted leading bands such as UB40, The Happy Mondays, The Boom Town Rats and many others. It was a really successful festival and several people have told me how much they enjoyed it.
The new housing development on the edge of Heartlands is also almost complete. It is designed to respect the industrial heritage of the site with saw tooth roofs and will bring a larger community to the site. Later this year another part of the site will become home to a ground breaking new project run by Carillion Igloo homes which will pioneer a new national scheme to sell plots with outlining planning and an option for people to custom build their dream home.
I think one of the problems Heartlands encountered early on was that some of the decisions made were driven by the criteria required to secure successful grant applications rather than focusing solely on what would work. There had also been legal hiccups in the way lawyers had set up the deeds which caused huge problems when trying to sell the first phase of flats to local residents. It was unbelievable that lawyers were unable to resolve what should have been quite simple land deals. There were also too many prescriptions and conditions attached to the occupants of the business and retail units which made it hard for some of them to survive. Finally, there has been too much reliance on the car park as an income stream.
However, the amazing play area has been a big draw from the start and the Red River feature has always been a hit with young children and families. The diaspora gardens are also starting to establish. What the bonfire night party and Live at Heartlands proved is that this project can become a great community asset which celebrates our industrial heritage but is very much for the local community. It has huge potential and I believe we will see Heartlands grow from strength to strength.
George Eustice can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1 Trevenson Street, Camborne, Cornwall TR14 8JD or by telephone on 020 72197032.