Since I was first elected, I have always made clear that economic regeneration in Camborne, Redruth and Hayle was my number one priority. Our local towns were once at the heart of the industrial revolution and our expertise in mining engineering was second to none. However, with economic regeneration, it is important that we maintain our fantastic cultural heritage.
At the height of the tin mining era, Redruth was once one of the wealthiest towns in the land. As the tin mines closed, the fortunes of our local towns like Redruth fell behind other parts of the country but today there remains a legacy of that era with some fabulous and unique architecture in the town. All too often the political attention was on big northern cities, but now we have an opportunity to reset this imbalance and deliver the economic regeneration that our towns and communities need.
Last week we received news that Redruth had obtained another £80,000 from Historic England to help with commissioning community-led cultural activities in the town centre over the next three years. Redruth Cultural Consortium is launching ‘Redruth Unlimited’, a programme of cultural commissions that will enhance Redruth’s established festivals and events, make inventive use of spaces and venues in the town, celebrate the town’s heritage and creativity, support local businesses and entrepreneurs, develop the evening economy and encourage more people to explore and enjoy Redruth. The ambition for Redruth Unlimited is that it will inject new energy and optimism into the town and for young people to be key players in the design and delivery of the programme.
While the traditional, 20th century model of retail taking over the town centre and residential being primarily on estates around the outskirts of town may have been the primary approach in the past, it now seems to have run its course. We need to get better at making our town centres more of a mixed space for living and working and improving the public realm and streetscape. As more people opt to be self-employed and often make use of digital media to work from home, there is likely to be a change in what our towns are for in the decades ahead.
To support this transition, I have recently written in support of the Redruth’s bid for further funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund that will hopefully further the restoration of the Buttermarket. The workaround for the Buttermarket to create a modern, vibrant space for both residents and businesses alike is a real demonstration of what can be achieved when we have some imagination, passion, and local leadership and I am hopeful we can use this project to kickstart the transformation of Redruth Town Centre.
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen many high streets all over the country suffer from a lack of footfall. When we turn the page on this terrible setback we need to think creatively about how to build back better and allow our town centres to find new purpose.