BODMIN residents and business owners are being invited to have their say on the vision for the future of the town centre during a five-day community planning event to be held this week.
From tomorrow (Friday, March 18) to Tuesday, March 22, the ground-breaking event, known as a charrette - as was used with the people of Liskeard to gather ideas for the town’s Cattle Market site - will be staged in the town to bring local people together to create a design and plan for the town centre.
The Bodmin Town Centre Charrette will be led by JTP, architects and placemakers with a strong track record of working with communities to help them shape their local surroundings, and supported by Cornwall Council, Bodmin Town Council, Bodmin Town Team and Bodmin Chamber of Commerce. It will involve a series of workshops, walkabouts and hands-on planning groups, offering local people the opportunity to co-design a vision for the future of the town centre.
“Rather than simply asking the local people to comment on something which has been drawn up by other people, we want to bring the communities knowledge and creativity into the design process at an early stage, giving them real influence over the final vision,“ explained Charles Campion from JTP.
“The charrette offers an exciting opportunity for people in Bodmin to co -create locally focused proposals for the place they live and work which meet their ambitions and we want all parts of the community to take part.”
The first two days of the community planning event, this Friday and Saturday (March 18 and 19) will be held at the Shire Hall. As well as the events and activities for the general public, there will be a specific workshop for young people on the Friday afternoon. There will also be an exhibition providing background information, with team members on hand to answer questions.
People will be able to just drop into the event – there is no need to book a place - and can stay for as long or as little time as they want.
Performing arts activities will be taking place on Mount Folly Square this Saturday. Organised by intoBodmin CIC, these will include a Victorian flea circus, a flash mob dance and other activities. Co-Bikes will also be at Mount Folly on Friday and Saturday.
Following the public workshop days, the JTP team will spend the next three days analysing and summarising the outcomes, and then drawing up a vision for the town centre, including an illustrative masterplan.
This will be reported back to the local community at a special public session at the Shire House Suite on the evening of Tuesday, March 22.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for the whole town to get together and identify a vision for our town centre,“ said Carol Randall, Chair of Bodmin Town Team.
“Bodmin, like many other towns across the UK, has suffered as a result of a decline in footfall in the town centre caused by changes in purchasing behaviours and unreasonably high business overheads. We are unlikely to see a reverse in the trend towards more online purchasing and out of town retail centres. The COVID pandemic has delivered another body blow to struggling communities.
“We want to build on the work which has already taken place to identify a clear and achievable vision for the town centre and then look at how we can work together to deliver it. To achieve this, we need local people and businesses to get involved in the process.”
The Charrette has the support of local Cornwall Councillors Pat Rogerson, Leigh Frost and Jennifer Cruse.
“The previous work which has been carried out identified growth and place priorities for Bodmin“ said the three local members in a joint statement. “We want to work with all parts of the community to capture both the opportunities and the challenges facing our town so that we can create a way forward which delivers our ambitions for a vibrant and sustainable town centre.”
Cornwall Council Leader Linda Taylor; Carol Mould, the Council’s Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhoods; Olly Monk, the Portfolio for Housing and Planning and Stephen Rushworth, the Portfolio Holder for Economy, are also supporting the project.
“The charrette process, piloted in Liskeard in 2019, was very successful, with the vision developed in partnership with the local community now being turned into reality,” said Councillor Taylor. “Cornwall Council is committed to working with residents and partners in Bodmin to create a vision which complements what the town already has to offer, boosts the economy and brings more local people and visitors into the town centre.“
Bodmin Town Council is also looking forward to playing a major part in the Charrette.
“This is an exciting opportunity for our town and our community of Bodmin“ said the Mayor of Bodmin Councillor Jeremy Cooper. "The Town Council is working hard in collaboration with all the charrette partners to create practical steps that will deliver change. By bringing together all our community stakeholders, we can demonstrate there is no shortage of ambition and aspiration for a brighter future for Bodmin."
Information about the Bodmin Town Centre Charrette will be available on Cornwall Council’s Let’s Talk site: letstalk.cornwall.gov.uk/bodmin-town-centre where people will also be able to make comments and ask questions, as well as on the websites of partner organisations. Information will also be available on the JTP website : jtp.co.uk/projects /bodmin.