Town council hears of Coastal Communities Team initiative

Wednesday 14th February 2018 1:00 pm
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A RECENT meeting of Bude-Stratton Town Council enabled councillors to get an insight into how the council could play a role in the local Coastal Communities Team initiative.

The meeting heard that in 2015, the department for communities and local government announced a series of grants that would be allocated to coastal community teams in the UK, with Bude being one of them.

Andrew Finley, a member of the Coastal Communities Team, told councillors and members of the public present why they were addressing them that evening: “There is an increasing reliance on groups to drive forward to deliver assets to communities.”

His colleague, Shaun Collins-Powell, introduced himself. He said he has lived in Bude for ten years, and was once senior vice president of a heating controls business. He also sits on the board of local charity, the Friends of Bude Sea Pool. Andrew was the director of Oxford Innovation and moved to Cornwall in 2002.

One of the purposes of a Coastal Communities Team is to support local businesses with strategy, development, finance and growth, the meeting heard. Teams also aim to work in a collaborative manner, working with various local community groups and organisations to achieve the potential of the town.

The team has been looking into ways of purchasing the Tripos building in Bude, but failed previously due to being unable to raise the funds to purchase the building, with an aim of benefiting the community.

The challenges and opportunities of being a Coastal Community Team include the town’s growth, investment and infrastructure, with the potential of the town council driving the local agenda. Andrew said: “We need to keep moving the town forwards.”

Opportunities also include local employment and support of businesses, of which was described as ‘vital’ to the town’s growth, and also youth development. Andrew said: “Cornwall has a reputation of people starting and finishing their careers here — that’s a well-known fact. People can be born here, live here and thrive here.”

Tourism, particularly in Bude, is an important factor to the scheme. Shaun said: “It’s one of those sectors that produces significant economic growth locally.”

He added that looking into projects such as skate parks, promoting exercise, and coastal paths are something that can be focused on. Speaking of coastal paths, Shaun said: “If you look at coast paths on an international scale, I automatically think of my home country of Ireland and the Atlantic Way — it has been hugely successful. There’s no reason why we couldn’t take the success there and incorporate it into opportunities here [in Bude].”

The meeting heard that the teams can help locally by helping organisations and groups to access funding, supporting the economic and social development of the community and supporting projects such as the neighbourhood development plan, adopted last year.

To be able to thrive, the team would need to see the formation of a steer committee, which would include town councillors and a development manager. The meetings of this committee could then be fed back into the finance and general purposes committee, if it was so wished.

Coastal Communities Teams are also strongly linked with authorities such as the local government and Cornwall Council.

Andrew said: “The team can help raise money for the benefit of the town, with the development of sustainable initiatives.

“Bude really has the opportunity to present itself as a pre-eminent area of the country. It can establish itself as an area where people can visit and more.”

The meeting heard that the next steps would be to look at the principles of a collaboration, the establishment of a working structure and a possible bid to secure funding for a development manager.

Cllr Lea Deely asked about the salary a development manager would be paid, to which she heard that it would possibly be in the region of £30,000 to £40,000 a year.

Cllr Peter La Broy, Liberal Democrat Cornwall Councillor for Bude, asked to hear a little more about the intentions involving the Tripos building. The meeting heard that the building is due to be offered at auction in February. Andrew said: “Realistically, the opportunity to raise the funds before this time is less than zero.”

After their presentation, the gentlemen left the meeting, and the subject was up for discussion between town councillors later on in the evening.

Cllr Paul Tilzey, a member of the Coastal Communities Team who represents the council on the board, suggested that the team should hold an informal meeting to talk in more depth about certain areas of the role. He said: “It would be good for Bude if we can do this. Other areas of the county are doing it all the time, and we’re not doing it.”

The meeting heard there were no time constraints on the decision to play a role within the Coastal Communities Team.

Cllr Tilzey highlighted the benefits of having a Coastal Community Team, due to the poverty in Cornwall. He added: “There is an underlying amount of depravity in the area. This came to light through the work we’re doing — we were shocked. It does need a discussion.”

Cllr Deely added: “It would enhance what the council does, and would take the council into an area we have not been to before.”

Cllr La Broy proposed Cllr Tilzey to organise a joint meeting, and for a working group to liaise with the Coastal Communities Team. Ideas will be progressed through a working party, which will be reported back to a future meeting.

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