Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Launceston CAN meeting report

Each year, the Launceston Community Network of Cornwall Council holds a big meeting in the town hall to hear any and all opinions on anything that matters to local residents. This meeting sits alongside the themed meetings we hold around the parishes through the year.

Tonight saw discussion on two big topics.

The first was street cleaning and litter picking. Having been to a previous meeting and heard criticisms of the new regime, the staff came to explain the changes they had made and received some pretty positive feedback.

The key points they made were:

- the town centre zone which is cleaned daily has been extended to include parts of Western Road;
- the streets such as Blind Hole which had been missed off the map have now been added;
- consultation will start soon on introducing kerbside collection on Ridgegrove. This would get rid of the communal bins and be likely to mean a change in June.

I'm delighted that the team have listened to local concerns. There will still be the occasional problem, but they have become very good about responding to reports and I thank them wholeheartedly for that.

The second big topic was the proposal to sell Race Hill car parks to a supermarket. As I have posted before, I am very dubious that such a scheme could work. I am especially concerned about the highways issues. But I am prepared to look at any proposal that comes forward with an open mind. There was some support at tonight's meeting for the idea (as well as lots of opposition) and this will be a genuine debate in the town.

What I think (virtually) everyone is concerned at, however, is the speed with which Cornwall Council are marketing the site. Surely it would have been better to discuss any idea about selling with the town council, chamber and residents BEFORE the marketing campaign started. My fear is that the town is being bounced into this proposal without having the time to properly think it through.

The best time to have had this discussion would have been when we were looking at development throughout the town as part of the town framework process. But even if that were not possible, I don't think we should be beholden to a developer's timetable if it risks a decision which may not be right for the town.

There will be a further chance to have your say on this issue at a meeting organised by the town council on 19th February at 6pm in the town hall.

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