Boost for community projects in mid and west Cornwall

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Community projects in mid and west Cornwall promoting a greener world to benefit residents are being given a boost through new grants delivered by Cornwall Council.

Schemes in Falmouth, Helston and Porthleven, Mabe, Stithians, Penzance, Hayle and Troon are all set to benefit.

They are among 14 projects around Cornwall that have been given funding as part of a new Council scheme – the Community Infrastructure Levy Fund – as announced in January.

The fund is backing projects that support low-carbon infrastructure.

Falmouth Town Council has been awarded £43,276 to install a boardwalk as part of what is known as the Falmouth Green Corridor.

Simon Penna, Grounds and Facilities Manager at the town council, said the tender to supply and install the boardwalk was currently being advertised.

He added: “As well as the obvious improvement the boardwalk will make to Falmouth’s infrastructure, the aim of the project is to give continuous pedestrian connectivity from the town’s major area of development along Bickland Water Road to Swanpool, the town and coastal path beyond.

“The aspiration is to have a pleasant route that people will use in preference to taking their vehicles and the well-being benefits of walking in the natural environment will help improve the lives of our residents.

“There are a number of community groups that voluntarily maintain parts of what is known locally as Falmouth Green Corridor, they as well as many professionals and interested parties have come together to form the Falmouth Green Corridor Forum.

“When the news that the bid had been successful came through we were all delighted; many comments have been received, but the overriding feeling is that it is great to have something so positive going on in what has been a very difficult time for so many people.

“Work to clear the route in preparation is well underway, benefits are emerging even in the early stages, with invasive plant species being eradicated, check dams being created to slow flood water down and habitats created for our wildlife.”

Chyan Community Trust has been given £25,000 for a pathway, play trail, signage and multi-use workshop floor area in Mabe.

Chyan Community Field has provided access to zero-emission community training for 20 years for large numbers of local families, schools and organic gardeners.

Development Officer Brett Jackson said: “CIL provides a great boost to the project by funding the sustainable play trails, which show live examples of low-impact living – food, energy, building and health.

“The playful trails link examples of sustainable buildings made from cob, granite, logs, willow, straw built and tented structures with accessible paths and a fun information booklet. Other playtrails include zero-emission energy, food and exercise stations.

“Families can walk or children can learn to cycle on the paths around the field and enjoy the forest garden and countryside.

“The centre of the field has a tented dome (Chyan Plen) for community training courses and the support from CIL will fund an accessible all-weather workshop floor.”

South Kerrier Alliance CIC (SKA) has been awarded £32,645 to create a fully accessible walking and cycling route between Porthleven and the existing routes within the Penrose Estate.

SKA will be working with the National Trust, local farmer Martin Wallis, Porthleven Town Council and Helston Climate Action Group to finalise the proposal and submit a formal planning application.

Subject to permission it is hoped the route will be completed in early 2022. The National Trust and SKA are providing match funding to support the project.

David Turnbull, director of SKA, said: “Working with the National Trust, we’ve been able to develop a proposal which has gained Cornwall Council’s support for this much-needed route.

“A Bridleway link between Porthleven and Helston will be an asset for the local community and wider area, and provide a safe shared accessible route for walkers, horse riders and cyclists.”

Meanwhile, Stithians Energy Group will receive £42,395 for the installation of solar panels and a storage battery at the Stithians Centre and Troon Association Football Club is set to receive £30,000 for the refurbishment and extension of changing rooms and club house facilities for use by both the club and the wider community.

Finally, Penzance, Falmouth and Hayle will benefit from another project to be given money by the CIL Fund.

Our Only World has been given £67,500 to manufacture and place water bottle refill stations at 15 locations across Cornwall.

Tina Robinson, from Our Only World, said it gave them “15 opportunities to collaborate with communities and make links with locals and visitors”.

Tim Dwelly, the Council’s Portfolio Holder for Culture, Economy and Planning, said: “These projects personify what this new scheme was designed to be about.

“It was difficult to choose which would benefit from funding, but all of these are playing their part in a greener future for Cornwall.”

Edwina Hannaford, Portfolio Holder for Climate Change and Neighbourhoods, said: “It was a vigorous process to make the decisions, with the Council’s aim to be net carbon-neutral by 2030 at the forefront of our minds.

“Supporting projects such as these will play a big part in that – having a positive impact on both their communities and the environment.”

Since January 2019 the Council has been charging developers the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) as a way to reduce any potential adverse cumulative impacts resulting from new housing and other building projects. 

CIL payments are set aside to be spent on infrastructure projects to benefit communities and support development. Between 15 to 25 per cent of the levy goes to the town or parish council where the development has taken place. 

Last summer the Council invited organisations to bid for a slice of £500,000 to pay for infrastructure projects that encourage greener and healthier lifestyles. 

Now the process has been completed, the total support provided by the CIL Fund could rise to £622,939, depending on whether some projects secure match-funding from elsewhere.

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