I am (very much) pro St. Austell.
I’m actually pro keeping green fields and farmland rather than covering them in swathes of little-box housing estates.
I’m also pro, despite the wind tunnel effect its lack of covered space, of White River Place.
St. Austell has been built on a hillside, with the main street wrapping around one of its contours. The topography, that gives St. Austell Town Centre’s its unrestricted views over countryside, also inhibits the town centre’s size.
White River’s construction, cleverly raising the new shopping level to the same level as the old town centre and concealing multi story parking within it is, quite simply, genius. At the same time it enabled an expansion of the retail space of the town.
I’m also anti lots of things too, and capable of my own wild ideas for change. Some can make me quite emotional.
Brown field sites being left derelict rather than re-developed for housing or something other seems criminal. The negligent waste of old, important historic buildings that should be restored and reused… being left untouched or worse still, pulled down, feels utterly insane.
The grip of multi-nationals, greed of bankers, landlords, developers, over dominance of supermarkets can all have me shaking my fist in my sleep.
But, I also take issue with one-sided lobbyists and withholders of information who reveal only a partial picture that suits them. Or passionate extremists who demonize anyone who doesn’t fully support their argument. I particularly dislike being patronised, or told what I should think, as if I don’t have a mind capable of weighing up all the issues on my own.
These are the questions I want answers to:
- How can the environmental impact, with increased risk of flooding, from concrete, tarmac and loss of farmland be offset?
- How will increased traffic flows near schools and pedestrian areas be managed or improved?
- What’s the likelihood of established businesses being damaged?
- Is the suggestion of long-term, sustainable jobs real or imagined?
- Will it, or will it not, bring more money into the local economy of St.Austell?
Tell me to ‘Stop’ I’m going to ask ‘Why? What’s in it for whom?’ My critical head starts to play devil’s advocate. I want all the answers, and every answer raises more questions.
And it’s my business to know the importance of choosing emotive words carefully. Any copy writer worth their salt knows that selecting the right word to convey a message is really, really important. Get it wrong and the intention can just backfire creating more dissent than unification.
Isn’t it preferrable to tell people what they can do to make things better, and make them feel good about themselves. For example, the ‘Choose Cornish’ campaign: If everyone who lives in the county spent just 50p a week on local produce from a local supplier, it would deliver over £10 million into Cornwall’s economy in a year. The message is simple, achievable, embraceable, but most important, you won’t be demonized when you buy something that isn’t Cornish. And actually, supermarkets have to adapt to people’s ethical buying habits and consciences.
The scale of the Coyte Farm development is said to have “Transformational Change” potential for St. Austell and the surrounding area. It has the potential to be the town’s best ever ‘Opportunity’ or worst possible ‘Threat’. That’s why I raised the question; “Can we afford to reject Coyte without fully exploring every detail that surrounds it?” I need to add, “Is this the type of Transformational Change that we can negotiate to make our lives better?”
WHAT IS TRANSFORMATIONAL CHANGE? (see video below)
My last point is that I am always happy to have my mind changed. Not as a woman’s prerogative but because I wish always to be able to remain open-minded. I may have written a pro Coyte piece but I’d still be ‘jury’s out’ on the decision if I happened to have the power to vote on the matter.
I’ll support Coyte as a Sainsbury’s and as an out-of -town retail area if the retail area does not compete for the same shops as in the Town Centre as I believe that Coyte, could change the way that people regard St. Austell and improve the economy of the St. Austell area.
But unlike Bert Biscoe, I’ve understood that Coyte would be a site for big retailers such as M&S, or hopefully big retail giants, the likes of Ikea, that can’t be accommodated in town, but would bring shoppers back to the area. I’ve never thought it would replace the town centre.
However if Coyte is built merely to entice what little we have in our current high street away – then I was wrong – and I’ll take great issue with that.
I’ll give my support if drainage can be managed to pose no risk of flooding the Pentewan Valley; if the retail area can be largely hidden by trees and landscaping; if access to St. Mewan Primary School is made safer; and if offset money is used towards projects such as turning brownfield sites into productive market gardens, or the Market House into something amazing…. (Wild ideas in the offing for which I’d expect someone to play devil’s advocate with me).
However, I’m not yet convinced by the need for all the housing on green fields in Phase 2 of Coyte. For that reason the Trewhiddle Farm plans, a supermarket with houses in pre-application planning, wouldn’t get my support either.
* devil’s advocate is someone who takes a position he or she does not necessarily agree with, for the sake of debate. In taking this position, the individual taking on the devil’s advocate role seeks to engage others in an argumentative discussion process. The purpose of such process is typically to test the quality of the original argument and identify weaknesses in its structure, and to use such information to either improve or abandon the original, opposing position.
It can also refer to someone who takes a stance that is seen as unpopular or unconventional, but is actually another way of arguing a much more conventional stance.
- Food waste: how much of it is consumer responsibility? (guardian.co.uk)