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What’s happening in Truro?

Posted by on April 30, 2017 in Reports and Opinion - No comments

April 2017

Pydar Street

News is that the deal to secure the whole of the site occupied by Carrick DC is nearing completion. This should then trigger the debate about what’s to be done. As you know I favour enabling the emergence of a new neighbourhood (or rather the re-establishment of a neighbourhood). There is talk of Falmouth University being interested but I think we need to consider the long-term interests of thew whole town by encouraging small business and residential uses to mingle – to bring community and commerce back into the town centre. When it was originally cleared the town lost a significant number of dwellings. They were sub-standard but would have benefitted from improvement grants – the wiping away of such a community and its banishment to the outskirts may have solved an acute health problem at the time, but the replacement uses have not lasted long, whilst the impacts of a depopulated centre have begun to show quite starkly.

Town centre signage and brand values, colours, style

We must be glad to see the town centre signage project gaining momentum, but the detail is quite disappointing in my view. The civic role of Truro City Council and its intrinsic bond with the commercial and community life of the town suggests that the ‘livery’ of things-civic should be unified. The colour traditionally used by Truro City Council has been deep royal blue – hence the colour of the (now somewhat threadbare) TCC flag, the doors of the Municipal Buildings, Passmore Ed3ards library doors (un-changed since TCC surrendered it reluctantly in 1974) the Council’s vehicles and other vestiges of brand-Truro. This case was made strongly to Cornwall Council when the matter of liverying the Park & Ride buses arose. CC adopted the (albeit less reserved, somewhat brighter) blue. The blue is very good for offering a visible backdrop for clear lettering, whilst the dark royal blue has a style reference which speaks clearly of late C18th – early C19th – which tones well with the predominant elements of the Conservation Area and the key iconography of the town,
The proposed use of brown copper which is expected to oxygenate towards green is said to resonate with the War Memorial, the bus station roof, the Drummer, and the copper spire of St Mary’s Aisle. I consider this to be quite distracting – the livery colour should set the tone of the town, be adaptable to change, evoke the predominant style and resonate with general perceptions. Over the past thirty five years the notion of the civic identity of Truro has been either a matter of conflict, or overshadowed by more generic interests such as the former district council.
But this is a moment, with devolution advancing, with the role of the City Council developing rapidly to a point where it is reasserting many of the functions and responsibilities which obtained prior to 1974. In this context, a clear, resonating and effective livery-brand is essential. The baby, I’m afraid, has disappeared in a copper bath full of modish and short-term assertions – this is a pity for Truro, especially when we are at a moment of needing to develop a destination brand which makes the town stand out and speak for what it truly is.

Capital of Culture

There has been much hoo-ha about the Capital of Culture Bid. It is the culmination of a decade of work, and the Bid is being encouraged alongside others by the Government. Should, perchance, the forthcoming negotiations render the UK ineligible to participate then the Dept. of Culture, Media and Sport has undertaken to run an equivalent competition for the British Isles. The argument is done, and the Bid is in the process of being written. It is now time to embrace the project, and to consider how TCS can participate and support, and thus strengthen our chances of winning.

Conservation Committee

The saga of the Conservation Committee continues. It is an important part of the management of the heritage of the town and it is not being properly supported. How to proceed?
Lecture
I have been unable to contact Nick Cahill for many weeks and so we have not yet determined an alternative date for the Reg Bowyer Memorial Lecture. It will be set soon.

Copperfields

I have walked into yet another development naming brouhaha over ‘Copperfields’. Mr Mason has told his officers to go and see Persimmon and to work out how to work better together. Meanwhile, a new digital car parking sign has appeared at the bottom of Arch Hill – well beyond the bridge. I have written at length to try and temper the enthusiasm for modernising information with some empathy for the landscape and environment.
Enforcement notices have been served on Persimmon for unconsented tree works in the TPO area – too late, of course, for the trees! And Mrs Carlyon is ‘on the case’ with the flagpoles – unnecesary and unconsented!

And finally……………sewage!
Meanwhile, the row about sewage also drags on. I have received a letter from SWW and responded with a large number of questions seeking clarification of facts. Cornwall Council is pursuing a new policy of ‘unlocking’ the Langarth development which I believe will involve it in significant commitments for which consequent remuneration will prove difficult. Of course, the real issues are being obscured by the usual clamour about a stadium, whilst our water and Council taxes are being used to fund things which the developers can’t afford, but which will not be recouped from profits of property sales – there is a very questionable ethical position being struck here which I consider bears much greater public scrutiny, especially as it involves public money.
I reported last month on the lamentable state of the town centre signage policy.

Stop Press!

Several of our sponsors have agreed to continue contributing to the cost of the website and I welcome Trevails as a new sponsor. Ian Hibberd battles with the chair to cajole content out of him – there is much to do and time is, as ever, short.

Bert Biscoe

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