Helston council says no to Man Engine visit

HELSTON residents have expressed disappointment at news that the town’s council rejected the offer of a visit by The Man Engine.

The team behind the ten-metre tall mechanical puppet of a tin miner contacted the council in March to ask whether Helston would be interested in hosting a visit. The proposed cost to the town was estimated to be in the region of £1000 to £5000. The town Amenities Committee unanimously voted to reject the idea which was then sent to the full council for the final decision.

Chairman of the Amenities Committee, Jonathan Gaby-Radford, is reported to have said that there were two main reasons that decision was made. The first was that the only day offered to Helston was a Wednesday which is traditionally the quietest day in the town. However I feel that is the perfect day to arrange an event, an opportunity to draw thousands of visitors to the town on a quiet Wednesday is much more appealing than on busier days of the week to boost trade even further.

The second reason is that the council was only provided limited information and were told The Man Engine was a large puppet. Hindsight is wonderful thing and I can see how the mechanical giant was not expected to attract crowds of more than 150,000 people so far. It could be argued that no one could have predicted that level of turnout with any certainty.

However, other towns did have the foresight to research the proposal more thoroughly at the time. Had the council asked the right questions, they would have gained more information and been able to make an informed decision.

On the surface it appears the council made a hasty decision and did not deem it necessary to research the proposal in any depth. In turn, we have missed out on an event that would have provided a much needed boost to the town and not only to our residents, but to our businesses, and the chance to promote ourselves to a wide audience through the resulting media coverage.

On my personal Facebook page, one woman asked why the council turned the event down and received a response of more than 70 comments. Nearly all of them were aghast at the news Helston missed out.

One clear lesson to be learned is that all proposals should be fully investigated before being accepted or declined. Furthermore, council votes should only take place when all the relevant people have the maximum amount of information, rather than the minimum.


Featured image by Jake Riding. Copyright all rights reserved


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