Signs of life emerge from town hall

THIS week I find myself in the unusual position of giving credit to a Helston town councillor – something I hope becomes a regular habit.

Dave Potter is a new councillor with plenty of enthusiasm, creativity and ideas on how to improve our town. This appears in stark contrast to the typical role of those turning up at meetings and voting ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ on standard council business.

A distinct lack of innovation from the Guildhall has curtailed Helston’s development over the years, which has affected our town when it needed a major boost. We have wasted the £800,000 given to the town by Tesco and Sainsbury’s when they built new stores in Helston. More than £250,000 was thrown at the Grylls Monument project which has done little to improve our town and failed to increase footfall while not enhancing the shopping experience. Nor did the vast sum spent have any positive effect on the turnover of local businesses.

I have spoken with Mr Potter on several occasions and he has mentioned several ideas which are refreshingly different, and could benefit local residents.

One idea that caught my eye was the Question Time Helston event taking pace on October 11 to enable local residents to suggest ideas, discuss issues and put forward questions for members of our community. Mr Potter has organised a panel for the meeting including a foodbank representative, the Chair of Governors at Helston Community College, a former town councillor, an MP for our constituency and a representative of the youth sector.

This unique assembly could generate many fresh ideas for our town and is the first of its kind to pull together such a diverse selection of people and allow the opportunity for the public to pose questions.

Another idea from Mr Potter focuses on car parking charges in the town. He would like to propose a Free At Point of Use Parking scheme to reduce or eliminate parking charges and encourage shoppers to spend more time in the town centre. He wants to stop the council using parking as a revenue source and instead look at other ways to raise funds, such as increasing council tax or a contribution from local businesses, or even the town council taking ownership of the car parks from the county council.

I am not sure how workable these solutions are yet am certain that a solution exists. Dave Potter has said that he would like people to show an interest in the ideas so that a meeting can be called to discuss how they may be achieved.

Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” which sums up most councils in my opinion. How refreshing to witness something new.

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