Meet Helston's first 'regeneration officer'

Falmouth Packet: Martin Searle has been appointed town centre regeneration officer Martin Searle has been appointed town centre regeneration officer

Helston has appointed its first town centre regeneration officer to help boost its fortunes.

Martin Searle replaces town centre manager Jonathan Birkett, although his role is slightly different.

Mr Searle, 57, has been given the task of overseeing the spending part of the Section 106 money given by Tesco and Sainsbury’s, when they built new stores on the outskirts of the town, on regeneration projects.

He has also been asked by his employer, Helston Town Council, to look at ways of attracting more funding to the town and is also likely to be involved in finalising a town plan.

Cornishman Mr Searle told the Packet: “One of my first tasks is to consult with local people and businesses. I’ve had experience with consultations relating to production of community plans and parish plans.”

He has previously worked for Caradon District Council in Liskeard and Carrick District Council in Truro, where he was community regeneration manager.

He managed the restoration of Gyllyngdune Gardens in Falmouth and before that carried out the applications for European grants to fund the development of The Moor in Falmouth and Truro’s Lemon Quay.

Mr Searle also had a hands-on role setting up Cornwall’s first business improvement district in Truro and is likely to work closely with the BID development officer that Helston Business Improvement Partnership (HBIP) plans to recruit.

His post was made redundant when the district councils were disbanded in favour of one unitary authority and this is his first venture back in public service.

“What I’m trying to do is identify some things that can be achieved in the short-term and those that are likely to take longer.

“From experience I know that fairly significant schemes involving partnership working and grant funding take a long time to plan and deliver.

“Given my job is initially for two years only, I would like to find some things we can do within a shorter period of time,” he added.

Mr Searle will be holding a ‘public realm consultation’ in late October, giving members of the public the chance to say what development projects they would like to see carried out in the town.

The married father of two, who also has one grandchild, lives in Threemilestone.

Comments (13)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

4:45pm Thu 19 Sep 13

Gillian Zella Martin 09 says...

Mr Searle sounds like the ideal person for the job, and I genuinely wish him success in Helston.

Given his listed experience in the above article, I am wondering why he could not maybe, have covered the role of both planned officers, a BID development officer and his own designated role of dealing with public realm work, thus eliminating the need and expense of two officers, or perhaps I am suggesting an unreasonable workload, just a thought, :)
Mr Searle sounds like the ideal person for the job, and I genuinely wish him success in Helston. Given his listed experience in the above article, I am wondering why he could not maybe, have covered the role of both planned officers, a BID development officer and his own designated role of dealing with public realm work, thus eliminating the need and expense of two officers, or perhaps I am suggesting an unreasonable workload, just a thought, :) Gillian Zella Martin 09
  • Score: -13

4:48pm Thu 19 Sep 13

gazz021 says...

I'm sure given his age and love of flowers, nothing for the youngsters will be thought of or built.
I'm sure given his age and love of flowers, nothing for the youngsters will be thought of or built. gazz021
  • Score: 28

4:59pm Thu 19 Sep 13

krazyitchkatie says...

I met him last night and he seemed to know what he was talking about. Time will tell though :-)

And Gillian, yes I believe that Martin could've taken on either role, both would be a bit much! Lol
I met him last night and he seemed to know what he was talking about. Time will tell though :-) And Gillian, yes I believe that Martin could've taken on either role, both would be a bit much! Lol krazyitchkatie
  • Score: -25

8:03pm Thu 19 Sep 13

Gillian Zella Martin 09 says...

The section 106 money which was given as part of the Tesco/Sainsbury's planning applications has strict legal criteria attached to it, and as such, cannot unfortunately be spent on whatever Helston Town Council or the HBIP just choose to spend it on. The money is to offset any detrimental effects the supermarkets may have on the town centre trade.
The 106 money is not available to support building projects, play parks etc.
If anyone has ideas or suggestions for 106 public realm money expenditure, they could attend the public consultation, alternatively, they could contact the HBIP or the Town Council at anytime..

I think it is a great shame that news on positive things happening in Helston and subsequent comments on this website supporting those things, always appear to attract negativity.
There are a lot of people in Helston trying hard to do the right thing and improve Helston and keep the town trade thriving with a long term plan. I may not always agree with everything that is done or proposed, however, one thing I will always acknowledge is the effort some people are making.
I think it is too easy to criticise someone that is doing a job, when one is not the person out there doing it.
The section 106 money which was given as part of the Tesco/Sainsbury's planning applications has strict legal criteria attached to it, and as such, cannot unfortunately be spent on whatever Helston Town Council or the HBIP just choose to spend it on. The money is to offset any detrimental effects the supermarkets may have on the town centre trade. The 106 money is not available to support building projects, play parks etc. If anyone has ideas or suggestions for 106 public realm money expenditure, they could attend the public consultation, alternatively, they could contact the HBIP or the Town Council at anytime.. I think it is a great shame that news on positive things happening in Helston and subsequent comments on this website supporting those things, always appear to attract negativity. There are a lot of people in Helston trying hard to do the right thing and improve Helston and keep the town trade thriving with a long term plan. I may not always agree with everything that is done or proposed, however, one thing I will always acknowledge is the effort some people are making. I think it is too easy to criticise someone that is doing a job, when one is not the person out there doing it. Gillian Zella Martin 09
  • Score: -18

8:47pm Thu 19 Sep 13

telstar1962 says...

Good luck to him.

Personally, I think 2 years is nowhere long enough to do this job, and hopefully if it goes well and Eddy's shop, the 2 shoe shops, Olivers Deli, the old TV/Electrical shop,(and others I've no doubt missed) have new occupiers,then he may be said to have succeeded.

It really is evident that this task is a long-term ongoing project, and £70k is only pin-money from the Supermarkets,who will reap their rewards indefinitely,whilst the rest of the small business community have an on-going uphill task to combat their might,and to spend every waking hour trying to earn a living in their small shops.
Good luck to him. Personally, I think 2 years is nowhere long enough to do this job, and hopefully if it goes well and Eddy's shop, the 2 shoe shops, Olivers Deli, the old TV/Electrical shop,(and others I've no doubt missed) have new occupiers,then he may be said to have succeeded. It really is evident that this task is a long-term ongoing project, and £70k is only pin-money from the Supermarkets,who will reap their rewards indefinitely,whilst the rest of the small business community have an on-going uphill task to combat their might,and to spend every waking hour trying to earn a living in their small shops. telstar1962
  • Score: 19

10:46pm Thu 19 Sep 13

PR Helston says...

I find the comment posted by gaz021 of an age discriminatory nature, and as such, offensive. To me, the comment placed is ill informed, rude, and speaks volumes about the poster and those that have given it the thumbs up.

For anyone having trouble in understanding how the 106 money concept works, could at anytime, speak to the town council, their local Cornwall Cllr, or any of the council's associates, who could explain in detail how the system works and the legalities of it. Although I have to say, Gillian has in fact briefly already explained this correctly in her post.
I only wish that there were more people like her and KrazyitchKatie, as they clearly have the right outlook on life.
I find the comment posted by gaz021 of an age discriminatory nature, and as such, offensive. To me, the comment placed is ill informed, rude, and speaks volumes about the poster and those that have given it the thumbs up. For anyone having trouble in understanding how the 106 money concept works, could at anytime, speak to the town council, their local Cornwall Cllr, or any of the council's associates, who could explain in detail how the system works and the legalities of it. Although I have to say, Gillian has in fact briefly already explained this correctly in her post. I only wish that there were more people like her and KrazyitchKatie, as they clearly have the right outlook on life. PR Helston
  • Score: -28

7:17am Fri 20 Sep 13

telstar1962 says...

I agree with PR's comment,and whether anyone fully understands the S106 planning/bribery £800k etc, the point is it will take more than 2 years and/or more schemes to attract funds.

And I suggest anyone having trouble understanding how the s106 works,has a chat to Gillian (and if you've got time to be commenting on web-sites,you've also got time to do some unbiased research on-line)

Some claim the regeneration of Helston has started, but this needs to be balanced with looking at the steady stream of shops closing

Unfortunately to be a successful small business in a Town like Helston needs more than just a good outlook on life.
I agree with PR's comment,and whether anyone fully understands the S106 planning/bribery £800k etc, the point is it will take more than 2 years and/or more schemes to attract funds. And I suggest anyone having trouble understanding how the s106 works,has a chat to Gillian (and if you've got time to be commenting on web-sites,you've also got time to do some unbiased research on-line) Some claim the regeneration of Helston has started, but this needs to be balanced with looking at the steady stream of shops closing Unfortunately to be a successful small business in a Town like Helston needs more than just a good outlook on life. telstar1962
  • Score: 7

12:37pm Fri 20 Sep 13

Gillian Zella Martin 09 says...

The purpose of the two officers is for one to deal with and organise the public realm work and the expenditure of the proportion of money allocated for it, not a replacement Town Manager trying to fill empty shops and the like, and one officer to attain BID status (Business Improvement District) for Helston. The core funding for this, comes from the businessess themselves and is ongoing, it does not have a two year time limit, the core funding can be used to attract additional funding. It is evident that other local towns already with BID status are benefitting. Once these aims are achieved, the services of two officers would not necessarily be retained, much in the same way that if a builder was employed to build a house, once built, one dispenses of the builders services. Acheiving BID status is obviously not an ongoing job. The work involved to acheive these aims requires some specialised knowledge and a great deal of time. Helston Town Councillors along with the HBIP members are not all necessarily qualified to acheive these aims, after all, they are only volunteers with other work commitments. If anyone out there with the time and experience had offered their services free then no doubt Helston Town Council or the HBIP would not have needed to employ people. Businesses close in many high streets not just Helston, there is no quick fix but if Helston becomes a BID it may go some way to help in the future.
It is interesting that the majority of comments on this thread and indeed anything related to the long term plan for Helston, that appears on the website, receives negativity, and yet no one appears forthcoming with an alternative suggestion on how they would spend the money and how they would implement their ideas. It's easy to say what not to do.
The purpose of the two officers is for one to deal with and organise the public realm work and the expenditure of the proportion of money allocated for it, not a replacement Town Manager trying to fill empty shops and the like, and one officer to attain BID status (Business Improvement District) for Helston. The core funding for this, comes from the businessess themselves and is ongoing, it does not have a two year time limit, the core funding can be used to attract additional funding. It is evident that other local towns already with BID status are benefitting. Once these aims are achieved, the services of two officers would not necessarily be retained, much in the same way that if a builder was employed to build a house, once built, one dispenses of the builders services. Acheiving BID status is obviously not an ongoing job. The work involved to acheive these aims requires some specialised knowledge and a great deal of time. Helston Town Councillors along with the HBIP members are not all necessarily qualified to acheive these aims, after all, they are only volunteers with other work commitments. If anyone out there with the time and experience had offered their services free then no doubt Helston Town Council or the HBIP would not have needed to employ people. Businesses close in many high streets not just Helston, there is no quick fix but if Helston becomes a BID it may go some way to help in the future. It is interesting that the majority of comments on this thread and indeed anything related to the long term plan for Helston, that appears on the website, receives negativity, and yet no one appears forthcoming with an alternative suggestion on how they would spend the money and how they would implement their ideas. It's easy to say what not to do. Gillian Zella Martin 09
  • Score: 9

3:59pm Fri 20 Sep 13

DCI Jen says...

Well now, seems I have some catching up to do with the thumbs down brigade, shouldn't be a problem I'm an expert. I really do find it funny all these people (seriously, it's really funny, I have never known a website with so little comments per thumbs down's) that I think can't string a sentence together to post, and just seem to amuse themselves thumbing down those who do comment about anything good happening in Helston. Wow, imagine the council budget, no debate, just thumbs up or down to what anybody says. You want to be a Cllr?, you have a working thumb? right you're in. (To avoid discrimination, if you don't have a thumb, anything you can point up or down will do).
Is gaz021 the new name for a Fred from Helston I wonder!! because I hope there isn't two people that I think are so far removed from the plot, clueless springs to mind, and I think freddy boy doesn't like the nice Helston hanging basket flowers. Anyway, if whoever gaz021 is can actually read, the article says Mr Martin Searle is a father of two and has a grandchild, so why would he not think about things for youngsters? but this money is not about jolly things for young people to play with or building something (that's the really funny bit) in the middle of the town centre for "youngsters" (yes, I have young children) so dream on and perhaps pay a visit to the well equipped Coronation Park children's play area. Mr Martin Searle's age is irrelevant and actually brings with it a massive amount of experience, at least he knows what the money can and can't be spent on.
Good luck to Mr Searle, just don't mention pancakes or roundabouts and you will get along just fine.
Well now, seems I have some catching up to do with the thumbs down brigade, shouldn't be a problem I'm an expert. I really do find it funny all these people (seriously, it's really funny, I have never known a website with so little comments per thumbs down's) that I think can't string a sentence together to post, and just seem to amuse themselves thumbing down those who do comment about anything good happening in Helston. Wow, imagine the council budget, no debate, just thumbs up or down to what anybody says. You want to be a Cllr?, you have a working thumb? right you're in. (To avoid discrimination, if you don't have a thumb, anything you can point up or down will do). Is gaz021 the new name for a Fred from Helston I wonder!! because I hope there isn't two people that I think are so far removed from the plot, clueless springs to mind, and I think freddy boy doesn't like the nice Helston hanging basket flowers. Anyway, if whoever gaz021 is can actually read, the article says Mr Martin Searle is a father of two and has a grandchild, so why would he not think about things for youngsters? but this money is not about jolly things for young people to play with or building something (that's the really funny bit) in the middle of the town centre for "youngsters" (yes, I have young children) so dream on and perhaps pay a visit to the well equipped Coronation Park children's play area. Mr Martin Searle's age is irrelevant and actually brings with it a massive amount of experience, at least he knows what the money can and can't be spent on. Good luck to Mr Searle, just don't mention pancakes or roundabouts and you will get along just fine. DCI Jen
  • Score: -24

8:30pm Fri 20 Sep 13

telstar1962 says...

The route which Helston is going down rather pins all hope that the BID system will be successful,and lets hope it is. The 2 years I refer to,is the length of contract offered to another new post,then the money for that is spent.

As long as the present entrepreneurs in Helston High Street can fund the extra BID money each week, and not too many more shops close,then that's ok

I have put my views on this web site numerous times for the regeneration of the Town,which should not preclude the redevelopment of land on the outskirts of Town, I have put my views to the Town Clerk by way of e-mail,but have never had a response. If you live outside the Town your views never seem to be classed as important by the 3-mile Town residents exclusion zone, so I will from now on not bother to write or be concerned,and just be an on-looker from 10 minutes drive away,and hope that the Supermarkets do not eventually kill off what was once a thriving Market Town

The regeneration project for Helston is an indefinite one,the one-off payment from the Supermarkets was a very small price for them to pay in relative terms.

I now feel I have absolutely no more to say on this matter,whether commenting on here or elsewhere,so good luck to everyone involved
The route which Helston is going down rather pins all hope that the BID system will be successful,and lets hope it is. The 2 years I refer to,is the length of contract offered to another new post,then the money for that is spent. As long as the present entrepreneurs in Helston High Street can fund the extra BID money each week, and not too many more shops close,then that's ok I have put my views on this web site numerous times for the regeneration of the Town,which should not preclude the redevelopment of land on the outskirts of Town, I have put my views to the Town Clerk by way of e-mail,but have never had a response. If you live outside the Town your views never seem to be classed as important by the 3-mile Town residents exclusion zone, so I will from now on not bother to write or be concerned,and just be an on-looker from 10 minutes drive away,and hope that the Supermarkets do not eventually kill off what was once a thriving Market Town The regeneration project for Helston is an indefinite one,the one-off payment from the Supermarkets was a very small price for them to pay in relative terms. I now feel I have absolutely no more to say on this matter,whether commenting on here or elsewhere,so good luck to everyone involved telstar1962
  • Score: 3

2:37pm Sat 21 Sep 13

DCI Jen says...

telstar1962, I happen to know Gill lives outside the 3 mile zone as well so I understand what you are saying and I know she has met the Mayor to discuss Helston matters and you could do the same, if you had no email reply from the town clerk you could email the Mayor or any other town Cllr, all their info is on the Helston town council website as you are probably already aware. You could always phone the town clerk or any town council member, and as Gill said on this website in the past, whether we like it or not, the land you refer to outside the town is not owned by the town council or Cornwall Council, this can be clarified on line, or by the council or the owners of the land. I agree there is nothing much we really can say on the Helston regeneration anymore, what will be will be and I am too busy to comment for a while anyway, and I doubt Gill will discuss it on this website anymore judging by her comment under your comment on the latest article about the BIP applying for more money for a base in Helston. I doubt meerkats will comment on it because of the pathetic voting and I agree with her.
Lets just hope they spend some money on benches in the town then we can all sit on them and contemplate where all the money has gone.
telstar1962, I happen to know Gill lives outside the 3 mile zone as well so I understand what you are saying and I know she has met the Mayor to discuss Helston matters and you could do the same, if you had no email reply from the town clerk you could email the Mayor or any other town Cllr, all their info is on the Helston town council website as you are probably already aware. You could always phone the town clerk or any town council member, and as Gill said on this website in the past, whether we like it or not, the land you refer to outside the town is not owned by the town council or Cornwall Council, this can be clarified on line, or by the council or the owners of the land. I agree there is nothing much we really can say on the Helston regeneration anymore, what will be will be and I am too busy to comment for a while anyway, and I doubt Gill will discuss it on this website anymore judging by her comment under your comment on the latest article about the BIP applying for more money for a base in Helston. I doubt meerkats will comment on it because of the pathetic voting and I agree with her. Lets just hope they spend some money on benches in the town then we can all sit on them and contemplate where all the money has gone. DCI Jen
  • Score: 4

3:07pm Sun 22 Sep 13

telstar1962 says...

I understand your comments DCI J, and out of courtesy, am replying to you on here.

My many previous comments also state that if it is not your money, and in this case only £36,000 for an office for a short period, then it is easy to spend someone elses.

I really cannot see why a small area above an existing business/building cannot be used for this purpose. It will not be used full time,and would release a prominent building in a great location on Coinagehall Street open for business. Having said that, it will be easy rent money for the owners for a short time,which will be nice for them

But why not incorporate a decent Helston Information Centre in this nice prominent building,since not only do the public need to see the face of HBIP,and them in action, but the public deserve a good TIC, not some add-on to the Registration Office at the back of an alley.
I understand your comments DCI J, and out of courtesy, am replying to you on here. My many previous comments also state that if it is not your money, and in this case only £36,000 for an office for a short period, then it is easy to spend someone elses. I really cannot see why a small area above an existing business/building cannot be used for this purpose. It will not be used full time,and would release a prominent building in a great location on Coinagehall Street open for business. Having said that, it will be easy rent money for the owners for a short time,which will be nice for them But why not incorporate a decent Helston Information Centre in this nice prominent building,since not only do the public need to see the face of HBIP,and them in action, but the public deserve a good TIC, not some add-on to the Registration Office at the back of an alley. telstar1962
  • Score: -3

5:11pm Sun 22 Sep 13

DCI Jen says...

Thanx telstar1962, I understand what you are saying, but the BIP have already said they intend to incorporate an information centre and a box office for events, it says so in the other article you commented on, the latest article.
Thanx telstar1962, I understand what you are saying, but the BIP have already said they intend to incorporate an information centre and a box office for events, it says so in the other article you commented on, the latest article. DCI Jen
  • Score: 11

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree