Helston’s traders have been given just under £22,000 to open a base in the town centre – but they say they might as well have been granted nothing at all.
After a long debate last Thursday the town’s councillors agreed to pay the £7,250 set up costs and one year’s running costs of £14,603.
They would then review in six months’ time whether to give the requested second year running costs.
However, the Helston Business Improvement Partnership has said that without the full £36,456 sum from the offset the money is almost worthless, as not having a guarantee they will get the money leaves them unable to secure a premises.
It also means they are unable to employ a BID development officer on a two-year contract, as he could have nowhere to work.
A spokesperson said: “The HBIP are disappointed with Helston Town Council’s decision on the premise proposal but we will work with them to ensure a viable result for all parties in regards to this funding request.”
It is hoped that a plan of action is now in place to resolve the matter in the next couple of months.
As reported by the Packet last week, the partnership wants a base in the town centre to store equipment such as projectors, leaflets and high visibility vests, as well as provide a central location for employees such as the market warden and soon to be recruited BID development officer.
It applied for £36,456 of the remaining Section 106 money given by Tesco and Sainsbury’s and had hoped the office would start running in October, with 69 Meneage Street – the former BeGorgeous Boutique – as the proposed premises.
Members were reluctant to hand over that amount of money after being told by town clerk Chris Dawson it was more than half the remaining town centre management budget, which currently stands at between £50,000 and £60,000.
Ronnie Williams described this amount as “a joke”, saying: “What have we achieved so far?”
Martine Knight was concerned that it would leave a “relatively small amount” – particularly for any projects that the yet-to-be-appointed BID development officer wanted to carry out.
Yet John Martin believed the momentum needed to be continued and a logoed premises “should be encouraged.”
Justine Hornsby agreed, saying she believed the figure was “value for money” for two years’ running.
However, Nicola Boase thought it seemed “rather a lot of money” and feared that the additional uses proposed – such as giving out tourist information and acting as a box office for events – would take trade from other businesses in the town that already carried out this role.
John Boase suggested the council give the £7,250 set up costs and half the annual running costs, explaining: “I would like to see them get going and make a go of it. This money was there to attract match funding – I haven’t see any match funding yet.”
A subsequent amendment by Ms Hornsby, that the council give £21,853 and review it in six months to transfer the remainder, was agreed by members on a majority vote.