The abandoned Helston Business Park has been sold at long last – to the developer who originally owned the land.
David Martin, pictured, has bought back the site that has remained undeveloped since he sold it to the South West Regional Development Agency in 2001.
The 15-acre site has the potential to be as large as the Water-Ma-Trout Industrial Estate on the other side of Helston, with the potential for up to 50 businesses.
Mr Martin, who already owns the neighbouring Tresprison Business Park, said he was “disappointed” in how the site had been managed by the now defunct government body, which was why he had bought it back.
“I sold it because they had European grants to put in infrastructure, which I couldn’t have got. Then, 12 years later, they have done nothing, so I was very disappointed with that. I thought, ‘I’m sure I could do a better job than that’,” he said.
Mr Martin said he had “got rid” of all the strict criteria previously placed on the site, which made so many demands that businesses interested in opening there were priced out of doing so. It is now open to any business to apply to set up there, subject to planning conditions and just a couple of Mr Martin’s own stipulations – that it is a nice looking building that is kept clean and tidy.
“We have got to try and get it working,” said Mr Martin, adding there were already companies that had shown an interest.
The deal has been described as a “significant milestone” by the Homes and Communities Agency, which marketed the land following the abolition of the RDA.
Ian Knight, the agency’s head of area, said: “Since we took ownership of this site in 2011, we have worked to find a private sector partner who can unlock the potential local people see in this site.
“Our agreement supports this ambition and the opportunity is there for new investment, jobs and prosperity at Helston Business Park.”
The agency has also agreed an option with housing company Coastline to bring forward proposals to develop 18 affordable homes for older people, on a small plot to the south west of the site. The proposal is subject to consultation and the approval of Cornwall Council’s planning department.
“Coastline has also expressed interest in part of this site and their ideas could secure affordable housing for older people, which is badly needed across Cornwall. Providing housing for older people on a small part of the site whilst maintaining a clear focus on attracting new business and investment to Helston is a ‘win win’ for the area and the partners involved.
“I hope this agreement signals the start of an exciting new future for Helston Business Park,” added Mr Knight.