A NEW forum for businesses in Helston could be the way to give shopkeepers a voice.

This is what is being considered, following a meeting between business owner and MP Derek Thomas last Thursday, at which even the possibility of Helston becoming a business improvement district (BID) was raised again.

Held at the Godolphin Club, the informal event was a way to get businesses talking to each other about what needs to be done to boost trade into the town centre.

Mr Thomas said: “We felt that something like this might be a way of creating a platform, a forum, an opportunity to share ideas. To improve the retail offer, but also to understand what is needed for you to make Helston an easier place to do business.”

Attending was Malcolm Oliver, who has been carrying out research on the town centre that has led to a Helston Community Interest Company being formalised any day now.

He said that as part of his meetings with businesses, many people raised how there was nowhere they could debate issues anymore or take them to the town council.

"I'm sure we all agree, Helston town centre is in desperate need of change," he said. "We would appreciate any views on the potential formation of a business forum or other organisation."

Dave Potter, who is a founder member of the new CIC, said: "The retail community in Helston would suffer not having a single voice." He even raised the possibility of trying again to become a BID - an idea that failed in early 2016 due to a lack of support from businesses, who were concerned about the costs involved.

It was agreed a meeting should be held between businesses and the CIC in around six weeks' time.

Avril Plunkett, who owns Heathercraft, believed many shoppers were forced to visit other towns because they could no longer access their own bank in Helston, following a spate of closures.

"If someone is having to go to Falmouth to do their banking and speak to an advisor, they will then shop in Falmouth," she added.

A detailed survey on why people visit the town, and what it would need to encourage them to visit more often, will be distributed to the 42,000 people who live in the town and its neighbouring villages, from Breage down to the Lizard Peninsula. An online version will also be available to complete.

Mr Thomas acknowledged: “There’s a danger you might think that we have had all these discussions before and you have no faith that anything will change. I do understand that. This survey I’m quite keen for people to answer as it gives us information so that I can go away and find resources.”