The search is underway for a new organisation to run Heartlands, the popular Cornwall Council owned heritage site in Pool.

Local commercial property agent Vickery Holman has worked with the council on a prospectus that invites expressions of interest in taking over the long-term management and operation of the site, so that this important public asset can continue to serve the local community. 

The parts of the Pool site run by the Heartlands Trust, including a café, soft play area and conference centre, closed on January 31 after the National Lottery pulled its funding, claiming that the site was unsustainable, meaning that the trust then went into administration.

Heartlands includes a number of businesses, which are still open, as well as over 100 houses and flats, including a mix of freehold and leasehold properties.

Following the closure the site was taken over by Cornwall Council.

The council says its priority is to find the right custodian who will be able to take the popular attraction to the next level to benefit the local community, attract visitors and showcase Cornwall’s mining heritage. 

Those that express an interest will be asked to set out their vision for the future of Heartlands, detail their experience in managing similar opportunities and explain how they will build on the Heartlands ethos to improve opportunities for the local community and provide access to first class facilities.

Cornwall Council took over running of the site once the legal obligations and management agreement of the Heartlands Trust, who previously leased it from the Council, came to an end in March 2024. 

As the site owner, the Council was then able to formally liaise with tenants, maintain public access to the parks and gardens and put in place planned maintenance and management systems, including things like grass cutting, maintaining the grounds, repairing outdoor play equipment, emptying bins and undertaking essential maintenance to the buildings, to meet the needs of those visiting, living and working there.  

As the search for a new permanent operator launches, the preference is for one operator to take over the running of the whole of the site.

Whilst that process, that could take some time, plays out, it may be possible for professional operators to take on the running of the popular café and soft play area on a short-term lease and that option is being marketed by Vickery Holman’s Truro office. Tenants, local stakeholders and the community will continue to be kept up to date with plans as they progress. Irrespective of the outcome of the search for a new operator or operators, the council remains committed to the site and its future.