West Cornwall MP Derek Thomas says he is delighted that more than 500 people have taken part in ‘A Survey About Helston’.
Mr Thomas initiated the survey earlier this year in response to concerns from Helston residents about the perceived decline in the town’s fortunes in recent years with the aim of building a picture of how people might like to see Helston develop in the future.
“It was great that so many people took the time to fill in what was quite a detailed survey which had questions about what it is like to live in or near Helston, the usefulness and appeal of the town centre and the town’s health and environmental ambience,” said Mr Thomas.
“I hope that with the results of the survey we can build a picture of what people want for their local environment to support the development of a community-backed process of planned improvements to daily life in Helston.”
Among the findings produced from the survey was the positive news for shops in the town centre that 75% visit the town centre at least once a week although less than half said that the centre was their first choice with 63% declaring that the town centre did NOT meet their needs.
More than 60% of respondents shop online – an indication that the function of the town centre might need to be viewed from a different perspective and evolve into an area where more people live, especially above commercial premises; more people congregate to meet friends for coffee or a drink, and others seek to shop in well-defined quality independent stores and access the cultural activities in the town.
There are clearly issues with public transport into the centre of Helston. Whilst three-quarters of respondents felt it was easy or very easy to get around the town, only 8% use a bus to access the centre and almost a quarter felt that public transport did not meet their needs.
An overwhelming 81% agreed that a reasonable period of free parking before charges were applied would make shopping in Helston more attractive and 61% support the idea of more pedestrianisation and less traffic in the town centre.
“I hope that the results of this survey will be useful as the newly-formed Helston (Cornwall) Community Interest Company (comprising local residents, businesses and elected representatives) starts formulating a neighbourhood plan for Helston and the surrounding district,” added Mr Thomas.
As part of the survey, Mr Thomas offered a raffle prize of return rail tickets to London; this was won by Hayley Oliver.