Sainsbury's deal could be worth £400,000 to the town
By The Cornishman | Thursday, April 26, 2012, 07:45
PENZANCE could get subsidised parking and a new town centre co-ordinator under a planning deal struck with Sainsbury's over its planned supermarket at Eastern Green.
The agreement, potentially worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, would offer drivers help with paying parking charges.
It follows the conclusion of talks on a so-called Section 106 agreement with the supermarket giant – a condition of planning consent for the store on the town's heliport site.
Cornwall Council approved the scheme last autumn.
After discussions with Cornwall Council and Penzance Town Council, Sainsbury's has agreed to pay £152,000 to subsidise parking and an additional £250,000 on improvements, promotion and a town centre co-ordinator with the aim of supporting the area and bringing in more business.
"Building the supermarket has raised a number of concerns and the whole idea of the Section 106 was to mitigate any impact on the town centre and help improve matters," said Councillor Jon Pender, chairman of the town council's planning committee.
"As far as benefits go, with the investment Sainsbury's is making in this package, building a supermarket and creating employment, on balance the town is benefiting."
The newly formed Penzance Town Team says it hopes ideas it put forward for regenerating the town as part of Penzance's Portas Pilot bid could benefit from this new cash.
"The money could do a lot," said the Town Team's co- ordinator Dick Cliffe. "Two suggestions are the town centre having a regular market with live music and good signage to show what's to be found in the town centre's streets.
"What we identified was what we thought the town needed to help it perform better."
Previous discussions also looked at proposals to contribute £35,000 to a Business Improvement District which, when established, would generate money for the town although companies would be made to pay a levy towards the scheme.
Although money previously put aside specifically for a BID has now been fed into the £250,000 cash bundle, the scheme could still be on the cards.
"There are a number of options that are being looked at and a BID is one of them," said Mr Pender.
The supermarket has also agreed to stump up £1.2 million towards a park-and-ride scheme; £115,000 for bus stops at its store; £130,000 for a toucan crossing on the A30; £25,000 to subsidise bus fares between the store and town centre; and around £50,000 for improved transport links in the local.
Sainsbury's also handed over £400,000 to Helston as part of planning negotiations for its development there.
A spokesman for Cornwall Council confirmed the Section 106 obligation had been agreed and circulated for signatures and is now being finalised by the council. "When this has been completed the local planning authority should be in a position to issue the decision," he said.