If you didn’t like the idea of paying £75,000 of Council Tax Payer’s money once on place specialist consultants thinkingplace well hide behind the sofa now….
Cornish Stuff has learnt that the council has ALSO paid another £75,000 to public / private partnership CIC St Austell Bay Economic Forum (SABEF) to establish economic priorities for the St Austell Bay area. And thinkingplace were commissioned to do a simultaneous ‘place shaping’ and investment opportunities consultation specific to the St Austell Area, similar the one they are doing for the whole of Cornwall from this money.
“Follow us and help shape the future of St Austell”
Hiding behind commercial confidentiality, no one will tell us at this stage what percentage of this extra payment makes up thinkingplace’s fee.
Following the media coverage of the original £75k this week, lips have been sealed and although this is public money, no-one wants to talk about it.
SABEF is made up of business people, public sector and elected representatives from unitary and town councils in the St Austell Bay area. James Staughton, Chief Exec of St Austell Brewery is it’s public face and Chairperson.
And funnily enough, we can reveal that thinkingplace actually made a presentation to the SABEF board yesterday.
Their findings are only preliminary at this stage and after the widespread derision of the Lancashire consultants presentation to the Cornwall Leadership Board on Friday, anyone who has seen this one isn’t saying what the findings were.
Let’s hope it’s more than just “make the Eden Project the centre of everything in clay country” eh?
A insider told us “I have not seen the preliminary report yet. An inner group within SABEF have been liaising with Thinkingplace. A draft is meant to be circulated soon but it is unlikely to change much.
There was a meeting of SABEF (on Tuesday) which Thinking Place attended and gave another presentation. In fairness, it was better than the one given to Council on Friday.
The cost of the St Austell work will be less than £75K, that’s a broader grant than just this work”
Our friend added
“The private sector members on SABEF are broadly happy with what has been done. The councillors have varying degrees of scepticism”
Cllr Richard Pears who attends SABEF meetings but is not on the board could only tell us “I had to leave the meeting early yesterday so I didn’t see any of the presentations by the various groups that were there I’m afraid. As for SABEF’s work in progress I have seen some really fantastic projects underway, can’t wait to talk about them but at this stage I feel it would be very unfair of me to comment about any work which is not yet complete”
Also unavailable to comment was Dick Cole, MK Leader, who although seen and heard over the news yesterday complaining of the Cornwall wide thinkingplace report, is it turns out, also a director of SABEF.