Town Centre to get £1m spruce up after winning lottery grant

St Austell’s important historic buildings and public areas will be rejuvenated following the announcement that the town has been awarded £900,000 of National Lottery funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The restoration scheme will focus on St Austell town centre.

53 historic buildings needing restoration have been prioritised  in St Austell’s Conservation Area and the work, will which will take four years to complete, can start next spring.

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Cornwall Council, St Austell Town Council and the BID have contributed an additional £80,000 to fund the scheme. With funding from property owners, it is hoped to generate almost £1.4 million investment in the town centre.

The funding comes from HLF’s Townscape Heritage programme which aims to help communities regenerate towns and cities across the UK by improving their built historic environment.

The submission was put forward by Cornwall Council as, by working with St Austell Town Council, it was recognised that St Austell had empty and underused properties that could be renovated and brought back into use.

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The funding will pay for high quality traditional repairs and reinstate shopfronts, signs and missing architectural detail in St Austell’s Conservation Area helping to protect the historic details of buildings. The scheme will focus on the town centre, in particular historic buildings in Fore Street, Market Street, Church Street, Duke Street, Trevarthian Road and High Cross Street.

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Duke Street, Snozzle

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The skills training programme will provide training for local architects, surveyors, contractors and college students in both traditional and new sustainable building techniques, leading to employment opportunities for local people.


Steve Double MP welcomes St Austell town Heritage scheme success

Steve Double, Member of Parliament for St Austell and Newquay, has welcomed the successful bid

Commenting, Steve said:

“I am delighted to see the success of this bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for nearly £1m which will be available to restore some of the historic buildings in the town centre.”

“I have been involved with this bid since my time as a Cabinet member on Cornwall Council in 2012.  

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Steve Double MP

“We have a rich history and heritage in St Austell town centre and it needs to be preserved for future generations.  The Heritage Lottery Fund money will be used to assist landlords of heritage buildings to upgrade their external facades, it will be used to improve public spaces such as Duke Street, and to improve the skills base in heritage maintenance in the area.”

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“The successful application is another example of what is possible when we all work together.  The Strategic Historic Environment Service at Cornwall Council led the application process and they are to be congratulated for their excellent submission.”

“The St Austell team drew resources from the Town Council, the St Austell Bay Chamber of Commerce, the St Austell BID and my constituency team. Well done to everyone who has worked to achieve this success.”

The Eden Project have been also been part of the project to work up the scheme, and skills training programmes which start from spring 2018.

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Work has also been undertaken to produce a Shopfront Design Guide to improve reinstated shopfronts and signs in the conservation area. Shop owners, designers and contractors and those involved in planning, for whom the final guide is intended for, were invited were encouraged to comment on the draft version of the guide over the summer.

Feedback was incorporated to the final version of the Shopfront Guide and included additional information on making shops accessible for all and choice of building materials. When put in to practice the Shopfront Guide will help protect the town’s historic character.

Cllr Bob Egerton, Cornwall Council’s portfolio holder for Planning said: “This is very good news for St Austell’s town centre. We need to maintain St Austell’s rich history as it will help increase people’s pride in where they work and live. Upskilling the local workforce in traditional skills will both create jobs and prevent these important skills being lost.”



More reaction to Treliske Special Measures crisis – George, Double, Cornish Conservatives

More reaction to the news today that Treliske Hospital has been put on ‘special measures’ – meaning it’s failing so badly that external managers will be brought in to run things.

Former west Cornwall MP and national health campaigner, Andrew George, urged Government Ministers to acknowledge that many of the failures were the product of their own dogma driven health policies and a refusal to accept that, like many other health economies Cornwall has been seriously underfunded in recent years.


Mr George added, “Local Tory MPs seem to want it both ways. Supporting the STP and Govt policy which is causing the problems and which will inevitably result in hospital closures like that at Edward Hain, yet hypocritically attempting to portray themselves as ardent campaigners to save and enhance these services.

They voted down the one opportunity they had to secure more funding for the NHS in a Commons vote last year and have always buckled under pressure t support the STP in which the Conservative Government requires Cornwall to cur £270 million from the local NHS by 2020”

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‘Health and Social care in Cornwall need to join forces and work together’

Statement from Steve Double MP on reports released on Cornwall NHS

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“Today’s reports make shocking reading and certainly the people of Cornwall deserve better than this.”

“The NHS staff on the ground are dedicated and do their best for the patients in their care. There are many good practises highlighted in the report such as the care and compassion shown to patients. What this report shows is that this is clearly a failure of the management and systems at the hospital.”

“Now that these issues have been recognised and the hospital placed in special measures the Government will provide support and additional resources will be made available to address the underlying causes.”

“A significant failing is the delayed discharges and subsequent impact on Treliske Hospital. There is a lack of integration between the hospital and Cornwall Council’s adult care services. The Government made additional funding available to address this back in March and it is frustrating that so little progress has been made. Cornwall Council now need to step up and deliver positive change for these services.”

“I know that local people will be very concerned about this situation and I will be doing all I can to work with the local health services, NHS England and the Government to ensure things improve as soon as possible and that the people of Cornwall get the quality of health services they deserve.”.

Meanwhile the Cornish Conservative Group on Cornwall Council have also released a statement regarding the prospect of Cornwall Council taking over commissioning services, as recommended in the damning CQC report.


Deputy Group leader James Mustoe:
“The CQC reports on the Royal Cornwall Hospital and the Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group are extremely troubling to read and raise real concerns regarding the quality of care patients are receiving in Cornwall.”
“This must be a line in the sand moment for the whole health and social care system in Cornwall.”
“We will work with other political group leaders of the council to consider the recommendation to bring the NHS commissioning services under the responsibility of Cornwall Council. This may ensure better public accountability of what clinical services are prioritised within the county.”
“The government continues to invest record amounts of money in the NHS and has this week announced more training places for nurses and doctors to work on the frontline.”
“The people of Cornwall deserve better than this and we will fight to ensure that patients see the right benefits of excellent clinical leadership and financial investment in care.”

Minister for Exiting the European Union on 2 day visit to Cornwall

“Securing an ambitious EU exit deal that works for every part of the UK is the Government’s priority”, Minister for Exiting the European Union Steve Baker reaffirmed as he concluded a two day tour of Cornwall.

The minister met with representatives from, fishing, aerospace, manufacturing and pharmaceuticals, went to Newlyn Fish Market. then attended business roundtables at Falmouth University and Tremough Innovation Centre. He went on to visit Newquay AeroHub Enterprise Zone.

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Speaking to business leaders and organisation representatives, the Minister wanted to hear about the opportunities and challenges that the UK’s exit from the EU could pose to Cornwall and how they are preparing.


“My visit to Cornwall has been hugely productive and given me a great opportunity to hear about various businesses’ priorities for our EU exit” the minister said as he left.

“We are absolutely committed to achieving a deal which works for every region in the UK which is why it is vital that we continue to speak with businesses and organisations from across the country to ensure their views are fully represented as we move through the negotiations”.

It is the second regional visit that the Minister has done in two weeks, following his trip to the North East last week.

steve double and brexit minister

During his visit to Mid-Cornwall, the Minister met with a number of key stakeholders, businesses and organisations, with the Aerohub and Cornwall Airport Newquay- seen as particular key parts of the economic growth potential for Cornwall,

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Commenting, Steve Double said:

“Clearly leaving the EU will have a major impact on business in Cornwall and will present both challenges and opportunities.”

“I am pleased that I was able to bring the minister to our constituency so that he could hear first-hand the views of local businesses.”

“I will continue to do all I can to ensure the voice of Cornwall is heard in the negotiations and that we make the most of the opportunities ahead.”

MP joins Surfers Against Sewage to present ‘Message in a Bottle’ petition to Downing Street

Steve Double MP joins Surfers Against Sewage and other campaigners to present Message in a Bottle petition to Downing Street

Steve Double, Member of Parliament for St Austell and Newquay has today joined with Surfers Against Sewage and other campaigners in presenting the Message in a Bottle petition to Number Ten Downing Street.

In his capacity of Chair of the Protect Our Waves All Party Parliamentary Group, Steve has been campaigning to get the Government to bring in a deposit return scheme for single use plastic bottles.

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The harmful impacts from plastic pollution can continue to damage the oceans for hundreds of years. A third of fish currently caught in the UK have plastics in their guts and the average UK seafood eater consumes 11,000 plastic particles annually.  Strong and effective action to protect our oceans from plastic pollution is urgently needed and the introduction of a deposit return system would prevent an estimated 4 million plastic bottles from entering the oceans every week in the UK.

surfer plastic

The Surfers Against Sewage ‘Message in a Bottle’ petition, quickly captured the attention of the public with 150,000 signatures collected in the first month.  Now, with nearly 250,000 signatures it is the largest deposit return system petition to be submitted to the Government. 

Select Committee appointments for Cornish MPs

Commenting, Steve said:

 “As Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group Protect Our Waves I am delighted to join Surfers Against Sewage to hand in the Message in a Bottle Petition to Downing Street today.”

“It is great to see such vast public support for the campaign to introduce a plastic bottle deposit return scheme, which I hope will fuel the growing support from within the Government.”

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“With government, the drinks industry and environmental campaign groups all agreeing that a return scheme is one of the best ways of reducing the amount of plastic polluting our seas I see no reason why this will not now happen.”

Commenting, Hugo Tagholm, CEO of Surfers Against Sewage, said:

 “We’re delighted to see the overwhelming public support for the introduction of a deposit return system to tackle ocean plastic pollution. Society’s plastic addiction has reached crisis point and we need to fast-track proven and effective systems including deposit returns to protect our oceans and beaches from the scourge of plastic pollution.”

“Surfers Against Sewage is today proud to deliver the voice of quarter of a million supporters to urge the government to follow Scotland’s lead and commit to introducing a comprehensive plastic bottle deposit return system.”

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Select Committee appointments for Cornish MPs

Two Cornish MPs have been elected to important parliamentary committees.

Steve Double, Member of Parliament for St Austell and Newquay has been elected to the influential Transport Select Committee in Parliament.

Meanwhile South East Cornwall MP Sheryll Murray will now sit on the DEFRA committee after returning to the back benches after a stint as a PPS.

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The Transport Committee is charged by the House of Commons with scrutiny of the Department for Transport. Its formal remit is to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the Department of Transport and its associated public bodies.

Snozzle & NQY MP Steve Double

Commenting, Steve said:

“It is an honour to have been elected by my colleagues to sit on the Transport Select Committee and I am very grateful for their support.”

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“I will be using my position to be a strong voice for Cornwall and the South West on the committee. I look forward to speaking up for Cornwall and our transport infrastructure, to ensure we continue to get the investment we need in our road, rail and air network and ensuring we get a fair share of the funding allocated by Government for all things transport-related.”

Sheryll Murray has been elected to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee whose job it is to scrutinise the DEFRA department in Parliament.

Sheryll Murray

An election is held amongst MPs to see who represents them on these important Committees. Eight Conservative MPs put their names forward for the three Conservative places on this Committee. Sheryll was elected alongside Dr Caroline Johnson MP from Sleaford & North Hykeham and Julian Sturdy MP from York.

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Sheryll was, prior to the General Election, the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Defra Secretary of State. Sheryll is the current co-chairman for the Fisheries All Party Group and has worked with the fishing industry for a number of years.

In a statement Sheryll said, “I know how important this department is to my constituency. I wanted to return to the backbenches so I could be a strong voice for our farmers, producers and fishermen and believe I will bring valuable insight and experience. I also want to ensure environmental issues such as flooding and waste in our seas are being properly investigated. I look forward to working with colleagues on this important cross party committee.”

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Bring Back Duty Free After Brexit – Double

Steve Double MP: ‘Duty free sales on travel to and from the European Union must return after Brexit’

Steve Double, Member of Parliament for St Austell and Newquay, is one of 40 Conservative MPs who have signed a letter to Chancellor Philip Hammond calling for duty free to be reinstated for trips to Europe from March 29th, 2019.

Duty free sales between Britain and the EU were axed by the EU in 1999. Since then duty free has only applied on trips outside Europe.

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The letter, organised by Dover MP Charlie Elphicke, says bringing back duty free will boost regional economies including Cornwall’s. Towns and districts home to ports and smaller airports such as Cornwall Airport Newquay, as well as the ferry industry and airlines, are set to benefit most.

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Commenting, Steve said:

“I am delighted to join my Conservative colleagues in calling for the return of duty free after Brexit.”

“The return of duty free would deliver a real boost to Britain. Locally, with Cornwall Airport Newquay growing and consistently named as one of the country’s best regional airports, the return of duty free would encourage even more local people to use the airport with the resulting economic growth benefitting all.”

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The letter says the return of duty free could also boost UK cruise ship ports. By having one non-EU stopover on a cruise, the entire journey becomes duty and tax free for passengers.

The MPs want the reintroduction of duty free on travel between the UK and EU states to occur two years from the triggering of Article 50 (March 29th, 2019). They say that duty free should be brought back – and people should also be able to continue to bring in personal imports from the EU like they do now.

The letter says:

“These changes need to be made in good time in order to give operators time to be ready on day one of Brexit. We understand that preparations could take up to nine months for ferry firms and airport operators.”

Only minor amendments to legislation on VAT, excise duty and excise goods are required to reintroduce duty free, according to industry experts.

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Rural residents pay more tax, receive fewer services – Double heads Fair Share campaign

Steve Double, Member of Parliament for St Austell and Newquay has been appointed chairman of the influential Rural Fair Share Campaign group.

The Rural Fair Share Campaign is a cross-party group of MPs, who support an impartial, objective, needs-based approach to funding local public services.

The campaign aims to reduce the rural penalty, which sees funding for public services in rural areas receive up to 40% less than in urban areas, whether this is for our schools, local government or Police.

Rural residents pay, on average, £82 more in council tax than their urban counterparts – despite receiving £116 less in funding from Central Government.

Overall, therefore, rural residents pay more in tax, receive fewer services and, on average, earn less than those in urban areas.

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Steve Double MP

Commenting on his appointment, Steve said:

“I am delighted to have been appointed Chairman of the influential Rural Fair Share Campaign group.”

“I initially joined their campaign following my election in 2015 and am pleased since then to have worked closely with the group to push the Government to give rural areas like Cornwall a fair deal in funding, where we have historically missed out in areas including local government, education, policing and transport infrastructure.”

Rural Fair Share logo

“I am pleased that the Government has now agreed to look at the funding formulas used again and conduct a review that I believe will show it is simply more expensive to deliver services in rural areas than urban areas. We have already made good progress in establishing the principle that there is an additional cost of providing services in more sparsely populated parts of the country. But we now need to see this turned into hard extra cash. I am under no doubt that this will be a big challenge in the current financial climate but I am up for the challenge.”

Steve has also been elected Chair of the Visitor Economy All Party Parliamentary Group

All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) are informal cross-party groups in Parliament where MPs of all political persuasions work together to tackle any number of issues.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Visitor Economy (APPG) aims to enhance the local economy by promoting measures and incentives, including a reduction of VAT on tourism, which would increase visitor numbers and investment in all parts of Britain and Northern Ireland.

Plastic in our Seas


The problem of ever increasing amounts of plastic in our seas was raised again in Parliament by St Austell & Newquay MP Steve Double last week.

“More than 13 billion single-use plastic bottles are sold in Britain each year and only 57 per cent of these are recycled, with the remainder sent to rubbish dumps, incinerated or left as litter. Millions of them end up on beaches and in the sea where they will pollute our marine environment for years to come.”

In comes in a week when Coca-Cola has announced that is funding trials in the UK where users will be offered either cash or a shopping voucher to return empty plastic bottles of any brand to collection points. Coca-Cola has said the scheme could be introduced across the country if the trials showed that it improved recycling rates and reduced litter.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble, the environment minister, said:

“We are going to look at a number of measures to improve recycling. One of them is to have a full and proper look at the impacts and benefits of different types of deposit and reward-and-return schemes for drinks.”


Steve Double reacted “I welcome the Government’s announcement that they are looking at a number of measures to improve recycling and eagerly await their next steps.”

Indeed, the simple deposit scheme has been welcomed across the house but the issue of course runs much deeper than coke bottles. Greenpeace estimate 8 million tonnes of plastic enter our seas worldwide every year. “Plastic pollution is quickly transforming our seas into the biggest waste dump in the world. Plastic remains in the environment for hundreds of years and can kill ocean wildlife and enter the food chain. We need urgent measures to eliminate single-use plastic waste at its source” says a statement from the leading environmental campaigners.

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SAS has led the campaign against Marine Litter

The St Austell & Newquay MP took the chance to raise the issue during Leader of the House Questions, Steve said:

“The Leader of the House will be aware of the looming crisis involving the amount of plastic entering our seas and oceans. We are quickly getting to the point where there ​will be more plastic than fish in the sea. In the light of that, I warmly welcomed the comment by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs that the Government are now considering introducing a plastic bottle deposit return scheme, but can we have a statement from the Secretary of State, so we can discuss and indeed promote that scheme in the Chamber?”

In reply, the Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom MP, Leader of the House, said:

“As my hon. Friend will know, I am passionately concerned about that issue. I was delighted with the results of the consultation on the banning of microbeads in face wash and other products and with the results of our litter strategy, which looks at what else we can do to eradicate plastics from our oceans. Eighty per cent. of the plastics that end up in the ocean come from the land, and it is important that we deal with litter on the land as well. I am sure that the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will be keen to do just that, and that he will come to the House in due course when he has something clear to say.”

Speaking after the debate, Steve who is Chairman of the Protect our Waves All Party Parliamentary Group said:

“Through the APPG Protect our Waves we have lobbied the Government to take action, including my Question in Parliament today, and I am pleased that we have raised the profile of this important issue and started a big conversation over what needs to happen next.”

“We clearly need to take responsibility for the huge numbers of single use plastic bottles, straws and related items that end up polluting our marine environments in vast numbers and it is for groups such as Surfers Against Sewage to champion the cause in working with the Government to look at a full range of ideas on how to reduce their use.”

There is always more to do though, and we look forward to working with Government and the business sector to attack this marine menace from all sides.