Visiting Heartlands last Saturday was like entering a different age. But not the age of tin mining. The feeling of history here seems lost by its disneyfication. Tin mining, which is seared into the very landscape of Cornwall, here seems trivialised.
Heartlands Saturday 1st March 2014, 10.40am
I felt cast back into an era maybe 20 years ago when apparently money seemed like no object. Now the Council spends, literally, almost every day of the year discussing cuts and Heartlands is also facing similar problems.
The only people I met in the diaspora gardens were a couple and their daughter from Redruth. They were visiting because their park in Redruth has fallen into disrepair and Heartlands is a better place for a youngster to learn to ride a bike. But they didn't pay any car park charges. Like me they parked nearby.
The Red River Cafe is certainly nice but the only premises open was the Lasting Touch Therapies. They are doing well in spite of its location because they rely on clients booking appointments - it looks like a really nice place for some pampering, but it doesn’t need shopping footfall. According to a notice the indoor heritage displays are open from 10am. At 10.45 they weren't but a polite young lady said they would be at 11am.
Local people must be asked what they think the future should be for Heartlands. Is it really right that the Council has had to sell the running track at Carn Brea in order to refurbish the leisure centre? The plan now is that local runners will be forced to share a new running track, if they are lucky, with Redruth School. Is this really what local people thought they were getting from Heartlands regeneration?
We have to be honest and say that the grand plan was never soundly based. The result is that a radical rethink is necessary. Apparently there is a new business plan. What confidence can we have that it will work while the Council appears to provide stop gap funding and picks up Heartlands' utility bills in the meantime?