A busy week!

We’d like to give you a brief update on a very busy week…

On Tuesday Mary Portas, her business partner, Peter Cross and their team came to talk about the vision for Liskeard based on our bid, and their expertise in retail and branding. We also had an exciting meeting with the Real Ideas Organisation (RIO) about ways of working together, specifically to ensure we’re communication and working with young people in the most effective way possible. They’re a fantastic organisation with loads of creative ways of working, and a great track record in working with young people both in school and out.

And then we had the public meeting! Over 200 people came to hear what Mary had to say and from the smiles and applause, it seemed they liked what they heard! She acknowledged the work the bid team did, and we were all extremely gratified (and a bit embarrassed!) to get such a loud round of applause. (See the Cornish Times and the Cornish Guardian for reports on the meeting.)

On Wednesday we heard some fantastic pitches from businesses wanting to fill our empty shops. They were a diverse and very talented bunch covering the whole spectrum from just starting out with an idea they were passionate about right up to people already trading. The town team and Mary herself went round and asked questions and made notes, and work is still ongoing both in terms of choosing who to fill the shops, and meeting with other great businesses that want to work in Liskeard.

We’re also currently looking at various website models to see what the best might be for Liskeard!

More roles on the Executive have been filled, and soon we’ll publish a full list as well as ways to contact them.

But in the meantime, thanks for your continued support, and as ever, watch this space!


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14 Responses to A busy week!

  1. Jon says:

    I was at the Public Hall on Tuesday where Mary began by telling us how the government had donated 2million pounds to ‘kickstart’ the Portas pilot project and that split over 9 towns this equated to roughly 100,000 per town.
    Then she showed us a nice slide show detailing the problems Liskeard faced, all of which we are already well aware of and went on to reveal her plans; Liskeard will be known as, “The Crossroads of Cornwall” she revealed….. we’re now named after a duff 80s soap opera ! We were shown the iconic I love New York logo and were expected to lap up the idea that Liskeard can be “branded” in a similar way…..AS NEW YORK ?!
    Some nice people from the CoOp were there keen and eager to pick up some tips on how to improve their supermarket and were told “try harder”, which must have been a great help. All the while the cameras were rolling. Mary enlightened us about the ‘social shopper’ and other various types of ‘shopper’ because we’re all shoppers, aren’t we ! That’s all we do !
    We were all very impressed and clapped and agreed that we don’t need another supermarket. After all when you are short of time finding a place to park in town then trawling around the shops in the rain is a much better alternative to parking right outside the place you’re going and finding all of the goods you want under one roof…..no we don’t like supermarkets everyone agreed. Then we all nipped into Morrisons on the way home to pick up something for tea.
    So thanks Mary, for a slide show that was dumbed down so that it will easily translate onto telly, thanks to the Town Team for getting us onto reality TV and alienating the council in the process, thanks for intending to try to include the town’s people in the project yet ultimately excluding everyone who doesn’t have an idea that will translate into a buisness. Us poor little Cornish people are most greatfull.

  2. loveliskeard says:

    Everyone is entitled to comment Jon, but your comments seem to demonstrate just how angry and unhappy you are that anyone would want to do something good for Liskeard. And in a previous comment, said you didn’t like the fact that people who weren’t born in Liskeard were bothering to volunteer for the good of Liskeard. I’m sorry about that, I am one of those people. Luckily you are in the minority and I have been welcomed warmly, and people seem to appreciate my enthusiasm and passion for this great little town.

    I’ll try and answer your points in order, Liskeard is something of a crossroads; so close to moor and sea, Plymouth (and whether you like it or not, many people work and study there) and easy access to A38 and the rest of Cornwall. It’s about highlighting that link so that people know what we can offer. I’m sorry if you would like people not to visit Liskeard, the reality is the cafe, hotel, B&B and shop owners, the museum and various other attractions would actually like more visitors. At no point did Mary say, stop being called Liskeard and start being called Crossroads.

    No one is saying we should be like New York, that’s ridiculous. She was using an inconic brand which everyone is familiar with to demonstrate how a brand can take off and be so strongly and positively associated with a place. She could have used other brands, but as you’ll no doubt have noted, when we were when doing the bid, we called ourselves Love Liskeard and also used a heart. She was using something similar to make her point.

    Mary had talked to Coop before and after the meeting, and they are happy to work with her, and know that her style is to the point. She didn’t bring up that the Coop was poorly stocked and expensive, several people in the audience did.

    Shopping is important. It’s part of our bid, good shops help make a town thrive. She was explaining however – and everyone else seemed to pick up on this – that shopping is not the only thing that happens in towns, nor should it be. It should be about community and being socialable and having a range of things to do.

    People are free to shop wherever they like, supermarkets are not the enemy. The point was, when supermarkets or other big retailers are developed out of town, it drains trade away from the town and into those retail parks.

    You are entitled to your opinion on the slideshow, others felt it was well researched, and presented. Myself included. But then as I wasn’t born in Liskeard, what would I know.

    The town team did not make the decison to become part of a reality show, the traders decided to take part in a three part documentary series, and some of the town team are also featured. How this alienates the council I’m not sure (some of whom also feature), and you don’t say.

    We welcome comments, good and bad and we welcome constructive criticism – it’s how you make a project better – but we don’t welcome someone having a go for the sake of it. It’s patronising, unnecesary and unfair.


    • Jon says:

      Thanks for your reply Allison in which you stated;
      “your comments seem to demonstrate just how angry and unhappy you are that anyone would want to do something good for Liskeard.”
      Why would I possibly be opposed to something good happening to Liskeard ? Yes my opinions are bitter, negative and I am a cynic, I’m also playing devils advocate to some extent. I’ll explain why later.
      You also claimed that I;
      “didn’t like the fact that people who weren’t born in Liskeard were bothering to volunteer for the good of Liskeard.”
      well no, the sentiment was more concerned with the percentage of people involved who have moved here from elswhere. These people must have know what the place was like before they moved but now they’re aparently unhappy with the state of the town and want to change it. If you don’t like the place move somewhere else. I know the high street is failing but it’s a nation wide phenomenon. Prehaps Liskeard has a shot at solving the problem but it’s not going to be by putting more shops back there. Which is why an entrepreneur isn’t the answer.
      You also say;
      “At no point did Mary say, stop being called Liskeard and start being called Crossroads.” I do understand this, I’m not an idiot and I never claimed that I thought Mary was saying we should be like New York. I just thought that as an example of branding it was way off the mark. It might have been more usefull to use examples taken from buisnesses in Totness (where there is a majority of indipendent traders on the highstreet and the town is known for this).
      “Shopping is important. It’s part of our bid, good shops help make a town thrive. She was explaining however – and everyone else seemed to pick up on this – that shopping is not the only thing that happens in towns, nor should it be. It should be about community and being socialable and having a range of things to do.”
      you state, but then what has actually been offered other than shops ?
      And yes we know that out of town supermarkets drain custom from the town. We were doing projects on this in Geography in 1987. It’s just too late to stop this and my point was like it or not they’re very easy to use and most of the people at that meeting do probably use them. Just to sum up I am not having a go for the sake of it, I have put a lot of thought into the problems this project is facing and I desperatly don’t want the people of Liskeard, not the two hundred who went to the public hall, but the other 8800 to be dissapointed when the cameras leave and we go back to facing the same problems.

      • Roger says:

        In these exchanges there is the making of an interesting discussion but the main points are hidden by the bad tempered words in between. Perhaps Jon would like to give his ideas on how to revitalise the town. What would he like to see as well as or instead of shops? Actually, our winning bid does not refer only to shops but to introducing a sense of fun into the town centre and of providing more opportunity for socialising ( think of the seats which the Town Traders put into Fore St. as an example.) If Jon would like to come to our stand at the Liskeard Show on Saturday he could discuss these points.

  3. Susan says:

    Personally I welcome Jon’s input. He offers a perspective which many people are thinking but aren’t saying outloud. This is equally a voice which must be heard. It is not my perspective but I do understand a certain sense of cynicism and hopelessness which I hear in small voices around town. There are different opinions on what is needed in Liskeard and ALL of the community has a voice in choosing what happens but if all voices are not heard then those who DO speak get to choose. The Town Team has the vision and the energy to address the stagnation and apathy, as well as the lack of community cohesion through consultation and fair processes. AND it is working!

    I urge Jon, and anyone who thinks this is a ‘flash in the pan’ to add their valuable skills towards supporting the effort to improve all our lives, our community, our town, and the surrounding area. Honestly, not only will you have a voice in what kinds of change is supported but you will get to know new people too. You will also benefit personally from using your skills and abilities in a community venture. Everyone can do something. There is always something you can be good at and succeed at. There are lots of different things to get involved with, it isn’t all committees and meetings. If you have a skill there is a way you can use it. Join in!

  4. Jon says:

    Thanks Roger and Susan for entering into the dialogue because, although the venture is claimed to be taking place in an open forum, with the opinions of everyone welcomed, from the general tone here I was beginning to think that we were living in gingerbread land with lollypop trees 🙂 Of those “small voices around town” you talk of Susan let me tell you the one quote I have heard which really stuck in my mind;
    “If Mary Portas thinks that Liskeard is such a great little town why doesn’t she open a shop here herself ?”….
    I do understand the excitement around the project and I myself was enthused when I first heard about it but, I’m sorry to say this and please remember that this is my humble opinion, the portas pilot is all about making a TV program.
    You talk of a community Susan but in reality where is my community ? Liskeard is too big to have the kind of community you might find in a village yet too small for smaller communities to grow inside it like you might find in cities (again MHO).
    And thanks to you both for expressing your interest in any ideas I might have for the betterment of Liskeard, unfortunatly however I don’t have any answers.
    I see communities as being organic. They live, grow and die at their own pace. If you place too much stress in one area another area will suffer and you can’t control them. Liskeard already has it’s structure. It has it’s important people who have the power to flatten listed buildings to put up flats. It has it’s committees for people to sit on and make themselves feel like they’re doing something important. It has people who are just living their lives the best they can and there are those rare few who actually care about the other people around them and are in a position to do something about it. All this was already happening before Mary Portas and will continue to happen after. She is unimportant.
    In the paper this week I see that a large development is happening somewhere off the A38. 500 or so houses, a cinema and other amenities are planned. This is the kind of thing we need a town team for ! I had no idea about this development and now it’s all going ahead ! ….and there you have it, the town takes it’s own form driven by nature, human nature.

    • loveliskeard says:

      The Town Team is around for the whole year and maybe if we can make it work – well beyond that. It is able to receive advice from a range of external mentors including Mary Portas herself which seems wise to take advantage of, but it remains locally-led.

      Re: the development proposal. The Town Team has not yet taken a view on it formally but many individuals associated with the TT have encouraged people to look at the plans carefully. The developers presented their ideas in the public hall this week & the Town Council have a stand today at Liskeard Show where they are inviting comments.

      It is hard to resist cynicism sometimes and sure Liskeard has made some mistakes in the past, but there is a level of engagement in what happens here at the moment that I believe puts us in a better place today.


  5. fuseki2012 says:

    Jon, I think that the problem in the past has been that the different sectors of Liskeard as a community didn’t really interact very well. There has been far too much leaving things up to the council and not enough community involvement. If people get involved then they have a voice in planning decisions. If you don’t want another out-of-centre housing development then say so – to the right people and loudly! Don’t want a Wetherspoons next to Stuart House with two empty pubs on the parade? Then write and object to the planning application or speak to your local councillor. Looking at Towns like Newton Abbot which has good community cohesion, its all about involvement. People DO things, they get involved, information is disseminated, they turn up to meetings so they know what is going on and they make their voice heard. It isn’t Mary Portas’s job to open a shop here, but it might be yours. If you care about Liskeard then prove it and do something for it.

  6. Jon says:

    You’re exactly right. If the Town Team can open real channels of communication between the everyday people and the people who are involved in the planning descisions they will have done something worthwile. This should then result in diminishing apathy when people see that they have a voice and I actually wish them all the best in this.

  7. Matt says:

    Is the talk available to view online anywhere?

    • loveliskeard says:

      Good question! We’ve only got an early draft of the ppt Mary used with bits missing but not the final thing. Will check out if there’s a complete version we can share online.


      • Matt says:

        That would be great! It’s a shame nobody filmed it to put it up on YouTube for those of us who couldn’t make it. I will make sure to be there next weekend though.

      • loveliskeard says:

        Optomen film crew were there so some of it may feature in the Channel 4 programme next year! See you at the Clean Up.

  8. Jon says:

    “It’s a shame nobody filmed it”……ha ha ha LOL. Good one.

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