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Last Updated: Monday, 20 March 2006, 14:07 GMT
Town's 40m revamp moves closer
Builder at work (generic)
Plans include a car park, new toilets and a multi-screen cinema
The long-awaited 40m regeneration of a Cornish town centre has moved a step closer with government approval for a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO).

Plans for major improvements to St Austell and its facilities were first discussed in 1999.

The South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA) is to compulsorily purchase the Tesco store, Peacocks and the town's old cinema.

The agency said the project would create jobs in the area.

Regeneration Manager Robert McGuffie said: "The RDA is all about driving up quality - driving up the quality of the built environment and driving up the quality of the jobs which are going to be there.

New homes

"We're really going to be focussing in on the provision of high quality jobs."

Tesco had originally opposed the CPO proceedings, but is now cooperating with the local authority over disposal of the store.

Plans for the regeneration include new shops, restaurants and cafes, and a four-screen cinema. More than 60 homes will also be built, plus a concealed 550-space car park, toilets and two public squares.

The redevelopment of St Austell is a partnership between the SWRDA, Restormel Borough Council and David McLean Developments.

The acting leader of the council said the decision by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister to approve the CPO was good news for the town.

Councillor Tim Jones said: "This scheme is critically important not just for the people of St Austell, but for the whole borough.

"When finished, it will make a real difference to the people who live in Restormel. I know local residents believe it has taken a long time to get to this stage, so I hope this decision will result in a start on site being made as soon as possible."

The developer said it hoped to begin work on site towards the end of the year.

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