Group's innovative approach has done much to help town
I READ with great interest, and some concern, R Williams' letter of January 7 (Town's various issues need to be addressed).
As co-chairman of The Saltash Town centre Improvement Group (The STIG: an alliance of traders, investors, councillors and Community Interest Company directors), a former mayor of Saltash and, in my professional life, a teacher of Citizenship at saltash.net community school, I can hardly claim to be a neutral observer.
Nevertheless the letter does highlight several important points.
It is in some ways an encouraging letter because several of the suggestions within it have already been put into place. Over the Christmas run-up Saltash, unlike the centre of Plymouth, offered free parking every day from 10am. Since last June, parking has been free all weekend every weekend. Both of these schemes were organised and run by the STIG, whose members give their time and efforts for free.
Readers may have seen the positive publicity that this parking project achieved in the press and on regional television, and those who are particularly interested might wish to search on You Tube for "Saltash and the STIG" – a recent short film made in support of a bid for Government funding to extend this scheme further.
Toilets in Cornwall are owned and managed by Cornwall Council. The Town Council has been in long and involved negotiations with Cornwall Council over improvements to all town centre toilets, including Belle Vue, and is very close to negotiating an agreement whereby a significant sum of money will be spent by Cornwall refurbishing them. This is in addition to the Town Council's community toilets scheme which provides other toilets facilities within local businesses in Fore Street.
Readers who are most familiar with the railway and station will also be aware of the tremendous amount of work put into maintaining and improving rail services to Saltash.
Other work that is being undertaken by The STIG includes improvements to signage, additional street cleaning, the Christmas Event, a Town App to provide information about the centre for Smart Phone users, year-round hanging baskets and the use and renovation of some of our small number of empty shop units.
It is perhaps partly due to all of these efforts that Saltash has fewer empty units than other comparable Cornish towns. Saltash was also a winner of 2012's Caradon in Bloom competition – a very pleasing achievement.
Although I welcome R Williams' support for much of what we are doing I take issue with the description of both older and younger residents. A great disservice is being done to the young people of Saltash by lumping them into a group who "burn bus shelters or the backs of bus seats, litter the streets, damage property and generally behave like morons". Actually, Saltash is fortunate to have many young people who make a real contribution to their community through youth organisations, charities, schools and in their own right.
On behalf of The STIG