LEP Outline Their Strategy For The Next Eight Years

LEP Chairman, Chris Pomfret (middle) and board member Simon Tregoning (right) at yesterday's webcast event

The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, or LEP, have officially launched their strategy in a live webcast from the Pool Innovation Centre in Redruth.

The LEP was formed last year and is a joint public and private sector body that will replace some of the roles of the Southwest Regional Development Agency in Scilly and Cornwall.

Council Chief Executive Philip Hygate represents our islands on their board.

Chairman Chris Pomfret said they had spent six months working on the document, which involved input from over 200 businesses across the region.

In the 16-page document they say they want to champion a long-term solution to transport links between Cornwall and Scilly.

There was also a focus on promoting Cornwall and Scilly as a ‘green exemplar’ by using economic prosperity to enhance the environment. This included attracting investment in the renewable and marine sectors to the region.

Following a question from Radio Scilly about whether the Isles of Scilly will always be seen as the ‘poor relation’ to Cornwall, Chris Pomfret said the needs of the islands had been, “in their minds” during the strategy development.

But he added that with 500,000 people in Cornwall and “rather less in the Isles of Scilly,” he said some things will be less relevant to us.

Chris said the biggest threats to the Islands came from the transport links and there was an “explicit point” in the strategy to deal with those. Board member, Simon Tregoning, said, “that is where the LEP can come in and start thumping tables up the line in Government.”

A video shown during the webcast featured Zoe Julian from Scent from the Islands on St Martin’s, who said her business now sends 90,000 boxes of flowers all over the world every year.

Zoe said there were some “definite challenges” to running a business on the islands and there are limits to how much they can grow because of the limited land and infrastructure here.

She also described how superfast broadband could help her to process orders more quickly and improve the way they market their business.

However, even though Scilly is a member of the Superfast Cornwall project, which has received £53m of EU money to roll out the technology across the region, the organisation has still not said how and when this will be implemented in Scilly.

There were several references to how faster internet technology could transform businesses in the region during the webcast, but when asked a question about superfast broadband in the Islands, Chris Pomfret said he “didn’t know the details.”

While the LEP’s ambition is obviously high, there was very little detail in the strategy to say how, with limited funding and resources compared to the former RDA, they will be able to deliver this.

You can read the LEP strategy and watch a recording of the webcast at the LEP website.