All those new houses – they are not for you!

Cornwall Life is a corporate lifestyle magazine, owned by East Anglian based Archant, with close relationships with Cornwall’s tourist sector. It’s happy to help people plan their move to Cornwall. For the ‘laid back lifestyle’ and ‘regular beach access’ of course. It particularly recommends Falmouth (‘great quality of life’), St Ives (‘unchanged’), Fowey (the home of Daphne du Maurier), Bude (‘on the up’) and Looe (‘in a secret corner’). Pass the sick bag. It’s our Cornwall

Each year millions of people visit Cornwall and many of them can be found looking in estate agents’ windows working out what their house in far-flung…

More people or better jobs?

As we have shown over this week, the ‘extra’ jobs that we so frequently hear about are not extra in the true sense of the word but are needed to keep up with population increase. Documents and headlines in the media should read something like “Employment creation in area x at 200 keeps pace with new jobseeker numbers.”

But what would an alternative policy look like?

It would firstly do away with the current unsustainable housing target to replace it with one which is designed to meet local needs not induced ‘demand’.

Job creation would focus on the provision of better skilled and better paid jobs allowing people to move from under-employment and poorly paid jobs to better jobs. This would mean a contraction in some sectors such as retail and the leisure industry.

Training would ensure that people have the appropriate skills and training to move into new jobs.

Employers would be encouraged to recruit locally rather than attract people to Cornwall.

Sustainability would be the key theme of new jobs.

New jobs but who benefits?

In previous blogs we have pointed out that job ‘growth’ is not growth in the sense of better or more jobs for the existing labour force but jobs to keep up with the extra jobseekers in the extra houses which are built to accommodate population growth through in-migration.

Some of the new jobs are as the following extracts about employment in Pool, indicate, high paid, but who gains from them?

The Tech Cluster at Pool Innovation Centre is home to some of the most innovative and fastest-growing digital companies in the UK and the industry is beginning to transform one of Cornwall’s most deprived areas.

With advertised average salaries of £34,367 – almost twice the average salary in Cornwall of £17,340 – this is an industry offering good careers for talented young people keen to stay in the Duchy.

Mr Massey said Bluefruit was expected to grow from seven to 30 staff this year, with the attractiveness of Cornwall playing a huge role in the sector’s growth. He said: “We are a creative industry and there is a global shortage of skilled employees. It’s an employees’ market so wages are high but not only that, Cornwall offers a great lifestyle which makes living and working down here attractive.”


The clue lies in the comment – Cornwall offers a great lifestyle which makes living and working down here attractive. Local graduates presumably know what Cornwall is like so the implication is that the new employment opportunities will encourage more people to move to Cornwall for lifestyle choices. Local residents looking for an upgrade in work prospects may be somewhat disappointed.

Now of course some movement within the labour market is inevitable. Some people will move away from Cornwall and some people will move in. There will be as in the past benefits from this flow and interaction.

The question is though, how many of these well paid jobs go to local residents and how many end up as jobs for those making a move to Cornwall for lifestyle choices?

More jobs to meet the job needs of more people – what is the point?

The plan for Camborne=-Pool-Redruth etc is more jobs and more housing!!!

The east – west link will provide access to new development areas and relieve the existing East Hill junction allowing capacity for a number of other developments to go ahead. This will lead to the creation of up to 5,500 new jobs and associated new homes over the next 20 years – …

[Camborne, Pool, Redruth East – West link road, key messages. An overview of the project proposals. May 2013].

To encourage private sector investment and facilitate the creation of 5500 jobs and 6200 new homes in the CPR area

[Camborne-Pool-Redruth Transport Package]

The project is part of a larger regeneration initiative within the Camborne, Pool and Redruth area, to secure the creation of 6,000 new jobs and the development of 6,000 homes.

[See more at:

In essence, the number of new jobs to be created magically meets the requirements of the extra jobseekers in the new houses! [As the population of the area will only increase if more people move to the area, each new house creates a need for a new job.

At the end of this growth, the number of houses and jobs (may) rise but what is the point? The relationship between jobs and houses/jobseekers will be the same as it was before.

If the aim is to increase earnings in the area, then the approach should be to transfer people from lower skill, lower paid jobs into higher skill, higher paid jobs. Just bumping up the population is nonsense economics!

CPR Achievments or fundamental problems?

According to a report in 2009, Camborne-Pool-Redruth had seen improvements under the auspices of the now defunct Urban Regeneration Company.

The discussion shows that there have been some improvements in CPR’s economy in this period, notably in terms of overall population and employment growth,

3.1 This chapter presents socio-economic changes in the CPR area since the URC’s inception in 2002. Positive trends are evident, for example population and employment are up,

3.3 The CPR area has performed well in terms of population growth over recent years. 2002-7 its population has risen from 35,600 to 37,700, a 6.0% increase, which is greater than the rises seen at comparator spatial scales.

CPR REGENERATION:INTERIM REVIEW, FINAL REPORT, European Institute for Urban Affairs, Sept 2009.

Now if this was Scotland we might describe this as written by a bunch of numpties. There is as is common across Cornwall (and the UK in general), an obsession with population growth as the extracts indicate. The report seems to think that an increase in population is a ‘good thing.

What we know is that:

Cornwall has seen its population increase dramatically since the early sixties with no commensurate improvement in the economy;

Employment growth linked with population growth is not real growth! Population goes up 10%, employment goes up by 10% – duh – you are no better off!

Sustainability, climate change – every heard of these concepts? The CPR URC had evidently not!

Reducing access or increasing access?

The scheme reduces the severance cased by the dual carriageway section of the A3047 that separates the development site from the town. The existing dual carriageway will be downgraded to single carriageway, and there will be a range of streetscape improvements designed to reduce speeds and facilitate pedestrian and cycle movements.

[SEP Scheme Summary – CPR 140328 – FINAL (v2, Prepared by Parsons Brinckerhoff, March 2014, for Cornwall Council]

In 2008 the Barncoose end of the East West Link road was opened.
Called Barncoose Avenue, it is the first part of Cornwall County Council’s proposed £48 million east-west link road from Redruth to Camborne, and will allow for further development of the east end of Barncoose Industrial Estate, with the potential to accommodate around 950 new jobs.

Stephen Bohane, head of business development at SWRDA, said: “Our role is to invest to unlock Cornwall’s business potential and this new road is an excellent example of that. Barncoose Avenue will transform access to the industrial estate, which is great news for local businesses, and it will make the estate far more attractive to inward investors.”

In 2010, the BBC reported: An ambitious scheme to build offices and industrial units in Cornwall has been granted European funding. The £13.5m Barncoose Gateway project in Redruth is expected to create more than 170 jobs for the area. Nine office and hybrid/industrial units will be built on a 1.37 hectare site near the A30 with direct access to the Barncoose Link Road.

Is it not a little odd that the latest road scheme reduces access from the A30 to the old A3047/Link road when the Barncoose Avenue road was designed to improve access. The Barncoose link road with its access to the A30 was seen as instrumental in developing the employment land?

Now employees and goods and service vehicles will find their approach route from the A30 along a slow, congested single carriageway!

Fewer jobs not more!

The Redruth Gateway/Tolgus extension scheme, the site of bulldozers and the source of innumerable traffic delays is advertised as an employment site yet the reality is that it is largely a housing site.

The main aim of the Redruth Gateway scheme is to facilitate mixed-use development of the Tolgus Fields site. The Redruth Gateway scheme will enable 32.07 hectares of the Tolgus urban extension site to come forward. Outline planning consent has already been granted (A12/09707) for 370 houses, 2,000sqm B1 (b) and B1 (a) office space and green infrastructure, 400sqm community facilities and 2.9 hectares of open space and green infrastructure. The full master plan allows for a total of approximately 650 houses and 384 jobs.

Take careful note of the figures they quote – 384 jobs with 650 houses. As a rule of thumb planners assume each household requires one job. Do the sums. 384 new jobs for 650 new households means there will be a deficit of 266 jobs with this proposal! Or are the planners assuming 266 of the houses will be filled by people living elsewhere in Redruth? But then who moves into their housing in turn?

Even if there were 650 jobs these would not be additional jobs. The only time you get additional jobs is when you create say 100 job opportunities without adding to the number of jobseekers.