The three parts of this Big Local area, St Blaise, Par and Tywardreath, are contiguous and share a number of common features. They are, however, three quite distinct settlements, with some very clear differences – of outlook as well as of economic and social structure.
The whole area falls within the lowest 10% nationally when it comes to housing conditions. One part of the area – St Blazey West – is particularly disadvantaged in this regard, coming 74th worst (out of 32,482) in the country.
The main employer in the region has for many years been the clay industry. This sector is, however, in rapid decline. Large numbers of jobs have been shed, with few alternative sources of large-scale employment (the notable exception being the Eden Project) coming forward to replace them. The proportion of people in the area who are unemployed or on very low incomes is substantially higher than the Cornwall or national averages.
This may be one reason why the current rate of population growth (according to the latest – pre-2011 census – figures) is significantly lower than the average for Cornwall. This phenomenon is particularly marked in Tywardreath, Par, St Blazey Gate and Biscovey, which are either just maintaining their populations or have declining populations. The population of Twyardreath and Par tends to be older than that of St Blaise.
Against this somewhat bleak background, it ought to be a source of pride to residents of the area that, with one exception (St Blazey Gate and Biscovey), the crime rate is broadly on a par with the rest of the county. Furthermore, despite the difficulties of life, there remains a strong sense of community in the area. People value their friends, their families and the area in which they live. They are well aware of the negatives, but can also clearly see the positives. And it is the latter on which they choose to focus. This provides an encouraging foundation for developments designed to help change the area from one where people live – to one where people choose to live.
It is perhaps unsurprising that the general consensus drawn from the various consultations so far undertaken is that the primary needs of the area focus on economic regeneration and improved housing. A third area, which is also very important to the resident population, is that of environmental protection and improvement, and the development of recreational facilities for the benefit of us all – but especially of our young people.
In the following pages, we have sought to develop and give substance to these ideas, in ways that our fellow residents can endorse. We have done so under six broad headings, though we are conscious that there are some aspects that do not fit easily under these, and that many more are cross-cutting. The headings we have chosen are: Jobs and Income, Housing, Health, Environment, Youth and Family and Recreation and Culture.