BODMIN could receive a major employment boost with 300 new BT jobs coming to the town.
The ten-year BT Cornwall partnership will see the telecoms giant take on a range of services such as telehealth and telecare, ICT support, document management, invoice processing and employment support.
There is speculation that the 300 telehealth jobs will come to Bodmin with rumours that the local authority is planning a new office block on Beacon Technology Park to accommodate the workers which will complement its £9 million admin centre due to open next year. BT Cornwall includes partners Peninsula Community Health and the Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, the latter already based on the nearby Bodmin Hospital site.
Bodmin has suffered job loses recently, with the collapse of MPG Books and the loss of 120 jobs since December. Job losses are also expected at Tulip, Bodmin's largest employer.
BT anticipates it could create a further 313 jobs by offering telecare services to other parts of the UK.
Bridget Taylor, who is the new CEO of the partnership said it will provide opportunities on both a local and national scale.
She said: "Over the next few years, BT Cornwall will deliver jobs and growth to the economy of Cornwall by delivering better services for local people that can also be made available to other parts of the UK.
"This is a fantastic opportunity for us to work together, invest in delivering excellent services and make a real difference to local communities by bringing new jobs and expanding healthcare options.
"We look forward to working with new staff and members of the council to ensure we make a major contribution to the quality of people's lives in Cornwall."
A telehealth service already exists at Lanivet, but BT wants to roll out the service nationwide. It would allow patients with long-term health conditions, such as chronic lung disease, to monitor and manage their medical conditions from home, rather than a clinical setting.
Rachel Blewett, from Peninsula Community Health, said: "Cornwall is leading the way in telehealth and telecare technology and will continue to be at the forefront of innovation.
"Now, not only are further improvements to health and social care achievable in Cornwall but we also have the opportunity to expand our service reach and market share through a strong partnership with BT."
Bodmin Cornwall councillor Ann Kerridge, who is vice-chair of the local authority, is hopeful the jobs will come to Bodmin.
"Bodmin is the ideal place for the new telehealth service, and there is certainly scope at the Beacon Technology Park to accommodate the BT jobs; I will keep pressing for the jobs to come to the town."
Councillor Alex Folkes, the council's portfolio holder for finance and resources, said it was too early to say if a new building to house the telehealth service would be built at the technology park, but agreed Bodmin was ideally situated for the service.
"Bodmin must be one of the prime options, and it would be good to see this type of employment opportunity coming to east Cornwall," he said.
Asked if the jobs would be coming to Bodmin, a BT spokesman said: "The BT Cornwall partnership is committed to its publicised plans of creating new jobs in Cornwall and also protecting existing ones.
"We expect to announce further details by the end of September once we have finalised our plans."