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St Austell councillor Sandra Heyward comes under fire for "shelf stacker" comment in Coyte Farm debate

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: January 22, 2014

Comments (4)

COMMENTS made by a Cornwall councillor during Thursday's crunch meeting have sparked outrage from some of the residents she represents.

Sandra Heyward, Cornwall councillor for St Austell Gover and St Austell town councillor, has come under fire after saying Coyte Farm would only create jobs for "shelf-stackers".

During the meeting Mrs Heyward, who is not a member of the strategic planning committee, spoke as a local member.

Opposing the plans she said: "I agree we do need the jobs but what we need is good-quality jobs not just shelf-stackers."

Following the comment, members of the public took to her webpage to vent their frustration at the former mayor's remarks.

One resident, going by the name "a shelf stacker" said: "I am happy in my job and know that an opportunity will happen even when stacking shelves. It can inevitably lead to management training.

"I also live in the Gover and voted for you. I can tell you two things. 1) I will never vote for you again and 2) I am stacking shelves again tonight and am quite happy to do. It pays an honest decent wage."

Adam Harris wrote: "After your representation at yesterday's planning meeting I am sorely disappointed and feel completely let down by your lack of support for St Austell as a town, her people and the views of your constituents."

Mrs Heyward's website now appears to be unavailable.

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  • SmokieJoe  |  February 09 2014, 12:36PM

    A blog is only one means of communication. Without knowing how many comments for or against a councillor received overall, it would be a fool who criticised without asking for more information. How many people read this paper? How many are affected by this issue? Would it be fair to say the sum total of 4 individual commentators to this point should have their views read as indicative of everyone in the St Austell area? I wouldn't imagine so. It may have been a comment that could have been better phrased, but the sentiment stands in my view. Having very limited opportunities for current and future employment that is based on the lowest end of the pay scale, in a business sector that makes increasing use of 0 hour contracts, and utilises all excuses to remain low paid should be discussed. Look around you, the China Clay industry is looking to further reduce employment in the area, HMRC & DWP in the town is continually reducing staff numbers in line with government policy, including the proposed removal of the facility for walk-in interviews and queries for the public to deal with complex tax issues. Employment opportunities and Incomes are being driven down which has a knock-on effect for everyone in the area so only creating more low paid jobs does need to be looked at, as well as the type of contracts any new employment may bring. If you look at what is reported as actually being said, she hasn't said no to any particular jobs, only that it should be the aim to have a wider variety and better paid. I support that, especially if it means the employer pays a salary that doesn't have the taxpayer subsidise corporate profit through in-work benefits such as tax credits. What is wrong with that?

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  • MarjProops  |  January 22 2014, 3:00PM

    Prior to the planning meeting at which she spoke, Mrs Heyward set up a blog to gauge the feeling of the locals. Presumably she did this so that she could represent the majority of them at the meeting. Her blog showed a massive majority in favour of the development going ahead but she chose to ignore them and speak for her own self interests. Either that or she just wanted to know in advance how many people she would be upsetting. I guess she will be retiring at the next round of elections.

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  • Truro_England  |  January 22 2014, 9:57AM

    @josdave Your pretty much right, but unfortunately the big service/ manufacturing companies wont move to Cornwall. Because of our poor A30, under used Newquay airport they won't move further west than Exeter, which will be the place to live with lots of new jobs in the South West during 2014. Look along along side the M5 corridor through Somerset, lots of big service and distribution centres utilising being on a motorway with excellent national connections. Regarding school leaver you are 100% correct ! I would advise any school leaver to learn a trade, become an engineer, plumber or electrician else they will end up in a low paid dead end job. Or worse, become a Cornwall Councillor!

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  • josdave  |  January 22 2014, 8:47AM

    While it is true that at times any job is better than no job why is not more effort by Cornwall Council being put to attracting real industry paying real wages for full time worthwhile jobs? Before long all our school leavers will have to look forward to is shelf stacking or low paid part time jobs in tourism.

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