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£110m retail scheme group in college jobs and training plan

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: January 11, 2013

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DEVELOPERS of a proposed £110 million retail scheme are supporting plans for a project to combat St Austell's "higher than average" unemployment.

Mercian Developments Ltd and Metric Properties St Austell Ltd, behind the Coyte Farm scheme, and Cornwall College have signed an agreement to help students and local people into work.

The controversial planning application for Coyte Farm outlines a 160,000sq ft retail park including a Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury's with green credentials, hotel, pub, and care village with assisted living units, all on 98 acres of green land.

It would also provide enhancement works for St Mewan Churchyard and St Mewan Primary School as well as a golf academy at the local club.

If it receives planning permission from Cornwall Council on Wednesday, January 30, the developers have said they will create more than 1,300 jobs and provide a number of training and development opportunities.

It says that these will include apprenticeships, graduate placements, management training, vocational courses, construction certification and interview training.

"We recognise that St Austell's unemployment figures are higher than the regional and national average and it's becoming harder and harder for young people to find jobs," said Simon Hoare, on behalf of the developers.

"We've been working closely with the college to ensure the jobs that our proposal could provide can be taken up by local people.

"This initiative will also help with experience and training in a number of different fields – from construction to retail and leisure.

"We want to work with local organisations to ensure the local area benefits from our proposal."

Raoul Humphreys, Cornwall College's deputy chief executive, said: "This proposal will provide new jobs for the area and we can craft a training and development programme alongside these. This will enable local people to be equipped to take on the construction jobs while the development is being built and the permanent jobs when the scheme is up and running.

"We've run similar programmes with other developers that have worked really well."

If approved, construction of Coyte Farm will start at the end of this year.

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