Investment for meeting venues in Pool seeks to defy downturn

The global economic crisis may be prompting many conference venues to think creatively in order to maintain their corporate customer bases, but some are looking to stimulate their local economies with audacious investments. In accordance, over £50 million is being spent on developments in Pool, with £12 million earmarked for a local business centre.

The Pool Innovation Centre is due to be started next year for a completion date in the summer of 2010 and is intended to stimulate the local economy against a backdrop of worsening recession. The building will offer a wide range of resources, with nearly 50 offices being made available in five different sizes, six meeting rooms for shared use between multiple companies and conference facilities to boost the appeal to business tourists.

Theo Leijser, the SW Regional Development Agency's director for Cornwall, described the importance of weathering the economic difficulties and emerging on top: "This is especially important during the current economic downturn and we want to ensure that when we come out of it Cornwall is ready to do business."

Becoming a catalyst for economic growth in the region is certainly an important factor in the development of the innovation centre. Authorities have set their sights on long-term growth and are looking to create 130 new jobs over the course of the next seven years. The cost of the new build has incorporated a £700,000 expenditure which will fund specialist business support and turn the centre into a regional hub from which a larger selection of businesses will be able to benefit.

While the centre will offer meeting rooms and act as a conference venue, the specialist support on offer will be available to firms far and wide.

Alongside the Pool Innovation Centre will be a £40 million campus for Cornwall College. The new state-of-the-art facility will provide learning space for 2,000 students and is intended to boost the region's appeal to students across Cornwall. Increasing the student population of the town will bring as many economic benefits as the business centre, only revenue will be sourced from an additional demographic.

The existing campus will be kept open as the new build takes place, as developers are keenly aware that the current climate will not look kindly on any period of inactivity.

Iain Stewart, an architect from Poynton Bradbury Wynter Cole, said: "Essentially, our aim is to positively enhance the college so it supports the wider regeneration of the area."

Economic regeneration is also a key element behind such a major investment. With unemployment rising across the UK as a direct result of the receding economy, the extra jobs and wider business appeal posed by the innovation centre are positive signs of local intentions. Similarly, the bid to enhance Cornwall College's reputation as an education beacon also seeks to defy the downturn by inspiring young minds across the region.

In other news, recently reported that Newquay Cornwall Airport has closed in the run-up to Christmas, owing to the lack of a licence for the period. The development could temporarily reduce tourism to the region.

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