Public building earmarked for disposal is refurbished and relaunched by volunteer team
Three generations of a well-known Saltash family were on hand to celebrate the launch of their former family home as a new community-run base for social organisations and supporting services.
Retired dentist Michael Lavelle cut the ribbon to open 18 Belle Vue Road, watched by his son, daughter, grandaughter and many local people who have been involved in the building’s regeneration following its transfer from Cornwall Council to the volunteer group Community Enterprises PL12.
The site in the centre of the town was Mr Lavelle’s first home more than 80 years ago. It was bombed in WW2 and then rebuilt by his parents and the family continued to live and run their dental practice there until the land was sold and redeveloped for car parking in 1990. Late last year the substantial three story building was gifted for the benefit of local residents under the Council’s ‘localism’ scheme, in a two-year lease agreement.
A major refurbishment has modernised the office space and brought a fresh new look to the building. Much of the work was ‘payback’ – community service – ordered by the courts as part of sentence following a criminal conviction. Offenders were supervised by the Devon and Cornwall Probation Trust.
Saltash Mayor Bill Phillips welcomed the Leader of Cornwall Council John Pollard to the town for the opening event. Mr Pollard congratulated all those involved. He said: “This is the epitome of localism, a great example of what it’s all about.”
Peter Thistlethwaite, chair of Community Enterprises PL12, led the negotiations with the County Council. He said this had been the volunteer team’s most ambitious project yet: “We are particularly proud we have been able to help Saltash Foodbank relocate to the town centre and so link up with Citizen’s Advice, whose continued presence in the town has been secured.” Mr Thistlethwaite highlighted the successful partnerships formed with new business tenants CFD Architects and Hemsley Fraser, who have been very generous their support of the project.
Photos courtesy of Stephen Lavelle