PLANS by a health authority to shift its headquarters and 70 jobs from St Austell to Bodmin at the end of this month have been met with dismay.
The Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has decided to relocate from Porthpean Road, St Austell, to Westheath, part of the former St Lawrence’s Hospital site.
It is expected up to 70 staff will be moving. However, the trust said its training department would be relocated to St Austell, moving about 26 staff into the town.
The trust provides community health services to children and young people and mental health and learning disability services to people of all ages. It said Bodmin is a better location for its headquarters as it is in the heart of the county and close to the A30 and A38 trunk roads.
The move will cost £170,000, and some disgruntled staff who have opposed the relocation claim it is a waste of taxpayers’ money.
“I’m shocked and very disappointed, especially to find out at this very late stage,” said St Austell Mayor John Keast, learning about the move for the first time.
“Where they’re placing it in Bodmin seems to me to be even further from a railway than it is in St Austell.
“Of course, Bodmin is on the main A30 but it’s hardly far from St Austell.”
Tom French, St Austell Bay Chamber of Commerce chairman, said: “It’s the first time I’ve heard about it and I’m naturally disappointed that jobs are being lost from St Austell.”
A staff member of the trust, who did not wish to be named, said many workers were opposed to the relocation and the cost, which she said would rise year-on-year, was a waste of taxpayers’ money.
“I am disgusted that a so-called independent board has approved such a waste of money – money which should have been ploughed back into the public services this organisation is supposed to provide. This money could fund several frontline staff or be spent on necessary equipment,” she said.
“Three years ago the Bodmin building was refurbished as a training centre, which is another wasted cost.”
However, Carol Linter, director of quality and governance for the trust, said it made sense to move.
“We’re delighted to confirm our head office will move to Bodmin at the end of the month. This will place us at the heart of the county on the main road and rail networks.
“Bodmin Hospital is a five-minute walk from the offices on Corporation Road – bringing the trust’s executive directors much closer to one of our main clinical sites.
“We have consulted staff about our plans, holding one-to-one appointments as requested. We believe their involvement will ensure a successful move.”
Bodmin Chamber of Commerce chairman Chris Wilkes said: “I’m delighted the NHS trust is coming to Bodmin. It will add greatly to what is planned for the old hospital land.”
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