GGSCF Ltd is a private company limited by guarantee (a Special Purpose Vehicle), created for the purpose of delivering cash for projects (community benefit), and derived from the planning system, to the community (comprising the parish of Gwinear Gwithian). This benefit will be distributed through a fund to which members and groups from the community can apply.
It ensures that the community has one mechanism for the management of community benefit from the Churchtown and Hope Farm developments, not two separate ones as was originally envisaged. This also allows for community benefit contributions received from other developments (or indeed money received from others sources with the same broad purpose) to be distributed using the same efficient mechanism.
Another benefit of re-negotiating the offer was eligibility for funding is not simply conferred by being in a geographic radius which would have given equal eligibility to applications from other Town/Parish areas. Now members of our community get ‘primary consideration’ for the allocation of funds and that applications from the secondary area (the parishes of Camborne, Crowan, St Erth and Hayle), are only considered if there are surplus funds or a joint bid for funding, with a local organisation, is submitted.
The creation of ‘GGSCF’ was seen as necessary to ensure that they were delivered to those in the Parish area and are to be used in a way that best suits the Parish needs but within the constraints imposed by the planning obligation. What was done was innovative and is very much in the spirit of the localism agenda and we are in discussion with Cornwall Council, who is interested in seeing if this model could be used in other areas of Cornwall.
Extract taken from our ‘Articles of Association’;
“...to promote Sustainable Development for the benefit of the said communities by;
- the relief of poverty and the improvement of the conditions of life in socially and economically disadvantaged communities;
- the preservation, conservation and protection of the environment and the prudent use of resources;
- the promotion of sustainable means of achieving economic growth and regeneration.
To advance the education of the public in subjects relating to sustainable development and the protection, enhancement and rehabilitation of the environment and to promote study and research in such subjects provided that the useful results of such study are disseminated to the public at large. “
This chimes perfectly with what was the stated in the ‘power to the Parish’ document submitted by Low Carbon Solar, included with the Planning Application for Churchtown Solar Farm, our first such development, which outlined the uses for which the funds could be put;
“Ideas that have been nominated to date in the Parish Trusts we have tabled include:
- paying tuition fees for a local graduate to do a phd in solar engineering;
- offering free energy efficiency upgrades to homeowners in the parish, i.e. cavity wall insulation, loft insulation, energy efficient lighting, via local contractors;
- funding three long term positions at the adjacent National Nature Reserve, positions dedicated to expanding the size and richness of the reserve
- buying land to increase the size of an SSSI
- putting solar on the primary school roof; putting solar on the village hall roof, both of which would then create a revenue for the Parish Trust from the Parish Trust’s own investments and would then circulate the money;
- funding apprenticeships in electrical engineering and plumbing
- funding a new sustainable education centre for Cornish schools and associated creation of allotments, the replanting of 500,000 trees and the opening up of access to 200 acres of land for school and local people
- the seed funding of a biogas project
Ultimately the funds are to be used at the Trustee’s discretion in accordance with agreed Terms of Reference and Investment Strategy”