St Austell, on the South West Coast of England is Cornwall’s largest town dating back to the 13th century and initially came to prominence through the mining of tin and copper. However, the discovery of large deposits of china clay to the north of the town was transformational for the area and this quickly became the main industry. St Austell relied heavily on the China Clay Industry which has declined in more recent times which has had a profound effect locally, particularly on the area around the clay pits with the loss of jobs within the China Clay companies but also businesses involved in the wider supply chains and associated services.
A number of efforts to reimagine the place had been tried and failed, with some people even calling it ‘St Awful’. 2016 was the turning point as a group of organisations and businesses that formed St Austell Bay Economic Forum (SABEF) developed a vision and began to progress a number of projects aimed at growing the economy and improving the place both in the town centre, across the wider St Austell Bay and clay country areas.
SABEF commissioned thinkingplace to develop a forward-looking narrative that would build on the work already underway and evolve what they were doing, not start from fresh. This would provide a wider place context to help capitalise on the amazing assets and strengths of the area and give further impetus to the projects and ideas relating to clay town and ‘greening’.
What they say
“thinkingplace’s work is both innovative and inspiring in equal measure. St Austell has so much to celebrate but we needed some help to unlock it. We commissioned thinkingplace to work their magic and at last St Austell can start to see light at the end of the tunnel for an even brighter future.
We worked well with their team who we found to be consummate professionals and easy to work with. They ‘got’ our brief and we would recommend any place to seriously consider engaging with thinkingplace to help realise their full potential.”
James Staughton, Chief Executive, St Austell Brewery and Chair St Austell Bay Economic Forum and Cornwall Place Board