The Economy in Truro and Kenwyn


Vision: A vibrant, sustainable, resilient and balanced economy responsive to all community needs and market conditions.


Truro and Kenwyn has a vibrant economy. The city provides services, shopping, leisure, and other facilities to a wide rural hinterland and significant employment; over 14,000 people commute into the area each day.

Cornwall Council has its main offices in Truro and Kenwyn and the public sector, including the hospital and college, is the major employer as well as meeting other vital community needs (also refer to EJ4); Cornwall LEP2 sees health, administration, and retail as the three main employers and growth industries for Truro. The food sector is substantial, with food industries from field to plate accounting for an estimated 30 per cent of employment in the area. The policies of this Plan are designed to sustain the existing major employment sectors in Truro and Kenwyn, as well as to support sector growth needs including the medical, renewable, marine and maritime sectors. This Plan sets out specific policies for employment areas and ensures the future of other key sites for Truro’s economy such as freight capacity at the railway station (Policy T2) and agricultural use of the Cattle Market. The objective is to ensure economic resilience and inclusion: yielding food and energy security, employment, housing and local access to services that meet community needs.

Truro is the retail hub for Cornwall and with its growing range of good quality restaurants, bars and clubs is rapidly becoming the leisure hub too. Many national businesses express a preference to locate in Truro and there is consequently pressure for additional space. However this needs to be balanced against a desire to maintain the walkable human scale of the city centre for shopping, leisure, living and work; one in three employees living and working in Truro walk or cycle to work, or work from home. A comparison of the censuses in 2001 and 2011 also shows the formation of over 500 new households in Truro centre; housing development and repurposing buildings, including living above the shop, is one of the keys to a sustainable and resilient high street economy for Truro.

There is pressure for the development of out of town retail sites, but there remain deliverable brownfield sites within the city centre for redevelopment. Growth options may support a new food store to the west of the city, but the focus for non-food retail and leisure should be the city centre, where it can be accessed by a variety of means of transport and support other town centre businesses and uses.

Evidence used in the formation of the Cornwall Local Plan has demonstrated a need for employment and retail space as well as housing in the Plan area, and this is planned for in this document. In common with the rest of the country Truro and Kenwyn has experienced significant socio-economic changes. There is more service related industry and this has changed employment site requirements. There are existing employment sites like Newham that are home to increasing numbers of businesses and close to the city centre, but poorly planned and utilised. This plan will facilitate a well-planned approach to development and improvements at employment locations which meet the needs of communities at work.

EJ1. Communities at work

The policies of this Plan seek to create the conditions for a vibrant and successful business economy and increased employment in Truro and Kenwyn. There is a need to provide proactive support for employment in the community including:

  • jobs for all skill levels;
  • apprenticeships and in work training including a Truro retail academy supporting progression in employment;
  • developers and businesses to engage with employment agencies to create plans for local jobs, particularly for larger employment or mixed use proposals;
  • advice and support for employers including small businesses with growth capacity;
  • advice and support for those seeking work including community support for those with no IT access or skills.

Over 25,000 people are employed in the Plan area. There is scope to improve the access, amenities, and sustainability of employment areas as new developments come forward.


Within the Plan area the main employment districts are located at:

  • Truro City Centre;
  • Newham industrial estate and the port of Truro;
  • Threemilestone industrial estate;
  • Treliske employment area.


Policy EJ1. Communities at work is applicable to development proposals in each of these areas, as shown on the proposals map, which also face specific challenges addressed in the following policies for individual employment areas.

EJ2. Truro City Centre – a vibrant and resilient high street

The city centre provides a vital community focus for Truro and Kenwyn offering a diverse range of activities in the form of residential, leisure, commercial and retail uses. A key feature of the city centre is its compactness and walkability. This increases its attractiveness as a destination for shoppers and tourists alike, with large numbers of visitors to Truro Cathedral, the Hall for Cornwall, and the Royal Cornwall Museum which are located within the primary retail and leisure area. It is important to focus new town centre uses in a defined area to prevent piecemeal expansion that erodes this character.

Truro was the first location in Cornwall to develop a Business Improvement District (BID) which has been successfully delivering a range of additional services and initiatives, primarily events and marketing, in the city centre since 2007.

Truro centre is also the focus of the widest range of transport modes, including active travel, bus and rail links including park and ride, and mobility access. Due to the need to promote more sustainable forms of transportation it is important that retail, leisure, employment and some residential uses are clustered in the city centre where public transport is focused and the opportunity for non-car travel and multi-purpose trips are maximised, whilst recognising the importance of providing retail facilities to meet day to day needs throughout the Plan area.

The desirability of retaining retail uses within the city centre is set out in National Planning Policy Framework and the Cornwall Local Plan as a sequential test and all proposals are assessed against it. To ensure that this can happen, the city centre and retail area are marked on the proposals map. Recent planning permissions at Langarth will create substantial new communities in the west of the Plan area. These areas should be able to access day to day shopping needs without having to access the city centre. In recognition of this the Retail Strategy for Cornwall recognises a potential need for one small supermarket in the west of Truro / Threemilestone area.

Increasing the residential capacity of the city centre can also bring significant benefits to its economic vitality and viability. Parking requirements for residential developments in Truro centre will reflect the balance of the mobility of residents, the availability of public transport and the need to reduce traffic movements in the city centre whilst also making provision for the parking needs of those who travel into Truro for employment purposes.


EJ3 and EJ4. Newham employment area and the port of Truro

The Newham employment area is located close to the city centre, but is a significantly underutilised resource. Over 1000 people work in the area, but many feel that the area is poorly connected to the city centre, despite its close proximity. Other issues concern a generally poor quality built environment, lack of sustainable transport modes and a general perception that the area does not make the most of its riverside location. Part of the road access at Little Newham needs to be improved to reduce traffic conflict and increase accessibility by large vehicles to the port of Truro. This has been included as a Scheme of Improvement in the Local Transport Plan ‘Connecting Cornwall’.

A vision for the Newham area has been prepared by a group called the Newham Improvement project and a Business Improvement District has been created following a successful referendum of all businesses in the employment area. There is also a masterplan in development for the port of Truro. This is subject to a separate process of Strategic Environmental Assessment.

EJ5. Treliske Employment Area

Treliske Hospital and the Treliske Industrial Estate/Retail park lie at the heart of the Highertown and Gloweth area. Both have grown rapidly over the past decades and lack a clear focus and coherent layout; particularly in the case of the industrial estate. The estate has taken on a more retail focus with the development of the retail park.

This is one of the largest employment districts in Truro/Threemilestone. With the growing importance to the city of the knowledge economy and a need for more productive workspace and better quality and higher paid jobs it will be necessary to regenerate areas like Treliske to meet the changing needs of Truro. This has already been started through the development of the Health and Wellbeing Innovation Centre immediately to the north of the current estate. Grow on space is required to allow the benefits of the innovation centre to continue to grow.

EJ6. Threemilestone Employment Area

The existing Threemilestone Industrial Estate has developed over a number of years and suffers from a number of phases of growth without a cohesive and planned layout. A range of uses has developed from offices to distribution attracted by free parking and the position of the estate close to the A30. In recent times the proportion of offices on the estate has increased with a resultant loss of industrial focus and a consequent increase in traffic movements – often causing considerable congestion at peak times.

The Threemilestone site is not served directly by the park and ride system or by a continuous bus service, however recent permissions have allowed for the provision of a bus loop and new signalised junction arrangement, which should help to increase journeys by bus. However it is still relatively isolated as an employment site, especially for large generators of movements such as office use.

EJ7. Employment land safeguarding

The sites referred to in policies EJ3 – EJ6 are strategic employment sites in Truro and Kenwyn and provide significant employment. It is proposed that these should be safeguarded for employment use in this Plan to ensure that employment land remains available in close proximity to where people live.


These policies aim to contribute to sustainable development by:

  • Concentrating new development on brownfield sites or close to public transport and centres of population;
  • Encouraging the use of sustainable building technology and energy efficiency measures;
  • Promoting mixed uses (including residential) in accessible locations

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF):

NPPF1: Building a strong, competitive economy;

NPPF2: Ensuring the vitality of town centres;

NPPF4: Promoting sustainable transport;

NPPF7: Requiring good design;

NPPF8: Promoting healthy communities

Cornwall Local Plan:

1: Sustainable development

2: Spatial Strategy

2a: Key targets

4: Shopping, services and community facilities

5: Business and tourism

Who will assist with delivering the aims of economic policy?

  • Local Enterprise Partnership;
  • European Regional Development Fund/ European Social Fund;
  • Cornwall Council;
  • Private Sector providers/businesses;
  • Renewable providers;
  • Land owners and developers;
  • Voluntary and charity sector.