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Community spirit reviving Liskeard's fortunes

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 16, 2013

  • There is much to like in Liskeard, where househunters can find handsome, affordable properties. Left: Mary Portas dances with Councillor Roger Holmes at last year's Floral Dance Pictures: Sean Hernon

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Becky Sheaves discovers some positive news from this historic Cornish market town.

Liskeard is a traditional market town sited within easy reach of some superb countryside. To the north lie the wilds of Bodmin Moor, to the south is the scenic South Cornwall coast at Looe, Fowey and Polperro. The town is also blessed with a handsome selection of character properties and good road and rail links. So, what's not to like?

Well, in recent years, there can be no denying that Liskeard has struggled. With a huge Morrison's supermarket on its outskirts, the town centre became run-down and unloved. Even though it still hosts a weekly livestock market, the town's importance as a centre of commerce and community waned.

This decline grabbed the attention of TV star Mary Portas and, in the spring of this year, Liskeard starred on national TV as one of her "Portas pilots" in an attempt to revitalise the town's economy.

Despite the almost inevitable carping, the £100,000 regeneration grant has gone towards a lively range of projects such as a food festival and an arts and music event.

Although some of the empty shops have been difficult to fill, Liskeard clearly has an enthusiastic and energetic community, which is determined to see the town back on its feet even though the TV cameras have moved on.

Locals say the town is on the up these days, which is reflected in its property market. You can still buy one of the many handsome Victorian family homes in the town for less than £200,000, which will get you four bedrooms and a garden, often in a house that is Grade II listed.

But properties are selling here now in numbers that haven't been seen for several years. The revival in Liskeard's fortunes can also be seen in the advent of several new property developments in and around the town.

Liskeard is the perfect centre for lovers of the great outdoors – try watersports such as wakeboarding and kayaking at nearby Siblyback Lake. Walking or riding on the 80 square miles of open space on Bodmin Moor is also a huge draw.

Outside the town itself, the villages to the north of the town on the moor are the most sought after by house-hunters. St Cleer and Tremar are popular, while the village of Dobwalls, for years blighted by through traffic on the A38, is gaining in favour since it was bypassed in 2008.

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