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Bereaved mum of Eleanor Clarke's relief at Perranporth beach safety measures

By West Briton  |  Posted: December 20, 2012

  • Eleanor Clarke

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A MOTHER whose daughter fell to her death in a disused mine has spoken of her relief after winning her battle to see dangerous mine features on Perranporth beach closed off.

Cornwall Council has issued an order to Perranzabuloe Parish Council to carry out urgent works to make the former mine areas safe.

It follows a West Briton campaign and legal action by Nin Clarke forcing authorities to deal with the mine fearing another child may be injured or killed while exploring the coastline.

Mrs Clarke's daughter, 11-year-old Eleanor, was enjoying a family holiday in 2010 when she fell 30ft after climbing into the former mine adit on Droskyn beach.

A shocking report, which was leaked to the West Briton, outlining the true extent of the mining hazards along the beach prompted the family into action. Commissioned by Perranzabuloe Parish Council the report, by Cornwall Mining Consultants Ltd, found 24 mine features on the beach.

In November lawyers for the Clarke family wrote to Cornwall Council saying three features highlighted in the report, posed a "very real threat of injury or death to visitors" and were a statutory nuisance.

Following a site inspection last week Cornwall Council's environment protection team served an abatement notice on the parish council forcing it to close off the three features or risk prosecution and a £5,000 fine.

The parish council had until today– under a seven-day deadline – to put up new warning signs and until March 2013 to install hinged metal grilles at all three mine openings to prevent people gaining access.

The notice states that the parish council "failed" in its duty as the landowner to secure entrances to each shaft and outlet (highlighted in the report as features 17, 18 and 20).

It said the features: "Pose a significant risk of serious injury or death unless and until urgent safety measures are put in place."

Speaking from her home in Andover, Mrs Clarke thanked Cornwall Council for its speedy response, saying: "I had an awful thought that one day I would be talking to another mother who had suffered the same loss.

"I am angry that this was never done before; if it had then my daughter would be alive today. We never wanted revenge, all we wanted was for this to never happen again."

The mother, who spent £1,000 on pursuing the legal action, also praised the West Briton, saying: "I am very grateful to your newspaper for releasing details of the mining report and publicising the issues. Without it we would not be looking forward to a new year knowing the beach will be a safer place for all."

Since Eleanor's death the parish council has spent £3,500 on safety measures, including a steel grille at the entrance of the mine adit where she died and publishing 5,000 safety leaflets.

It has 21 days to appeal to the Magistrates' Court against the notice. Councillors were due to hold an emergency meeting last night at the Seiner's Arms on Droskyn beach to discuss the measures.

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