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Campaign group wants to stop St Ives falling victim to 'Newquay Syndrome'

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: September 27, 2012

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A CAMPAIGN group set up to preserve St Ives 45 years ago says it wants to kick-start a debate to avoid the town falling victim to the ‘Newquay syndrome’.

The St Ives Trust is calling for more power to be given back to the town instead of left in the hands of developers.

The chairman has told The Cornishman the underlying aim is to generate discussion about how to halt poor-quality builds.

Architect Rex Henry has not waded into the debate about the rash of development in the town until now.

He said: “There is a concern about the types of development – a lot of small micro-flats – and there’s only so much that the town can support.

“The question mark is how much of that the town requires and not to get to the point where the quality of the town and the quality of the visitors go downhill – to avoid the ‘Newquay syndrome’.”

He said the St Ives Trust – founded in 1967 – was not opposed to development but wanted to “improve the quality of design”.

The group launched a series of talks by architects on the future of the town to a packed Guildhall council chamber on Tuesday.

The three initial Trust Talks – started by Jamie Flobert, architect of the new Tate St Ives extension – will be held fortnightly at the Guildhall.

The trust also wants to bring together a panel of people, including the speakers, councillors and MP Andrew George to draw out solutions to the town’s development problem.

Mr Henry said: “We are trying to initiate a discussion. We are also in conversation with St Ives Town Council as to how we might make a plan for St Ives.”

After development concerns hit the headlines in July, St Ives Town Council said it would be looking at the Government’s new Localism Act, which allows for the creation of a Neighbourhood Plan.

Mr Henry said: “Andrew George, MP, is backing that. The whole point is to try and encourage good buildings and good development in the town and seek a way forward to see that happens.”

He said changes over traffic flow and parking – and even pedestrianisation – were also ideas up for discussion.

He said: “It would be presumptuous to say we’ve got the conclusions.”

St Ives town councillor Tim Andrewes confirmed they had had discussions with the trust.

He said: “We are looking at how to make progress towards a Neighbourhood Plan.

“We would be working with local organisations like the trust, the chamber of commerce, and groups like Save Our Greenfields, the Lelant Planning Group and Carbis Bay Residents’ Group.”

Mr Henry also warned that St Ives needs to make sure it gets in first with a Neighbourhood Plan.

He said: “Towns are being encouraged to develop their own town plans. If the council and other interested parties don’t do that, it’s up to others to do that.

“Even big developers can make a proposal for a town plan. By default the situation needs to be addressed.”

The next town talk, by Mariners Project architect MJ Long, will be at the Guildhall on October 16.

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  • THWOGGLE  |  September 27 2012, 11:06AM

    I agree chickendavid, St Ives is already ruined. It is a crying shame that cheap tackiness is now everywhere in this town once worthy of World Heritage status. I grew up in the dirty north and during my time studying art I beheld St Ives as a mythical place on a par with, say, Venice. I fully associated with it's artistic legacy. I used to drool over the J Arthur Dixon postcards from there. I moved to wonderful Kernow over 40 years ago and it is very difficult to express the degree of sadness I feel to have watched this wonderful place, and others, be despoiled. Those shakers and movers that have allowed this to happen should hang their heads in shame. Rise up worthy citizens and make your voice heard - St Ives (the name itself is music) must be saved. Of course people must have places to live and infrastructure must develop but as other places have shown, this can be done without spoiling the heart of the town's heritage. Cheap food joints,tacky souvenir shops and amusement arcades are a sacrilege. St Ives must change direction and once again become a centre of heritage excellence. It's legacy is important and massive and to neglect this through carelessenss is a definite crime.

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  • chickendavid  |  September 27 2012, 10:26AM

    Quite frankly from a visitor of 45 years perspective you have left it too late.

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