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Eleanor Clarke's family left 'appalled' by inaction after Perranporth mine death

By West Briton  |  Posted: December 06, 2012

  • Eleanor Clarke

  • Dangerous disused mine workings on Perranporth beach which lead to a three metre (10ft) vertical drop.

  • Solicitors using evidence from a mining report said of this mine feature overlooking Perranporth's beach: "Standing or walking along the narrow edge of the exposed leat system itself is of course a danger, but it is a common danger that is obvious. What is not obvious is that at the one end of the exposed leat the passageway continues into the cliff and once again intersects with a sheer vertical drop of seven metres into Waterwheel Pit."

  • The blocked off mine shaft overlooking Perranporth Beach where Eleanor Clarke fell to her death in 2010. Ref : TRGH20110919D-006_C

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THE family of a girl who died after falling down a former mine in Perranporth has turned to the law to try to force the authorities to take action.

Parents of Eleanor Clarke, who died while exploring a former mine shaft on Droskyn beach, want the dangerous mine features made safe.

Perranzabuloe Parish Council blocked the entrance where Eleanor fell in 2010 with a steel grille.

Frustrated at the council's efforts since – they have printed leaflets and installed signs warning of the dangers – Eleanor's mother, Nin, told the West Briton: "We're appalled that this has never been done before and that Perranzabuloe Parish Council say it would cost too much to deal with.

"How can you have a whole cliff with mine workings open to the public?

"It's incomprehensible. Where is the respect for our child's life and the care and concern for future visitors?

"They commissioned a risk assessment which prioritised the most dangerous features, which we have picked up on. People said Eleanor's death was a one-off but there are others of equal danger so what reason is there not to deal with these?"

Lawyers for the family wrote to Cornwall Council saying three mine features on Perranporth beach posed a "very real threat of injury or death to visitors" as a statutory nuisance.

Lamb Brooks LLP solicitors drew on evidence from a mining report by Cornwall Consultants Ltd, commissioned by the parish council last year, which found 24 mining features on the beach.

The three highlighted in the letter lead to vertical drops of 3, 5 and 7m.

Consultants also found graffiti dated 2009 and glowsticks indicating people had been exploring the former mine.

The letter added: "Abandoned mine workings in which an easily accessible horizontal tunnel intersects sharply with a deep vertical shaft are, in contrast, rare. Mercifully, mines that feature multiple examples of this combination and that sit, unguarded, in close proximity to widely promoted family attractions are rarer still.

"It is clear that premises (land) in their current state pose a very significant risk to the public ... . In the absence of remedial action, my client requires that each of the three features are separately declared as statutory nuisances."

The parish council would not comment on the family's request.

Parish councillors previously approved an educational programme, rejecting the consultant's recommendations on how to deal with the features.

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