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DIRECTORS' REPORT FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31ST MARCH 2014

The prime focus of the group this year has been to seek enforcement of the Enforcement Order for the removal of the remainder of the sea wall which was built in 2004 without planning consent and which was first the subject of Enforcement Notice in 2007. 

We are also pressing for the demolition of the derelict buildings and debris on the beach, and for the removal of the Sales Office up to the top car park.  This is an on-going situation and will occupy our efforts for some time to come no doubt.  Further, and since outline planning consent has now been granted for 511 residential apartments on the beaches of Carlyon Bay, an 'update' of our Mission Statement was agreed and now reads as follows:

"Carlyon Bay Watch exists to raise awareness of the destruction of St Austell's once family-friendly beach, to highlight the threat to public access, and to campaign for any development to be safe, in scale and sympathetic to the coastal landscape of South Cornwall".

This statement will be particularly relevant once the specific development proposals are known. 

During the year, we have seen our Community Asset bid for the beach duly registered at County Hall, and we've had an almost continuous involvement in the various Planning Applications lodged by the developer.

In November, we had the welcome news that members of Cornwall Council's Planning Committee are now at least beginning to recognise the weight of the problem surrounding the obstinacy of the developer to complete removal of the sea wall in accordance with the 2007 decision of the Secretary of State, the Council having refused the last two applications for extensions of time.

We've launched a petition to get the beach cleaned up, now approaching 900 signatures, and have secured media coverage with a number of useful letters published, together with our latest Newsletter.  We have also had some TV coverage. 

Our website has been overhauled and improved, with an increasing number of 'hits'.

A sub-committee has been considering a range of alternative developments for the beach, and these are presently being very approximately costed for viability.

A number of Committee members have been personally involved with the latest Public Inquiry into the Public Right of Way across the beach.  Much hard work had been done over a considerable period of time to achieve another inquiry, the outcome of which is awaited later in the current year.

There is a special commendation due to member Mrs Anne Langley for her 'almost' achievement in the recent Cornwall Council elections, and for those members who have been particularly active in supporting the work of our group, with hearty thanks for the benefit of their efforts and their expertise on our behalf.

We shall seek to continue to maintain the strength of this group until the future of our beaches is settled.

Barry Squires, Chairman.




THE BIRTH OF CARLYON BAY WATCH

In 2002 development company Ampersand acquired the old Cornwall Coliseum and announced plans in the local press to develop the site into a huge leisure and holiday complex.

During a public meeting called to reassure concerned local residents, Mark Frazer, vice-chairman of a local residents’ association, challenged Ampersand to meet members of the community. The public relations advantages to the developer were clear and it was arranged that a Focus Group would be held. CrinnisDGReynoldscollection(iA)12

Several interested locals came forward but it was soon recognised that as well as regular meetings with Ampersand, they needed a separate forum to air the issues. 

Carlyon Bay Watch (CBW) was formed as an umbrella group for the various residents' associations and to assess local feeling and to establish an informal mandate for action and support.

A petition was organised in the summer of 2003 after two additional revised planning applications were passed by Restormel Borough Council which detailed 511 apartments, a hotel complex, leisure and retail facilities, bars and restaurants. 

The petition called for a public inquiry into the proposals and a total of 929 signatures were gathered (more than 800 of those from the Carlyon Bay area), a high proportion of local households.

 As the implications of the development became clear, CBW hardened into a single issue pressure group committed to opposing the Ampersand project.

CBW wrote to all the organisations likely to be affected by or to have interest in the Beach development, such as statutory consultees, the local council, the Ombudsman, the Advertising Standards Authority, our local MP, local papers. 

But the public face of the campaign was an attempt to try to draw wider attention to what was happening.

 PRESS COVERAGE

The breakthrough came when we finally snagged the interest of the national media. In July 2003 a small group of us took a minibus to Plymouth to present the petition of 929 signatures to the Government Office of the South West (GOSW) calling for a public inquiry.

It attracted the attention of local and national press and broadcast media including The Guardian, Breakfast Television, Spotlight, BBC News and Radio 4.

We organised an Information and Awareness Day in November 2003, which was well attended. This entailed an exhibition of some of the information we had uncovered and a panel of local experts contributed to an open debate on the issues that evening.

LOCAL SUPPORTCBW March 28 February 2004

In January 2004, the developer closed the public access road to the beach so in February CBW organised a demonstration to exercise our right to access and convene on the beach. 

We organised a piper and, in spite of the weather, had a rousing turnout of over 350 supporters and plenty of interest from the press. 

In June 2004 Restormel Borough Councillors listened to nearly three hours of debate about the proposals for the revised sea wall and beach re-charge proposals at the Beach development. Those who spoke in favour of the proposals came from local hoteliers, tradespeople and investors who might fairly be thought to have some commercial interest in the outcome of the meeting. However, the prevailing mood was a huge groundswell of support for a Public Inquiry among the large number who attended.

On 30th October 2005 CBW held a second successful and well attended Information and Awareness day on the Beach plans, exploring topics such as ‘Flood Risk’, ‘Transport Impacts’ and ‘Local Ecology’. 

There was a steady stream of visitors all afternoon and at 7:30pm the hall was packed for an audio visual presentation by CBW. Yet again, the CBW community mandate was confirmed by the attendance and the supportive tenor of the crowd.

We began experiencing success on four key fronts - pushing for a public inquiry, arguing for access, challenging the Ampersand public relations effort ( with our own steady stream of press releases ) and in monitoring, taking feedback and reporting back on the general impact of the development.

Warning sign on the beachPUBLIC INQUIRY

We encouraged everyone with interest in exploring the ramifications of the development plans to write to the office of the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, then responsible for local development issues. 

After initially saying that it was not needed, in August 2004 GOSW finally called a Public Inquiry. Although we have no confirmation of it, it felt as if all the attention and letters had affected this change of opinion. 

The developer subsequently sidestepped the scrutiny of an inquiry by withdrawing the two add-on planning applications the inquiry was to investigate, but we still regard this as a success.


The background research members have put in has also been vital. One member tracked down a piece of legislation designed to protect areas like our beach and submitted an application to register part of Carlyon Bay Beach as a Village Green. CBW members helped collect the evidence statements and they amounted to 63% of the households in the catchment of the Village Green which is a first for an application of this kind. Owing to the care and thoroughness with which the case was prepared, it was decided that this too, merited a public inquiry. Unfortunately the case was deemed not made. This was a disappointment to very many local people and visitors who had contributed but we soon realised that the louder voice is the regional and national one. The wider issue is that of long term coastal management.

WEBSITE

The Coliseum in full use
 As it was - the popular beach and leisure complex on Crinnis. 
Shorthorn and Polgaver beaches in the background were left undeveloped and supported a wealth of wildlife.

We have to accept that a precedent has been set for building on the beach and we have said consistently that we would support a proportionate, environmentally-sensitive, safe and sustainable development restricted to the brownfield site on Crinnis, where the Coliseum complex grew out of the lido started in the 1930s.

Our website was originally launched in September 2003. We set out to make it factual in tone.  

We have had support emails from all over UK and made contact with other environmentally motivated campaigns across the country. It also allows the media complete access to our point of view. We hope this means we are fairly represented.

FUNDING

We are a not for profit company funded by donations and raffles. Members contribute in their own way by not reclaiming expenses for things like telephone calls, stamps, stationery, photocopying and travelling expenses. 

One member, a successful local businessman, donated office space and a phone line which made regular meetings possible as well as providing the vital administrative backup to field media inquiries. 

Others outside the core group contribute time by helping to deliver regular newsletters and these in turn bring in more donations. In this way our costs and expenses have been extremely light.


 

 

 


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