11th JUNE 2013: CEG FORCES DELAY ON SHEET PILING DECISION
Just hours before Cornwall councillors were due to decide whether to allow CEG's application to retain the remaining sheet piling and rock armour, CEG informed them that they had withdrawn their application. They say they will submit yet another application asking for an even longer period of time - leaving the rusting iron pilings around the sales hut at the western end of the beach in place until 2016!
It's the last section of a massive sea defence constructed without planning consent in 2004. CEG were told to remove it in 2008 (and given three years to comply). Most of it was pulled out in 2011, leaving about 80 metres protecting the information and sales cabin. They were given a 12-month extension to give them "time to move the sales hut to the top car park". A deadline of 31st December 2012 came and went and then CEG put in an application to extend the deadline again until July 2014. On 10th June Cornwall Council's Central area planning committee were due to decide whether to allow this application - but just a few hours before the 2pm meeting the committee was informed the application had been withdrawn pending yet another application asking for yet more time.
In the short term it means months before the application can be submitted, followed by a consultation period, then a planning officer's report, then a council decision. So another summer season will have come and gone with immense harm being done to the tourist industry and a local amenity caused by this rusting eyesore.
Then if they are allowed this extension it means visitors and locals will have to put up with it blighting the beach for another three years - and even then we believe CEG will just keep on making more applications. There is no need for the hut to be there - they already have permission to move it to the top car park, but it seems they don't intend to do anything to make the beach better for visitors in the interim before any building begins.
Again and again we've seen these delaying tactics and CBW believes they should not be allowed to keep getting away with it. We're calling on Cornwall Council to carry out the Enforcement Order and make the developers remove their unauthorised structures.
10TH MAY 2013: DEVELOPERS APPEAL OVER PUBLIC FOOTPATH
The developers, CEG, have appealed against the decision by Cornwall Council to approve a Public Right of Way across Crinnis beach to the waterline. As usual they have waited until the very last minute to lodge the appeal thereby spinning out the process for as long as possible. It means a decision will have to be made by the Secretary of State and may lead to a Public Inquiry. Once again it shows that CEG, despite their protestations of guaranteeing public access, again and again make every effort to obstruct it.
The long-running issue of whether a Public Right of Way down to Crinnis should be extended to the waterline was approved by Cornwall councillors in January. It was the culmination of a long campaign by two local residents, Gloria Price and Frances Taylor, with the help of the Open Spaces Society.
CEG claimed there is no public right of way beyond this and they closed access to the foreshore when they pleased with fencing and locked gates. But people have enjoyed access to the sea here for generations and unless it is enshrined in law it will only be allowed at the whim of the developer. CEG claims public access is guaranteed through the Section 106 agreements drawn up as part of their planning permission - but there are plenty of examples of Section 106 agreements being changed at a later date.
It might have been the demo in March and the degree of publicity it got in the local press or it might be their sense of public spirit, but CEG are carrying out a limited amount of tidying up on the Carlyon Bay beaches. Some rusted panelling is being replaced and the areas of plastic strips and exposed material on the foreshore are being cut back to make it look slightly better for the summer season. However, fencing has been put in on Polgaver to prevent anyone walking in the wooded and shrub area at the back of the beach. Just another reminder that recreation areas once enjoyed by the public have been closed off.
There will be no attempt to clean up the derelict Coliseum site so visitors will still be greeted by partially dismantled buildings on what was once the best beach ion the area.
Around 50 people marched down the Public Right of Way to Crinnis Beach on Wednesday, 27th March to highlight the disgust of many local people at the way it has been left in such a mess. They were calling for it to be cleaned up in time for the summer season so that locals and visitors could enjoy the beach during the time of delay before building starts.
The protesters gathered with Cornish flags before walking down past the wreckage of the Coliseum building with many people remembering the good times they'd had there. Others said they used to go to the beach every week during the summer as it was good for swimming and the trees and shrub area at the back was popular for walking.
All were shocked and saddened to see what had happened to the beach and a couldn't understand how the developers could be allowed to leave it in such a state.
The demonstration was organised after a campaign on Facebook (not organised by CBW) and many more people said they would have come along if it was at the weekend. So it's hoped that more will be organised and we can show the developers how much many people care.
FEBRUARY 14th 2013: GATES REMOVED AFTER FOOTPATH VICTORY
Following the decision by Cornwall Council to approve a Public Right of Way across Crinnis beach to the waterline, the developers have removed gates which were used to prevent such access for 12 hours a day. CEG have until late March to lodge an appeal against the decision - although they have to put forward good reasons backed by evidence. The evidence put forward by the two local residents, Gloria Price and Frances Taylor, who brought the application for the Right of Way, was accepted by Councillors after a thorough examination by the council's officers. So while we wait to see if an appeal is made, at least the public can walk down the road to the beach and onto the foreshore without hindrance. Although guards are still present at the top of Beach Road, CEG say they are there to prevent people driving down, now that the temporary car park at beach level has been closed.
Please remember - you have every right to walk down that road on the Public Right of Way which carries on across the front of the derelict Coliseum building and on to the foreshore.
We also note that work seems to be under way to board up the crumbling remains of the Coliseum - whether to protect the public or any potentially valuable scrap material inside, we don't know.
JANUARY 28th 2013: CAMPAIGNERS' VICTORY OVER FOOTPATH
The long-running issue of whether a Public Right of Way down to Crinnis should be extended to the waterline has been approved by Cornwall councillors. It means victory for two local residents, Gloria Price and Frances Taylor, who have been campaigning on this for many years with the help of the Open Spaces Society. The developers CEG have the right to appeal which would mean it would have to go to the Secretary of State and a possible Public Inquiry.
The fencing at Point 14 which is closed and locked at night, preventing access to the foreshore
CEG claimed there is no public right of way beyond this and they close access to the foreshore when they please and always close it overnight by means of fencing and locked gates. But local footpath campaigners say people have enjoyed access to the sea at Crinnis for generations and unless it is enshrined in law it will only be allowed at the whim of the developer. The developers claim public access is guaranteed through the Section 106 agreements drawn up as part of their planning permission - but there are plenty of examples of Section 106 agreements being changed at a later date.
"The report concludes that there is sufficient evidence to show that a right of way subsists or is reasonably alleged to subsist along the line of the claimed route. It also concludes that on the evidence available there is sufficient evidence to show that on the balance of probabilities a footpath exists and that the Order should be confirmed by the Council if unopposed or sent to the Secretary of State for confirmation if the Order is opposed.
It is therefore recommended to Members that the available evidence is sufficient for the Council to make an Order to add the claimed path to the definitive map and statement. It is further recommended that the Order be confirmed if unopposed or submitted to the Secretary of State for confirmation if the Order is opposed."
DECEMBER 6th 2012: CEG PLANS ON HOLD - AND THEY BLAME LOCALS
CEG has announced that it is delaying its building plans for the foreseeable future. But rather than blaming the economic climate (which would be understandable and not surprising) they have chosen to put the blame on two local residents, footpath campaigners, who have been trying to maintain public access to the beach. They claim the "uncertainty" surrounding an application to extend the existing Public Right of Way down Beach Road so that it reaches the foreshore means they cannot design their site. But this application was made in 2009 (before planning permission was granted) and it's wrong to imply it's some sort of time wasting tactic by the residents. Now it's due to be decided by Cornwall Council within a fortnight - so why are they claiming now that this "uncertainty" is due to the Right of Way application?
It is utterly obnoxious that this developer should slur local residents who, with the support incidentally of Carlyon Parish Council, have only been trying to make sure they can still use a route which they have been using for decades. The Right of Way which was approved in 2008 at the moment ends at a point just beyond the Coliseum building (the so-called Point 14 on the definitive map). Campaigners want to have it extended so that people can get to the foreshore as of right - not just when it suits the developers.
Gates are locked overnight preventing access to the shore
The notice is clear: "Permission may be withdrawn at any time"
But despite their claims to want public access to continue they blocked the route in the first place and it took years of effort by local people to have it proclaimed a Right of Way. In fact it was the developer who was responsible for time wasting in that case by not withdrawing their objections until the last moment when a Public Inquiry had already been scheduled.
Now they're objecting to it being extended to the shore (and demonstrate their intentions by the fact that they use locked gates to prevent access to the tideline at their whim now) because whatever they say about welcoming public access, unless it is enshrined in law they could stop it whenever they wished.
This is the official Carlyon Bay Watch response to CEG's press statement:
CARLYON BAY DEVELOPMENT HALTED?
With only a few days to go before Cornwall Council’s Rights of Way panel is set to announce its decision about an Application to extend a public right of way, Carlyonbaywatch is at a loss to understand the developer’s need to publish its decision to ‘slow down’ the development. If this was an attempt to influence the decision makers, we can only hope that they are made of sterner stuff. The Application to extend the Public Right of Way from Point 14 onto the tide-line has been known about for nearly three years. It thus appears ingenuous, to say the least, for the Developer to now seek to lay responsibility for the proposed “slow down” upon the PRoW Applicants. Further, what the developer chooses to describe as a “temporary position of uncertainty” has been a known and certain fact for at least eight years, when this route was marched by 300 local residents on a bitterly cold Sunday early in 2004.And the world economy ? That’s been on the blink since 2009.
It was the developer that chose to block the route to the beach in the first place, despite being alerted to this problem those eight years back.It is the same developer that has since steadfastly refused to countenance any accommodation whatever of the submissions made by Carlyonbaywatch and many others.It is the developer that arbitrarily, and without a shred of planning consent, chose to create the monstrous obstruction of steel and rock in 2004, and has had to be driven by Borough Council and County Enforcement action toward its removal. It is the developer who repeatedly “markets” public access, but yet has physically and regularly locked at whim a route used by locals and visitors for decades.
It is the developer that chose (despite having been given in 2010 a Planning Consent to move the sales hut to the top car park) to leave nearly a kilometre of the Sea Wall in situ, and to disregard the terms of the Enforcement Notice. It is the developer that chose, equally arbitrarily, to barricade the highly important South West Coastal Path which traversed the top car park, thereby forcing walkers onto its chosen fenced route.
It is the developer that deliberately also chose to utterly exclude the key local Resident Group from its Beach Liaison Committee, irrespective of a written promise of constructive and meaningful debate given by that Resident Group, and despite many public declarations of support by Carlyonbaywatch for an ecologically proportionate plan for the brownfield site.
It now appears that this developer is left to seek a scapegoat for its miscalculations whilst it rings its corporate hands about the totally foreseeable and mounting problems surrounding this over-ambitious development.
NOVEMBER 2012: 'TEMPORARY' SEA DEFENCE - STILL HERE IN 2014?
The sheet piling and rock armour still disfiguring the western end of Crinnis beach should be removed by the end of the year according to the Enforcement Order from Cornwall Council - but now CEG has applied to have that deadline extended for another 18 months. We believe they should not be indulged yet again - if you agree please make your views known to the Council by the 30th November.
The remaining section of the sheet piling and rock armour on Crinnis beach, which is supposed to be removed by the end of 2012, might still be blighting the shoreline for the next two summers, if the developers have their way. The remaining section is protecting the information/sales hut and although CEG has already got permission to move the hut to the top car park it has made no attempt to do so or to remove the sea defence.
Iron pilings left to protect the information hut should be removed by 31st December 2012
Now, a month before the deadline for its removal, they have applied to leave it there until June 2014.
The sheet piling and rock armour are the last section of a massive sea defence constructed without planning consent in 2004. In 2008 CBW managed to persuade the former Restormel Borough Council to issue an Enforcement Notice to remove it. CEG eventually complied in 2011 but was given a 12-month extension to give them "time to move the sales hut to the top car park" Now here we go again with yet more of the same dragging of the feet.
CBW believes they should not be allowed to get away with this. We have already seen how a family were put in danger this summer during heavy seas at high tide when they had to scramble over the rock armour. (see below)
We believe CEG has been allowed, first by Restormel and now Cornwall Council to get away with delaying tactics for too long.
OCTOBER 2012: THE INVASION OF CARLYON BAY
A RAF Chinook helicopter transports sections of a temporary bridge over the river at Shorthorn
Landing craft, helicopters, hovercraft, tracked vehicles and lorries as well as several hundred Royal Marines and Royal Navy personnel - a military exercise on the Carlyon Bay beaches on Saturday 8th October proved an exciting spectacle.
Members of the public were not kept away and so were treated to a close up view of all the action with children and even dogs playing feet away from moving vehicles. It was a refreshing change in our Health and Safety culture and its success shown by everyone behaving sensibly and just moving out of the way if asked by the military.
From around 8am to 8pm the beaches saw the Marines practising embarking and landing on landing craft and hovercraft, while Marine drivers took turns in driving lorries on and off large landing craft. A temporary bridge was constructed on top of the existing bridge over the river at Shorthorn to take the weight of heavy vehicles - sections of the bridge were flown in by a RAF Chinook helicopter.
Marines hit the beach as members of the public enjoy the action
A difficult angle as a lorry is driven off a landing craft
The steepness of the beach and the varying height of the tide posed interesting problems with the threat of the wheels sticking in the sand. A metal track was laid to help give the wheels a solid base but skill was needed to stop the lorries sliding off into the soft 'sand'.
The equipment and personnel came from three Navy ships anchored in St Austell Bay (one of them a leased roll-on roll-off ferry), although some diesel and water tankers spent the night in the top car park off Beach Road.
A hovercraft takes off from Crinnis
Rigid inflatable boats approach Crinnis beach
By the end of Saturday all were taken off the beaches to the waiting ships and were apparently due to sail to another beach to do the exercise all over again - this time on a beach with different conditions.
21st AUGUST 2012: SAFETY FEARS OVER LOCKING OF GATES
Carlyon Parish Council is writing to Cornwall Council after receiving complaints from residents that CEG is locking gates at the end of the Public Right of Way which goes down Beach Road and along the front of the Coliseum building to Point 14 as designated on public footpath maps. In particular people are angry and concerned about safety after gates were locked during an incoming tide with rough seas - trapping some walkers on the beach. They were forced to make their way to the steps at the western end and had to clamber over the rock armour left at that end to protect the information centre - their dog was washed off the rocks and was only saved by its lead.
WHAT IS POINT 14?
This photo dates from before most of the shuttering was removed but it shows the information cabin at the bottom of the picture where rock armour and shuttering remain. The Public Right of Way is towards the top of the picture between the white and yellow buildings. As can be seen the high tide reaches this point first. The right of way ends roughly at the place where you can see a line of vegetation- this is the so-called Point 14. Beyond this CEG claim it as private land - so they erected temporary fencing. Cornwall Council has until December to rule on extending the right of way beyond Point 14 to the foreshore.
Anne Langley, a CBW member who was born and brought up in the area, has also raised the matter with St Blaise Council - the parish includes the eastern end of the Carlyon Bay beaches.
Her letter to the council raises some important issues and deserves some attention:
"I am very reliably informed that some local people (3 adults and 1 dog) were using the beaches at Carlyon Bay on the early evening of Wednesday 15th August. When they went down to the beach there were no apparent problems with access and they walked along to Fishing Point. During the time they were there conditions along the coast deteriorated and they could not get out at Fishing Point end, so back tracked along the beach to get out where they had entered the beach on the official footpath to go back up Beach Road. They could not get out. The gate put in by the developer in the fencing had been locked by PJI security, supposedly to stop people using the beach because of the storm. No consideration was given whatsoever for anyone already on the beach wishing to make an escape! The walkers had no option but to proceed to the western end and get off the beach via the steps. With the tide rising around them they had to climb onto the rocks near the sales cabin and one of them almost got washed into the sea. The dog lost its footing and did get washed into the sea and was only saved by the fact that it was on a long lead and the owners managed to pull it back into dry land. The security guards apparently were watching what was happening and aggressively challenged the people about the fact that they were climbing on "their" rocks. (You may recall that this was part of the unauthorised sea wall, subject of enforcement action, which was allowed to remain because of the sales cabin). The western end of this beach is now extremely unstable owing to the "development" which has taken place on the beach by the so-called developer - who is not yet developing anything. It is their direct actions which has made this beach extremely unsafe. As CCC have given consent to develop this beach they must ultimately be responsible for public safety. If the gate put in by the developer had not been locked the people would have been able to exit the beach safely via Beach Road which is where they wanted to get to. Something must be done to stop this ludicrous situation and the answer is not to close it up completely which is obviously what this developer wants.
I was employed by RBC when consent was first granted for development of this beach and the promise of "jobs for the locals" was what got it pushed through by Mr McNally. I was also told by those who made the decision that public access would not be jeopardised by the development. I had more than one Councillor at that time assure me that if there was any question of public access being denied, they would not have approved the application. Sadly this assurance is now in doubt.
As you know I have used this beach personally for over 50 years and the local people always regarded the beach as theirs. It was acknowledged that the buildings were private. There is no other way to put it - this greedy developer has now fenced off what the public have used for generations and made no escape whatsoever for inclement conditions.
I was recently interviewed in person about my use of the beach by Steve Dyer from CCC because of the last part of our official footpath down Beach Road to the beach being fenced by the developer at "Point 14". A point which has only recently popped up on paperwork. For years there was no such a place. People went to the beach. They would not have gone down to "Point 14" and turned around and gone home again! This last section of footpath (which was under water during the storms) is now the subject of discussion at a modification order panel in September - hence Steve Dyer collecting evidence of its use. Apparently he has 36 witness statements. I have told him I can get more if required.
As at least part of the beach falls within your patch, can you please make known this situation before there is a fatality. Anyone using the beach years ago would never have been placed in danger because they could always get far enough back from the sea to escape safely. The developer has also put up notices stating "Private Beach" with permissive use only all over the place, the Public Right of Way exists to the beach and is not private. We do not want the beach CLOSED because nobody can get out because the developer has CLOSED A GATE WHICH SHOULD NOT BE THERE ON A PUBLIC FOOTPATH.
We have seen Councillors come and go - developers come and go - the beach remains and the local people have a right to use it - let's keep it that way!"
Not only are these problems becoming apparent but we were contacted by Julie Hensby who told us:
"I arrived at the beach at 6.45 and the security guard had blocked it off but there was clearly lots of people still on the beach and parked at the bottom car park. I asked him if he would mind if we parked down there as we would only be an hour and my little boy aged four is disabled after fighting a brain tumour since age one. He point blank refused so I had to carry my son down the steps to get access to the beach. When we left there were still people parked in the bottom car park and he was still there . I posted this on Facebook and it seems there are other disabled people that have had the same problem."
We suggested Mrs Hensby contact the local press and her experience was reported by the Cornish Guardian. They asked CEG for a response and were told it was a case of 'managing the public's safety'.
CEG puts great weight on its minibus taking people with mobility problems down to the beach from the top car park. But, as with so much else on this beach now, it is not by right and only operates when CEG wants it to.
13th AUGUST 2012: INJURED 65ft WHALE WASHED UP AT SHORTHORN
The 65ft Fin whale on Shorthorn Beach
Hundreds of people descended on the Carlyon Bay beaches when a 65ft whale was washed up at Shorthorn. The female Fin whale had obvious wounds and gashes and experts said she appeared to be undernourished. It was decided she was too sick to be taken out to sea again and, before vets could act to put her out of her misery, she died a few hours after being washed up. The next day the carcass was towed to the nearby Par Docks and later taken by low loader to an abbatoir in Liskeard.
The crowds of people who turned up to see the whale caused considerable traffic jams in the approach road to Carlyon Bay beaches with cars parking along residential roads after the beach car park rapidly became full. CEG, the owners of the beach, on police advice, set up barriers on the beach and on Beach Road to control access.
It seems that CEG will also have to bear the cost of disposing of the whale's carcass.