The Cornish Buildings Group is calling on Cornwall Council to rethink radical changes being made to the Environment and Planning departments. Impacts on front line services, such as, the demise of the natural resources team and a significant reduction in numbers of conservation officers and archaeologists will undoubtedly affect the quality of advice given in respect of supporting effective planning and historic environment services.
Paul Holden, Chairman of the group said ‘Mistakes in the treatment of our historic environment are now becoming increasingly common. The fact that no Environmental Assessments were conducted before building the new Sainsbury’s superstore in Penzance or demolishing the Foster Complex in Bodmin is shameful. Likewise the obvious neglect of other heritage assets, such as, the grade 2* listed St Columb Rectory (pictured); the Georgian house in Chapel Street, Penzance (formerly the Ganges Restaurant); St Peter’s Church, Mithian Parish Church at Chiverton; Redruth Old Fire Station and the site adjoining Hayman House in Redruth show a real lack of commitment by Cornwall Council towards our rich and varied heritage’.The Group also feel that because of austerity cut-backs insufficent regard might be given to the settings of designated historic assets in the wake of numerous wind-farm applications.
Mr Holden added ‘There appears to be a real lack of engagement now between the public and planning and enforcement and historic buildings specialists. With more people being forced out of key positions by the corporate strategies that Cornwall Council are adopting the potential to make mistakes through the neglect of our environment are prevalent’.
John Stengelhofen, Vice Chair of the Group, added ‘It is a huge disappointment that as the county’s natural resources decline towards non-existence we show less and less concern to preserve the landscape and its historic features. As well as providing us with a pleasant environment in which to live they are the resource of our remaining industry. Tourism will be compromised with no effective planning control and no effective historic environment department. Cornwall Council will ensure we spoil what is left of our countryside as, in turn, the historic built environment is progressively ruined. The tourist industry will inevitably join mining and quarrying as just another industry of the past.’