2011 update 4 August
It's been some time since our last update. We've been waiting to see what proposals might be put forward for the Pink Hotel site. We've also been thinking about our overall strategy: how to focus our energy in the coming months and keep the key issues alive.
Pink Hotel site development
So far there have been no new proposals, either formal or informal, since we met the developer's architect in April. I believe we should take this as a measure of our success in drawing attention to the threat posed by inappropriate development. We will of course let you know immediately should there be anything new to report.
Planning: the big debate.
It doesn't sound exciting, but planning decisions are the biggest threat to Pendower and the landscape of Cornwall in general. In all our discussions with supporters and many others, the issue we keep coming back to is planning policy, how it works in practice and what people can do to make sure that policies which protect the landscape are respected.
By way of background, you may know that Pendower Beach lies within Cornwall's AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). In theory this gives it protection status equivalent to that of a National Park such as Dartmoor. It is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). AONBs and SSSIs are known as designated amenity areas.
In May we wrote to Cornwall Council asking them to clarify their planning policy as applied to the Pink Hotel site, given that it lies within the AONB. We also asked that they make their policy clear to the developer at the first possible opportunity. Their response has not been as robust in support of landscape protection as we would have wished.
Our concerns have grown as a result of the latest Government proposals for changes in planning policy, which put the emphasis on economic benefit. They have been called a developer's charter. (See National Trust and CPRE campaigns below.)
At the same time structural changes, now that Cornwall is a Unitary Authority, put former District Council policies to protect the landscape at risk. These so called 'saved policies' may be overridden by policies outlined in Cornwall's Core Strategy Options Paper. The public were invited to comment on these options earlier in the year. The Friends of Pendower Beach made a submission to Cornwall Council's Strategic Policy Team in which we emphasised the importance of protecting all designated amenity areas throughout the whole of Cornwall and protecting them from all but essential development.
What more can we all do to affect policy, such that Pendower is protected in the long term? I wouldn't be writing this now if I thought the answer was 'nothing'. Our 800 strong supporter base and the effect we've had so far on the developer, on the Planning Department and in the media should encourage us. So what next?
Planning Policy and Practice open meeting: 7pm Tuesday 11th October, Gerrans Memorial Hall.
If you want to find out more about how planning works put this date in your diary. Our Councillor Julian German will be there. We will be inviting senior Planning Officers and other County Councillors responsible for planning, Parish Councillors and representatives of the National Trust and the AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) Partnership. I hope our MP Sarah Newton will also be there.
We want everyone to go away with a clearer picture of what is happening and what action we need to take: for example we can influence policy by means of Parish Plans, Supplementary Development Plans and Supplementary Planning Documents, which enable local people to say what policies they want in their area.
This is also your chance to tell us what role you want the Friends of Pendower Beach to play. I don't think we can protect Pendower if we focus just on the Pink Hotel site development. The biggest threat comes from these broader issues.
National Trust and Council for the Protection of Rural England campaigns
Please support these campaigns. Both have been launched in protest at Government proposals to change the planning laws. Simply follow the links below. You will also find details on our website: www.friendsofpendower.co.uk.
The National Trust: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-chl/w-countryside_environment/w-planning-landing.htm
This information is from our Communications Coordinator Brian Perman:
Friends on Flickr
Over the last few months several Friends have sent us photographs of Pendower beach. Although we have been able to provide links so others can look at them (the standard has been remarkably high) it has not been practicable to offer downloads so, if the owner agreed, an image could be shared - in a personal photo library or as a screen saver.
Now I'm pleased to announce we have set up a Friends of Pendower Beach Group on Flickr. The group will allow anyone who is a member of Flickr, or who joins Flickr (membership is free), to upload and download photographs to share within the group. The web address is: http://www.flickr.com/groups/pendowerfriends .
If uploading and downloading is a bit too much for your computing skills you can simply email your agreement to share your pictures within the group and send them as an attachment to the group moderator, whose email address is listed on the pages. Should the group prove popular, we might encourage some friendly competition later in the year, by asking group members to rate photographs on the site.
A geological trail between Pendower and Carne
If you are planning to spend some time at Pendower while the summer (what summer?) lasts and want to learn a little more about the beach, remember there is a useful link to A geological trail between Pendower and Carne by John Macadam on the geology page of our website at: http://www.friendsofpendower.co.uk
Just a note to remind you of the National Trust beach cleans on Pendower at 2 pm on the first Monday of every month. A warm thank you to all of you who have been down to help. Particular thanks to Caitlin Smith aged 7 and Daraka Smith aged 2 who helped with the May bank holiday beach clean and were delighted to collect a chocolate bunny (supplied by FPB) as well as a lot of rubbish.
Finally warmest thanks for all your support.
Friends of Pendower Beach