Tolcarne access delays
THE owner of Tolcarne may be forced to close the beach for the summer season as Cornwall Council has failed to stabilise the cliff face following the rockfall in November.
Nick Briant says it would be “virtually impossible” to trade with the road leading down to the beach being closed as access is needed for the emergency services, supplies and rubbish and laundry collection. He was initially told repair works would start in January, and then in June, but now Cormac is reportedly estimating the scheme cannot get underway until the autumn after holding a site meeting on April 11.
Cornwall Council states the design solutions to stabilise the cliff have taken longer than anticipated but the authority, which closed the road for public safety, could temporarily re-open the route for the summer season. It is thought a mesh structure will be installed around the cliff face to prevent further rockfalls.
The road closure has already had a big impact through cancellations at the Tolcarne Apartments as many people have been unable to negotiate the steep steps leading down to the beach.
The under-construction Colonial bar and restaurant with letting rooms, which was due to be unveiled in May, has been delayed by two months as materials have to be brought across via Towan Beach.
Mr Briant, who owns Tolcarne Beach through his business Britanic Industries, said: “It is almost impossible to trade without the road as it is needed for emergency vehicles, laundry and rubbish collection and for supplies to be brought down. The rockfall occurred in November and there does not seem to have been a lot that has happened since. I was given a date of January and then February. Cormac held a site meeting on Tuesday and now I hear the work to mesh the cliff might not take place until the autumn. We’re still working with the council to resolve the situation.
“What the council has said is they could open the road for the summer, which would be great, but if it is closed and the cliff is not repaired until the autumn, we have to seriously look at not opening.
“It is already impacting the business as we have lost a lot of bookings at the apartments because people do not want to walk down the steps with their luggage. Some do not mind but we have had cancellations. It is worrying for the season because we have got a lot of family bookings, which is exactly what Newquay needs.
“We were also due to finish The Colonial in the second week of May but we’re at least two months behind schedule because the road has been closed. We have had to pay for haulage to bring all the materials across Towan Beach.”
Cornwall Council says the disruption to local businesses is “regretted” but stated public safety is “paramount”.
A spokesman said: “The design solutions for this complex scheme have taken longer than anticipated, with local ecology also needing to be accommodated. As such, the works will not commence in early June as originally hoped, but urgent consideration is being given to providing a safe route for pedestrians to ease the access issues currently being experienced.
“The disruption to local businesses, caused by the natural failure of the rock face, is regretted; but public safety is paramount and permanent engineering solutions need to be robust and undertaken sensitive to the environment in which they are placed.”
Cornwall councillors Pat Lambshead and John Fitter are putting pressure on the authority to get the cliff stabilised as soon as possible.
Cllr Lambshead said: “This situation is totally unacceptable. The business down on the beach will be unable to function and could go to the wall!
“We are supposed to be a holiday resort but people will not visit Tolcarne if there are no facilities.”
Cllr John Fitter added: “The whole manner in which this has been dealt with is disgraceful and just confirms the monopoly position that Cormac enjoys with jobs like this. If the job had gone to a private contractor it would have been completed certainly in time for the May Whitsun Bank Holiday and all process and rules that the contractor would have needed to follow would have been completed correctly.
“It is not rocket science.
“If they need advice they should speak to the highway authorities in Scotland who deal with this type of problem in the Highlands on a daily basis and certainly do not take nine months to address a job that should take approximately four weeks in construction time. I despair we are going backwards and the speed is increasing.”
- 27th April 2017 16:23
- The Local council are a joke and it seems to be unable to comprehend the urgency of situations like this. We have spent our summer holidays in Newquay for the past 40 years and its not the first time that problems like this have dragged on. Great Western and Towen beaches were affected by similar incidents in the past few years. Its the beautiful beaches that we come down to Newquay to enjoy, not the worn out dirty town centre and overpriced parking.