Sunday, November 20, 2005

Nancekuke Clean-up

Preparatory work to excavate material from the first of five dump sites at Nancekuke, Portreath, is due to start in spring 2006.

Further investigative work needs to be undertaken on the other four sites, with a start to be made on two of them early in the new year.

The Ministry of Defence is cleaning up waste dumped at Nancekuke when the former chemical defence establishment, which produced nerve gas, closed.

Group Captain Jayne Millington, a Royal Air Force spokesperson, said: "The ministry is totally committed to undertake this highly technical multi-million pound programme which will tackle this environmental legacy issue.

"A comprehensive programme of work has been designed to allow us to remediate Dumpsite C and this will start in spring 2006."

Kerrier councillor Pat Aston said: "The council welcomes further details of the remediation programme and supports all the measures that are being taken to ensure that this process is completed safely."

In 2001, the Ministry of Defence opted to carry out remedial work on the five dumps at the former chemical defence establishment site, which had been identified by the Environment Agency as presenting a potential risk to the environment.

Poison Pen Letter

A poison pen letter writer who has sent hate mail to publicans in the Portreath area for up to 20 years was yesterday at the centre of a police investigation.

Officers were trying to piece together the identity of the mystery writer who apparently holds a grudge against groups including gay people and single mothers.

This week Clem Tregear, landlord of the Waterfront Inn at Portreath, told how he had been bombarded with letters from the same author for about a decade.

They arrived regularly while he was running the nearby Bridge Inn for six years from the mid-1990s and continued during his four-year spell at the Rambling Miner at Chacewater.

"I've got boxes of letters and now we are getting about one a week here," said Mr Tregear. "The writer appears not to like single mothers, gay people or anybody who doesn't conform to the behaviour they expect.

"We had one letter at the Bridge Inn which upset us because it inferred that a barmaid was a 'woman of the night'. That was a scurrilous suggestion."

Phil Fox, who took over the Bridge Inn with his wife, Von, last year, said the recent batch of letters sent to Mr Tregear featured slurs against their staff and customers.

He pointed to one attacking the alleged sexuality of a former bar manager.

The West Briton understands that a local mother was also urged to move away from the community with her child in a recent, abusive letter.

Mr Fox, who believes that two people could be behind the latest spate of poison pen letters, said: "Following the remarks about our bar manager, he left us.

"I've been told that this has been going on for 20 years and I believe that whoever is doing it holds a grudge against humanity as a whole. They've picked on people who use the pub and those who don't.

"It's just got silly now," he added. "We don't know who's doing it so everybody's under suspicion. We just want it to stop."

PC Tim Roberts, of Redruth police, confirmed that he had seized several letters as part of his inquiries to identify the culprit.

He said: "I believe the author may think they are not causing any harm but the content of the letters refers to many local people who are very upset by what is being written.

"I would appeal for any information which may lead to the identity of the author and would ask the letter writer to contact me at Redruth police station."

Friday, November 11, 2005

County Council Election

FIVE candidates have been nominated for a Cornwall County Council by-election at Illogan and Portreath after the resignation of Terry Rowe for health reasons. They are Conservative Mary Anson, of Lanner; Independent Tommy Bray, of Four Lanes; Labour's Tony Bunt, of Camborne; Liberal Democrat David Ekinsmyth, of Tehidy Park; and Liberal Paul Holmes, of Illogan. Voting takes place on November 24. The closing date to register for new postal or proxy votes is November 16.


A charity yesterday praised the courage of a man who carried out a sponsored swim in rough seas on Monday to raise money to help children suffering from bone disease.

Coastguards had pleaded in vain with 28-year-old Dale Austin to postpone his attempt to swim to Gull Rock and back because of the dangerous sea conditions.

Mr Austin, who runs the Retreat cafe overlooking the beach at Portreath, decided on the sponsored swim after receiving a call out of the blue from the charity Strongbones, which helps children suffering from bone disease - from brittle bones to cerebral palsy.

He said: "I had two nephews, Ben and Alex, who lived very short lives because they were born with cerebral palsy. When I got the call, it was a lovely day. The sea was calm and the sun was out, so I decided to swim to Gull Rock."

But the Indian summer was over in Portreath and on the eve of the fundraiser, coastguards had asked Mr Austin to shelve the swim for safety reasons.

Following a good luck kiss from his 28-year-old wife, Andrea, he took the plunge on Monday afternoon under the watchful gaze of the men who had warned of the potential dangers that lay ahead.

"It's choppy out there with a 6ft groundswell and a changeable wind," said a coastguard. "But he's doing a brilliant job under the conditions."

Coastguards watched for 25 minutes as the lone swimmer battled his way through the heavy surf and neared the foot of Gull Rock.

"This is the most dangerous time," one of the coastguards told his colleagues from their vantage point at the beachside car park in Portreath.

"He's nearly there. He's on - you beauty!"

With gulls circling the rock that juts out of the sea around half-a-mile from the shore, Mr Austin clambered to the summit where he celebrated completing the first leg of his charity stunt.

After diving back into the breakers crashing against the rock, his family breathed a sigh of relief.

His mum, Sharon, had hoped to accompany her son there but had been defeated by the strength of the surf.

With more and more well-wishers gathering to cheer the end of the challenge, Mr Austin arrived back on dry land.

"The trickiest part was re-entry from the rock," he said. "But I was delighted that just on the way back to the cafe I raised another £50 on top of the pledges of £150 for the charity."

A spokesman for Strongbones Children's Charitable Trust said: "This was a very brave feat from a very courageous man. Without people like Dale, it would be hard for us to support the number of children that we do."

Remembrance Service

09:00 - 10 November 2005
History was made and recalled when Carn Brea Parish Council staged a Remembrance service at Moorfield Road on Sunday morning.

It was the first time the community had had the opportunity to pay tribute to its Fallen since the unveiling of the war memorial earlier in the year.

Nine standard bearers stood behind the monument as the chairmen of the parish council, district council and neighbouring Illogan parish council joined representatives of the services and community groups to lay wreaths to honour the memories of those who had died in war.

The Rev Lyn Wills led prayers and hymns, and Bill Bishop from the Royal British Legion sounded Reveille and Last Post. Redruth Town Band provided the accompaniment to proceedings.

Malcolm Moyle, chairman of Carn Brea Parish Council, said it had been a moving occasion.

"It was our first Remembrance service following the dedication in April, and we had a wonderful turnout from the British Legion, the services and local people.

"It was an excellent occasion, where we were able to remember for the first time all those from Carn Brea who died in the service of others."

A few hours later and a few miles down the road, residents of Portreath lined the streets of their village to watch the Remembrance parade make its way from the car park on the sea front to St Mary's Church. Again with strong support from the Royal British Legion and RAF Portreath, wreaths were laid by dignitaries and representatives of village community groups.

The Rev Mike Kippax led a short service beside the war memorial, followed by hymn singing in the church. Afterwards Portreath Improvements Committee served refreshments in the institute.

Chris Watts, chairman of Portreath Parish council, said: "The weather was brilliant and a good number of residents lined the road as we marched to the church. The veterans did a tremendous job. The Brownies laid a posy and it was nice to see the young keeping up a tradition."

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A Golden Opportunity?

Many residents will no doubt be aware of the parlous state of our much-loved harbour.
For the past few months the Portreath Regeneration Committee has been in discussion with Kerrier District Council as to the future of Portreath Harbour. We can now publish the results.


On the 11th of October 2005 the cabinet members of Kerrier District Council resolved that “In principle, assist the enablement of Portreath Regeneration Committee to carry out a feasibility study with a contribution of £5,000 from the Matched Funds Reserve, with a view to ultimately acquiring the freehold of Portreath Harbour’.

Kerrier District Council’s Asset Management Plan identifies the on-going requirement for the Council to review its property portfolio; since October 2004 the Council has been considering the options for the harbour..

The Regeneration Committee is a sub committee of Portreath Parish Council, with members drawn from the Parish Council, Portreath Improvements Committee and the Harbour Users Association. Now the decision by Kerrier has been made, we need your thoughts and opinions on the direction and purpose the harbour should take, consequently we are organising a consultation day in the village Institute in the near future. Please come along to discuss possibilities, view ideas and give us your thoughts.

This resolution gives the community of Portreath a chance to guide and safeguard the future of our harbour for the first time in its history.

This is a huge undertaking and decision for the village and members of the committee are well aware of the enormity of this project. However, with the support of residents, village organisations and Kerrier District Council a new body can be formed to manage and administer the harbour and surrounding land into a self-funding enterprise.

Everybody who sees (and smells) the area will be aware of the substantial funding needed to regenerate it. Kerrier District Council has given us this opportunity to commission a feasibility study to see if this project is within our grasp.

The harbour could once again become the focal point of this community but this time under community control.