THE FATE of two major developments, which together could bring 800 homes, two new supermarkets and national retail giants to Newquay, will be decided at a crunch meeting tomorrow.
But council chiefs have advised that only one of the proposals – either the next phase of the Duchy of Cornwall's Nansledan development or Kingsley Development's Trevithick Manor scheme – should be approved due to the economic impact on the town centre.
A leading retail consultant claimed Newquay could lose 33 per cent of its trade if both schemes are given the green light, and the town centre would "fall into the minority" in terms of its share of retail space in the town.
"It is my firm opinion that both proposals, because of their scale, should be considered and determined at the same time in order that the effect of one scheme on the other can be explored. Indeed, such is the scale of impact associated with both schemes, that members may wish to make a choice between them," the council's retail expert wrote.
The Nansledan scheme, which will include 800 homes, a supermarket and retail space, has been earmarked for approval.
A second application by the duchy, for Newquay Strategic Route (NSR), set to be the backbone of Nansledan, eventually linking the A392 at Hendra Holiday Park with the A3058 and A3059 to the north-east of the town, has also been recommended for approval.
Two separate applications are to be heard as part of the Trevithick Manor scheme, by Kingsley Developments. The first, which includes a retail complex, restaurant and a hotel was approved in principle by the committee at the end of last month, subject to certain conditions.
The application will go back before the committee for a final decision tomorrow along with a second application by Kingsley for a supermarket. Both applications have been recommended for refusal.
According to the report, if Nansledan alone was approved, the impact on town centre trade would be 22 per cent, while Trevithick would be 28 per cent.
Despite the perceived impact, Newquay Town Council and Newquay Chamber of Commerce both supported the Kingsley Development scheme. The town council also backs the duchy scheme.
Neither the duchy nor Kingsley Developments would comment ahead of tomorrow's meeting, although the manager of Newquay Business Improvement District (BID) said the developments could exist alongside town centre retailers as long as they complemented, rather than competed against, each other.
Emilie Calhaem, BID manager said: "While out of town developments can be perceived as a direct threat to the high street, provided their offering is complementary rather than competitive, they can add value to a town by encouraging more visitors who might otherwise have gone elsewhere to come and explore.
"It is our hope that Newquay, in five years' time, will be a vibrant destination for both visitors and locals that provides people with a broad retail and leisure offering."
AN HISTORIAN from Heamoor in Penzance has uncovered a wealth of information and photographs of the past after delving into Morrab Library archives.
Roy Blewett has written books about Cornwall's past, covering areas including Four Lanes and topics such as male voice choirs, and his latest exploration saw him stumble across a collection of works by a man named Bill Dale.
Born in 1925, Mr Dale documented many local events that involved the area's buildings, and notable characters.
Mr Blewett said the archive begins before the Second World War and continues through the 20th century. On Saturday he gave an illustrated talk on the subject at the Wesley Rock Chapel.
"The archive covers so much heritage," he said. "It talks about old buildings, places, businesses and people who lived in Heamoor. There are lots of old photos – it's a remarkable account."
It appears Mr Dale not only detailed much of Heamoor's recent interest, but his father, George Dale, was a figure who was himself of interest.
George Dale was a horse groomer for the Bolitho family, and also posed on occasions for the great artist, Alfred Munnings, one of the Lamorna creative set whose life was recently dramatised in the film, Summer In February.
"Munnings used him in several paintings – one of them at St Buryan Races.
"I think it's a hugely important archive," said Mr Blewett. "Heamoor sits between Madron and Penzance and has links with both.
"I was very excited to find all this information. It was interesting to see an area I know well."
A number of other fascinating stories have been rediscovered by Mr Blewett.
These include a Scout hut destroyed by a bomb in the Second World War, and an English fighter plane that crashed nearby.
Mr Dale's daughter, Valerie, is now hoping to get the archive published for all to see.
A HIDDEN gem of Georgian history, Penzance's Jewish cemetery, is raising funds to ensure its miraculous state of preservation is maintained.
Dating back 250 years, the site in Leskinnick Road is recognised by English Heritage as the best-preserved Jewish graveyard of the period to be found anywhere in the country outside London.
Almost 50 of its headstones remain in near-perfect condition and it also contains a partially preserved Bet Tohorah or cleansing house, in which the body of the deceased person was ritually washed before burial.
Leslie Lipert, treasurer of Kehillat Kernow, the Jewish community of Cornwall, said: "The cemetery's miraculous survival is due to the far-sightedness of the Jewish congregation who in 1844 bought the freehold to the whole of the present site and in 1845 began to completely enclose the cemetery.
"It's these walls which now need restoration work to ensure this now closed burial ground is preserved."
Mr Lipert has been appointed by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, which owns the cemetery, as its agent to raise funds for the restoration through private and civic donations and grants.
Records indicate there was a Jewish presence in Penzance from the 1740s onward (possibly earlier), many families coming from the Rhineland in Germany or from Holland.
While at its largest the town's Jewish population never exceeded 30 families, they contributed actively to economic, social and religious life in Penzance.
Mr Lipert said though many were poor, most were highly industrious, and actively involved in charitable work in the wider community.
There were families with the surnames of Woolf, Hart, Oppenheim, Simmons, Levin and Bischofswerder. Other families represented in the cemetery include Levy, Selig, Jacob, Greenberg (Hillman), Ezekiel, Joseph, Moses, Zalman, Teacher, Barnet, Salzmann and Levine.
"The families who are buried here reveal a remarkable and interesting history, and many descendants of these families, now scattered throughout the UK and abroad, are becoming interested in their Cornish roots," Mr Lipert said
A new group, Friends of Penzance Jewish Cemetery, has now been formed and is actively seeking to contact descendants of those buried at Leskinnick Road.
The cemetery's custodian for the past 17 years has been Keith Pearce, author of The Jews Of Cornwall: A History, to be published by Halsgrove next year. The cemetery is maintained by the Penzance town clerk's office and Penlee House Museum and Gallery.
Anyone wishing to contribute to the restoration can contact Mr Lipert by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
DEVELOPERS behind plans to build a £110 million retail park and Marks and Spencer store at Coyte Farm have failed to win the backing of the town council for the second time.
At a full town council meeting held on Monday, during which the developers Metric Property and Mercian Developments, reiterated promises of new jobs and top retailers coming to the town, councillors narrowly voted in favour of opposing the scheme by nine votes to eight with two abstentions.
The vote came after Together St Austell, formed by the St Austell Bay Chamber of Commerce and Business Improvement District Team, presented rival plans to build a shopping centre closer to the town centre.
Frank Boulton, ward member for Bethel, told members of the council, as well as an audience of around 100 members of the public, Coyte Farm would be a "total waste of money".
He said: "Unfortunately with regard to Coyte Farm there appears to be more questions than answers and I don't think this evening the answers have been given. I am totally against Coyte Farm. I believe St Austell needs to move on."
Councillors also questioned the size of the development in relation to the town's population.
"I have been doing some research and Coyte Farm does seem exceptionally large for the town in terms of the sub population," said town councillor Nicky Oxenham, who represents Bethel.
Other concerns related to the location of the site and impact it would have on the town centre, a view echoed by several members of the public during an open session.
"It could arguably be said that Coyte Farm is close enough to harm but not close enough to help St Austell," said Poltair town councillor Brian Palmer.
"I just wonder how many [jobs] will be a net increase and how many would actually be a migration from the town centre," he added.
The decision to review the council's recommendations regarding the application, which were submitted to Cornwall Council last year, was made in light of the publication of various retail impact assessments and amendments to the original plans and proposed conditions associated with them.
The amendments made by the developers did persuade some councillors to have a change of heart including John Keast, Val Bradford and former chairman of the Chamber of Commerce Tom French.
Town councillor Mr Keast OBE, representing Mount Charles, said he had abstained from the vote last year because he could not make a decision but was now of the opinion the development would enhance the town.
"I cannot see a future for St Austell with no development at all," he said.
Referring to the plans unveiled by Together St Austell, he added: "Maybe there is a better way than what we are being presented with. I rather liked the vision of the bowl being developed and linked with the centre.
"But on the other hand that is not the one that is on offer today.
Speaking from the chair, mayor of St Austell Steve Double, spoke out in favour of supporting the plans and told the room he has no vested interest in the development.
"I believe this is a very huge decision for our town and the future of our town," he said.
"There has been a lot of comment made about my position – most of it complete rubbish.
"I have no interest in this application at all other than doing what I believe is right for St Austell and the people who have elected me."
Mr Double repeated claims made by the developers that the town currently loses £1 million a week to other towns such as Truro and Plymouth and Coyte Farm would bring shoppers back to St Austell.
"That £1 million will stay in St Austell and we want to make sure a part of that £1 million is being spent in the town centre," Mr Double said.
"We will support the traders to make sure they get the most out of this opportunity," he added.
The plans for Coyte Farm consist of a 65-acre development nestled in 98 acres of green land in St Mewan. They include a care home, Sainsbury's superstore and Marks and Spencer.
Speaking at the meeting Simon Hoare, Coyte Farm spokesman, said the development would complement traders in the town centre.
He said: "We don't want to be a rival to the town centre."
"This is a golden opportunity to bring in the likes of Mark and Spencer and other retailers to provide a real choice."
The application is due to go before Cornwall Council's strategic planning committee on January 16.
A POPULAR teacher who died in a crash near Bude earlier this year was not wearing a seat belt as she drove her car to work, an inquest has heard.
Sara Bluett, 46, who was deputy head of the design and technology department at Park Community School in Barnstaple, died in a crash on the A39 two miles out of Kilkhampton on March 22.
Miss Bluett, who lived at Widemouth Bay, was driving a Volkswagen Polo towards Bideford when it was in collision with a Ford 4x4 vehicle towing a trailer at 7.15am.
The 4x4, which had gas bottles in the back and was towing a cattle pen trailer, ended up on its side as it crashed into a ditch, the inquest in Truro heard on Wednesday
Miss Bluett died at the scene from multiple injuries while the driver of the 4x4, Stuart Woollen, from Northam, was knocked unconscious and was flown to Plymouth's Derriford Hospital by air ambulance to be treated for serious leg injuries.
Deputy Cornwall Coroner Andrew Cox recorded a verdict that Miss Bluett died as the result of a road traffic collision.
He said Mr Woollen was at the head of four vehicles driving west when the VW Polo came across the road towards him.
Her car hit the 4x4 and then the trailer, and Miss Bluett was thrown across the front seats of her car and out through the passenger door into the road.
"I am not able to come to a conclusion as to why she crossed the carriageway. She may have been momentarily distracted, I do not know," said Mr Cox.
"It appears that Sara was not wearing her seat belt, and if she had been she may have survived," said Mr Cox.
Miss Bluett lived at Lower Widemouth Farm with her partner Guy Watton, who attended the inquest, and her son Jack.
Mr Woollen, 42, a cattle dealer, said he was heading west when he saw a silver car losing control. "The driving was erratic and the car was starting to swerve across the road at me," he said.
"The other car was, for some reason, going into an anti-clockwise spin. It started to come across and the collision was on my side of the road.
"It all happened so fast. I tried to steer towards the hedge but I didn't have time to avoid the car."
The car hit both his 4x4 and the trailer, and he was knocked unconscious.
Police vehicle examiners found that the braking system on the trailer, which had recently been serviced, was faulty but did not contribute to the accident. The speedometers of both vehicles had stuck at around 60mph.
Electrician Jonathan Stephens said he was following the 4x4 when he saw a small car turn onto their side of the road.
"The 4x4 was in its correct lane when a silver vehicle crossed into its carriageway. It was all very quick," he said.
Registered nurse Susan Matthews said she had been in a line of four vehicles heading west when, between Clovelly Cross and Kilkhampton, she heard "an explosive bang" about 40 yards in front of her.
She ran to the Polo, found no-one inside, but then saw a body under the rear wheel of the pickup.
"I checked for a pulse but didn't find one," she said.
Miss Bluett, who was popular with friends, colleagues and pupils, completed a teaching degree at Middlesex University in 1990 and later obtained a master's degree in design and technology education from Sheffield Hallam University.
Before joining the design and technology department at The Park School she had worked in London for ten years, and had also spent a year teaching in Australia.
In 2005 Miss Bluett spent a half-term week exchanging experiences with teachers in Uganda with the charity Education Action.
She raised more than £6,000 for schools in Uganda through events in Bude, including a Bob Marley Night.