Notes and Queries

posted 9 Jun 2011, 08:33 by Cornish Buildings Group   [ updated 3 Jan 2016, 03:18 ]

June 2015
House of Commons: Written Statement (HCWS42) Department for Communities and Local Government
Written Statement made by: Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Greg Clark) on 18 Jun 2015.
I am today setting out new considerations to be applied to proposed wind energy development so that local people have the final say on wind farm applications, fulfilling the commitment made in the Conservative election manifesto. Subject to the transitional provision set out below, these considerations will take effect from 18 June and should be taken into account in planning decisions. I am also making a limited number of consequential changes to planning guidance.
When determining planning applications for wind energy development involving one or more wind turbines, local planning authorities should only grant planning permission if: the development site is in an area identified as suitable for wind energy development in a Local or Neighbourhood Plan; and following consultation, it can be demonstrated that the planning impacts identified by affected l ocal communities have been fully addressed and therefore the proposal has their backing. In applying these new considerations, suitable areas for wind energy development will need to
have been allocated clearly in a Local or Neighbourhood Plan. Maps showing the wind resource as favourable to wind turbines, or similar, will not be sufficient. Whether a proposal has the backing of the affected local community is a planning judgement for the local planning authority.
Where a valid planning application for a wind energy development has already been submitted to a local planning authority and the development plan does not identify suitable sites, the following transitional provision applies. In such instances, local planning authorities can find the proposal acceptable if, following consultation, they are satisfied it has addressed the planning impacts i dentified by affected local communities and therefore has their backing.
November 2014

An ancient clapper bridge on Bodmin Moor which was in danger of being replaced by a modern wooden structure looks set to be fully restored after local campaigners and contractors reached a compromise.

As reported in the Western Morning News last month, Lantewey Bridge’s granite slabs that spanned the River Dewey between the parishes of St Neot and Warleggan for centuries, were swept away in last winter’s storms. Fearing a similar scenario in the future, Cornwall Council and its contractors Cormac decided, after surveying the site, that a replacement bridge would be a better option. However, the plan outraged local people, who launched a campaign to overturn the decision. Once a vital link for local families, farm workers, miners, quarrymen, pack horses and travellers, the old clapper bridge is today a popular designated footpath for local people and long-distance walkers. Believed to date from the 1300s, the threat to its future led to a flurry of online interest and protest across the world.

Lifelong resident John Keast said: “Following the excellent article in the Western Morning News, we have been inundated with worldwide support to restore the bridge.” David Coppin, of Utah in the USA, wrote in an email: “Although I live in the USA, my ancestors are from this location and my visits to Cornwall have focused on the history of my family who have lived and continue to live there. Things that happen there are of great interest and concern to me and it would be a tragedy if short-sighted ‘solutions’ to problems were to destroy the heritage shared by many. “Such actions would drive a trend that would ultimately result in a situation where there would be nothing to which sons of Cornwall could return. I hope that I and my descendants never have to face a time when we would have to say that our heritage is gone and Cornwall no longer exists except as a minor mention in the history books.”

Responding to public concern, Cormac held a series of discussions with local people earlier this month, resulting in a plan to restore Lantewey Bridge’s granite clappers, albeit with a hidden steel supporting framework to enable the span to be increased and allow an increased flow under it. Cormac will also be using a number of additional large granites to rebuild an abutment. They are being provided free by a local farmer in the parish, with Camel Valley & Bodmin Moor Protection Society offering to meet the costs of transporting the stones to the site. Warleggan Young Farmers’ Club have offered to help with the reconstruction. Cormac countryside officer, Dave Wood, who has been leading the negotiations, said: “We have met with St Neot Parish Council and local residents and discussed a few options which we are looking at through to a design stage. Everyone is really passionate about our local environment and coming together so that the footbridge will be a sustainable and resilient solution which also conserves the character of the local landscape.”

Mr Keast added: “Our forefathers raised this bridge hundreds of years ago and through their skill it has lasted until nowWe would like their legacy to last for hundreds more years. “As a small parish up on the Bodmin Moor, Warleggan has been overwhelmed by the support we have received from all directions since the report in the Western Morning News. “We are now looking forward to the reinstatement works starting next spring after the winter fish migration is over”.

August 2014


Members might be interested to look out for this at the weekend - Bernard Deacon's blog (as well as obtaining The Great Sale of Cornwall  - a worthwhile read for anyone concerned about the quantity of housing being forced upon our communities).


Incidentally,  Cllr John Pollard gave a ‘robust’ response to criticism from Chacewater Parish Council about the lack of note taken of locals in regard to planning matters. Circulated to every parish council in Cornwall to seek support (See Council branded a dictatorship –  he states that only 5% of decisions went against the local parishes wishes. Useful things statistics, when just one decision can allow 600 houses where they’re not wanted, one decision can permit a solar farm of several hectares, and one decision can permit a wind farm of 100 turbines ... or one decision can allow a bathroom extension or a tree lopping.


General News

CBG concerned over amount of listed buildings currently in the care of Cornwall Council which may be considered for sale. CBG chairman has sought guidance from Cornwall Council. We will keep you posted.

Report on historic envirnonment now avaialable from Cornwall Council Historic Cornwall Advisory Group Report

A new book has been published on the history of Trewinnard near St Erth. Trewinnard is renowned for its association with the Mohun and Hawkins families and is today cared for by Sir John and Lady Nott. The book is introduced by Sir John Nott and is published by Pasticcio Books. More

Very useful guidance 'Understanding Place: character and context in local planning' can be downloaded from

Piloti view of the Old Rectory, St Columb (August 2011) View Download

Two hundred years since the death of John Knill - a monument In St Ives celebratedMore  
'Invitation to View' a brand new intitiative that allows group access to some of the south-west's finest country houses. Cornish tresaures include Boconnoc, Bosvathick, Caerhays castle, Pentille castle, Port Eliot, Scorrier house and Trereife house.  More  

A history of Trevithick Barton More


Join in

posted 7 Jun 2011, 08:20 by Cornish Buildings Group   [ updated 28 Jan 2014, 12:45 ]

The Cornish Buildings Group occupies a unique place in the county. Despite our members having a great diversity of backgrounds, we all share a common interest in the built environment, both modern and historical. As a council we recognise the need for engagement hence over the past year we have been developing the Cornish Buildings Group website.
The aim of the website is to reach out to our existing membership and encourage new recruits through better promotion of our activities in particular events, creating an interest in specific fields of architecture, raising the profile of the award scheme and making available our printed material.
The website provides an opportunity for your involvement in the group’s activities. Writing a report on one of the group visits, is just one way of getting involved. Perhaps, a review on a new, or old, book on Cornish buildings, recommend sites for group visits or suggest a new building, a worthy restoration or development for our annual award scheme. Why not send in a research paper on an aspect of Cornish architectural history or encourage a friend to look at the website, who knows they too may like to join in. Perhaps you may just like to use the website to keep up with the group’s news and events.
The site can be found at and it can develop in any way we choose. So please don’t be backwards in coming forward ─ suggest what you would like to see on the site, after all it is yours and we would welcome any suggestions. See the contacts page on the website for where to send your contributions. We look forward to hearing from you.


Paul Holden (Chairman)            


posted 3 Jun 2011, 10:20 by Cornish Buildings Group   [ updated 3 Jan 2016, 03:11 ]

September 2015 

A Case for Cornwall, our concerns and Cornwall Council response. 

Dear Cllr Pollard

The Cornish Buildings Group is encouraged to learn from the Case for Cornwall Summary that the Council proposes 'more local control in protecting historic buildings'.

However, within the Case for Cornwall we see a contradiction to this. In seeking to transfer Historic England (English Heritage) powers and resources to provide greater local control over heritage assets CC wants to explore opportunities to increase local powers and resources to address anomalies in defining heritage significance, streamlining planning processes and maximise opportunities to integrate heritage into social and economic regeneration.

The Council’s Duty under the Act is to have special regard to the desirability of preserving listed buildings, their settings and any features of special architectural or historic interest which it possesses and to pay special attention to the desirability of preserving or enhancing the character and appearance of Conservation Areas.

In a recent Freedom of Information request Cornwall Council confirmed an 80% reduction in obtaining professional conservation advice from its own Historic Environment Section since its 2012 Historic Environment White Paper. In many cases the conservation expertise on development proposals in the county relies solely on Historic England comment.

The Group shares with Historic England concerns over the severely diminished conservation resources at Cornwall Council as well as the number of consultations on development proposals in Cornwall which fails to obtain conservation professional involvement.

Cornwall has the largest number of statutorily protected Heritage Assets of any Unitary Council area. Heritage is one of the South West’s Major economic assets. Historic England provides the national overview. It promotes a positive well-informed approach to conservation by helping people understand their historic environment and using that understanding to manage change. They support innovative schemes that protect and enhance the significance of buildings and historic places and work collaboratively with owners, architects and developers to help them develop proposals for creative uses of historic places.

The Group strongly supports more protection of Cornwall’s historic environment with responsible management of change, good stewardship and encouragement of, and support for, sustainable heritage-led urban and rural regeneration, based on high quality design that reinforces local character.

We would ask therefore of the Case for Cornwall what benefit Cornwall Council considers there would be to dispose of Historic England, the organisation dedicated to championing heritage in the County?

Sincerely, Paul Holden, FSA, Chairman

Dear Mr Holden 

Thank you for your email. Please accept my sincere apologies for the delay in responding [6 weeks].

The ‘Case for Cornwall’ includes the Council’s long term ambitions for our stewardship of historic assets. Our ambition is to increase powers and resources available locally to “invest in and protect Cornwall’s heritage and promote cultural devolution”. To do this the Case (published in full at ) states that the council wishes to “explore devolution options” including devolution from the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England (more commonly known as Historic England and English Heritage) to “an independent heritage body for Cornwall”. The Case document proposed two models to government. These included the devolution of all powers to a new ‘Historic Cornwall’ body, and a less radical model where by a localised branch of Historic England – Historic England (Cornwall) was set up to ensure more local input into the operation of Historic England roles. We do not seek to ‘dispose of Historic England’, an organisation which has funded a very great deal of investment into Cornwall’s historic environment and plays an invaluable role in designating and managing our historic assets, but instead want to devolve its skills, resources and functions so that they can take account more appropriately of the significance of heritage assets at a local, rather than national ‘English’ level. Central to our ‘Case’ are that current safeguards for designated historic assets must not be reduced; indeed we think that through consolidating skills and resources within one independent and localised organisations that these safeguards could become more effective directed from an organisation whose primary focus (unlike both Cornwall Council or Historic England) would be to champion the cultural distinctiveness of Cornwall.

The ‘Deal’ document is seen by the Council as a first step in our long journey towards greater devolution for Cornwall. The Government has formally recognised our “rich and unique heritage” and that “cultural distinctiveness is an important factor in Cornwall’s local economy”. The deal strengthens a longstanding and very close working relationship between the Council and Historic England which continues to strengthen and develop. I very much value this partnership and all it brings to the Council and the celebration, protection and enhancement of Cornwall’s historic assets. As a result of the Deal agreement we will be working together on the establishment of a “Cornwall Historic Environment Forum” which will “develop [the vision of local heritage partners] for heritage at a more local level” and both Cornwall Council and Historic England will “jointly produce a study of the cultural distinctiveness of the Cornish historic environment”. Our officers are currently developing an action plan to progress these objectives and the wider aspirations of the Case for Cornwall and I shall ask our Historic Environment Lead to report on this to the Heritage Kernow stakeholder group at its next meeting in September.

Oll an gwella, 
Yours sincerely, John Pollard, Leader of the Council

August 2015
PA15/06567 Proposed Development on the waterfront at Falmouth

We strongly object to the above proposed development. There are so many reasons why this is an inappropriate site for any building proposal. However, the CBG has a particular remit to protect historic buildings and their setting and the arguments for recommending refusal must concentrate on its particular area of interest and expertise. 

It is the group’s view that the proposed development would be very harmful to the setting of an important group of historic buildings in this part of Falmouth. In Grove Place there is Arwenack Manor and Arwenack House plus the Killigrew Monument and the fine planned terrace of Nos. 1-7 Grove Place, all of which are listed buildings. The area of Grove Place is also one of the most important parts of the Falmouth Conservation Area and adjoins Arwenack Street with a further important group of historic buildings, the setting of which the most significant of these would also be harmed.

Arwenack Manor and Arwenack House (listed grade II*) were built as a great house for the Killigrew family, who became the founding family for Falmouth itself. There has been a house on this site since at least 1385 but the present house was mostly rebuilt in the sixteenth century. The history of the house is also the history of the incorporation of the town of Falmouth. It is also the oldest and most architecturally interesting building in the town.

 Like so many of our earlier historic buildings Arwenack has known its ups and downs but has somehow miraculously survived. It was occupied and damaged by Parliamentarian forces during the civil war when Pendennis Castle was besieged. More recently, following a period of neglect, the Manor part was seriously damaged by fire but thankfully the whole house was subsequently rescued and in 1978 it was expertly restored by the notable builders, Percy Williams and Sons of Redruth when it became divided into two discrete address elements of ‘Manor’ and ‘House’ but still retaining the visual impression of a single entity.

 Arwenack is therefore a very precious asset to Falmouth and its architectural integrity must be preserved. This includes its setting. Until the early twentieth century Arwenack House once stood at the waterfront as did the whole of Grove Place with only a carriageway width between Grove Place and the harbour front. Since then there has been successive infilling to extend the area on what was once tidal harbour area including a former tide mill.

When the Falmouth Maritime Museum was built there was great debate about how sight lines to Arwenack could be preserved from Falmouth Harbour to Arwenack so as to retain its prominence as the principal element of the town. Since then there has been further development, resulting in ‘Events Square’. Whilst the construction of these buildings have been justified by extraordinary circumstances and now fulfil laudable community functions they have also been kept well back from Arwenack House and Grove Place leaving sufficient space for Arwenack House and Grove Place to ‘breathe’. The proposed development is far too close, far too large in scale and is totally unacceptable in this location. Now is the time to say ‘enough is enough’! The proposed development would dominate the area in front of Arwenack House and would be a visual blight to its existence. Arguably, it would also have a serious effect on its sustainability.

The government guidance for new buildings in conservation areas demands that they offer enhancement to the character of the area. Even if the design of the proposal was a ‘landmark’ design it would be wrong in this context. It would visually overwhelm Arwenack House, and destroy most of what remains of its setting. It would also have a damaging effect on the historical context of Grove Place and much of Arwenack Street.

Because of the reasons presented above the CBG considers that proposal site is unsuitable for any building of any scale and of any design and this application should be refused without hesitation.

St Erth Railway Station

The latest proposals for planning permission to replace St Erth Station foot bridge appears a further crass and unsubtle attempt, quite unacceptable within an important and (so-far) unsploit group of Listed buildings of the late 19th century. The Cornish Buildings Group like the Parish Council and English Heritage are far from happy with the proposals. Following the refusal of an earlier attempt, with 200 yards of ramps and landings zigzagging up to a new bridge and obliterating a prominent area of trees, the second attempt shows the continuing inability of Network Rail to respect the Listed Building status of the group which comprises an historically significant and charming station. Its rarity and its importance is widely recognised nationally (see quotes below).

The Listing process is designed to preserve buildings which are of historic or architectural value and scarcity and any replacements within their area must be of an equal quality. The present attempt – with lift towers (looking like a standard design for suburban commuter 'platforms' ) is not suitable for this site. The two towers, nearly 35' high, with a squashed pyramid hat and plastic weatherboarding, are not an acceptable solution here.

The problem remains that the site is not suitable as a major Traffic Interchange and blame for this must rest with decisions by the late lamented District Council. Once it became known that Network Rail would not permit a heliport alongside a main railway, only moving St Ives Park-and-Ride to the site would justify continuation of the whole Traffic Interchange concept. The opportunity for Cornwall Council to reassess the suitability of the site was lost. Time and money have now gone on two aborted schemes essentially to provide more car parking, despite the problem of site levels and disabled access remaining to be resolved.

Network Rail can't make up their minds – and certainly have not fully explored alternative solutions; in 2013 it was not possible to provide lifts so we had the 'endless ramp' scheme, yet a year later lifts have been put forward as THE solution! The time has come to decide: either look for a suitable site elsewhere or find an acceptable solution for good 'new-build' to set amongst the Listed buildings on the site.
Is the narrow bridge under the line sufficient for summer traffic to the park and ride – with additional pedestrians on the narrow pavement- although apparently a widened bridge is not possible (this year, at any rate).

Network Rail claim with the existing bridge train clearance are insufficient for electrification – although we await the date for this to be announced. Surely it is unusual to start 'preliminary work', on a major project before funding, a programme or even any commitment has been announced, especially when destroying a Listed structure. When will rebuilding start on all the other road bridges in Devon and Cornwall?

Submitted drawing 000034 however states, in relation to possible glazing-in of the bridge, “should future electrification occur”.

All these problems could be avoided following installation of the new signalling system (which is now funded and approved) by taking all trains onto the up line platform as is done, for instance, in Switzerland. With the present car park to be extended, provision of reserved disabled spaces would then provide direct level access for all trains both on the mainline and on the St Ives branch.

If lift towers are required why not reduce their height by using hydraulic lifts or underground plant rooms?

There seems to be a general inability by Network Rail's consultants to look at non-standard solutions, but this is the only way an acceptable solution can be found for a unique Listed site; we have seen two unacceptable attempts that have delayed the project and increased costs, not least the professional fees for abortive work that never justified more than a first sketch, let alone their development to a full planning application.

Should all alternatives be ruled out for JUSTIFIED reasons (not simply for the convenience of Network Rail) the existing scheme needs a totally different approach. Any new structure, if required, should be considered worthy of Listing Building status in its own right at some point in the future. A light totally glazed bridge and towers is one alternative some would favour, being a complete contrast to the 19th century buildings which would intrude less than solid towers and would avoid being mistaken for an integral part of the original station. A poor pastiche solution, slightly-vernacular, slightly-Cornish, as is now being considered by the Council is not acceptable; an interesting new approach with some excitement and not just the standard – with a bit of granite to appease any Cornish opposition.

The Cornish Building Group objects to the application and would urge Cornwall Council to refuse this latest attempt and urge Network Rail to appoint a new team experienced in working on Listed Buildings AND able to look at radically different approaches as well as providing good modern architecture should a 'new-build' solution be unavoidable.

John Stengelhofen, AADipl.
Vice-Chairman, Cornish Buildings Group

'St Erth Station . . . constitutes a rare survival of a complete station'. Beacham & Pevsner: The Buildings of England: Cornwall (Yale University Press, 2014) p.538

'Today it is one of the last country junction stations, typical of what was once commonplace...the station has remained unchanged, retaining all its period charm'. Gordon Biddle: Britain's Historic Railway Buildings (Oxford University Press, 2003) p.140

Much of our casework has been archived. Please press link to access more detail.

Campaign to save Jubilee Pool, Penzance. link to Cornishman

St Erth Railway Station Read More

Foster Complex, Bodmin  
Our fight to save the Foster Complex Read about our campaign
The last days of the Foster Complex  View picture gallery
BBC News Website Read news
Foster Complex mentioned in the House of Lords Read more
Examining Mental Illness in Bodmin Read blog
Foster Hall Revival Trust Read brochure
Buildings at Risk
We aim to champion the plight of Cornish buildings at risk. Some cases
St Columb Rectory
Cornish Rectory on Top Ten Endangered Buildings List  From Western Morning News
Other cases and casework archive






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