CORNISH-L ArchivesArchiver > CORNISH > 1998-02 > 0886894376
From: "John Coles" <>
Subject: NEWS FROM CORNWALL
Date: Sat, 07 Feb 98 15:32:56 PST
John & Anna at Kernow Sound magazine
"The Sounds of Cornwall"
BULLETIN DATE: SATURDAY 7 FEBRUARY 1998
GLIMMER OF HOPE FOR SOUTH CROFTY?
A mystery buyer has come forward with a proposal to buy South Crofty Mine, following the rejection by the British Government of funding proposals which would have guaranteed production for the next 3 years.
On Thursday, Small Firms Minister, Barbara Roche, said that the mine (which has already had $38 million worth of funding written off in loses, and currently loses around $1,000 on every tonne of ore) could not be viable.
However, news has been announced today that a company with worldwide mining interests has expressed interest in buying the mine from the Canadian Crew Group if it can be handed over as a going concern.
Otherwise, the pumps which drain the 400 fathom mine (2,400 feet or 720 metres) will be switched off on 6 March. This will mean the almost certain end of the mine, since rising water levels will rapidly corrode underground steelwork supporting the vast warren of workings.
LAST LIGHTHOUSE KEEPERS REPLACED BY COMPUTER.
The last lighthouse keepers in Cornwall will be redundant by the end of February, when Trinity House (operators of Britain's 72 lighthouses) replace them with a computer to be operated from hundreds of miles away in Harwich.
The Lizard peninsula is the most southerly part of Cornwall, and has had a lighthouse for nearly 400 years. The present 6 keepers are headed by 59 year old Eddy Matthews, born only a few yards away, who has spent 40 years as a lighthouse keeper, operating the light and foghorn, and keeping a watch on local shipping.
This follows a trend by all agencies towards reducing staff, and following concerns from shipping about reductions in coastguard watch duties, a number former coastguard stations are now being staffed voluntarily by specially trained members of Coastwatch. Will the same happen with the lighthouses?
For many of us, Cornwall would not be the same without the plaintive cry of seagulls echoing around harbours and cliffs. But for many local residents in towns like St. Ives and Mevagissey, they have become a pest, swooping low and snatching food from the hands of visitors.
But proposals to control the problem by shooting, have raised fears that the remedy will do more harm than good, with the prospect of visitors witnessing armed marksmen destroying this symbol of the seaside.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds says that whilst gulls may be a problem in Cornwall, they are declining by up to 40% elsewhere, and that culling methods should not be considered until all other means of controlling the nuisance (such as restricting nesting sites, and controlling waste food) have been considered.
FARMERS ANGERED BY GOVERNMENT INDIFFERENCE:
Agriculture Minister, Jack Cunningham, has made it clear to farmers that tax payers money will not be used to bail out farmers hit by the beef crisis (caused by BSE disease) and the strength of the pound.
But his speech, to a National Farmers Union annual conference in London, left anger and dismay amongst farmers concerned that a minister who has never visited Devon or Cornwall could not understand the problems faced by small farmsteads.
HELIGAN GARDENS BOOK WINS TOP AWARD:
One of the two brains behind the 'Eden Project' for the worlds biggest greenhouse, is Tim Smit, who has gradually restored the 'Lost Gardens of Heligan' as a major tourist resource attracting over 200,000 visitors a year.
His book about the restoration project, which has brought an ornate and historic 19th. century garden back from a jungle of overgrown ruin, has now won the Illustrated Book of the Year award in London.
This is a remarkable achievement for a man trained, not as a gardener, but as an archeaologist who became a pop record producer!
AND ANOTHER GARDENING SUCCESS:
The student training nursery at Rosewarne, near Camborne, has been turned into a commercial success in just four years.
Specialising in shrubs for wholesale through local suppliers, the nursery has now been nominated for the 1998 Grower of the Year awards, to be decided on 17 February.
HOSPITAL CLOSURES TO GO AHEAD:
In spite of massive opposition to closure plans announced as part of a consultation excercise aimed at saving over $8 million on Cornwalls health costs, 4 hospitals are set to close, to the anger of local people who have either endowed, or raised funds, to provide and equip the facilities.
The hospitals, in Penzance, St. Ives, Saltash, and Fowey, are all to close, say Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Health Authority, and although some beds elsewhere are to be saved from closure, concern is being expressed that the increasing centralisation of facilities at Truro will put hospital care beyond the reach of many people in the far west of Cornwall, where unemployment is high.
If the Cornwall's health 'watchdogs' the Community Health Council now reject these plans, they will go to central government for consideration.
POSITIVE OUTLOOK FOR FOOD PRODUCTION:
Two announcements during the week have helped raise Cornwall's profile as a 'centre of excellence' for food production.
Kensey Foods Ltd, at Launceston (which was part of Pasty giant Ginsters until last year) is to invest over $3 million in an expanded production unit employing another 85 workers, whilst in mid Cornwall there is increasing speculation about the name behind a bid for government funding to create a $35 million food production plant employing 300 workers.
Two of Cornwall's most famous historic sites are about to change hands in an effort to secure a stable future.
In Penwith, at the far tip of Cornwall, the Cornwall Wildlife Trust are negotiating the purchase of 54 acres of moorland containing the Chun Quoit prehistoric burial chamber, and Chun Castle hill fort.
Far newer, but of just as much historical significance, the Huer's Hut on the headland at Newquay is to be purchased by the Cornwall Heritage Trust. It was here that the skilled eyes of the Huer scanned the seas for signs of pilchards, sounding the alarm to put the boats to sea with the cry of 'Hevva! Hevva!
BIRDWATCHERS INVADE SCILLY FOR STARLING:
Fanatical birdwatchers (known as 'twitchers') are rushing from all over the country to get to the Isles of Scilly before a rare bird departs.
With the 'Scillonian' laid up for the the winter, they are having to pay top rates on the helicopter service, for their rare and expensive glimpse of the bird, seen in the mornings of rooftops in Hugh Town, on the island of St. Mary's.
The bird is undoubtably rarely seen in Britain, but it is a 'Spotless Starling' and even less spectacular that the flocks of millions of common starlings currently sitting on Cornwall's utility wires and winter branches.
As the local T.V. newsreader said the other night, "Not a lot different, is it!"
THE WEATHER THIS WEEK, Cold and mainly dry, no effects from El. Nino.