The opportunity to put Hayle on the map and restore the harbour area to its former glory came a step closer last week as Hayle Town Council unanimously backed the latest proposal put forward by ING for the restoration of South Quay.
There has been a lot of interest in Hayle over the last year or so with no less than four separate applications coming forward wanting to build a new supermarket. At times, both planners and residents have been presented with a very complicated set of options and it has been difficult to work out what best to do but the people of Hayle have now swung overwhelmingly behind the ING proposals for South Quay.
I have always been clear that, if we are going to have a supermarket in Hayle, then we must make sure our community gets something in return and we should put it where it will bring life into the town rather than drain life away. I think there has been a problem in the past with supermarkets being built in out of town locations which have undermined our town centres and smaller retailers. There are excellent independent clothes shops in Hayle including Dune and The Wharf at Copperhouse. Meanwhile, Penpol Terrace has Mr B’s, the best ice cream parlour in Cornwall. I would like to see successful development that spurs even more new businesses forward and it starts with South Quay.
The competitive interest shown by supermarkets in Hayle has created a once in a generation opportunity to deliver that thing which has eluded the town for far too long: the chance to restore and regenerate the harbour area around South Quay. It has been talked about all my life time and now we have a chance to deliver it. Over the last six months, many people in the community and heritage groups have worked closely with ING to try to improve the design of the scheme and to come up with something interesting and striking that respects and celebrates Hayle’s extraordinary heritage. They have done well. The plans would also see the return of working sluicing gates which would dramatically reduce the need for dredging so it would also be a victory for the long standing campaign run by Save Our Sand.
It has always depressed me that tourists staying at Hayle all too often drive around to St Ives for an evening out. I want to see people leaving St Ives and coming to Hayle because, in future, it will be the place to be. We could even run a shuttle boat service to improve communication between the two towns and bring people into Hayle. There are still one or two more hurdles to overcome but Hayle is a town which could finally be going places. Let’s do it.
George Eustice can be contacted on email@example.com or at 1 Trevenson Street, Camborne, Cornwall, TR14 8JD or by telephone on 020 72197032.