5th January 2017
By Peter Tremayne
Visitors to the Unesco World Heritage Site which is part of Cornwall’s tin mining history will soon be greeted with a very 21st century image: a Travelodge hotel.
At the entrance to the Camborne and Redruth heritage site will be a 63-bedroom hotel and pub. Planners today voted 12- 8 to approve the project, despite concerns from their own design team that more could – and should – be done to make the hotel in keeping with its historic surroundings.
Although Travelodge is part of a $2 trillion global property empire, officials said the generic design was “the best we can get” and a majority of councillors agreed. The local parish council fully supported the planning application, which promises to create a number of jobs.
The owners of South Crofty tin mine also objected to the proposal, saying part of the site is needed for a ventilation shaft. South Crofty’s owners are also concerned that an increase in traffic might impact on their proposals to resume tin mining.
Crofty’s managing director, Kevin Williams, said: “Western United Mines Limited has an interest in the land which is the subject of this planning application through unregistered mineral rights and the working of South Crofty Mine.
"Western United Mines Limited have two assets located on the land that are safeguarded for mine ventilation use, these being Cherry Garden Shaft and Trevenson Shaft; the land owner remediated the former shaft but has not yet remediated the latter shaft.”
Much of Cornwall’s mining landscape was given international protection in 2006 and is part of a Unesco World Heritage site. Most of the proposed Travelodge site is just outside the protected Camborne and Redruth site, but a small part of the development would be inside.
Experts agreed that the actual application site today is relatively open and that little remains of Cornwall’s tin mining past, but the World Heritage site office said it was concerned that the hotel would be out of keeping and could have been more sympathetically designed.
But experts acting for the developers disagreed. “Whilst the application site falls partly within the WHS, this area has been sterilised in recent years by the demolition of all standing structures and/or features,” they say. “This small part of the WHS could no longer be said to reasonably satisfy the criteria for which the WHS on the whole was inscribed. It lacks both authenticity and integrity, and the boundary of the WHS in this area is no longer discernible on the ground.”
Planners said the economic benefits of approving the hotel and pub outweighed the heritage concerns.
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