The Beach at Carlyon Bay Development
Your Letters Published - For and Against the development.
I should point out that views expressed in the letters below are not necessarily my views, and it should be noted that this site is independent of the Eden Project and not endorsed by them or in any way connected with them.
The Beaches. The three beaches that make up Carlyon Bay are Crinnis Beach, Shorthorn Beach and Polgaver Beach, are in fact of recent deposition and are composed mainly of waste material from the china clay industry. The quartz grains are very similar to the very visible heaps inland from St.Austell more info link
02/05/04 The Beach as it is today 1.75 miles of golden sand mostly man made. Crinnis rock, the picture on the right.
02/05/04 A view from Polgaver beach, one of three beaches that make up Carlyon bay, this was Cornwall's only official naturism beach which has now been lost for this purpose, one hardy sole still partaking can be seen in front of the Iron fence of the developers. At other end is the Coliseum complex for a few more days any way. Planning History
My wife and I caught sight of part of a TV program the other day and Carlyon Bay seemed to be featured. "Coast" I believe it was called.
Anyway. Prompted me to do a random (Google) search and I was surprised at what I found. OK due to 'life's circumstances' we have probably not been anywhere within 100 miles of the Bay for a number of years I have to admit but between about 1977 and 1982, I and later my wife and I spent many happy hours down there enjoying the sights and sounds etc. So you can imagine my sadness to learn / see the pictures of what is going on....
I note the interesting letter and promotional leaflet scan on your pages and wonder if the attached that I have come across maybe of any interest. The leaflet from 1977 actual size is A5 printed double-sided.
Albert E Ford
Found your photos of Carlyon Bay very interesting as they brought back
memories of the time we lived there. My father was a musician at the
then Cornish Riviera. This was in the early 1960s.At first we lived in a
caravan just behind the east end of the Coliseum building, a site
My maiden name is Jacqui Forde I lived on Carlyon Bay beach for 7 years just before it was taken over by the travel group that you know...It was the early 1970’s. At that time Mr and Mrs Lovett owned the complex and my mum and dad were the managers for them... The beach was packed every summer with tourists from all over...It was Mr and Mrs Lovett that put in the railway that runs along the beach and there was crazy golf, the sun lounge, solarium, the swimming pool, amusements a fair ground some fantastic buffets and dances and all of the facilities that you mentioned.. There was very little change made by the travel company when they took over other than the accommodation plans above the sun lounge and using the big hall as we used to call it for concerts and roller disco.. I remember that the building used to get painted white almost every winter ready for the next season it was great...... Mr and Mrs Lovett simply did not have the money to develop the place anymore so they sold it... it is a shame to see everything that has happened to it since then it was a wonderful place to live as a child... I went to Charlestown Primary when it was the old primary in Charlestown Harbour and then Penrice Secondary School... I used to work every summer holiday with my mum and dad, since I was about 9 years old... I had jobs in the ice cream shop.. selling hot dogs, working in the swimming pool or on the Crazy Golf or the gift shop...I am now 48 years old and have my own successful business so I guess the work paid off... I love Carlyon Bay and the St Austell area and will probably retire there some day...
I came across your site of many photos of the appalling desecration of the beach. I used to take my son and daughter there years ago when visiting my parents who lived in CARLYON BAY from 1971, and have many happy memories
I hear today that the developers are submitting completely new plans for the development, citing a change in Cornwall's needs and changes in tourism ! lets' hope they manage to recreate some of the attractive features Carlyon Bay once had and they destroyed.
I've just been idly again looking at the pictures of the work on the beach and feel really sad. Partly for the desecration of such a lovely area and partly because it has become so drawn out. I expect I'm just one of many who feel this and more.
My memories take me back to February 1959 when I moved from Hertfordshire to Carlyon Bay to work at the CB Hotel, then under the management of Audrey and Lionel Beevers, the hotel being owned by an organisation in Birmingham and then by Philip Keens.
My job in the Reception Office had varied shifts and on days when I didn't start working until perhaps 2pm I would go down the steps to an almost deserted beach and spend a lovely peaceful morning in the sun. What treasured days they were! I didn't realise at the time how lucky I was. But it just goes to emphasise the awfulness of developing the area.
I well remember the groups which performed at the Coliseum; and even before then when it began to provide entertainment. I believe an enterprising group of people from up country - namely Bill Tull, Norman Brill and another person whose name I can't recall began introducing groups - the Don Carroll Four and then more well known people. We also played indoor tennis and badminton there.
In the spring of either 1961 or1962 we were unable to battle our way down to the beach because of an unusually high wind and extremely high spring tide which came up the beach and destroyed the beach huts. So I'm not too sure that I would want to own property there (even if I could afford to! Not sour grapes honestly!).
The building was pretty ugly and something would obviously have to be done at some stage, but what a shame to destroy nearly two miles of lovely beach and fairly safe swimming.
Forgive my ramblings - I expect you've heard it all before. I must look to see what the latest 'development' is on Crinnis Beach. One never knows?
Janet Thompson 21/07/09
I came across your website by accident and found it really interesting. I live in Brighton but I grew up in Cornwall. My mum still lives in Carlyon Bay on Haddon Way so the beach construction has always been an interesting topic, I always go down to see what they have done, or not done as the case may be!
I worked there too, I was there at the end! The last summer, working in the bar area. The place was pretty run down then. The burger bit had shut down and there was no hot food, part of my job involved running between the burger bar and the normal bar as the chips were still cooked in the fryer in the burger bar! there was still a massive demand for hot food, and loads of tourists in general, many of whom were very disappointed to hear it was the last year it would remain open like this.
I also remember as a child the train that you pointed out, the swimming pool, shops and arcade. I used to love going down there in the summer.
I hate what they are doing at the moment, and hopefully it will never go ahead. there's a massive reason why in 5 / 6 years they've done pretty much no work, and I think its because they have realised the logistics of it all and the beach would simply not support their infrastructure. I just hope someone else realises this soon so it can be restored to what it was, a place for tourists nad the locals to go and enjoy their summer.
I came across your site a minute ago and just wanted to say thanks for reminding me of how great The Coliseum was. I used to work there too. I was fortunate to get a job as a lifeguard in the summers of '83, '84 and '85. I was much younger then. obviously, and still at college and thoroughly enjoyed my time. Those summers remain very special in my memory and I frequently end up day dreaming about them. I saw so many rock gigs at that place, starting in July '80 when I'd just turned 13, my first gig, Hawkwind! and prior to working there spent many a day on the beach and at the roller disco.
It's a real pity that such a great place, with such a history which I believe goes right back the the 1920's if not earlier, is being torn down. I walked along the cliffs about 3 months ago, I live in Plymouth now, and could hardly bring myself to look at the mess. I was furious when I heard that thy had filled in the beautiful art deco Olympic sized swimming pool with hardcore!! What a waste.
I think you mentioned that McNallys Exchange travel went bust! I wonder where Graham and his kids are now.
Well once again thanks for keeping a memory alive it was great to see the old promotion literature. If I could get in a time machine and go back for a day I would!
To finish, I remember walking up the road that led to the coliseum after a days work I think in '85, the sun was still high in the sky, the car park still full, the beach still packed, I was pushing my bike and stopped to look at the scene below me, the song 'Big Log' by Robert Plant was escaping from somebody's car and drifting around. Something told me that I'd always remember that moment, and I have done. I guess it was just one of those moments when everything in the world seemed right.
Hi Keith, my name is Peter Husbands I used to live at Crinnis I built a
Development!! I should say Cornwall's Graveyard.
I am absolutely horrified as to what is happening at Carlyon Bay. This beautiful place has always been my total escape from real life. Every year my family (and I from the age of 3 months) annually camped at the camp site at Carlyon Bay (firstly owned by Farmer Grouse) now his daughter, when the camp site was his farm. He once told my late Father that he owned Carlyon Bay, whether this is true I am not sure. Perhaps you know? I would think Farmer Grouse would be turning in his grave at this moment in time. It may sound ridiculous but over the years whenever I have had problems and could not sleep I would always imagine myself walking along Carlyon beach, sitting on the rocks or just sitting on the sand taking in the calmness and beauty of the sea and surroundings. You probably think I sound daft. I still have my many happy memories visiting year after year. My husband and I even spent our honeymoon at the campsite. The only thing stopping us from coming now is the development. My dear late Father loved this place. It is truly appalling what is happening and I hope there is some way in which the development can be stopped. I do have some very old pictures which in the near future I shall see if I can somehow download them to you.
Brendan Ballinger 08/09/04
I would like to add my dissenting voice to the letters you have published, in that I am strongly in favour of the development on the beach at Carlyon Bay. Contrary to the information in one of them, 99% of locals are certainly not against it, but this is typical of the disinformation that is bandied about by its detractors, or those who can’t be bothered to find out the facts.
There is no doubt that the beach has been in decline for the last 10 years or more, and no one can dispute this. It was embarrassing to take visitors down there in the last year of its previous owners. We now have the chance of having a world-class amenity on our doorstep, with a spa, bars and restaurants and other facilities to make our trip to the beach even more pleasurable, all year round. Ampersand have used some of the best in the business for all aspects of this development, whether it be architects, engineers, hoteliers or estate agents, this is going to be a class act.
However, thanks to the interference of John Prescott we might end up with something less wonderful, and be lumbered with keeping the Coliseum, which I am sure that not even the most ardent protester would be in favour of. I do not understand the need for a public enquiry, when all that is up for discussion is demolishing the coliseum and improving the amenities on the site. The number of apartments IS NOT up for discussion as planning permission has already been granted for them.
The other fly in the ointment is the village green application, in my opinion another waste of taxpayers money. It is my understanding that the basic premise for a village green is that it is somewhere that has been used for many years without specific permission, in other words by right. How can this be claimed when the beach has been shut down for days at time on a number of occasions over the years for music festivals? Or that you could only take your car down there if you paid to park. Or that you could only take your dog down there in the winter. In other words, the owners were giving you permission to use the beach with certain restrictions.
Lets face facts, we are going to have 511 apartments down there. Wouldn’t it be better to support the developer in ensuring that the leisure facilities are first class rather than trying to turn the pigs ear of a coliseum into a silk purse?
Stuart Dann 20/08/04
Read your site and letters and they rung the silent bell. The same one which only local people can hear.
The government, local and national are not acting in the interests of the population, merely in their own power plays and mutual beneficial acts. One of the biggest being property, I worked and was very aware of suspect planning office decision making by a "rich but now poorer but soon to be really really rich" developer doing something very similar on the South Coast. However, the party will not pull the plug on the council as his ass will be on the line. ass=wife, house, kids, etc.
It seems that 99% of local people are against this blight of Crinnis beach, but the locals are just standing in the way of lovely money for a few and this proposed "Tourism is our saviour" crap which we get pushed down our necks.
They only publish the first part of the sentence.
Tourism creates loads of jobs and brings in billions into Cornwall (which promptly disappears out of the county along with the minimum wage jobs when the seasons over).
We are only too well aware of this as locals and one look at the cars in the golf club car park will tell you who's likely to be doing favours for who.
Sadly the power is wielded by the sort of people who measure success as a bank figure and worship this with oblivion to anyone else/ countryside etc. A lovely new holiday build up the road from me is being "facilitated" as a great idea by these bent golfing councillors with a "gent" who would concrete the whole of Cornwall.
Anyway, rant over, they are going to do whatever they like as they are the money, power and facilitators, locals are merely obstacles.
If there is opportunity for "action", I would be interested in participating.
THE DEATH OF A CORNISH BEACH - J. T. Beer
I have been a fan and friend of the Eden Project since it was just a hole in the ground. I visit it regularly and encourage others to do the same. I talked about Eden at a dinner at Otago University in New Zealand, with the Dean of Life Sciences.
In the last issue of the Friends magazine, Living on the Edge was included. One article, “On the Crest of a new Wave” graphically described the positive effect on Cornwall’s cultural and creative life. Contrast this beneficial development with the destruction of the beach at Carlyon Bay.
I live at Sea Road overlooking the bay and I have been watching the relentless march of this rusty iron curtain now running almost the whole length of the beach. Almost on a daily basis, tons and tons of rock are dropped into the sea a high tide to be recovered and piled up by a chain of massive grabs.
I was born at Par and I have lived in the area for most of my life. Four generations of my family have used the beach for decades without hindrance, now it is simply a mess.
I, like most people, agree that the old Coliseum and surrounding area should be demolished and redeveloped. A nice leisure complex and related infrastructure would be welcomed, even a hotel. But not what is proposed. The 511 apartments are equivalent to putting the population of Mevagissey on the beach.
At a time when young people are leaving the county because they need well paid work and when they cannot afford to even think about buying a home should we really concrete over this beach for the purposes of absent landlords making profits?
With regard to the construction, I’m not an engineer or on the council but I understand that final planning approval has not been granted. In fact, as I understand it, although this rock arrives at a relentless pace, no plan for the sea wall has yet been submitted let alone having been approved. Further the work on part of the crumbling cliff face has been done without even retrospective planning approval being sought!
You may be aware of the public inquiry regarding the Village Green application has been scheduled for the autumn and that John Prescott MP has been considering the full planning proposal for ten months now. What if the full plans are the subject of an inquiry? What if the Village Green application is approved? Who will restore the beach? What are the implications for the owners, the developers, the council, and the taxpayers?
If this development is allowed what does the future hold for other private beaches? Pentewan for instance?
With the decline of the traditional industries tourism holds the key to the future prosperity of the county. If we allow the beauty of our beaches to disappear under concrete then even Eden will suffer.
Eden is all about retaining what is good on the planet. Preserving all things natural in their present state for future generations. I'm not sure where Eden stands in this debate but surely it should stand up against the death of this beach as it would the death of a rain forest.
27th.July 2004 from Peter Browning 1 Wheal Northey, St.Austell.PL25 3EF
"They're Killing Cornwall With Overdevelopment"...
It is truly astonishing to find that, although the vast majority of visitors to Cornwall come here especially because of its natural scenic beauty, some local Cornish authorities, in particular Restormel, seem hell-bent on the approval of massive development programmes which will destroy for ever that wonderful environment which has been the County's very heart and soul since time for mankind began. We have in the last few years seen a doubling and trebling of the acreage being buried under concrete, particularly in St. Austell and in Newquay, and now we have this disease spreading, like some ghastly, gigantic running sore, onto our coastline and beaches.
All this is happening right now, and yet the essential prerequisite of an improved infrastructure is not. Where is the dualling of the A30 ? Where are the new schools, the hospitals, dentists, doctors and police ? Don't ask, because you will either be told the usual governmental lies, or will be given some highly questionable statistics (the same thing really) which will tell of "increased spending" and "targets". Here in St. Austell we have managed to struggle ineffectively with the transportation problems of the Borough for more than ten years, and we have managed to knock down serviceable buildings without having the least idea if and when they can be replaced, or with what. This is the Borough that was willing in 1989 to approve the idea of massive development, slap-bang on the best local beach on the south coast of Cornwall, despite being told by the County Council that it was contrary to the Structure Plan. This is the Borough that managed to accrue a massive financial liability for a planning fiasco in Roche, and this is the Borough that has just approved an even bigger development on the outskirts of Newquay, in the face of the serious social problems that presently blight the town.
Is there anyone at all in authority who can grasp this hydra by its many necks and choke off its destructive breath, or at the very least inject it with enough common sense to make it comatose, just for a while ?
And what about you, the enormous army of people who claim to enjoy the beauty of Cornwall, will you now take the trouble to join the campaign to Stop the Killing of Cornwall ? All you have to do is to write to me at 1, Wheal Northey, St. Austell, PL25 3EF, telling of your feelings, your knowledge of the area and of you, your family and friends' personal connection with our beach over the last 25 years. You can be certain of one thing, that your letter will be very welcome indeed and, if you want to go that little step further by enclosing a cheque for Carlyon Bay Watch to help their campaign, you'll be doubly welcome !
Thanks meanwhile for your time and your effort,
Paul Newman 14/07/04
I was both fascinated and appalled to see your fabulous pictures of the "improvements" to Carlyon Bay.
I live on the Staffordshire/Cheshire border and have stayed at Carlyon Bay campsite with my wife and young daughter for several years - it is our total "chill out" holiday each year when the three of us totally relax away from the rush of normal day-to-day life and enjoy the fabulous hospitality of the region.
That has now been destroyed!
It is interesting, is it not, that when you click on the "developer's" website it hijacks your browser and alters settings (as a web designer that is something I find both appalling and intrusive).
I also understand that these "exclusive" properties are being marketed in London as if they were already constructed!
I think we are getting the picture here.
Anyway, I shall endeavour to enjoy our annual trek in a couple of weeks or so - and will continue to enjoy the rest of the area.
Keep up the good work.
Links on Carlyon Bay will appear here!
If you have any view on this subject or old photos you can email
or send for a scan I would love to hear from you!
Copyright © Keith Martin 2004 - All rights reserved