St Ives traders worry armed forces will hurt them

St Ives traders are worried that a parade by 42 Engineer Regiment, part of freedom of the town celebrations, and Armed Forces Day – together with traffic restrictions – will put off shoppers on a busy Saturday.

Now Corrine Harwood-Davey, of the La Muse clothes shop, has written to the town council urging closer liaison with traders when major events were planned for the town centre.

But St Ives town clerk Alison Benfield said the event, on June 30, was expected to bring in between 4,000 and 6,000 visitors and that the two elements had been combined to reduce the number of Saturdays facing potential disruption.

A motorcycle festival was to have been held the following day, meaning access would have been affected from Friday night through to Sunday, but it has now been moved to another venue.

Mrs Benfield said the loss of the motorcycle festival, although disappointing, meant that disruption to all but Market Hill was now limited to Friday night and Saturday morning.

Corrine, who has had a shop in St Ives for 18 years, launched a petition urging the council to hold such events on a Sunday to reduce the impact on trade.

She said it had been backed by the majority of independent retailers and some of the nationals – but she had not had the time to carry out a comprehensive survey.

Corrine stressed that there was no objection to the event and they appreciated the amount of hard work involved in organising it, but said holding it on a Saturday, their busiest day, was detrimental to retailers.

“While it will bring people in to the town, they are people who are coming to watch a military parade and not to go shopping and the extra people may be enough to put off those who want to go shopping,” she said.

Corrine said that, like many other towns, trade in St Ives had been hit.

“It really isn’t great at the moment,” she said. “A lot of people have been struggling since Christmas, no-one knows why, although the cold weather hasn’t helped.

“The difference for us between a bad day and a good day could be £1,000 which is a lot of money to me.”

Mrs Benfield said: “It was decided to hold the freedom parade on the same day as Armed Forces Day to minimise the impact on trade there would be if it had been an additional Saturday.”

She said it was hoped the thousands of visitors would make return visits once they had seen what the town had to offer.

Mrs Benfield said the freedom of the town was being granted to the Royal Engineers and that 42 Engineer Regiment from Wyton would parade through the town on Saturday morning.

There would then be more events associated with Armed Forces Day in the town and a chance to see what the 42 Engineer Regiment did at Wyton by application through the town hall.

Peter Lanyon exhibition to mark birth centenary

An artist from St Ives has been honoured with an exhibition to mark then centenary of his birth.

Born in 1918, Peter Lanyon unfortunately died in a gliding accident in 1964. His traditional landscape art works were held in high regard, particularly by the singer, the late David Bowie, who had four of Lanyon’s work in his collection.

At first glance, Lanyon’s work may appear to be oil drawings by a young child, with colours smeared over one another. But perhaps you have to understand the artist to appreciate the art work. Within the art world, Lanyon is credited with transforming landscape art. The use of colours is a vibrant attempt to capture the unbridled emotion of being physically in the place at the time. Sure, it is not neat as in a photograph, or a detailed still life painting. But the art perhaps captures the underlying emotion, albeit a raw, childish one, of the subject in question.

The last of the above paintings, Wheal Owles, is an oil on board painting that dates back to 1958. At first it looks like a fishing boat on sea, and visitors unfamiliar to area may think it is a representation of a boat and St Ives history as a fishing town.

However, Wheal Owles is actually a tin mine near Botallack, near St Just. In January 1893, miners working underground were drowned when water rushed in. When you look again at the picture, now that streak of black in the middle makes sense – it is the mining shaft. The boarded shapes around it not only suggest the materials on the ground, but the feeling of being trapped and bordered with no way out echoes the fear of the men who were trapped and eventually died. It is said that before the water flooded in, a gust of wind blew out the lights, leaving the man trapped in darkness. This mirrors the lack of light in the work.

‘Peter Lanyon: Cornwall Inside Out’ at Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert, in St James’s, London, is open until 16 March.

Any progress with the Edward Hain?

Will there be any breakthrough in the standoff over the Edward Hain Community Hospital? The one-ward hospital has been closed for nearly a year over fire safety concerns – the government and NHS were not convinced that in the event of a fire, the twelve inpatients would not be able to be evacuated. Hence the inpatient unit remains closed, and those requiring such services have to go further afield, out of our town for treatment. The outpatient unit, however, remains open to existing residents.

Residents held a protest over the closure of the hospital in October. The common feeling among residents is because that because St Ives is far out to the west, and run by Labour council, the conservatives will not give it the resources in order to modernise. It is almost as if the Conservatives are trying to turn local feeling against Labour by using health as a means of creating dissension. It is no good for the people caught in between. The current building is an old Victorian building and getting inpatients down the stairs could be problematic. The Friends of Edward Hain recently raised £600,000 towards the hospital, but the money remains largely unspent because of the threat that it may be wasted. If improvements are made to the hospital but it still remains closed, the money would have been spent for nothing.

Part of the problem lies not just with underfunding alone. Some believe it lies with a lack of foresight by the local NHS, who failed to cater for post-hospital care services in the area. As a result, there is a lot of bed squatting and those in post-operative care are taking up the spaces on the ward.

The answer could be in building a new community hospital. This consideration has been touted before, and some believe that the creation of a new hospital would alleviate the pressure of the already taxed services in the area. If the problem lies with the existing building and there could still be a protracted political battle over it, then starting completely from scratch to develop a modern building that meets fire regulations, and one that is large enough to provide services for the region, could be the long term meaningful solution.