Chairman’s Report 2012

St Ives Trust Chairman’s Report on behalf of the Trustees 2012

Our warm thanks to Sebastian Halliday for his enduring work to maintain the St Ives Trust as a purposeful and enterprising organisation, it is with some perturbation I will now follow.

The last 12 months have witnessed an exciting period for the St Ives Trust as we have embarked on a new phase of activity in response to the changes that abound.

We have set out to continue an active engagement with the planning, environmental and societal issues that are the life force to the culture of our town. Whilst the St Ives Trust functions separately and distinctly from the Town Council we are engaged in an ongoing dialogue with the Town Council and a commitment to work together wherever it is possible to collaborate successfully to benefit the town. The Trust engages to facilitate broader discussions around the conflictual issues as the town evolves. The Trust was formed to preserve and maintain the historic fabric and the delicate balance of the town with the landscape. The economic boom of the last decade has caused much controversy amongst locals and incomers alike. The significant development by Cornwall Care of housing and care for the elderly at Steeple Fields was not resolved through meetings, we were disappointed that the opportunity to influence the proposal was missed before the application went to appeal. The circumstance that existed to affect the proposals ahead of the application being reconsidered have been lost. The Trust will continue to engage and promote considered discussion around significant developments to influence developments positively.

The St Ives’s Trust new website has been launched, we hope with more members utilising this we can benefit from a direct and regular engagement with members and reach more participators. The website will give immediate communication to members and regularly publicisise the activities of the Trust through newsletters.

Planning has long been a central concern for the Trust and indeed we live in interesting times. The St Ives Trust intends to promote a better informed debate and to these ends we have initiated an ongoing series of talks, beginning with the Localism and Planning Bill, the Localism Act became statute last November and brought with it the most significant changes to Town and Country Planning since the introduction of the Act in 1947. There is more information about the Act and the first talk given by Andrew England, Assistant Head of Planning and Regeneration on the Trust web site. There will be more talks to follow on this, as well as broader ranging subjects to stimulate more thought about our environment.

The Localism and Planning Bill is critical legislation and one consequence is the opportunity for a local plan. Within the legislative framework there is provision for a local plan promoted by the Town or Parish Council. The Trust advocates that the Town Council should engage all concerned parties to produce a local plan that will serve the complex and diverse needs of the town. The promotion of the historically established tourist industry both as a cultural and economic driver of the town should be recognised and supported but not at the cost of the residents who equally contribute to the vitality of the town.

St. Ives has a long established contributory position in relation to painting and sculpture and the evolution of British Modernism. The parallel relationship to contemporary architecture and urbanism has not yet been established. Though there are hopeful signs of a new emergence; 2008 saw the re opening of the Leach Pottery and in 2012 we can look forward to the Tate phase two and the revitalisation of the Porthmeor Studios. Looking at these proposed projects, it is a great encouragement that architects of national importance are keen to bring their vision to enrich the townscape.

The Trust intends to promote a better townscape that will compliment both our historic and contemporary buildings. Freeing the harbour front of through traffic is one such initiative that would be a great benefit to visitors and locals.

The ongoing decline in appropriate premises for studios and workshops in St Ives is detrimentally changing the nature and character of the town and so we have initiated a project to open disused buildings in St Ives for use as workshops and studios. We welcome an active participation with artists, sympathetic institutions and potential landlords.

The Trust cannot prevent the town evolving and nor should it. It is the accretive development that has brought about the richly layered environment that is positively recognized as intrinsic to St. Ives. We believe that the town deserves good design both for buildings and the townscape. The Trust hopes through initiatives to influence and promote the ambitions and vitality for the town to be a better place.

Rex Henry

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