Trust’s Policies

As a non profit charity campaign group we operate a simple model to develop policies that we believe in for the benefit of St. Ives. Our policies will be reviewed and change as needed.

Policies are developed in light of public comment and polls conduct through this web site. They are also a result of our own reviews and dialog with other organisations such as the Town Council and Cornwall County Council.

Is there an issue you think the Trust should be working on?

Please comment below and the Trustees will review your suggestion. Thank you in advance for your input.

1.  Introduction

The need for our policies

The old town of St Ives clustered round the harbour with the Island behind is one of the loveliest places in the country.  Furthermore, St Ives Bay has been officially recognised as one of the world’s most beautiful bays; the beaches around the town are unrivalled and regularly achieve EU Blue Flag status.

In the hundred years since the demise of mining and the fishing industry, St Ives has changed from a mainly commercial community to a modern resort with shops, restaurants and hotels.  Despite this, it has succeeded in retaining much of its original charm.  The old quarter still exists with its narrow cobbled streets, alleys and neat stone cottages.  It is surrounded by the attractive Victorian terraces framing the Stennack and the Edwardian residential housing extending up to Tregenna Castle.

All this is enhanced by the existence of the artists’ colony that has achieved world wide fame and still flourishes, attracted by the clarity of the atmosphere and gentle climate.

All this is surely worth preserving and this is the primary purpose of the St Ives Trust.

2. The Trust

Formerly the ‘Friends of St Ives’, The St Ives Trust has been in existence as a registered charity for some forty years; in that time a number of illustrious and influential residents have been associated with it.  In this time the Trust has proved an effective voice for the Town and District which constitute the former Borough of St Ives[1].

Since 1996 its activities have been enhanced by the development of its Archive Study Centre, which has done much to preserve and publicise the history of St Ives and, at its headquarters, provides a physical presence for the Trust in the centre of the town.

The Trust is not an insular or negative society but is composed of like-minded individuals who care for their town, its past, its present and its future.  The Trust’s primary duty is to protect the unique character and natural beauty of the town and the surrounding district.  In doing so it works with local organisations such as the Old Cornwall Society, the St Ives Museum and the St Ives Library.  It has also forged effective links with the Town Council and Penwith District Council. Only by such collaboration can its objectives be achieved.

3. The Area

The Trust’s activities focus on the communities of St Ives, Carbis Bay, Lelant and Halsetown.  These include three conservation areas (see appendix):

  • The old town of St Ives.
  • The main village street in Lelant.
  • The old mining settlement at Halsetown.

These areas are provided with special protection under planning legislation and quite a number of the buildings within them are listed. Apart from the parish churches of St Ives and Lelant, few of these buildings are in themselves of outstanding merit, but they form essential parts of important ensembles which require protection if the entire character of the area is not to be destroyed.

The attractiveness of the area has encouraged those seeking retirement and second homes to move here.  This has been of considerable benefit to the community but it has also created an imbalance; this has distorted the housing market to such an extent that locals on low incomes find it difficult to buy a home of any sort.

More recently all areas of the town and the surrounding district have become of great interest to property developers who aim to build blocks of holiday flats.  This threat is most pronounced outside the centre of the town in such areas as the Belyars and Carbis Bay.

It is essential that any Trust policies should be set in the context of the local housing market and should take into account local housing needs.

4. Objectives

The objectives of the St Ives Trust are:

  • To promote the preservation and protection for the public benefit of its natural, historical and architectural features.
  • To educate the public in the history, natural history and architecture of the town.
  • To promote high standards of architecture.

What follows lays out a set of detailed policies aimed to achieve these objectives. They may usefully be categorised as follows:

  • What would we like to reclaim from the past?
  • What would we like to preserve for the present?
  • What would we like to be developed for the future?
  • What are our primary environmental concerns?
  • How should we be educating the public about St Ives?

5. Reclaim

Policy Rec-1

Traditionally the town had cobbled streets and granite gutters but, both inside and outside the conservation area, some granite gutters have been replaced and cobbled streets covered in tarmac.  The Trust’s policy is that those existing should remain and that, where possible (certainly in the conservation area), the tarmac covering should be removed and the traditional guttering reinstated.  In this respect the current work on Wharf Road is encouraging.

Policy Rec-2

The St Erth – St Ives branch line is an important part of the town’s past and a central element in its future development.  The Trust will support the branch line irrespective of its ownership, but believes that it should remain part of the national rail system rather than pass into private hands.

Apart from the line’s value to the community and to visitors and as a scenic attraction, the Park & Ride scheme reduces the number of day visitors in cars.  The Trust would like to see this scheme extended beyond the period of the summer rail timetable.

The rail authorities have suggested that local communities become more involved in the running of local and branch line services and have proposed the St Ives branch as one of five lines in a pilot scheme. To this end a St Ives Bay Line Working Group has been set up involving a number of local organisations. The Trust is, and will remain, an active participant in this group.

6. Preservation

Policy Pre-1

The Trust’s policy is to co-operate with local authorities and organisations to influence policy making and attempt to create a cohesive planning strategy for the entire St Ives area, taking into account the new and increasing threats from inappropriate development.

The Schedule of Interests at the end of this document lists some of the most important buildings in the area but, as noted above, it is essential to preserve ensembles of buildings.  These include:-

  • The central conservation area.
  • The Victorian and Edwardian terraces along the Stennack with their distinctive roofline and pattern of gardens
  • The area of the Belyars which, with its landscape, wooded areas and large buildings provides visual evidence of the town’s history and the aspiration of those in the past, such as sea captains, to build substantial houses in their own grounds up the hillside in the ‘good air’.
  • The coast from Porthminster point to Hawkes Point.  Much of this has already been damaged by excessive and inappropriate development, but there remains much worth preserving.
  • The unique mining village at Halsetown.
  • The main street of Lelant Village from Trevethoe to St Uny Church.

In addition the Trust, in collaboration with other organisations, will do all it can to preserve environmentally sensitive areas of St Ives, coastal, rural or woodland, which are presently not built on. It will oppose any development which would be likely to intrude on or degrade these areas.  However it supports the construction of affordable housing for local residents wherever appropriate sites can be found.

Policy Pre-2

The Trust supports the principle of Article Four Directives and would welcome their extension outside the existing conservation areas. It notes that Penwith District Council is to prepare a Statement in support of its policies in the St Ives Conservation Area; the Trust intends to co-operate in formulating this Statement and will help to publicise its contents.

Policy Pre-3

Penwith District Council is not at present able to provide grants for those living in the Conservation Area to use traditional materials and for the retention of traditional windows, chimney stacks etc.  The Trust’s policy is to encourage the use of these materials wherever possible and it urges the Council to pursue all means to make such grants available in the future.

Policy Pre-4

The Trust supports and will continue to support actions taken by St Ives Town Council and Penwith District Council to enforce existing regulations and control the proliferation of unnecessary and inappropriate business and other signs.

Policy Pre-5

The Trust will encourage and assist local government to define standards of street lighting and furniture within the St Ives, Lelant and Halsetown Conservation Areas.  It will also work with the appropriate authorities to moderate the lighting from signage in these areas.

Policy Pre-6

Artists’ studios are the lifeblood of the artistic heritage of St Ives, and have been so since the 1880s.  They have always contributed significantly to the town’s economic viability and, because of the arrival of Tate St Ives, will play an even greater role in the future.  It is the Trust’s policy to ensure that their numbers are maintained and, where opportunities arise, be increased.

7. Developments

All developmental policies need to be pursued after consultation and in collaboration with the Town Council, Penwith District Council, Cornwall County Council and the residents of the town.

Policy Dev-1

The Trust believes that the boundaries of the Conservation Area should be reconsidered and the possibility be explored of extending them to include the terraces bordering the Stennack.

Policy Dev-2

The Trust will urge the District Council to prepare a formal Statement, in accordance with government guidelines, specifying the detailed grounds for conservation in the different parts of the Conservation Area. This could be achieved by a more detailed specification of Article Four directions.  The Trust would be pleased to collaborate with the Council in carrying out the work involved in preparing such a Statement.

Policy Dev-3

The listing of buildings in St Ives is somewhat incoherent.  Some buildings which should clearly be listed are not and there are many cases of adjacent and very similar buildings, one of which is listed and the other not.  The Trust will press for a proper survey of listed buildings and a rationalisation of the position.

Policy Dev-4

While recognising that the Belyars cannot qualify as a Conservation Area, the Trust will press for it to be accorded a special status, at least in respect of the permitted density of housing in the area.

Policy Dev-5

Along with local agencies and authorities and through the local MP, the Trust will campaign for a change government policies to take account of the distinction between speculative building designed for holiday lets or second homes and the building of affordable housing for local residents.

8. Environment

Policy Env-1

It is essential that Local Government continues to take action to develop and implement traffic management schemes.  The Trust supports any such schemes which are acceptable to the community and which serve to:-

1.             Reduce the volume of traffic.

  1. Reduce vehicle pollution.
  2. Improve traffic flow.
  3. Provide adequate parking facilities to meet seasonal variations
  4. Ensure the safety and the well-being of pedestrians.
  5. Take into account the historical and architectural sensitivity of the area

Policy Env-2

The amount of litter around the harbour and the central parts of the town remains a matter of concern; most of this unsightly and unhygienic garbage derives from takeaway food outlets. There is also a continuing problem with dog mess.  Penwith District Council has taken steps to improve these problems but there is still a long way to go.  The Trust will continue to press for policies which serve to reduce this nuisance.

Policy Env-3

Trees are scarce in West Cornwall as a whole and in St Ives in particular; fortunately many are subject to preservation orders.  The Trust will work to retain our trees and to prevent inappropriate lopping and felling of this valuable resource.

9. Education

The educational policy of the Trust is to promote better understanding of the community of St Ives: the contribution made by its past, that is the evidence of its history in its visual, written and oral/memory forms; efforts to understand the nature of the community today; and a collective understanding of its future development.  All these activities require liaison with like-minded organisations such as the Old Cornwall Society, the St Ives Museum and the St Ives Library.  In practice this will involve:-

Policy Edu-1

In the area of formal education the Trust aims to provide, through its Archive Study Centre, resource based learning opportunities for field-study projects for primary and secondary pupils and for Further and Adult Education groups, both within the community and from the country at large.

Policy Edu-2

In the same context the Trust aims to develop the provision of training in information technology, with particular reference to archival material.  This will include the provision of work experience placements for secondary school pupils, the unemployed and adults who are retraining.

Policy Edu-3

The Trust has started on and will continue a programme of reissuing past works and the publishing new and original material relevant to the history of St Ives.

Policy Edu-4

The Trust will continue to develop its Art Archive and to liaise with the School of Painting, the Penwith Society, the Society of St Ives Artists and the Tate Gallery.

Policy Edu-5

The Trust will extend its existing programme of events to include lectures, discussions, films and conducted tours illustrative of the history, natural history and architecture of the town.

Schedule of Interests

  1. All Chapel and Church buildings.
  2. The beaches.
  3. The harbour area,including the old lifeboat house, Smeaton’s Pier and buildings, West Pier, Doble’s Wall and the Fishermen’s lodges
  4. All traditional, long-established hotels and public houses.
  5. The Island, including St Nicholas Chapel, the Battery and coastguard station, the Island School buildings.
  6. St Ives Museum.
  7. Marshall wood-carvers building, Porthgwidden
    1. Society of Artists’ Building – Mariners’ Church.
    2. Penwith Gallery.
    3. Alfred Wallis’ cottage.

11.Hick’s Court,

  1. St Ives School of Painting
  2. St Eia’s Well
  3. Porthmeor Studios
  4. Norway Square
    1. The Tate Gallery.
    2. Knill House.
    3. The Barbara Hepworth Museum.
    4. Trewyn Gardens.
    5. Market Place.
    6. The ‘Lambeth Walk
    7. The Drill Hall (Royal Square).
    8. Royal cinema.
    9. Stennack Surgery building.
    10. The Leach Pottery.
    11. The Arts Club.
    12. The Malakoff.
    13. Talland House.
    14. Chy-an-Porth.
    15. Coastguard houses.
    16. Tregenna Castle and grounds.
    17. The Huers’ Hut, Hain Walk
    18. Knill’s Steeple and Steeple Woods.

[1] In all that follows ‘St Ives’ should be understood to refer the area of the former borough of St Ives, including Carbis Bay, Lelant and Halsetown.

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