"Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced" - James Baldwin
Thursday, 10 June 2021
G7 - A Tale of Two Duchies
As Royal Navy Culdrose sees helicopters unloaded from giant transporters, cruise ships anchor off Falmouth to house the 5,000
police and as Boris Johnson flies in from his 300 mile journey from distant
London, locals have the chance to contemplate the £70 million cost
for all this.
Carbis Bay Hotel at St Ives, which is hosting the G7 summit this
week, contains a parade of ugly beachside villas that rent for
thousands a week They exists for people who travel here with their
own fantasies, which rarely involve Cornish reality.
was Daphne Du Maurier and Manderley now it’s
Johnson, the G7 andCarbis Bay
an old story: rich and poor competing for the same space.
is only one road into Carbis Bay and on it a sign: “St Ives
Foodbank Welcomes You”.
costs are high, but wages are low; work is often seasonal, zero hours
and without benefits. If the average Cornish salary is less than the
national average, housing costs are explosive. The average house now
costs eight times the average salary: and prices are still rising.
You buy a house, rent it out (but not to locals, that is
unprofitable), and either enjoy the income or sell it on. The old
cottages by the sea are rentals or second homes.
is normal to be evicted for the summer: people camp in fields or
squat in campervans. One third of children under five live in
insecure and privately rented accommodation, which is some of the
worst maintained in Britain. 36% of children in St Ives live in
poverty. That isn’t on the postcards.
people are up the hill on the Penbeagle Estate, a pale and uniform
collection of houses, from which they contemplate their own town from
Bay Hotel has destroyed a portion of woodland to build meeting rooms
for the summit, despite planning permission being denied for the same
site in 2018, and yet still calling itself an “Eco hotel”.
“global elite”, have had footpaths closed and taken hotel rooms from
vulnerable homeless people. Cornwall is two duchies now, and the G7
is happening in one of them.
resident at the Treneere estate in Penzance says
the housing shortage is so acute adult children are living in
parents’ garden sheds. People are inhabiting cottages with water
running down the walls; or they are evicted so the home can be an
Airbnb. “We might as well go back to days of the poorhouse. It feels
like that. What
about lovely, ordinary people?” They have been obscured, I think,
by lovely, extraordinary landscape, and the desire of others to
possess it. "