Page last updated at 13:37 GMT, Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Culture clash over Cornish jetty

By Alex Bushill
BBC News, Cornwall

Around 70% of homes in Helford are left empty for most of the year

A row in the Cornish village of Helford over plans to build a jetty to help local fishermen bring in their catch has exposed fault lines between wealthy second homeowners and those who live there all year round.

Many of us would dream of moving to a quiet Cornish fishing village to escape the stress of city living. But would you then complain about the fishing itself?

In the quiet village of Helford, which sits on the river from which it takes its name, that is exactly what is happening: a Cornish culture clash between those who live here and those for whom it is a part-time paradise.

A clash between local fisherman and wealthy second homeowners.

Chris Bean is back from a day's fishing and says he is not surprised the village he returns to is empty.

"They disappear off to Milton Keynes or London - don't think about it anymore," he said.

It is a beautiful, special spot. Do I want to see it as a new road along the seashore... do I want to see a car park there? No
Nick Jacob
Jetty protester

The problem he faces is Helford village has no working jetty

So, still at sea, he has to load his catch on to a dingy to get it ashore. It makes his work harder and more dangerous.

As more than a million pounds of fish are landed here each year, a new jetty has been approved by the local council - but there have been 200 letters of complaint.

So where are all these protesters? Explore Helford at this time of year, and you will not find many locals let alone second homeowners - a few seagulls maybe.

We had to go to London's Mayfair to find one who would talk to us - Nick Jacob who runs an asset management company from the capital.

He said: "It is a beautiful, special spot. Do I want to see it as a new road along the seashore... do I want to see a car park there... do I want to see an industrial use there with a lot of concrete... vehicles parked... that sort of thing? No."

Around 70% of homes in Helford are empty for most of the year, but should those who do not live here permanently decide what happens here?

Fisherman Chris Bean
A jetty would make it safer for Chris Bean to get his catch ashore

Not according to Pam Lyne, who has been delivering milk to Helford for 50 years.

Today she has just one customer.

She said: "Over the years less and less homes are occupied and more sold off as holiday homes or summer lets. Most of the objections are from people who don't live here"

That may be true, but they are well organised.

Some members of a group known as the Helford Village Society have forced a judicial review which will cost thousands of pounds to challenge.

In the meantime, Chris will keep bringing in his catch however tough it gets - after all Helford's second homeowners may not be able to stomach his jetty plans but they do love his fish.

Inside Out is broadcast tonight at 1930 GMT on BBC One for viewers in the South West or via the BBC iPlayer from Thursday.

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16 Jan 08 |  Cornwall

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