Camborne mining cottages left "butchered" by improvements claim campaigners
CAMPAIGNERS have criticised home improvements along the gateway to Camborne for "butchering" the town's historic features.
Leicester-based Mark Group has installed external insulation at 60 homes, free of charge, including 12 on College Street.
Local residents and campaign group Trelawney Alliance said the work has destroyed original features on the street's former miners' granite cottages.
Concerns have also been raised by Andrew Richards, advice team leader for Cornwall Council's historic environment, who said many of the properties lie within the town's conservation area and all are in the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site.
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He wants the authority to consider whether enforcement action is needed, saying: "We have also compiled a list of properties and a location plan of where work has been carried out and submitted this with a brief summary to the enforcement section.
"College Street is the first impression that people get coming into Camborne. We do need to find out whether planning permission was necessary to carry out the work."
Trelawney Alliance chairman Jean Charman said many of the houses were built for miners as long ago as the early 1800s.
She added: "We agree with insulation but it should not be done so that it destroys the town's heritage. It is butchering the street scene and we are asking Cornwall Council to take enforcement action and to stop further houses being affected."
Local historian and Cornish bard David Oates said he was concerned by the spread of such work through the town, including on Foundry Road.
He said: "This is making a mockery of our World Heritage Site status and conservation.
"We worked hard to get this and people travel from across the globe, America, Peru and Australia to see the cottages where their mining ancestors lived."
Residents Hazel and Alan Downing, whose cottage was built for the Basset family in 1898 to house miners, turned down the free insulation, saying their granite walls were 20 inches thick.
Cornwall Council said the issue was being considered by its planning enforcement team.
In a statement, Mark Group said College Street was a mix of modern and traditional frontages that did not need planning permission for the work.
It added: "Each of the homeowners benefiting were happy to proceed and the installations were carried out free of charge.
"We are committed to providing highly effective energy-saving solutions in keeping with local surroundings and work closely with councils and local planning authorities to ensure all regulations and requirements are met before work is carried out."
It said 60 homes in the Camborne area had been insulated in the past 12 months in a £440,000 project funded by EDF Energy.
Its website says the average size home that has been insulated can save about £500 per year on energy bills.