MP calls for 'Cornish Heritage' to replace English body
The English Heritage quango is failing to promote the region's industrial landscape and should be replaced by a "Cornish Heritage" body, an MP has claimed.
George Eustice, MP for Camborne, Redruth and Hayle, is pressing the Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt to give cash to a new autonomous body in Cornwall by "top slicing" English Heritage's budget.
The Conservative MP has criticised the organisation for "letting Cornwall down for years" by not promoting its industrial history to boost tourism.
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Five years ago, Cornwall and West Devon's mining structures attained World Heritage status, a badge of approval also held by the Egyptian pyramids and Australia's Great Barrier Reef.
He said: "It is time to question whether a group whose nearest office is in Bristol can possibly understand issues in Cornwall."
Mr Eustice has been engaged in a furious row with English Heritage over its opposition to building a supermarket, houses and a restaurant on Hayle's historic harbour.
English Heritage thinks the proposals at South Quay are "unacceptable", and claims plans approved by Cornwall Council put the world heritage status at risk.
But Mr Eustice, who says English Heritage has failed to recognise the heritage benefits of the scheme, argues: "English Heritage have been quick to use our World Heritage site status as a weapon in the planning process by fanning the flames of alarmist nonsense in respect of development plans, but they have done nothing to promote our heritage.
"Towns like Camborne, Redruth and Hayle, which make up the heart of the Cornwall's mining heritage, are not even mentioned on the English Heritage website. Instead, all you get are pretty pictures of castles in the home counties."
An English Heritage spokesman said it promotes sites which are "characteristic of Cornwall and the Cornish people" and has put sites into the hands of local people and trusts. She said: "English Heritage has always supported and invested in the strong cultural identity that exists in Cornwall.
"Over the years, we have spent many millions of pounds helping to conserve and repair Cornish heritage assets."