Wetherspoon's plan to move into jewellers next door confirms rumours the company denied
WETHERSPOON'S in St Ives has confirmed it is planning to extend into the jewellers nextdoor - just two months after denying it to The Cornishman.
They will transform the traditional granite shopfront of the former Cornish Stone Company in Tregenna Place with the same off yellow paint and grey hoarding that fronts the Hain Line pub next door.
When the national chain arrived in the town there were rumours they planned to take over the jewellers and also the next unit along, now the Sue Ryder charity shop.
The loss of another independent shop in St Ives is a cause for concern in the town.
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A recent survey by the West Cornwall Green party, published in The Cornishman last week, showed St Ives was still largely populated with independent shops - winning it the moniker "home town not clone town" - but it ranked lowest in all the Penwith towns for variety.
Out of 69 shops surveyed there were only 11 different types of shop. In Hayle of the 63 shops surveyed there were a staggering 35 different types.
Some fear St Ives has come to be dominated by galleries and surf shops.
So the loss of another shop in the town has caused concerns.
St Ives Town Councillors voted six to four to support Wetherspoon's application to change the shop to a licensed premises.
Councillor Andrew Mitchell, who opposed the plans, said: "I've got nothing against Wetherspoons, I welcomed them into the town, but extending into the shop next door is a step too far. It is the loss of another retail unit in the town centre.
"We need the shops in St Ives to remain shops. Over the last few decades a lot of traditional shops have been taken over as pasty shops or surf shops or a gallery."
Mayor Ron Tulley said: "It would be great to see a local shop there serving local people, a butcher or a baker, that's why people voted against."
But he said a vote against Wetherspoons would still leave an empty unit with no guarantee of anyone taking it on.
Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon, who in January denied the company was taking over the former Cornish Stone company, said: "Wetherspoon can confirm that it has purchased the jewellers shop next to its pub in St Ives.
"It has now applied for planning permission and will also require licensing permission."
The aim is to create more drinking space on the ground floor and an outside smoking area at the rear.
Some feel Wetherspoons is cynically expanding in stages.
Andrew Mitchell said: "The rumours when Wetherspoons first arrived were they would be taking over the jewellers and the next shop along as well.
"Wetherspoons is great for St Ives but enough is enough."