Pioneering study wins international attention
A pioneering blueprint for urban regeneration that was compiled
for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is so successful it is
being promoted internationally.
The study will help to ensure that future development acknowledges
and enhances the quality and historic character of towns in
Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
Cornwall and Scilly Urban Survey (CSUS) is a groundbreaking
initiative aimed at capturing the quality and distinctive
character of the historic environment for successful and sustainable
economic regeneration. The result is a comprehensive information
resource for 19 towns across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
This resource is being used by local authorities, architects,
private developers, development agencies, residents, visitors,
community groups and others and can help to ensure that any
new development is sympathetic to an area.
It is already a national exemplar, being the first project
of its kind to carry out a characterisation-based assessment
of the historic urban environment specifically to inform and
support a regional economic regeneration programme.
CSUS methods and reports are now being promoted by English
Heritage as an example of best practice for similar projects
elsewhere in the UK and internationally.
The CSUS cost £454,346 of which £211,396 came
from the Objective One European Regional Development Fund
(ERDF). Match funding was provided by English Heritage, the
South West Regional Development Agency and Cornwall County
Council. The study was carried out by the Historic Environment
Service of Cornwall County Council.
Bob Bewley, regional director South West of English Heritage,
said: "English Heritage is delighted to have been
able to work with Objective One and SWRDA on such a successful
project. It shows what can be achieved when heritage and regeneration
agencies work together to pursue shared aims.
"This was an innovative and ambitious project.
The value of its results will be strongly felt in Cornwall
and Scillies' towns, but also far more widely as a demonstration
of the importance of characterisation and its key role in
maintaining the distinctiveness of places."
Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Objective One Partnership,
added: "This project demonstrates how partnership
work has ensured the conservation of our heritage while keeping
one eye on future development. This study provides an excellent
environment for business growth."
Adam Paynter, Executive Member for Environment & Heritage
and Deputy Leader, Cornwall County Council, explained that
CSUS promotes the idea of development which respects the individual
character of different places.
He said: "Thanks to the Cornwall and Scilly Urban
Survey it is at last possible to demonstrate clearly and in
straightforward language, the distinctiveness of different
towns in a way that is extremely helpful when assessing the
impact of development proposals on their historic character.
"Development is essential for the health of towns
and villages across Cornwall; these reports help clarify heritage
values and define a place's essential character in order
to inform the development process and guide the construction
of the heritage of the future."
Nick Johnson, historic environment manager, Cornwall County
Council, went on to say how the study has been welcomed by
residents of the 19 targeted areas. "From the feedback
at many talks, local people are always very pleased that the
quality and character of their towns have been recognised.
There is also an unexpected but strong consensus amongst local
people on which aspects of urban design over the last 30 years
have degraded the historic character of their towns. Audiences
are appreciative that the underlying themes of the CSUS reports
are those of quality and distinctiveness."
Stephen Bohane, head of operations for the South West Regional
Development Agency (SWRDA), said: "CSUS is a reminder
to us all that the historic environment can be used as a catalyst
for change and a powerful driver for sustainable economic
regeneration. The CSUS reports will be a valuable resource
for future RDA initiatives in Cornwall & the Isles of
Roger Carson, director of Rosemullion Homes, explained the
value of CSUS for private developers. "Tragically
house building in Cornwall in the late 20th century largely
ignored the rich heritage of fine older buildings which grew
out of the landscape, and many stretches of coast and countryside
are blighted by ill-considered modern buildings of little
architectural merit. When we founded Rosemullion Homes in
1994 our mission was to start – in a small way –
to reverse this trend. By looking carefully at historic houses
in Cornish towns and villages, we try to capture the atmosphere
of their surroundings. Using locally sourced materials we
build houses of traditional character that 'go with
the grain' of their landscape.
"There is no doubt that CSUS reports could be
used to assist and encourage other developers in Cornwall
to understand local historical context and pay close attention
to proper architectural detail in their schemes. We also see
CSUS reports as a tool for planning officers to encourage
good housing design from developers and where this is not
successful, to refuse schemes which lack any attempt to properly
relate to their surroundings."
For further information please contact Clare Morgan on 01872
223439 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the
Isles of Scilly has invested in Cornwall and Scilly Urban
Survey (CSUS) through the European Regional Development Fund
The 19 towns in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly were identified
in consultation with planning, conservation and economic regeneration
officers within the seven district, borough and unitary authorities
in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, as those most likely
to be the focus for economic regeneration.
These towns are: Hugh Town (St Mary's, Isles of Scilly),
Newlyn, Penzance, Hayle, St Ives, Camborne, Helston, Penryn,
Falmouth, Redruth, Truro, Newquay, St Austell, Bodmin, Camelford,
Liskeard, Launceston, Saltash and Torpoint.
Cornwall has an unusually high density of historic towns.
All are small by English standards, the largest being St Austell
which contained only 28,000 people in 2001, but all have a
full range of urban components. These include commercial,
administrative, community and ecclesiastical buildings; public
and private spaces, and varieties of residential areas.
The major findings of the project are presented in report
form. These are complemented by computer-based digital mapping
and data recorded using ArcView GIS (Geographical Information
System) software and together the two sources provide comprehensive
information on historic development; urban topography; significant
components of the historic environment; archaeological potential
and historic character.
The reports and associated digital resources have been shared
with local authorities, funding agencies, community groups
and members of the general public. Great emphasis has been
placed on making information easily accessible and each of
the 19 survey reports and associated mapping is available
for downloading from the project's dedicated website,
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439