Work to reinforce cliffs with concrete to enable development suspended

Whipsiderry development stalls as Duchy of Cornwall suspends licence

Work to reinforce cliffs [with concrete] to enable a luxury housing development to be built has been put on hold after intervention by the Duchy of Cornwall.

By Johnny O’Shea

Work at the site has been put on hold after the Duchy of Cornwall suspended a licence allowing access to the beach

Protesters have been demonstrating against work at Whipsiderry beach, near Newquay, due to concerns over damage to the environment and wildlife habitat.

Now the Duchy has suspended a licence allowing access to part of the beach it owns.

Developer Living Quarter Properties has been approached for comment.

It has permission to build seven luxury homes on cliffs above the beach, but work necessary to backfill caves with concrete cannot legally take place while the licence is suspended.

Planning consent for the development had previously been granted by Cornwall Council.

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) granted a licence for cliff reinforcement work, while the duchy – a private estate that funds both the charitable and private activities of the Duke of Cornwall, Prince William – granted access to the beach.

Seabirds called fulmars nest at the cliffs each year, and under the terms of the MMO licence, reinforcement works had to be completed by the end of March, due to nesting season.

A demonstration was held on 18 February, and protesters have retained a presence on the beach since, disrupting progress.

A second demonstration last week attracted about 200 protesters, organisers said.

Hundreds of people gathered on Thursday to protest against works to shore up the cliffs ahead of development

Developers used a crane to get a digger on to the beach, and security guards were hired to keep people away from areas being worked on.

On Sunday, organisers wrote to the Duchy, asking it to use its “power and position of authority to stop the destruction at Whipsiderry Beach”.

A Duchy spokesperson said: “The Duchy granted access on the basis that these works be carried out in a safe manner, and that all necessary consents were in place, including observing bird-nesting restrictions.

“The Duchy has therefore suspended the licence in order for discussions between the developer and the relevant statutory authorities to take place and for those authorities to determine if and how the consented work can take place in a safe and compliant manner.”

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