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Made in Cornwall - A  New Model of Economic Governance in an English County by 

Phil Taylor 2003 PhD Thesis

Chapter 8

Back to the Future: Culture, Industry, Economics and Society

‘Let us face the future,’ said a famous manifesto.  But how exactly, at any actual time, are we supposed to do that?  Facing the present is usually quite enough for most people, and even in active politics within the electoral timescale, four or five years is usually as far as the future goes.  Most people want to change our present social and economic conditions, but it’s noticeable how many of the words we use to define our intentions have a reference to the past: recovery, rehabilitation, rebuilding, [regeneration]’ (Raymond Williams 1985 in Williams 1989 pg186).  

8.1    Introduction

 I am writing this chapter in a style different to the rest of the thesis.  A style that allows a descriptive yet analytical flow enabling the reader to feel as though they are in the county of Cornwall and offering a mental image and a sense of place.  Raymond Williams uses such a style, with a quality of writing techniques that I aspire to achieve. 

The make up of this chapter is a discussion on the overall findings of the three-year research programme on the regional development of Cornwall.  It recalls the roles of culture, industry, economics and society, and their relationship with the historical background of Cornwall, and their combined role in the economic future of the county.  I will refer back to the theoretical concepts discussed in chapter 2 and their relevance in disseminating the empirical part of the research.  I consider this a key issue as the theoretical concepts and the empirical data need to complement each other, in that the theory brings some sense to the empirical work, and vice-versa.  

8.2       Cornwall: A Sense of Place

“To enliven us our mother said:  'When we leave Plymouth we shall come to a bridge, and once the bridge is crossed we shall be in Cornwall'.  We jumped about, excited.  All was anticipation, and it was unbearable to wait.  The train drew out of the station at last, and soon after there was a strange rattling sound as the carriage wheels ran upon the bridge. ‘There. Now we’re in Cornwall’ said our mother, laughing.  I stared out, disenchanted.  For what was different about this?” (du Maurier, 1967 pg4). 


Imagine that you are visiting Cornwall for the first time, here and now in the early part of the twenty first century.  Taking the most southerly route via the A38[1] trunk road, you have just driven over the Tamar road bridge that runs parallel to the Royal Albert Railway Bridge built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 1859 linking London to Cornwall via the newly established rail network.  The bridges link South Cornwall to England; I wonder how many people crossing the bridges consider the importance of the rail bridge to Cornwall in 1859?  As du Maurier found, the scenery only changes gradually but the culture and industry change almost instantly.  The introduction of the railway in Cornwall led to industrial expansion in the county from the early 1860s.

The importance of the railway to Cornwall in terms of economy emerged through utilising the new rail network to transport Victorian tourists from all over the UK.  Prior to the construction of the Royal Albert Bridge in 1859, the only bridge across the Tamar was one constructed in the fifteenth century at Horsebridge (photo5), about twenty miles from the coast at Plymouth. 


Photo 5: 16th Century Bridge at Horsebridge on the Devon Cornwall border. Photo reproduced here with the kind permission of Western Web Ltd 2003

The construction of Brunel’s bridge and the subsequent rail link to Penzance opened up faster trade routes to South and West Cornwall. The railway link to Cornwall remains an integral part of the infrastructure that supports the Cornish economy.  True, there are demands for greater funding for the rail network in Cornwall, funds that will undoubtedly improve efficiency and access to the western end of the county.  This is particularly important considering the ongoing campaigns by environmental organisations to encourage people off the roads and onto the railways.

One of the major problems with the rail network in Cornwall is the speed of the trains.  Due to the rail track following the coastline in the south and over the hills and moors ‘…it [the railway] is not now competitive with the car, particularly from here [Truro] to Exeter. It takes one and a half hours by car and two and a half hours by train.’ (Rob Hitchen Interview 2002).  This causes problems not so much for tourists but for commuters.  With the road infrastructure also in need of a major overhaul, due to the increase in road traffic, add to this a poor rail service and the eventuality is gridlock at peaks periods.  Personal experience driving into Truro in March 2002 took 45mins longer than necessary entirely due to heavy rush hour traffic. For a region that is ‘seeking to regenerate’, there is a demand for the rail and road infrastructure to improve, thus providing better access to the employment opportunities afforded by the impetus of Objective 1 funding.

There is any number of claims to where regeneration should begin, ask any representative of key stakeholders and each will offer a different option: the physical infrastructure through rail, road and communications, the concentration on job creation as the priority, community capacity building, tourism development, and so on.  They are all equally important and all rightly treated as such, thus providing momentum in regeneration.  What is crucial is that there is a visually active overseer of regeneration. The overseer should manage through governance the myriad stakeholders in the county.  Much as Foucault (1978) discusses in terms of governmentality in that a strong ‘father figure’ – GOSW - to control ‘the children’ – SWRDA, CCC, community groups - is necessary to maintain a balanced and developing economy and society.       

8.3       Strange Buildings and Man -made Mountains

Continuing our journey through the Cornish countryside of narrow roads bordered by ancient hedgerows, strange looking buildings begin to appear on the horizon.  They are relics of the tin mining era, the pump houses that pumped water out of the deep tin mines. (Photo 6)  These are probably the first indications of a bygone mining culture in Cornwall and reflected on many postcards sent home by tourists to their family and friends of their stay in Cornwall.  They remind me of the importance of the mining industry in Cornwall, in the past, present and future tenses.  The Cornish born still relate to tin mining as an integral part of their society.  A society that has grown, similar to Williams’ (1958) concept of a developing society, through ‘…active debate, and amendment under the pressures of experience, contact and discovery, writing themselves into the land.’  This is particularly so, in the Cornish case, with the hundreds of pump house remains found throughout Cornwall.  An old Cornish saying ‘Down every hole you’ll find a Cornish miner’ embraces the reverence that the Cornish people hold for the former tin mining industry.  Moreover, a poem by Patrick French (1997) summarises the Cornish acceptance of the regeneration process from the decline of the mining industry through the angst over the fishing industry and the culmination of a new technological age reaching the county.   

Photo 6: An Abandoned Tin Mine Pump House near St Just Cornwall 




Was all

An engineer’s dream,

As they built and exploited inventions with steam.

Its miners

Were finders

Of techniques all new,

Which they took round the world -- and explained what to do.

And its seamen

Were toughened

By life out afloat,

Crewing steamers or trawlers or local lifeboats.


Now mining’s


‘Fact someone has said:

One day he just woke up and read it was dead.

But fishing

We’re hoping

Will not do the same,

Though’ daily some strangers to our grounds lay claim.

I ‘spect we


Will hear on the news:

That the boats out of Newlyn have got Spanish crews!


‘Tis no joke

For menfolk,

If their jobs they lose,

And there aren’t any options of new jobs to choose;

It’s computers

And software

Which these days somehow

Are the country’s main needs for new jobs right now.

The young lads

Of those dads

Find it easy. I s’pose

To them it’s as plain as the tip of their nose.


There’s layout

And logout

And words like splitscreen;

And passwords and programs all part of the scene.

There’re formats

And inserts --

That’s just for a start --

And a run and a printout are also a part.

There’s data

To cater

For, modems and such --

But to say it all now is really too much!


At worst,

We must first

Establish and find

New skills to be learned by the men who once mined.

They don’t shirk

Hard work

Of the manual kind,

But keyboards an’ suchlike they might find a bind.

But we must,

‘Cos its just

And its right and its proper,

Teach them to know what technologies offer.


Scattered throughout the county are mining villages where communities are beginning to respond to the processes of regeneration and are involving themselves in issues surrounding capacity building.  They are encouraged by bodies such as the SWRDA, the County and District Councils and community development officers to develop ideas for the economic regeneration of their community.  The District Council is instrumental in encouraging the communities to evaluate, discuss and act upon concepts for regeneration.  They do so through an ‘integrated and holistic approach’ that ‘…provides a wide ranging programme of support and provision’ (North Kerrier IAP 2001: 17). 

The development of the role of the various agencies involved with the economic regeneration of communities follows the regulationist view of restructuring a new mode of regulation.  It is reasonable to accept that Cornwall suffered a breakdown in modes of regulation thus leading to its current ‘crisis’ in that the economic decline in the region became a major concern.  Hence, the injection of funding via the Objective 1 scheme in 2000 was in recognition of this.  The new mode of regulation in this instance is through the development of the integration of all the stakeholders involved in economic regeneration.  The endogenous system of development encourages the more holistic nature of regeneration.  It involves the community from the outset and has potential to ensure the continuation of the development process in years to come.

‘Regulation theory seeks to integrate the analysis of political economy with that of civil society and the state to show how they interact to 'normalize' the capital relation.’ (Jessop 1999: 64)

Thus, the evidence collected through the interviews with key stakeholders and the analysis of policy documents offers a theoretical perspective to the issues revolving around social and economic regeneration. 

The journey continues along the A38 to St Austell, now famous for the location of the Eden Project built in one of the former china clay quarries.  The Eden Project is the largest visitor attraction in Cornwall.  It attracts approximately 1.8million visitors per year. 95% of its employees are sourced locally, of which 50% were previously unemployed (Eden Project 2003).  Additionally, the creation of about 1,700 jobs distributed between Cornwall and the counties of Devon and Somerset indicate a considerable boost to the economy in the region.  It is ideally located for the day-tripper from Bristol (approximately 2hrs by car) or the holidaymaker in St Ives (1hr by car).  In March 2002, GOSW announced that the Eden Project would receive further Objective 1 funding of £1.75million in addition to the £1.5million from the SWRDA, to build the Eden Foundation building, which will house facilities for academic researchers from around the world.  Therefore, as the Eden Project expands so to will the local economy through increased employment.  Here, on a large scale is evidence that co-operation between business, communities, the local authority and fund managers from SWRDA and GOSW operate together to produce a successful outcome to a major development project.  However, let us not get carried away with the success of the Eden Project.  Close by, in St Austell and the surrounding area there is still large areas suffering from high unemployment caused by the reduction in clay mining.    

Aside from the recently re-opened tin mine in Redruth, the china clay mining area of St Austell is all that remains of the mining industry in Cornwall.  The china clay mining remains one of Cornwall’s success stories.  After over 300 years, it continues to support the local economy, although due to modern mining methods the numbers of employees is now at a little over 2200 it peaked at over 5000 in the 1970s.  As you drive, you will notice a number of cone shaped hills these are fabricated structures, similar to those that adorn the landscape in coal mining districts of South Wales.  They are made not of coal slag as in South Wales but of sand and mica separated from the clay in the refining process.  The mounds have, over many years, ‘grassed over’ and some look more like natural landscape features similar to the smaller burial mounds that adorn the Wiltshire countryside around Stonehenge.     

St Austell town centre is predominantly of 1960s architecture and much of it now owned by the SWRDA and scheduled for redevelopment during 2003.  The redevelopment programme is part of a scheme that involves Restormal District Council, who, along with the SWRDA organised a number of consultations with the local people on how the rebuilding should look.  ‘An architect has just been selected, there has been a lot of public consultation, but out of that will fly Objective 1 projects.’  (Stephen Bohane interview 2002) This is continuing the process of involving the communities even in the larger scale projects.  It is reflective of the attitudes towards economic development required by central government.  Since the inauguration of regeneration planning in Cornwall in the 1980s, stakeholders have struggled to encourage community involvement. 

‘It’s quite challenging to get people involved, not just here but in the whole of Cornwall.  When I was working at RCC (Rural Cornwall Council) we reckoned that there is probably a network of 5000 people in Cornwall who are involved in the community voluntary sector.  And if you go to meetings you tend to see the same faces again and again, with different hats on.  In this area there is a particular problem because of the social deprivation.  The problems of Cornwall are magnified several fold in that if you don’t have fairly well paid jobs or jobs with any permanence you lose your intellectual capital.  And you also lose people who are prepared in their spare time to sit on boards and committees and that kind of thing.  So that makes it more challenging to get people through the doors’ (Stephen Horsecroft interview 2002). 


However, since the late 1990s a shift in community involvement on regeneration projects is evolving.  This is partly due to the steady influx of incomers in to the county seeking to ‘get involved’ with village community life.  The population of Cornwall is now made up with a 50 – 50 split between those born in the county and incomers (CCC 2003).  Thus, the influence of incomers is helping to re-kindle the spirit of the communities with the assistance of the external influences of the SWRDA and County Council.  Communities are now encouraged to involve themselves in the decision-making process that revolves around regeneration.  The inclusion of the community in decision-making helps to establish a core element in the decision-making process that will sustain the drive for a better community in both social and economic terms.  All of these points are indicators of a system of governance and as such suggest that there is a definite shift from government to governance in Cornwall as described by Painter & Goodwin (1996) as a mode of social regulation. 

The use of regulation theory and political ecology methodology helped in establishing the criteria that formulate a system of governance.  Investigation into the roles of the various stakeholders through interviews, led to an understanding of how local government is developing a more fluid method of regeneration.  By this, I mean that regeneration is not something that is ever completed.  It is an ongoing process, continually put under pressure through changes in government, both local, and perhaps more directly, central government.  Thus, stakeholders must have a built in strategy that enables the continuation of a system of governance that embraces community involvement regardless of which political party is in government. There is evidence that the shift from government to governance is a positive way forward.  The relationship between the local communities and the policy makers is now one of working together rather than one that is leaning towards exogenous tendencies. Where previously communities and outside agencies talked but no one listened, the groups now come together to negotiate and plan projects.

In order to maintain steady growth in the economy of Cornwall, stakeholders must continue to include communities in development processes and not revert to the top down approach of previous governments.  A mode of social regulation is dependent on a solid network structure that integrates all of those involved with regeneration in Cornwall.  Without the network structure a repeat of what Goodwin terms ‘crises’ in that  a crisis is a rupture in the reproduction of a social system may ensue.  In this context, it would mean a ‘crisis in governance’ similar to the crisis tendencies of the Keynesian welfare state, crisis in Fordism, and crisis tendencies of the British state discussed in an earlier chapter.

 The shift to a system of governance in Cornwall follows Jessop’s belief that there is a ‘…resurgence of regional and local governance’ (Jessop 1996 pg271) a system that includes new technology, training, education, research and development, public infrastructure and cultural industries (Jones & MacLeod 1999).  The integration of these products of governance into the networking of stakeholders is what will result in a steady yet fruitful growth in the economic regeneration and social welfare of Cornwall. 

During the 1990s, commentators such as Florida 1995, Cooke and Morgan 1993, Amin & Thrift 1994, and Storper 1995 discussed the animation of ‘learning’, ‘innovative capacity’, ‘institutional thickness’[2], (Jones & MacLeod 1999) as elements of future economic competitiveness and prosperity (Jessop 1997).  Again, there are indications that these elements are formulating to help provide inclusion of all the beneficiaries in the socio-economic development process in Cornwall.  Some of the terminology has changed; ‘learning’ is now educational development, ‘innovative capacity’ is capacity building, ‘institutional thickness’ represents the stakeholder networks.

 Nonetheless, different terminology does not detract from the fact that there are now positive strides towards the creation of workable regimes in which communities, businesses, government offices, regional agencies and local authorities all work together in their desire to improve social welfare and the economy of any given region. The Objective 1 programme is an example of how developing and encouraging communities, businesses, government offices, regional agencies and local authorities come together to regenerate a regional economy.[3]      

8.4       Single Carriageway equals Congestion, Dual Carriageway Equals Ecological Destruction - and Economic Growth

The journey continues, up to join the A30 trunk road, the main arterial road in Cornwall.  It is here, along Goss Moor that construction of the new dual carriageway will soon commence.  The demands for the new road have echoed throughout the region for decades and will surely benefit local businesses and local communities.  It is perhaps the one instance in this thesis where political ecology research methods really come to the forefront.  Political ecology, as an appropriate tool for this research encompasses the ideologies that direct resource use, and influence which social actors benefit and which are disadvantaged (Stonich 1998).   The Goss Moor road project will devastate a large area of moorland much of which is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). However, because of many years of consultation, debate and environmental impact research, the benefits to the communities in the area out way the concerns of environmentalists thus, the construction of the road is to go ahead. 

It epitomises the role political ecology theory and methodology can play in analysing issues that affect not only the natural environment but also the impacts on humankind.   Political ecology is not just about investigating the role of humankind on the environment it is also about the inter-relationships of political bodies (decision makers), local communities (receptors) and used to critically assess the cultural aspects to economic and ecological sustainability.

 This is also applicable to those communities involved in developing networks that are striving to improve the socio-economic status of the region.  The new road across Goss Moor will improve access to West Cornwall, and new businesses, already in-situ, will be in a position to offer their customers speedier delivery of goods.  One such company is Borders Books, who have recently completed the move into a new factory at St Columb Major at the Western end of Goss Moor, built with support from both the SWRDA and Objective 1 is ‘…the biggest factory to be built in Cornwall for years.’ (Stephen Bohane interview 2002).

Access is a major issue in Cornwall, yet there are those who believe that access is not that important and offer a variety of reasons as to why construction of the new road should not go ahead. They question the plausibility of economic growth through improved transport access. 

‘It is increasingly recognised that improved communications act as a drain of resources away from peripheral areas by increasing the possibility to centralise production and distribution’ (FOE 2002).

This is possibly so, however, I argue that concerning Cornwall, a fluid transport infrastructure will permit better two-way access for both employment and tourism.  In 1999, 83% of visitors to Cornwall travelled by car and 4% by coach (CCCi 2003). Thus, the construction of the new dual carriageway is vital for the continued economic growth in the county.

To the west of the Goss Moor construction site are a number of large regeneration projects funded by the SWRDA and Objective 1.  Tolvadden Development Park among others and the regeneration of Camborne, Redruth and Pool will benefit from improved road access and encourage people into the county as well as those already working there to remain.

‘…these business parks are built for business and to meet business needs.  Whether that comes ultimately from outside the county or from expanding Cornish companies, I don’t actually see that it matters.  Emphasis actually is on expanding Cornish companies if they develop and release space further down the chain for other people to come in or whatever.  I think the priority is very much on providing workspace both offices and factories for expanding Cornish companies although we are also interested in encouraging inward investment’  (Stephen Bohane interview 2002).   

To the north of the new road is Newquay, from where Ryan Air has recently started to run flights to London.  These flights bring tourists and business people to Cornwall and they need good access to the major towns and holiday resorts.  The importance of the new road will prevail when Ryan Air open routes from Newquay to other destinations in Europe. ‘Ryan air will definitely open other routes; it is an open secret that they are looking at Dublin and Frankfurt for future routes.  Now that becomes really, really interesting’ (Stephen Bohane interview 2002).   A point expanded by Rob Hitchens (interview 2002)

‘In tourism what we are getting in Cornwall is sort of critical mass of high profile projects like Eden, National Maritime Museum in Falmouth, Tate Gallery in St Ives, I think we have got enough things for charter flights groups to spend a week in Cornwall, be bussed around to the different locations and take their charter flight back home to Paris or wherever they came from.  And we have got an airport that can take these big aircraft.’

However, Rob Hitchens also pointed out that there is a distinct lack of good sized hotels of the type you see on the Costa del Sol.  There is an abundance of Victorian style small hotels and guest houses but he believes that the larger hotels would attract more people because they would all have the same sized rooms for the same price.  It is something that package tour operators require in order to sell the holiday destination to its customers.  Yet there is a problem with building such hotels in that only a few months per year will see high occupancy and at present visitors to Cornwall are predominantly from the UK 4.1million in 1997 compared to 340,000 from overseas[4] (Objective One Partnership Ch2).  Of the total number of visitors to Cornwall in 1997, only 34% stayed in a hotel the remainder stayed in guesthouses, caravans and friends homes (CCCj 2003). 

The local authority acknowledges tourism as one of the main economic factors to enable success of economic growth and stability in Cornwall.  Nevertheless, to rely too heavily on tourism is to be over dependant on fluctuating market forces.  Hence the need for the agencies of governance such as the GOSW, SWRDA and Cornwall Enterprise to work in unison with the local authority to market Cornwall as a place to come and relocate a business. They also need to encourage the young to stay in the county and study at the new university under construction in Falmouth.  With an ageing population in Cornwall, due in part to the exodus of young workers to other parts of the UK, the new university will not only help in keeping Cornish youth in the county it will also attract young people from other parts of the UK who in turn may decide to stay on in the county to work.        

Map3: Indicates the A30 over Goss Moor that is due for conversion into a dual carriageway (created by the author using ArcView GIS software)

8.5       Celtic Crosses, Gaelic Signs - ‘Made in Cornwall’

As you drive further through the county, you become visually aware of the increasing number of cultural indicators depicting Cornish history: Celtic crosses, Gaelic script on road signs and the growing frequency of abandoned tin mine pump houses.  The growth and development of the Cornish cultural identity is an integral part of the development plans of Cornwall County Council.  Businesses are encouraged to integrate Cornish culture as an advertising aid.  Indeed, developing and using cultural and regional identity is a major issue within the SWRDA (Stephen Horscroft interview 2003).  However, the policy targets the whole of the South West region and not individual counties.  Cornwall already has a very strong cultural identity and the County Council strongly supports a ‘Made in Cornwall’ scheme.  The scheme was set up in 1991 to help promote products made in Cornwall. 

‘ Cornwall is renowned for its wealth of artistic talent and craftsmanship, and the description ‘Cornish’ is generally associated with quality. Unfortunately, like so many good things, someone always tries to copy or impersonate the Cornish identity, and descriptions such as ‘Cornish Ice Cream’, ‘Cornish Pasty’ and ‘Cornish Cream Fudge’, which are in use daily by companies throughout the Country, are examples of this.

The ‘Made in Cornwall’ Scheme was developed in 1991 in an attempt to identify the genuine Cornish produce. Under the control of Cornwall County Council’s Trading Standards Service a logo was introduced for local producers to use in association with their genuine Cornish products.’ (CCC 2003)

Photo 6 ‘Made in Cornwall’[5]





Furthermore,  Stephen Horscroft commented that:


‘…regional bodies think that in order to attract inward investment we need to develop identity.  Actually, they have got it wrong.  Identities can be identified and developed, but where you have got a strong identity or a strong regional brand like you have in Cornwall.  You have got something to work with already.  On Radio Cornwall there was a totally mixed up report because they said the NFU were keen to encourage local people to buy local produce. Then the NFU guy came on and started talking about West Country meat, so does that mean they are trying to encourage people in Cornwall to buy Cornish produce which has a strong Cornish brand or buy beef from Somerset?  The first law of marketing is that you can’t have two brands running at the same time. It’s a pretty fundamental issue that is not dealt with.


These are issues revolving around production and cultural identity an additional element is that of the almost extinct yet recently revived Cornish language. 

The Cornish language, now taught in many schools in the county, arguably has little to offer in terms of economic contribution.  It may help in maintaining the ‘Cornishness’ of Cornwall and it helps in retaining the unique culture that the county enjoys.  The SWRDA now show recognition of the Cornish identity as being separate from that of England.

‘We had a lot of trouble when we first came down with our signs being defaced.  Because at the time our signs, to some in Cornwall, had rather a provocative strap line saying England’s Leading Edge and that caused a few problems. Anything with the word England in and the English Rose on Tourist signs were subject to defacing.  I directed our then marketing director to change that and all our signs do not have that just have a web address but also have, admittedly in fairly faint letters the words Working for Cornwall at the bottom’ (Stephen Bohane interview 2002).     

This is an example of the benefits of the SWRDA having an office in Cornwall.  It allows for the development of relationships between the ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’ permitting a more harmonious regeneration process. GOSW now have an office in Truro and it is proving beneficial to the various officers working on behalf of the local authority and the communities.  Stephen Horscroft commented:

 ‘…sometimes, like the neighbourhood nursery project, you are going to need the applicant, myself and Government Office to sit down around a table together to make sense of it and it is a good thing to have them represented in the county’ (Interview 2002).   


It appears that following the introduction of offices in Cornwall by the SWRDA and GOSW, the interaction between central government representatives, stakeholders and community leaders is reinforcing the role of governance.  It also vindicates central government’s decision to encourage the endogenous development programme in the regions. 

The role of central government in some aspects has changed to a role of governance, encouraging local authorities to develop their own system of governance.  They visualise the introduction of the seven Regional Development Agencies (RDA) as a step towards regional governance.[6] There are still tendencies to dictate to the local authority; the example from the new Rural White Paper in November 2000 mentioned above is a case in point.  They actively encourage the facilitation of training, networking and partnership development between the local authority and the local business community.  These few regulations combined with other changes in regional policy have produced a system of local governance in Cornwall that is a combination of market forces and co-operation between regional agencies and local communities.

8.6       West Cornwall – the Forgotten Region?

An indicator of the narrowing of the Cornish peninsula is the merging of the two main arterial roads, the A30 and A38 to the west of Truro.  They form the solitary major road down to Penzance and at Trencrom Hill near Lelant both the north and south coastlines of the county are visible.  The signs of the tin mining industry become even more prolific with not only the pump houses but also signposts to various renovated mines[7] that are now tourist attractions.  The beaches of Hayle and St. Ives attract tens of thousands of visitors each year and help contribute to much needed income necessary for the continued development of the regeneration programme in the region.[8][41]

Having driven past the county town of Truro with its magnificent cathedral, the traveller arrives in West Cornwall and the District Councils of Kerrier and Penwith.  These two districts along with Restormal, perhaps more than any others in Cornwall are the most in need of the benefits that social and economic regeneration can provide.  The employment figures in table 15 show the relatively high percentage of unemployed in the Kerrier and Penwith with Penwith the highest at 4.7%.  These two regions are dependant on tourism to sustain economic stability let alone economic growth.  Hence, whilst these figures depict the average for a twelve-month period they do not reflect the seasonal trends in employment in the two districts as discussed in chapter 5.         


% Unemployment Nov 2001

% Unemployment Nov 2002




South West



Great Britain





















North Cornwall



Table 15: Unemployment figures for Cornwall and its Districts (source: CCC i 2003)

Furthermore, due to a skills mismatch in the new industries to West Cornwall, finding skilled labour is of concern to project managers. Cemlyn, Fahmy and Gordon (2002) regard the skills mismatch as a major issue revolving around social wellbeing. Stephen Horscroft (2002) supported this:

‘There are skill shortages in some areas like engineers, like play-workers, which are quite crucial for the rest of the economy like the health service. But none the less there’s underemployment and unemployment in core hard to reach areas and we are sitting in one of those now [Redruth].’


To help counteract the skills shortage the Construction Industry Training Board, Jobcentre Plus, Cornwall College, the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) Devon & Cornwall and the South West Regional Development Agency, plus local, regional and national construction companies set up a scheme called Construction Cornwall.  The scheme will help reduce the skills shortage in the construction industry and associated fields.  Emphasis is on the retraining of the unemployed through to NVQ2 level and apprenticeships where the Construction Cornwall scheme pay up to 45% of the trainees wages. (Objective 1 media release 2002)

Within the Kerrier District Council area are the towns of Redruth and Camborne.  These two towns are the flagship districts of an ongoing regeneration programme led by the SWRDA and supported with Objective 1 funding.  The towns were perhaps one of the most deprived areas in Cornwall, certainly in terms of employment. The involvement of all the stakeholders, including community groups, reflects the requirements of central government to shift local government to one of governance.  An example of how the various stakeholders work together within the Kerrier district is the process in which the team working on the Integrated Action Plan (IAP) for Kerrier have a section each.

‘…the IAP team here have got the area split into five, and each area has its own regeneration group, which is an informal group to look at and advise on projects, not just Objective 1 but other stuff.  So mine for Carn Brae Parish includes as an example, local councillors at all three levels [parish, district and county], the local community policeman, the local head teacher, local youth worker, that kind of thing. (Stephen Horscroft Interview 2002)


The IAP team reports to the IAP board with project ideas that emanate from meetings with the community groups and local businessmen.  The IAP board assess the projects and submit a selection to Government Office South West for further assessment and suitability for receipt of Objective 1 funding.  

Notwithstanding the drive for a system of local governance that incorporates and encourages endogenous development, issues surrounding continued development after Objective 1 funding ceases in 2006 require some discussion.  With the advent of some Central European countries acceding to membership of the European Union in 2007 funding for regeneration from the EU is likely to flow towards the accession countries.  This is particularly so if the SWRDA meets its regional target for average GDP above the EU threshold of 75%.  Whist the regional average may well stabilise above 75%GDP Cornwall’s GDP in 2002 was only 65%.  The concerns are if Cornwall fails to raise its GDP to the 75% threshold will it still qualify for further Objective 1 funding.  Stephen Horscroft (2002) considers it will:

‘Another thing is if our GDP does decline we are almost certain to get another slice, we won’t be competing with new Eastern European Countries and regions we’ll be in there comparable with them.  But even if O1 did hit the spot and improve GDP you would need a few years of sort of exit money to pick up residue and things like that.’


Robert Hichens (2002) considers that whilst the potential is there for Cornwall to raise its GDP to above 75%, in reality it is unlikely.

‘Objective 1 will undoubtedly do Cornwall some good but whether it will be possible to jack ourselves up to 80% or something like that, I am not so sure. It seems to me highly unlikely, the problem is everywhere else is moving forward too.’


It would appear that the regeneration process is actively encouraging communication and co-operation between the various stakeholders.  In addition, an element of acceptance that the major players in the process, SWRDA and GOSW, are keen to help provide a better and workable future now exists in the county.  Even those who live in the die-hard regions of West Cornwall, Redruth, Camborne, St. Ives and Penzance now recognise that without the input from outsiders and the requirement for locals to work with them towards an improved social and economic life style; life in the county will remain a struggle.  Whether it is the role of governance or not is not clear.  Nevertheless, this thesis clarifies that the role of communication between all stakeholders involved in the processes of regeneration is crucial.  It has taken almost ten years to convince the people of Cornwall that they must have belief in the assistance offered through the various EU funded projects.  Now that some of the larger scale projects are complete, Borders Books, Eden Project, Tolvadden Business Park, and others such as the Combined University at Penryn near to completion, confidence is growing.  There is a sense of good feeling developing in the towns and villages.  Summarised by a seventy five year old lady from Penzance who I met on a recent visit (2003):[9]

‘I have seen many changes over the years, what with the closure of all the local tin mines, and fishing becoming harder and harder.  We, here in Penzance and West Cornwall have struggled perhaps more than most others in the county because we are so far from anywhere.  We had all heard stories before about how this organisation or that would come in and help us but they were false hopes.  But now it is different, well at least it appears to be.  With all of this EU money coming in, new roads being built to help link us better to the rest of England things are looking up.  All we need is a faster rail service to London and we should be made – but that’s too much to expect.  The kids today living down here should have a better life than many of us have had, and so they should.  We have the best beaches in the country the best weather and the best countryside so we should have the best way of life but until now we haven’t.’     


8.7    Journey’s End


So, the journey through Cornwall comes to an end.  The drive from Redruth down through to Penzance reveals more relics of the tin mining era, Celtic crosses decorate roundabouts and village squares.  Leaving Penzance passing the fishing port of Newlyn, signs of regeneration are visible in the construction of new fish processing premises.  Looking down on the fishing port it is easy to see why so many artists, past and present saw Newlyn as such a picturesque place.  The tall masts and booms of the fishing vessels, the nets hanging from the side, the fisherman squatting on the dockside repairing nets as they have done for hundreds of years.  Hopefully, the regeneration programmes will help in maintaining this coastal idyll.

The final stage of the journey takes us to Lands End just before sunset when the sky is full of colour with wispy clouds diffracting the sunlight into beams across the sky into the horizon.  However, instead of looking at the sunset look back at where you have just come from and think.  Think about the people of Cornwall, how they have developed a great sense of pride in their county.  One that sees some men send their pregnant wife home from overseas, so that she can give birth to their child in Cornwall hence he/she will be truly Cornish.  Think of what Cornwall has had to offer in the past and what it can for the future.  The new generation of children able to attend university in their own county in the knowledge that once they graduate they will no longer have to leave the county to find employment.  Think as to the reasons for all of this happening in just a ten-year period.  A development process that was slow to start and to attain acceptance yet now appears to be flourishing, all because people throughout all walks of life became involved and worked together to produce what they hope will continue with future generations.


[1] There are only 4 ‘A’ class roads that cross the border between Cornwall and Devon

[2] Thickness in this sense relates to a presence and combination of institutions that are capable to support each other and facilitate a base for economic development - networking. Nielsen (2002) describes institutional thickness as:

The ability of the locality to ensure economic growth and thereby development depends, apart from the economic factors, also on a local presence of institutional thickness comprising social and cultural factors.’

[3] Regional in this instance is Cornwall and not the South West England.

[4] These figures represent all visitors, tourist and business, who stay away for at least one night.

[5] The logo uses the Cornish tin mine heritage to represent the Cornish identity and reflect on its historical and cultural background in the mining industry.

[6] Although the SWRDA was not very popular in Cornwall and seen as not being in tune with the needs and idiosyncrasies of the county the local office in Truro is slowly beginning to develop a solid understanding and working relationship with the communities and other stakeholders in the county.  

[7] Poldark are Geevor tin mines are representative of the use of Cornwall’s industrial past integrated into the tourist industry.

[8] Using the visitor numbers and Cornwall County Council’s visitor spending figures, the income from visitor spending to Kerrier and Penwith is in excess of £15million per year.

[9] This is a para-phrase of a conversation I had with the lady in 2002