Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Tomorrow's History Today...

Another episode in the struggle with the corrupt Cornwall Council over the fate of Penzance's ancient chapel site, from which the town takes its name (Cornish: 'Pen' Peninsula; 'Zance' sanctified or saintly.)

Open Letter to Susan Chapple, Chief Executive's Dept., Cornwall Council, Truro. 15.2.2011
Dear Susan Chapple,
I received your email today regarding the ancient site of St.Anthony's chapel. It strikes me as suspicious that Cornwall Council is still playing down and denying the location of the Chapel. Following a formal complaint two years ago, the route partnership were obliged to remove false and revisionist statements about
the location of Penzance's most historically important site. This story was published in the local newspaper 'The Cornishman', and reflects very poorly on the council in its function as preserver of our Cornish heritage.
Your communique continues this trend by implying that there is doubt over the whereabouts of the ancient site. In 1974, the Corporation of Penzance was happy to publish a book by the well respected authority on local history, Mr Peter Pool - The History of the Town and Borough of Penzance - which describes the location of the site as being "at the corner of Barbican Lane and Coinagehall Street just above the quay, is of such importance as regards the site and name of Penzance that the evidence concerning it must be considered in some detail..." He then goes on to quote none other than Dr William Borlaze, who is regarded as the 'father of Cornish History'. This and other references to the Chapel will be found on page 13 - 15 of Mr Pool's book.
For Cornwall Council to deny this knowledge, whilst referring to the area as a 'redevelopment site' shows that the priorities of the council are firmly on the side of commercialism, and in total negation of their legal responsibility to protect our ancient culture.
In your email, you went on to say that ' A few years ago some granite blocks were placed at the entrance of this site to stop travellers etc. gaining access' - this statement is also false, as the blocks in question were NOT obstructing the entrance to the site, but were at a right-angle to the street. This unique site is now being driven over by the vehicles of 'travellers' to the Isles of Scilly.
After one and a quarter years, numerous letters, many hours of work, and after two expensive 'Freedom of Information' requests, the council is still being 'economical with the truth' to the point of secrecy. If the council had answered my letters over a year ago, a great deal of public money, time and care could have been saved.
Although I have it in writing that the Council has 'no plans' to build over the site in question, you now refer to it as a 'redevelopment site' - again it would appear that the council is practicing duplicity.
Since the council has finally admitted ownership and letting of the site, may I be informed of the nature and length of the contract on which it was let?
The fact that the council allowed its tenant to haul away pieces of ancient masonry from an ancient site does not in any way negate the responsibility of the council to protect that site. Therefore I would once again reiterate my request for the council to enquire and discover the whereabouts of the masonry that it permitted to be removed from its - or rather The People's - territory.
In short, the People of Penzance still require to know what their delegated representatives have done with the structure of their most ancient relic and the sooner this question is truly answered, the less public money and time can be expended on investigating it. If it will elicit a satisfactory answer, then please consider this to be a 'freedom of information request'.
I have already proposed to the council that ALL the masonry from the chapel should be reconstructed on site. This could perhaps take the form of a roofless baptisry, similar to Madron Baptistry, and could be given an ecumenical dedication and set in a small garden as a place of peace and reflection.
With best wishes,
Yours sincerely, Jeremy Schanche, SAVE THE HOLY HEADLAND, PEN SANS.

From: Chapple Susan
To: Jeremy Schanche
Sent: Tue, 15 February, 2011 11:33:29
Subject: Complaint regarding response to IAR-003878

Dear Mr Schanche,
I have referred your complaint to our Environment Planning & Economy Department and they have provide me with an explanation as to the fate of the 3 large stones in question.
The exact position of St Anthony’s Chapel is not known but it might be somewhere underneath the Council’s land in the locality of the Coinagehall Street redevelopment site. A few years ago some granite blocks were placed at the entrance of this site to stop travellers etc. gaining access and it could be that the gentleman is referring to these. Subsequently the area was let for parking and these blocks were removed from the site by the new tenant.
We trust this is satisfactory, but if you have any further questions, please let us know.
Sue Chapple
Complaints Officer
Data Protection & Freedom of Information
Communications and Strategy
Chief Executive's Department
Cornwall Council
Tel : 01872 326424
Rm 203
New County Hall
Please consider the environment. (!)

Please follow link to read The History of St.Anthony's Chapel, Penzance:

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