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Plans afoot to save Kingsand's 'iconic' tower

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: February 12, 2014

  • SEVERE STORMS: Damage to the institute building at Kingsand.

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THE KINGSAND community is coming to terms with the aftermath of the storms which wreaked havoc in the coastal village over the past two weeks.

The "iconic" clock tower and institute building were condemned by structural engineers last week – but may still be saved.

However, a long-term solution could take months, community leaders have said.

David Cameron visited the village on Monday, as part of a whistle-stop tour of the South West, speaking to those most affected by the storms.

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Tony Carne, a member of trustees of the institute, said: "We need to see if we can see out these storms – it could take months until the long-term repairs are completed.

"The storms blasted the exposed wall of the institute, which exposed the basement of the building and ripped away the outside wall.

"It's in a desperate position; it depends if we get another gale and bad weather.

"It's a very iconic building the news has gone worldwide – a family member in New Zealand mentioned she had seen it on the news there.

"It's characteristic of our village; it would be desolate and devastated without it if it went."

The clock tower was built to commemorate the coronation of King George V.

It was home to key artefacts and also contained a large tapestry of the two villages, made by residents to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.

Valuable village assets, including tapestries, paintings and silverwear, were removed from the clock tower by Rame Parish Council last week.

The council commissioned John Grimes Partnership, structural engineers, to undertake further structural studies of the building and they started repairs at the weekend.

As part of an emergency appraisal on Saturday the structural engineers underpinned the building and reinforced it with steel bars and plates.

They have made temporary repairs by propping up the hole in the south-easterly wall of the institute and by spraying the outside of the wall and base with cement.

The temporary works will continue into next week but one wall on the beach has been washed away, Mr Carne said.

George Trubody, Cornwall councillor for the Rame Peninsula, said it was the only clock tower made from a certain local volcanic rock type, giving the building heritage interest.

Mr Trubody said: "We are going to try to do all we can before the end of the week before the bad weather comes.

"We had a meeting last night where more than 50 people attended a drop-in for anyone affected by the storm – it was brilliant.

"We are in a better position than we were about five days ago."

One family's house at The Cleave has been completely destroyed internally over three floors and the owner is staying with relatives, Mr Trubody said.

Houses at The Cleave were battered by the storms and windows and doors were smashed in.

John De Fraine, a resident of The Cleave, had to have eight stitches in his head after the water crashed through his house and caused a door to hit him.

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