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Resilient town vows to keep a brave face

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: February 12, 2014

  • Towan Beach promenade is battered by the waves. Pic Terry Barnecutt

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FIERCE waves and gale force winds whipped through Newquay once again over the weekend – but the town managed to escape another battering.

Despite the repair bill for Cornwall now topping £21m, and with more weather warnings in place for the week ahead, business owners say they are determined to "get on with things".

Aquarium manager Steve Matchett said: "Because of the extremely high winds and the large swell, we decided that for public safety we'd be better off battening down hatches.

"We managed to put together a few exhibits while we were closed, so we've been trying to make the most of the situation."

Mr Matchett said damage to the promenade had affected business, but that he could not fault Cornwall Council, and its contractors, Cormac, for their hard work.

"The bad weather has affected business, but the council and Cormac have been very helpful. Before the weekend they came and put loads of sandbags in front of the building to reduce the chance of the waves doing damage. Considering how busy they are, they've been fantastic," he said.

In Lusty Glaze, beach huts were smashed to smithereens during that same weekend.

Andi Millson, operations manager at Lusty Glaze, said: "We've had lots of support on Facebook, with people wanting to come here and help us put things right, and luckily we didn't really see any real damage last weekend.

"The most important message is that we're open as usual, and we never closed," he said.

Both businesses said they intend to claim from their insurance to help cover the cost of the damage.

Cornwall councillor Geoff Brown said the council has faced a huge challenge this year.

"In terms of damage, it's been incessant since January. The storms have just been one on top of the other, which has been very challenging for our teams. There's been no respite in the weather to set out plans for long-term repairs. We've had to do a lot of make-do-and-mend.

"But the resilience from local communities has been phenomenal. People are just saying it doesn't matter what the weather throws at us, we're going to roll up our sleeves and get on with it.

Mr Brown said 25 teams from Cormac worked into the night across Cornwall last Tuesday and 150 fire officers were mobilised.

"That night there were 100 trees down and by the morning all of the main roads were clear. The emergency services and highways have done a phenomenal job. They've kept Cornwall moving, and are still committed to help the people of Cornwall."

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