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Storms deal second blow to Newquay's coastal businesses

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: February 05, 2014

  • REDUCED TO RUBBLE: The eastern end of Towan Beach promenade no longer exists.

  • STORM FORCE: Waves hit the sea wall by the aquarium.

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NEWQUAY has been left reeling after storms and high tides dealt a second blow to the town's coastal businesses within a month.

And the repair bill – already put at more than £400,000 in Newquay and £4 million across Cornwall – could rise again with heavy rain and gales forecast for the end of the week.

A huge chunk of the promenade outside the Blue Reef Aquarium collapsed on Saturday night as ferocious waves battered the sea wall.

The attraction was forced to close for several days, and much of the stock in its beach shop has been ruined.

Meanwhile, managers at the Lusty Glaze complex could only look on as beach huts were damaged, the lifeguard station pulverised, and a section of cliff tumbled on to the sand.

On Tolcarne beach, damage over the past four weeks means all 18 beach huts will need replacing, costing at least £19,000.

The Fistral beach complex once again took a beating, but Cornwall Council's new sea defences prevented any further damage, although sections of the already ruined decking outside Beach Bar were ripped off.

Coastal pubs escaped lightly, including the Mermaid in Porth where lessons were learnt in 2008 after water smashed the bar window.

Emergency services issued warnings and police set up barriers at the bottom of Beach Road, near Blue Reef, but this did not deter foolhardy thrill-seekers. Aquarium manager Steve Matchett said: "There have been people climbing the barriers and I've seen kids on the collapsed roadway. People don't seem to have any sense of danger.

"People underestimate the force of the sea; even small amounts coming at you with force can knock you down and sweep you away."

Cornwall councillor Geoff Brown said he had been happy with the rapid response by council contractor Cormac, whose staff were working on the promenade the morning after it collapsed.

"They were there at first light on Sunday, working in very challenging conditions," he said. "It's been difficult for a lot of people in Newquay but I'm pleased with the response."

Storms this year had already caused damage put at £4 million across Cornwall, Mr Brown said.

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