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Fury at plan to move Cornish ancient monument in homes scheme

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 12, 2012

The Tristan Stone, near Fowey, is to be relocated  in a plan to build  affordable homes  Picture: Emily Whitfield-Wicks

The Tristan Stone, near Fowey, is to be relocated in a plan to build affordable homes Picture: Emily Whitfield-Wicks

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The shifting of an ancient monument dating back thousands of years to make way for affordable housing has been condemned as a "desecration."

The Tristan Stone on the road to Fowey is said to mark the grave of a Cornish King's nephew whose forbidden love became one of the world's great romances.

However, now the seven-foot high obelisk which is believed to date back to before the fifth century is to be moved after Cornwall Council gave permission for an estate of 80 houses to be built on an adjacent site.

Bert Biscoe, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for transportation, highways and environment condemned the decision as an "infringement of the cultural integrity of Cornwall".

He said it was among some of the worst attacks on heritage in the world.

"Such desecration is the equivalent of the Taliban bombing ancient Buddhist statues in Afghanistan, or Napoleon shooting at the Sphinx for target practice – it is cultural violence."

The Tristan Stone is reputed to mark the grave of Tristan, nephew of King Mark of Cornwall and a young nobleman whose forbidden love for the fair Iseult, or Isolde, has inspired poets for centuries.

On Monday, Cornwall Council's Central Sub-Area Planning Committee gave permission for a park and ride for Fowey and 80 houses to be built by Wainhomes, half of which are to be affordable, on the site at Hill Hay Close.

Concerns had been raised about the impact of the development on the setting of the ancient monument and as a result the committee narrowly voted to move it for what is thought to be the fourth time in two centuries. The move to a nearby location was supported by English Heritage.

A spokesman for the organisation said: "We did object to the proposed 'park and ride' scheme initially because it would affect the setting of this significant scheduled monument. However as it has already been moved three times in the past two centuries, we feel that it could be moved again to a nearby setting which would continue to preserve its character."

A spokesman for Wainhomes said moving the stone was a condition imposed on the company: "From our point of view we would be quite happy for it to remain where it is and we are simply responding to concerns raised during the planning process. We also understand that the stone has been moved a number of times in the past. We will of course work closely with English Heritage and the Conservation officer during any relocation."

A Cornwall Council spokesman confirmed that permission for the development had been granted subject to agreement on a number of issues, including the relocation of the Tristan Stone.

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  • Alexae  |  January 05 2013, 2:03AM

    as a pagan preist , i feel that the moving of ANY monument is a decision that cannot be taken without severe consideration. this monument, whether factual or fictional has stood in this place for many years, and has great meaning to those who believe in the history behind it, and to move it because of the building of houses, most of which will be bought by those that live outside of Kernow, is a TRAVESTY, i for one am saddened by the decision of the planners that allowed this to happen , and would hope that the voters of Kernow do not let them stay as their representatives, as it is clear that they are not interested in the history of this place, but in the lining of their pockets with coin, KERNOW BYS VYKEN

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  • Fowydhmaid  |  December 14 2012, 2:32PM

    The stone was moved not that long ago, it used to be at four turnings. Any local over 30 can corroborate that fact.

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  • JJLee  |  December 14 2012, 7:38AM

    Aren't the Shreks funny little creatures that think clicking an arrow means anything! Funny little children, try expressing an opinion and show you have the ability to form sentences rather than being led here from CW's Face book lol. Respect to caroclemens at least she can form a sentence and a worthy opinion worth absorbing which is the concept behind these forums rather than thinking an arrow is all powerful LOL

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  • H_Trevorrow  |  December 13 2012, 6:05PM

    75% of new built homes in cornwall are moved into by locals from less than a 5 mile radius....on top of this only 2500 new homes have been built since april 2009. Less than a thousand a year.

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  • Slimslad  |  December 13 2012, 5:40PM

    At present, our population is growing 4 times greater than anywhere else in the UK, mainly through in-migration, and it's high time that other parts of Britain took the strain." http://tinyurl.com/5wue8ow Not according to the data, cweatherhill. Unless you can prove differently, of course?

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  • caroclemens  |  December 13 2012, 3:04PM

    That is in fact the rationale, JJ. Cornwall is being carved up for other people's profit at the expensive of local people, - and to the detriment of visitors for that matter. It is therefore important to see this individual development in that context and object both to the big projects like Carlyon Bay and Nansledan (as I have) and the smaller ones with a rationale based on local needs and sustainability. We are being hoodwinked into believing that these developments have something to do with our own housing needs but the truth is that they do not. The symbolism of this latest example should allert us to the larger problem which is economic and social.

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  • H_Trevorrow  |  December 13 2012, 1:06PM

    why not put the rock on wheels....make it easier to move.

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  • JJLee  |  December 13 2012, 1:00PM

    caroclemens I can see you have not read my comment as Carlyon bay is a far larger slice of Cornwall then this touring pointed rock. I am sure you are the kind of person who follows any protest without rationalising it. It has a story attached to it which clearly is as true as the Knights of the Round Table. I still never forget when Dozmary pool dried up and people were upset that there was no sword Excalibur or lady of the lake. If you must defend under the banner of Cornwall, defend everything equally, starting with the big non fictional stuff http://tinyurl.com/cxwyt8b

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  • caroclemens  |  December 13 2012, 11:57AM

    JJLee misses the point that this is symbolic of the greater carve-up of Cornwall in which only an estimated 5% of the houses being built are for our own needs. The developers, now joined by the Duchy, are calling all of the shots and we could be forgiven for thinking that the planners are encouraging them. We have twice as many houses and over 60% more population than in the 1960s and around 14, 000 second homes. The ease with which the Tristan Stone can be moved shows the extent to which everything has to give way to unsustainable money grabbing by others at Cornwall's expense. The monument in question is popularly associated with one of Europe's best known stories, Tristan and Isolde, and Cornwall's Celtic origins.

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  • JJLee  |  December 13 2012, 7:44AM

    Some very good comments returning to the topic of sacrifices for new homes and this lump of rock which has several times been moved before. I fail to see why people are getting so heated about something so meaningless when we have developments like Carlyon bay, tearing up our coastline. No doubt being driven by some face book Nimby protest group, the rock has no meaning

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