Cornwall news Cornwall town refuses to be swallowed up by Plymouth UK news
PremierLeague-News.Com - Cornwall - 'Many here feel strongly Cornish'
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! If you’re coming to Cornwall by train or along the A38, Saltash will be the first town to welcome you on the Cornish side of the Tamar. Dating back to the 12th century, Saltash has not grown as big and fast as its larger Devon neighbour, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in community spirit. Like everywhere, the town, which is home to 16,600 residents, has its fair share of problems but growing in Plymouth ’s shadow is not one of them. Many people on both sides of the river commute to the other side every day for education, employment, or, as in the case of Saltash, to the hospital - not Treliske in Truro but Derriford. Yet the Cornish town, known as the ‘gateway to Cornwall’, retains a strong sense of identity. “We have Union Flags everywhere on Fore Street now, but that was for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee,” Saltash Cornwall councillor and former council chairman Hilary Frank, said over a cup of coffee at Fresh Fox cafe on Fore Street. “Normally, there would be St Piran’s Flags everywhere. Read more: Prime Minister Boris Johnson 'totally sure' Cornwall won't be short-changed by Brexit "Perhaps Plymouth would like to swallow us up and see us as one of their suburbs, and yes we are a commuter town for Plymouth, but many here feel strongly Cornish. When David Cameron came down here and said he didn’t see the big deal because the Tamar is not quite the Amazon, there was plenty of outrage in the town. The sense of identity and community here is very strong.” Plymouth’s gravitational pull is felt even more strongly in Saltash because many in the town feel ignored and left behind by the Duchy’s central powers in Truro and Mid Cornwall. It is a leitmotiv we have heard repeated in towns along the border with Devon, from Bude to Looe - that the rest of Cornwall doesn’t care. “We’re not part of Plymouth,” Cllr Frank added. “Absolutely not. But we could do with a bit more love and attention from the rest of Cornwall. How come the bus services to Plymouth are excellent but are terrible to the rest of Cornwall? There are more trains that now stop in Saltash but it’s no way near enough.” Cornwall councillor for Saltash Hilary Frank (Image: Olivier Vergnault / CornwallLive) Because of the adverse camber platform at Saltash train station - which was paid for and restored by the community after years of neglect - many disabled passengers coming up from west Cornwall have been advised at times to carry on to Plymouth and change over to come back on the other side. Cllr Frank, who was born and raised in West Cornwall, moved to Saltash where her parents had retired after a career in Japan as an official translator to the head of the Nagano Winter Olympics committee (she even acted as a translator to the Emperor and Empress of Japan on the evening of the official opening ceremony back in 1998). She has called the town home ever since and has been one of its two Cornwall councillors for nine years. “There is a big boomerang generation who leave Cornwall but come back so their children can grow up here,” she said. “That’s where I wanted my children to grow up.” Saltash high street and view of the two bridges across the Tamar river (Image: Olivier Vergnault / CornwallLive) Her daughter is 16 and she said that for people her age, Saltash doesn’t have the allure of Plymouth. It can feel like there is ‘nothing to do here’ but Saltash is home to good primary and secondary schools and remains a low crime town and good for families. Its riverfront is stunning and if you don’t mind the climb back up to the high street, there is nothing quite like enjoying a pint outside the Union Inn - an iconic pub recognisable for its Union Flag facade - while the great feats of British engineering that are Brunel’s Bridge and its road bridge sister tower over you. “We don’t suffer from the influx of summer visitors like other parts of Cornwall.” Cllr Frank said. “We don’t have that seasonality but that means that while we don’t receive the economic boon other towns get from tourism, we’re a real community all year round.” Tracey Hayton runs Bookshelf and Tearooms in Saltash (Image: Olivier Vergnault /CornwallLive) Saltash is home to a plethora of community groups and charities and many residents will be happy to get involved for the good of all, whether to organise the Jubilee street party which saw 100 tables laid out on Fore Street and 1,000 people attend, or the Mayfair and Christmas fairs. “A few years back Saltash was voted the best postcode in the country,” Cllr Frank added with a smile as her hometown basked in glorious June sunshine. “If there were to be some Levelling Up money coming Saltash’s way,” she added, “I’d love to see a water taxi service set up between the Barbican, Mount Edgcumbe and Saltash. What a great opportunity that would be to connect our waterfront to the high street and benefit from an increase in visitors.” Get the best stories about the things you love most curated by us and delivered to your inbox every day. Choose what you love here . Rosie Waters is one of the volunteers who set up Saltash Scrapstore four years ago, which has since expanded to a second unit across the road - known as Saltash Scrapstore Too - and employs four staff. The store has helped to keep £200,000 worth of goods from ending up in landfill since first opening. “I love the community aspect of our town,” she said. “There’s a great atmosphere here. It’s the kind of place where you know people by name. This started as a little community project but people have really taken it to their heart and it’s grown massively.
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Rosie Waters, Lyn Crews and Jacqui Cragg outside the Saltash Scrapstore which they set up on Fore Street a few years ago
(Image: Olivier Vergnault / CornwallLive)
Across the road at the Bookshelf and Tearooms, Tracey Hayton feels the high street could do with more independent traders to entice more punters onto the high street and bring people into Saltash attracted by something unique they might not find in their own town or even in Plymouth. “We do support each other and that’s great to see,” she said. “We have very nice customers who support us and we are able to employ five people which is nice to be able to do all year round. I think being able to offer a bookshop for the town is important. Yes I could make more money if I got rid of it and made the tearooms bigger, but I won’t. However, people need to use their local high street or they’ll lose it. It’s that simple.” Heather Wellington, has been the owner of the Piglets children's wear shop for 25 years. She has seen Saltash grow and change over the years. More people have come in as new housing estates have or are being built. It’s also the only town in Cornwall with a Waitrose (Truro being the only city in the Duchy with one too).
Heather Wellington has been running Piglets children wear shop in Saltash for 25 years
(Image: Olivier Vergnault / CornwallLive)
Born and bred in Saltash, Heather who admits to living in Plymouth now but pines to return home, said: “I’d love to see more independent shops and fewer charity shops in the town. I think it would help bring in even more people to the high street.” Fellow trader Adam Webb, who runs Nicky’s Glow Beads, has been in business first as a market stall holder for eight years before setting up on the high street two years ago. While he said moving to Saltash was the best thing he’s done and the town remains safe overall, he’d like to see more CCTV to help deter any anti-social behaviour that can occur on Friday nights. “I love Saltash,” he said. “We wake up in the morning and you can see the river. There’s Plymouth on our doorstep if we need it and I think people are genuinely quite happy here.” Brian Pritchard has been the landlord at the Union Inn for 30 years. For him it’s about the bridges and the river and the view across. “It’s the community that makes it the place it is,” he said. “Everyone knows each other which is great. I think it could do with a bit of tidying up once in a while. There are certainly a few things that need fixing.”
The Union Inn which is painted with the Union Flag and can be seen from miles
(Image: Olivier Vergnault / CornwallLive)
While not swamped by tourists - there is no second home problem like there is in St Ives, Padstow or Looe - Saltash certainly has its own set of issues. The rising costs of living and the increasing number of people who have to make use of a foodbank or the community larder to make ends meet, being one. One of the biggest issues cited by locals is the high price they have to pay to commute across the Tamar Bridge or to access their free NHS hospital at Derriford. “Local people have a pass but while there is a consultation going on about putting up the toll, it’s already happened for TAG users,” Cllr Frank said. “That’s not fair and it’s already making the crossing less and less worth it. There’s real frustration about this in the town.” At the moment, repairs and maintenance are being paid for by bridge users and with numbers down over the past two years because of the Covid pandemic, it means that the cost has increased for Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry regular users. Cllr Frank added: “We feel like we’re bankrolling the bridge. We’ve asked the Government to take it on. But they don’t care. They don’t want to know. In South East Cornwall we feel at times that we’re not represented well enough on Cornwall Council. Perhaps having a single party majority is stifling the debate.”
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Source = PremierLeague-News.Com - Cornwall