Posted by: Admin | September 14, 2010

A Tarnished Cornish Jewel

One thing that has saddened me whilst staying in Newquay is the degeneration of the resort into a stag party destination. My family used to come here when I was a child to enjoy the clean, golden beaches of Crantock and Holywell Bay and Fistral. Later, we brought our own children to stay at the family-friendly Trevelgue Hotel above Watergate Bay. It was still a family resort then, traditional in its attractions, with slot machine arcades in the town and so on, but clean and safe to walk around.

Newquay is still the surfing capital of England and the surf community appear to be as affable and chilled as ever. Daughter no.2 has been living and working here all season, sharing a room in a surf hostel with five others and enjoying the laid back lifestyle.

However, the town is shabby now, the main street taken up with tacky nightclubs and the open all hours bars that have largely replaced the family pubs and cafes. Twice I’ve seen men passed out, drunk on the pavement at 5.30pm and the children’s play areas are surrounded by large, noisy, beery groups of men with the occasional gaggle of mouthy hen parties thrown in for good measure. Call me old-fashioned, but if you’re going to drink yourself senseless in the middle of the day that’s your business, but at least have the decency not to do it in the same place as young children and elderly holiday-makers.

The authorities in Newquay should be ashamed of themselves. In chasing the fast buck they’ve squeezed out regular holiday-makers and  now have the kind of environment they deserve. Meanwhile, the residents of Newquay have been lumbered with having their town vilified in the local area and cold-shouldered by the tourist trade – except for those who want to trash it.

There are signs of regeneration – new building projects offering clean, modern accommodation – and the beaches are still clean and well-patrolled by lifeguards. There are rock pools for children to explore and safe, shallow waters for bathing as well as the rolling Atlantic surf. I hope that Newquay will manage to return to its former glory for it is still a beautiful resort.

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