Torch route sparks fury
CIVIC leaders and traders have voiced fears the Olympic Torch route through Newquay is a missed opportunity to showcase the town and boost business.
Dignitaries, including newly installed Newquay Mayor Kevin Towill and chairman of Newquay Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, Lyndon Harrison, have echoed shopkeepers’ concerns about the torch going through the mainly residential streets of Mount Wise and Henver Road on Saturday.
Many felt the Olympic flame should have started its journey at Fistral Beach and travelled through Fore Street, Bank Street and East Street, before leaving the resort through Narrowcliff and Henver Road, to give the area the best possible exposure.
Mr Harrison says no official complaint about the route was made to the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) as they were warned Newquay could be struck off the relay altogether if they did so. He said: “I think the route is a wasted opportunity to showcase Newquay. Going along residential roads makes no sense.
“It was not Cornwall Council making the threat but I was told by a member that, if we made a fuss over the route, Newquay could find itself off the schedule. That is why no complaints were made. It was deemed better we not say anything. I understand the time constraints but the town centre is more than capable of dealing with the torch coming through.
“A lot of traders and local residents alike have said to me the route is a missed opportunity for business and to showcase the town. I think it’s a sad shame.”
A number of community events are being held in Newquay to celebrate the Olympic Torch relay but tradersfear only a fraction of the people attending will filter into the town centre as the big cream tea on the Killacourt is the only event being staged there.
Other events are being organised at Newquay Tretherras, Newquay Sports Centre, on the
Barrowfields and at Newquay Football Club.
Agsy Baird, from North Shore Surf Shop in Fore Street, said: “The route is not showcasing what Newquay is about – the beaches and the shops. The torch will go along two residential streets and straight out of town.
“It could have been a good promotion and good for trade. I don’t think people on holiday are going to know to go up to Mount Wise. The town centre already stages a number of processions so I cannot see the reason as being a security issue."
Alan Thain, of Truscotts Fish and Chip Shop in Fore Street, said: “The torch event is missing out the whole of the town centre. It’s so wrong.
“The town centre could have had a bonanza. At the moment traders are not doing very well. It’s like they are trying to get out of the town as quickly as possible.”
Mayor Kevin Towill has sympathy with traders, adding: “I do not blame shopkeepers for being
annoyed as they are going through tough times on the high street and they need all the support they can get at the moment.
“My gut reaction was that it is a missed opportunity but we are in the hands of LOCOG. My preference would be to see the torch go through the town. But I’m pleased the torch is going through Narrowcliff as the coastline with our beaches in the background should be seen.”
Newquay Cornwall councillor Geoff Brown said: “The torch route through Newquay is an absolute disgrace.
It totally avoids the town centre and does nothing to boost trade for our town centre businesses.”
A LOCOG spokesman said there had been a two-year consultation on the route, adding: “It is a complex logistical challenge which requires us to balance issues of population, areas of
natural beauty, safety and security. It is impossible to go everywhere.”
|#1 16/05/2012 16:42||Jim Richards commented...|
Newquay town centre is a complete dump, what with NO Worries shops taking over the town, the town is on its knees, were lucky they even bothered with it!!!!!!!!
|#2 24/05/2012 10:09||zoe giles commented...|
well theres no pleasing everyone, no matter where the torch goes someone will always want it go somewhere else