Unlocking Economic Potential in Cornwall

Heritage is a major contributor to the South West economy.  It produces over £1.2 billion in Gross Value Added (GVA), directly employs over 22,000 people and generates over £1.8 billion in tourism spend. 

Cornwall’s historic environment is playing a key part in a thriving and resilient local economy. Often, heritage is seen as a barrier to growth but these examples show that, far from being a barrier, historic assets are making a key contribution to important growth sectors in Cornwall, such as small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), the creative industries, mining, and tourism. 

Since April 2004, our local team has given advice on over 1,500 listed building consent (LBC) cases and over 1,800 planning cases affecting the historic environment in Cornwall. We use our Constructive Conservation approach in all our advice, which means basing all decisions on making changes to historic assets on a sound understanding of their significance. In this way, we support innovative schemes that protect and enhance the significance of buildings and historic places, and where possible, give them a new economic use.

Harvey's Foundry, Hayle

Harvey’s Foundry was once the world’s largest manufacturers of mine steam engines, exporting equipment to mining operations across the globe. Many of the foundry buildings survive as a coherent group, but were disused for many years. We are proud to be a partner in the long-term project to transform derelict buildings into thriving places for modern business and local crafts. Around 100 jobs have been created on the site. Following two successful earlier phases which saw the restoration and conversion of the drawing offices and foundry farm, further work spaces are now being created in the historic former pattern shops.        

Harvey's Foundry Pattern Shop under repair
The Pattern Shop at Harvey's Foundry, Hayle, under repair in February 2017 © Historic England

Kresen Kernow, Redruth

Kresen Kernow is an exciting major project to create a new archive centre for Cornwall in the almost ruinous historic buildings of the former Redruth Brewery in the Cornish Mining Landscape World Heritage Site. Constructive conservation sometimes means taking challenging decisions, and in order to secure the restoration and conversion of the most significant buildings on the site, some ancillary buildings – less significant than the main brewery complex but still important – have had to be demolished. Camborne was one of the largest urban centres in what is now the World Heritage Site, and the size of the brewery complex demonstrates what thirsty work mining was!

An artist's impression of Kresen Kernow, the new archive centre for Cornwall currently being developed in the former Redruth Brewery complex
Artist's impression of Kresen Kernow - a new archive centre for Cornwall - in development in the former Redruth Brewery complex © Cornwall Council

South Crofty Mine, Camborne

South Crofty Mine was the last working metal mine in Cornwall when it was mothballed in the late 1990s. New, advanced, mining techniques have led to the possibility it may be reopened to mine for copper and lithium, leading to the creation of jobs and attracting inward investment. We are working with the site’s new owners to ensure that new mining operations don't harm the unique historic mining landscape that surrounds the site.

Miners awaiting shift, South Crofty Tin Mine, Cornwall 1995 
Miners awaiting shift at South Crofty Tin Mine, Cornwall, in March 1995 © Historic England Archive (Ref AA95/02827)

King Edward Mine

At King Edward Mine, we have worked with local volunteers to develop a long-term sustainable future for this historic complex at the heart of the Cornish Mining Landscape World Heritage Site. A real time-warp, the mine was used as a training complex for the famous Camborne School of Mines for many years and is now a successful place of work and a tourist attraction. A conservation plan has been produced to fully understand the structures, and modern offices have been carefully incorporated into historic buildings helping to sustain this key visitor attraction for the area.

The Boiler House to the Winding Engine House, King Edward Mine, Camborne, Cornwall
The Boiler House to the Winding Engine House, King Edward Mine, Camborne, Cornwall. © Cornwall Council
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