G7 summit June 2021 Cornwall
Tobi Carver - 6th April 2021
This June the leaders of the G7 nations will descend on the small coastal town of St Ives for the 2021 G7 summit. From the comfort of the recently developed beach front complex at Carbis Bay Hotel the leaders will look out over the turquoise waters of St Ives Bay and discuss the world’s pressing matters. Issues such as how to combat climate change, the recovery of the world’s economies following the Covid pandemic and is it jam or cream first?
Together with their entourages, security staff and a Press Pack from around the world, they will be no doubt making their presence felt by the locals – if only for a few days. Since the news broke people have been asking one – well two – questions. First: “At some point during the weekend will the Americans claim to have invented the pasty?” and secondly: “Will it be good for Cornwall in general and especially for St Ives?”
Now that is a difficult question. One that does have people in the area divided.
To help answer the question this week we gathered some candid conversations with various people on and around Carbis Bay beach.
We found 23 year old professional surfer Loveday Pengassick enjoying her morning paddle. When asked Loveday replied: “What do I think about G7 coming to Cornwall? I think it’s great! Maybe I’ll finally get mobile reception in the Sloop”.
Erm, the G7 not … never mind … and frankly Loveday there are better things to be doing in the pub than be on your phone.
The coverage of the summit has, and will, throw St Ives into the spotlight. The summit itself will see the leaders of seven of the world’s most powerful nations, and further invited leaders from such countries as Australia, South Korea, and India, all gathered at the hotel. All this encourages the belief that it will provide a much-needed post lockdown boost in tourism and in income to the local economy.
Visit Cornwall have predicted as much as £50million could be gained to help the region recover from the restrictions of lockdown.
It’s true that much of the town is booked up for that weekend – but then it would be anyway. The two main hotels, Carbis Bay and Tregenna Castle where the less senior diplomats are believed to be staying will obviously gain. But how much time will these people have to get out into the town? Falmouth, where the Press are due to be based will possibly benefit more during the summit from the influx of journalists and support staff needing to eat and relax.
Stories of the restrictive security that accompanied the last G7 Summit in Biarritz has not endeared the sceptics to the prospect of similar here. We spoke to Roger Tregunna, a 59 year old taxi driver out for a walk on Carbis Bay beach with his two year old cockapoo. “Well so long as they don’t stop me walking Princess on the beach I think it’s okay,” he said, “I’m sure it’s great to have such world wide coverage but I’ll admit I’d rather not be inundated by tourists thinking they might get the chance to see Bojo, Merkel or that new guy Biden. Did you hear he thinks the Americans invented the pasty…? Besides I struggle to get my cab past a tractor, so good luck to them entourages!”
Apparently one factor in the decision to hold the summit in St Ives stems from the Prime Minister’s own memories of the place. His beloved grandmother lived a short way from the Carbis Bay Hotel. From a security point of view its probably a good bet as well. Situated at the bottom of a steep valley on one side, the sea and cliffs to the other the security boys are probably very happy. There is also only one, very steep, road and a couple of small footpaths to the complex.
It is this that worries most people – the lack of suitable infrastructure. Many are questioning how President Biden’s motorcade will cope with the small roads and the even smaller railway bridge it must cross to get to the hotel? Or how many dive-bombing seagulls may become casualties of trigger-happy security staff when they attempt to pinch their pasties.
There is a natural anxiety about the summit, it’s the talk of the town and has divided many. Yep it’s likely to cause some major disruption, but we think the sense of pride once it’s all over will be enormous, and will be talked about throughout the summer and beyond.
At TDT we just hope the various police, security chaps, snipers etc don’t get too heavy with our poor photographers! We’ll be out as usual, on the beaches at dawn, capturing a beautiful sunrise print for you. Maybe even one of the G7 leaders might fancy a souvenir?
Carbis Bay beach is a magical place, we can see why it was chosen. It’s especially magical at dawn…
Pic credits: Kieran Brimson, Richard Bell, Hadyn Cutler, Scott Eckersley, Aleks Marinkovic