G7 summit 'fantastic opportunity' for Cornwall

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image copyrightMatt Jessop/Visit Cornwall
image captionThe leaders' meeting will be held in June at the Carbis Bay Estate

Hosting the G7 summit in Cornwall will provide a "fantastic opportunity" to showcase the county on the world stage, local leaders have said.

Carbis Bay, near St Ives, will host the event in June, with incoming US President Joe Biden among the world leaders set to attend.

Visit Cornwall estimates the summit could provide a £50m economic boost.

Cornwall Council's leader said he was "determined that this event delivers a lasting legacy for our residents".

Juilan German said the G7 summit, set to take place from 11 to 13 June, was "a fantastic opportunity to showcase the best of Cornwall and the UK on the world stage, and to build our strength and prosperity at home".

The UK, US, Germany, France, Canada, Italy and Japan make up the G7 and leaders from Australia, India, South Korea and the EU are also due to attend as guests.

International delegates are set to stay at the Tregenna Castle Resort and other locations around Cornwall, while Cornwall Airport Newquay and the National Maritime Museum Cornwall in Falmouth will also play an official role.

Kim Conchie, from Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, said there was a "need to make sure the love is spread" around the county and "make sure people in Bude and Saltash are as proud of the fact this event is coming... as people in St Ives and Falmouth".

image captionSome of the international delegates will be staying at the Tregenna Castle Resort

Mr Conchie said people should not be surprised Cornwall had been chosen because it had "exactly the sort of economy that the world is going to be interested in as the 21st Century moves into full gear after Covid".

He pointed to "floating offshore wind, our digital businesses, our premium food and drink businesses [which are] produced ethically and with a huge interest in provenance".

Mr Conchie warned there was a need to get the event "right" in a way sympathetic to the deprivation in the county, adding: "There will be people who don't want this to be an excuse for another glossy coating of Cornwall."

The £50m economic boost for the region suggested by Visit Cornwall includes an increase in future tourism.

Chief executive Malcolm Bell said the summit would showcase Cornwall's beauty, adding: "The G7 leaders' summit will focus the world's press and TV on this very special place and this exposure is promotion we could never buy."

image copyrightMatt Jessop/Visit Cornwall
image captionVisit Cornwall estimates the summit could provide a £50m economic boost

Peter, a Carbis Bay resident, said he was "delighted" at the news and that world leaders would "gasp at its beauty".

But some residents have raised concern on Facebook about Covid-19 safety - and also potential transport disruption.

Joan Calderbank said she believed staging the event was "totally wrong", adding: "It should not even be coming to the UK under current circumstances, doubt we will be back to normal by June."

Andrew Hughes told BBC Radio Cornwall "the infrastructure will not cope" while Craig Wolstenholme predicted it would be a "nightmare".

Mr German insisted the health of residents was Cornwall Council's primary concern and that if necessary nearer the time he would push for the event to be held virtually - but the decision lay with the government.

He also said the council would do "all it can as the highway authority to ensure disruption is minimised".

Shadow environment, food and rural affairs secretary Luke Pollard said Covid-19 safety measures needed to be put in early "to reassure local people that they won't be getting a spike in infections because of hosting this conference".

Mr Pollard also said he wanted the event to be a "point of change" which would see the South West receive more funding from Westminster.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary George Eustice said the government "thinks we can run this in a way that is Covid-secure".

"We are working very hard to get vaccines out right across the country and to make sure we can turn the corner on this," he added.

Devon and Cornwall Police's Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer said the force had been preparing for the summit, which will require a high level of security, for several months, including speaking to colleagues who had managed similar events.

"It provides an opportunity for all my colleagues to demonstrate our operational excellence and world-class policing skills on a global stage," he said.

"We are excited to be playing our part working with and supporting our partners to deliver a safe and secure G7 summit."

Peter Andrew MBE, chair of Corserv Group, which will support the event's logistical arrangements, said: "We are committed to ensure that the event is a great success for Cornwall and see it shine on the world stage."

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