From the Cornish Guardian

A FAMILY of six Travellers has moved onto a “death trap” derelict hotel site in Newquay, the Cornish Guardian has learnt.

The group, which includes two adults and four under-18s, set up camp at the former Cedars Hotel at the junction between Mount Wise and St George’s Road last week.

Police and social services visited the “rat-infested” site on Tuesday to check on the youngsters’ welfare, but decided no action was necessary.

The resort’s police chief, Inspector Ian Drummond-Smith, said the landowners were aware of the Travellers and had not requested eviction.

Cornwall Council’s environmental health team has advised the family it is unsafe to live on the site. It is understood they had intended to move on but one of their children developed an abscess on her foot and needed medical treatment in the resort.

Mr Drummond-Smith said police would continue to monitor the site, adding: “We have limited powers to move Travellers from land. We have contacted the landowners and are happy they are aware of the situation. At this time we have not received any request to remove the Travellers.”

The news has sparked fresh calls for the eyesore site to be better secured, or even demolished, after children were spotted playing on bikes within the perimeter fence.

John Coltman, owner of the nearby Trelinda Hotel and vice-chair of Newquay Town Residents’ Association, said: “We’ve had enough. This has been going on since 2003 and the place is a death trap. Are they waiting for someone to get killed in there?

“I’m paying rates here on my hotel and just up the road we’ve got a site that’s infested with flies and rats. It looks like something out of Slumdog Millionaire. This isn’t Bombay, it’s the main tourist town in Cornwall. This is negligence in a big way by Cornwall Council.”

Kevin Brader, the council’s senior environmental health officer, said two enforcement notices had been served on the owners, aimed at securing the site and removing rubbish. Contractors have been on site this week.

“The building is in a state of disrepair,” he said. “We want it secured and we will ensure this is carried out. Any costs incurred will be recovered from the landowner.”

A structural assessment was carried out on the hotel which found the building was not in danger of collapsing.

Mr Brader said: “If it was likely to fall down we could insist it was demolished but it is structurally stable so that isn’t required.”

An application was lodged in August last year to build 35 residential flats on the site. The site owners, believed to be Cornwall-based Rockmount Developments Ltd, could not be contacted.