Island Resident Wants Referendum On Duchy’s Role In Scilly

Hugh House, the offices of the Duchy of Cornwall in Scilly

Hugh House, the offices of the Duchy of Cornwall in Scilly

A critic of the Duchy has used the recent road-resurfacing programme to back his belief that they’re following a ‘managed retreat’ from Scilly. And Alan Davis is suggesting there should be an islands-wide vote on the Duchy’s ongoing role here.

The Garrison resident says the Duchy only arranged for Lagan Construction to resurface the road through the Garrison Arch and not further up to the Star Castle. Alan claims that special equipment sourced for the work was returned unused as the Duchy wouldn’t fund it.

But Land Steward Chris Gregory says that assertion is “simply wrong.” The road has been surfaced up to the Star Castle entrance posts and the specialist kit was used. Chris says the road hasn’t been treated further because the Garrison hill is not a highway maintainable at public expense – it is a private road.

A number of Duchy tenants have rights of way to their premises and many of these residents’ tenancies or leases require them to contribute towards the cost of maintaining the road. But most of those tenants didn’t want to pay because they felt it did not offer appropriate value for money.

Alan, who has regularly challenged the basis of the Duchy’s authority now suggests locals should have a say on it and he cites the Scottish referendum debate.

Gordon Brown promised Scots that the Crown Estate income from the use of the seabed should be devolved to local coastal communities for their benefit. Alan suggests that Scilly should have a referendum on devolving Duchy financial interests for the benefit of the islands.

But as it is unclear whether the Duchy is a public or private body, it is uncertain whether such a vote would have any weight, even if people wanted it



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