Runaway truck in by-pass 'no brakes' drama

By Wayne Bishop

A LORRY loaded with tarmac, its brakes out of action, careered down the steep slope of the new Penryn bypass this week and ended up in a Ponsharden factory yard, just feet from the sea. Miraculously, no-one was hurt in what could have been a disaster.

Critics who had doubts about the gradient almost saw their worst fears realised when the drama happened on Tuesday morning. The part-time lorry driver was badly shaken after the incident, which happened too late for him to make use of the emergency escape lane.

The Aggregates and Minerals lorry ploughed down the steep slope towards the newly-completed Mediterranean-style roundabout at Ponsharden and shot around it, narrowly missing startled car drivers.

It then careered headlong through open gates into the yard of MC Fabrications crushing two wooden dinghies before driver Andrew Todd deliberately steered it into a brick wall, luckily killing its speed but not himself. It came to rest just three feet away from the edge of a muddy Penryn River at low tide, one boat still trapped beneath its engine.

As if by a miracle the yard, normally bustling with workers and congested with parked cars, was empty. No-one was injured.

Neither was anyone on the roundabout at the time or pedestrians on the footpath. Had there been it could have been carnage and mayhem.

Mr Todd, already being hailed as a hero, was not even due to be working that day. He was badly shaken by the horrific ride and was checked over at the scene by ambulancemen.

Strike vote sparks Docks crisis

By David Barnicoat

FALMOUTH Docks plunged into deep crisis this week after workers voted to ballot for industrial action. As a result yard owners A&P Appledore are stopping all ships using the Falmouth facility.

It followed Tuesday's top-level union meeting between A&P Appledore management and national union officials at the yard over 119 job cuts that will slash the workforce in half.

The two sides met for three hours and talks ended in deadlock. Mr Steve Jervis, A&P's group operational managing director, said there was "a failure to agree with the unions."

Once permission has been granted by the national executive the unions have to give seven days notice of intent to ballot.

With three drydocks empty and no ships stemmed for Falmouth the workers and A&P are digging in for a bitter fight.

"We as a shiprepair group will not bring any ships into this yard while the threat of industrial action is present. We are advising our customers of the situation. Shipowners will steer clear until this dispute has ended," said Mr Jervis.

Transport and General Workers District Secretary Mr John Foster is angry at the "shameful" way the workforce are being treated and disputes there is a redundancy situation prevailing.

"All we hear is that the company is not making enough profit. Last week A&P sent two ships away from Falmouth to Southampton and the Tyne. Now we hear they are asking fro Falmouth men to go away and work at Southampton. it's a disgusting way to treat men. This company is hell bent on casualising the workforce and giving them reduced rates of pay," he said.

Mr Jervis said 26 jobs were on offer during the negotiations. But Mr Foster explained that the men were giving up too much already to accept the proposals.

Publican protests over rowdy youths

By Stephen Ivall

FOUL language, abuse and continuous complaints about youngsters congregating outside a Falmouth amusement arcade have brought angry protests from the landlord of one of Falmouth's best-known pubs.

Many of the youths are under the influence of drink and their language is rapidly deterring visitors to the area of the pub on The Moor.

A petition signed by more than 150 customers of the popular Seven Stars pub has now been handed in at Carrick Council demanding action.

It is not the first time complaints have been received about noise and foul language from the arcade. But this time pub landlord Mr Barrington Bennetts means business.

A copy of the petition has also been handed to Falmouth Town Council clerk Eric Dawkins.

Mr Bennetts, who is also a local clergyman, said recently his wife had to go out to remonstrate with those responsible only to be greeted by filthy language from the youths.

Visitors were being put off by what was going on and if his business was not to suffer something had to be done.

Customers and other members of the public using the area have signed the petition, where up to 20 youths at a time are said to congregate.

Some customers who have moved outside the pub for a drink in fine weather have had to go back inside because of the problems while others have packed up and gone elsewhere.