Steel fencing erected outside St Ives homes ahead of G7 summit: ‘They’ve built a cage around us’

Locals will have to ask a security guard, and produce ID, to enter or leave the high-security area around their homes

<p>Christine Norton: ‘It feels like the whole town is now under an occupation’</p>

Christine Norton: ‘It feels like the whole town is now under an occupation’

It’s a “ring of steel” designed to keep world leaders including Joe Biden safe – but for one St Ives street, the security fencing for next week’s G7 summit is also cutting them off from the outside world.

Residents of the town’s Tregenna Parc woke up on Thursday to find their homes were included in the high-security zone being erected around Tregenna Castle, where the US president and co will be staying.

Because their gardens back onto the castle grounds, it is thought officials decided it would be easier to simply include them within the high security zone.

It means that, on Thursday morning, huge 10-foot tall steel fences were erected down their road, essentially cutting off their homes from the outside world.

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For the next 10 days, it is thought a single door in the fence will open from the inside allowing residents to leave their properties – but they will have to ask a security guard, and produce ID – to go back in. The view from their windows will be steel meshing.

A sign notifying of an upcoming security closure of the coastal path near Carbis Bay resort

“They’ve built a cage around us – how on earth can that be legal?” said Christine Towner, a mother-of-two who only moved onto the road six months ago.

“A police officer came a couple of months ago and told us we would be included in the security area around the castle. She said we didn’t have a say in that. But we had no idea they would be building a fence right outside our garden. It’s inhuman. They’ve caged us.”

She said no one from the government had been in touch to explain the situation.

But asked why she thought fencing had not simply been built on the castle grounds behind their homes, she replied: “Because that would mean world leaders had to look at it instead of us.”

Christine Norton, who lives in nearby Steeple Lane, said she saw the fence as she walked her dog. “It’s scary,” she said. “It feels like the whole town is now under an occupation.”

Residents across the whole of Cornwall have been told to expect disruption over the next two weeks after Carbis Bay and St Ives were chosen to host the major summit, which will also be attended by German chancellor Angela Merkel, French president Emmanuel Macron and Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga.

A woman walks on the beach beside the Carbis Bay hotel, where an in-person G7 summit of global leaders is due to take place

Railway lines, major roads and some 44 footpaths will be closed, while more than 5,000 police officers from almost every force in the UK will live in a temporary village built in nearby fields.

Grandmother-of-five Ms Norton said: “The millions that all this must be costing – not just the fencing but re-laying the roads, checking the drains, building new buildings – it must be astronomical.

“They say the climate will be a priority of the agenda. If that’s the case, why not do this by Zoom and show you really care about the environment?”

Cornwall Council and the Cabinet Office have both been contacted for comment.

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