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CORNWALL DEMANDS RETURN OF ITS 'ELGIN MARBLES'

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A Cornish town is demanding the return of Ice Age boulders used as a promenade attraction 400 miles away in Morecam...
A Cornish town is demanding the return of Ice Age boulders used as a promenade attraction 400 miles away in Morecambe, claiming they are 'our Elgin Marbles', reported The Sunday Telegraph (p12).

Twelve white sea-polished granite stones were transported from the ancient raised beach at St Just in 1995 to the Lancashire resort, where they are displayed as part of an award-winning display of modern art. Long regarded as objects of wonder, their removal was controversial. Less than a year after the Duchy of Cornwall gave permission for the stones to be used in a children's theme trail, the area was declared a site of special scientific interest - making the removal of the stones an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

William Trevorrow, chairman of Penwith DC, said: 'These stones are part of our heritage. Morecambe has its own rock - with its name running through it. You can buy it and its much more tasty than granite. We feel a bit like the Greeks trying to get back the Elgin Marbles from the British Museum. We see these stones as our Elgin Marbles and want them returned to their rightful place'.

The campaign has the backing of the St Ives Liberal Democrat MP Andrew George, who has written to Morecambe's Labour MP Geraldine Smith highlighting his constituents' concerns.

Lancaster City Council, which had obtained the boulders for the resort, said it had done so legitimately. More than£1m of lottery funding had gone into the project and formed part of an initiative to regenerate the resort. They beauty was appreciated by tens of thousands of visitors each year.

Mayor of St Just Bernard Rees said: 'This is part of Cornwall's heritage. These stones need to be returned to the county to be enjoyed by future generations. I think it would be a great gesture if Lancaster council returned them to where they rightfully belong'.

Jean Yates, chairman of Lancaster City Council's economic and development committee, said it was unlikely the boulders would be handed back.

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