Porthcressa Regeneration Contract Awarded To Kier Western

The Schiller Shelter at Porthcressa will be redeveloped

The Council has awarded the £4 million Porthcressa regeneration construction contract to new school builders, Kier Western.

Just ten Councillors discussed the project in a closed session, out of the public eye, on Thursday night.

We understand three building companies expressed an interest in the scheme, one of which was local.

The building project is expected to take around 40 weeks and will transform the former lifeboat station and bulb store into a library and registry office.

Councillor Christine Savill commented that the library was needed, as there was only a small collection of books at the new school.

The green and seafront gardens will be landscaped and the walkway surface improved. The current Schiller shelter will be demolished and rebuilt but controversial plans to provide cafe facilities have been dropped following community and business opposition.

Plans for two local-needs homes, above business units on the current library site, have also been dropped for now.

The Homes and Communities agency won’t fund social housing in Scilly because they don’t see it as good value for money, due to the cost of building here. The business units will be built in such a way that homes can be added on top when there’s funds available.

However, concerns have been voiced over whether the Council can afford this scheme.

European cash has been committed and Chief Executive of the Council, Philip Hygate told members that proceeding with this scheme could also help the quay development plans.

Work could start in 6 weeks.


6 Responses to Porthcressa Regeneration Contract Awarded To Kier Western

  1. Chodders October 12, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    At the end of the day the problems that came about this summer were handled quickly and sorted out. There was no “major increase in crime” as some have claimed but merely groups of overworked guys going out, having a few drinks, and sometimes getting wound up by a negative public attitude to the builders being here. They have increased trade in a summer that could have been a lot worse if they weren’t here. We have had a distinct lack of holiday makers out and about spending money this year and the builders have helped to keep the Islands economy afloat, whether it be in bars, shops, restaurants or renting out beds. I think Porthcressa does need some work doing to it and I believe that Kier will do an excellent job as they already have with the School. Lets hope the extra trade the builders have brought and the improvements that will be made to the best beach in town attract more people and keep more businesses open.

  2. Kev Wright October 7, 2011 at 10:52 am

    I live at Porthcressa and it does look tatty. It needs a facelift and hopefully this will be done tatsefully. I would have preferred local builders to get the contract but agree that the work needs to be done as quickly as possible. Both Porthcressa and Little Porth are used a lot by visitors to Scilly so it’s important that we keep them both a desirable place to go.
    Plus – books will never go out of date. I prefer reading an actual book to any digital formats and I’m certainly not alone. I’d love a bigger library here, the current one is too small.

  3. Dave October 5, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    I’ve just read Keith’s comments with interest regarding Kier Western being awarded the Porthcressa regeneration project.

    Keith seems to be of the opinion that we contractors are trouble makers, and are not welcome on the island. While I agree that there has been a very small proportion that did cause problems, (about 18) they were swiftly dealt with, and removed from the island. In total, over 500 contractors have been working on the school project at one time or another, the vast majority getting on well with the islanders, and boosting the local economy by a considerable amount over the previous winter, spring, and summer.
    They have also been working away from their homes and loved ones, doing 10 or 12 hour days over a 10 day shift, and on occasion, not being able to get home due to inclement weather.
    As a sub-contractor, I have been involved in the school project since last November, and in doing so, have made many friends on the island! The feedback I’ve received from the locals is that they are very pleased with their new school, with only one or two minor complaints (ie, no shelters over the bike stands!) During construction, the disruption and noise has been kept to a minimum, and the roadways cleaned on a regular basis.

    Regarding the Porthcressa project.
    Without, I hope, being at all disrespectful to the local builders who do a great job on the island, a multi-million pound project is a whole different ball game, where time penalties can run into hundreds of thousands of pounds, and teams of groundworkers, masons, bricklayers, carpenters, plumbers, pipe fitters, electricians, roofers, scaffolders, plasterers, etc, all have to work in co-ordination with each other. Not to mention the logistics of getting materials and heavy plant onto the island. Kiers already has this in place on the island at the school site, in addition, Kiers target is to complete the project in 46 weeks or so. That has to be better than doing it over 3 winters as originally intended.

    Over 90% of the island economy is dependant on tourism, so any improvement to the islands attractions, without spoiling the environment has to be worthwhile to maintain your economy for the future.
    The island will end up with great new facilities, both sports and otherwise, that many parts of the UK will be envious of – and not only the pupils at the new school will benefit from, but also the islanders and tourists too.

    By next year, we contractors will have left your island, and you can return to normal way of lives. I hope the majority of the islanders will appreciate what has been achieved by us ‘troublemakers’!

    On a final note regarding Ebooks – what’s wrong with sitting down reading a good book in the traditional way? Libraries have been around for thousands of years. Sometimes we depend too much on our electronic age! £4m is not a big spend in this day and age. It’s not so much a case of ‘modernisation’ but of improvement to the amenities, and to the environment.

  4. Linda October 5, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Well said Keith, totally agree, no more to add

  5. Keith October 4, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Ah great, more builders for the winter to cause trouble, love it… Nice of the council to have a private meeting to discuss who was going to take on the project, obviously getting local builders in was too easy and cheaper, what after accommodation, travel etc…

    £4m! That’s a lot to transform an area that, in my eyes, doesn’t need a lot to improve the look of. And if the plans are anything like I saw a few years ago, the image of Tresco springs to mind, modernising for the sake of modernising, making us look like something we aren’t! What’s wrong with a bit of upkeeping and maintanence on some of the buildings in that area? Do we have a lot of complaints from tourists saying how shoddy Porth Cressa looks or something???

    As for the new library, how many people actually go in and rent out a book nowadays to warrant building a bigger one? Ebooks are the way forward if you really want to modernise!

    • sue October 5, 2011 at 11:08 am

      Ah great, more builders for the winter to keep local businesses going over a quiet time, love it…