Councillors Hear Plans For Quay Improvements

St Mary's Quay

For a moment, Councillors at Tuesday’s Transport Strategy Meeting thought they had solved the Moorwell Alp problem.

They were going to sink it under the new quay extension being planned for St Mary’s harbour.

Diana Mompoloki from the Council’s Economic Development Department told members that they’re planning to build the 23 metre quay extension from concrete caissons, or large hollow sections, that will be pre-fabricated on the mainland and floated into place.

These will then be filled with material to weight them down then sunk into place.

And Chairman Dudley Mumford asked whether they could use material from the refuse site at Moorwell for this purpose.

However, their hopes were soon dashed when Diana said any in-fill material had to be heavy and inert, to avoid leaching into the surrounding water, and that means they’ll probably have to import it.

Diana said the quay extension, which is actually longer than the 15 metres proposed under the Route Partnership scheme, would give the “greatest flexibility for future vessels.”

The plans shows improved passenger waiting and ticketing facilities and improved access and turning for vehicles.

There’ll also be better freight handling, with areas for holding chilled and frozen foods, avoiding the ‘just-in-time’ rush of delivery vehicles as food arrives on the quay.

At the front of the Harbourside Hotel there will be a covered walkway to provide shelter in poor weather.

Diana says it was impossible to have a covered area that could hold all 600 passengers on a full Scillonian III, simply because that space doesn’t exist, but this was the best compromise available.

Plans For Traffic Separation Still Unclear

However, project planners are still struggling to find a cost-effective way to separate pedestrians and traffic at the Mermaid end of the quay.

One plan is to attach a cantilevered wooden walkway to the outer edge of the quay at that point, although how that would connect with the slip beside the Mermaid is still unclear.

Diana says they will be seeking input from the public on this issue.

Councillor Chris Thomas expressed concern about overtopping of waves at that point, which could make the walkway dangerous. He wondered whether the walkway could be a covered tube.

Diana says there have been no accidents between vehicles and pedestrians in this area and Chief Planning Officer, Craig Dryden, talked about introducing traffic lights.

The project team are also looking into smoothing out the rough surface on the pedestrian-side of the quay, which means people prefer to walk on the smoother vehicle area.

Councillor Marian Bennett wanted Off-Islanders to be included in the consultation because she said they were one of the most important user groups.

The quay improvement project was started following the failure of the Route Partnership Scheme.

However, the project is complex as the Duchy own the quay, but can’t apply for Department for Transport funding.

That means the Council will be applying for the funds and will be responsible for the building contract but the asset will be owned by Duchy and they will take on the day-to-day running.

The Duchy will also be responsible for improvements to the Harbourside Hotel.

The project has an outline pledge of £4m from the European Regional Development Fund and £4m from the DfT. However, Diana said the 43% higher cost of building here means this is more like £6m for a mainland project.

Diana says the IoS Steamship Company will be responsible for sourcing and funding a vessel for the route but the outcome of that work is still unclear.

The Council have also been told that they cannot access funding until the Penzance Quay project is finalised and there is still confusion about who will fund the design stage of that project.

Diana says Councillors should not “close their eyes to the risk” of the project.

She said “we’re taking a big risk, on a big marine project, on an asset that doesn’t belong to us.”

Craig added “the clock is ticking” since ERDF money will stop in 2013.

There will be a public consultation on plans for St Mary’s quay at the Old Wesleyan Chapel, Wednesday 25th April, 11.00am to 4.00pm and 5.00pm to 8.00pm.


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