Planners Allow Scheme For St Martin’s Sea Salt Production

A new business exporting sea salt to the mainland from St Martin’s can now start operations after planners granted consent for a polytunnel at the east end of Par Beach.

Islander Andrew Walder wants to install the polythene cover, stretching 30m long, 6.4m wide and 3m high, for the evaporation of seawater, which would be pumped onto a plastic membrane in the tunnel.

Councillors went to look at the site before the planning meeting.

Councillor Dudley Mumford was concerned about noise from water being pumped into the tunnel. He asked whether there would be a limit on the decibels allowed, as “Scilly is a quiet place.”

Chief Planning Officer Craig Dryden felt that the portable pumps, similar to those used by the Fire Brigade, would not be too noisy and they would only be used at high tide once a month.

Councillor Chris Savill said there is no one living in the area adding, at one time, “water was pumped from the public toilets at high tide.”

The produced salt would be stored in existing buildings at Carron Farm where all processing and packing would be undertaken too.

She felt the scheme was innovative and wished the applicants “every success.”

Craig said the new business would help the wider branding of Scilly and St Martin’s and would also help diversify the economy.

Councillor Richard McCarthy felt it was a laudable development but he voiced some concern about unused polythene tunnels on the islands.

Craig explained that the Council makes owners reapply for planning permission every 5 years so unused ones don’t fall into disrepair and get tatty.

Councillor David Pearson has shared strong views about their use in Scilly but he felt the site was sheltered and a tunnel wouldn’t have the impact on the landscape of the tunnels you can see when flying over West Cornwall.

And if the business folded, the there’s a planning requirement to remove the tunnel.