Buzza Tower Planning Deferred

Councillor have deferred a decision on a controversial application to bring the Grade II listed Buzza Tower back into use through the installation of a camera obscura.

The project, which is applying for Local Action Group cash, has faced some objections over visual intrusion and privacy concerns.

The deferment will allow members to go on a site visit although Fred Ticehurst and Roy Duncan felt that wasn’t necessary. Roy said the tower is in a public place without the need to arrange access and he told members he visits the site a few times a week.

Christine Savill felt the delay could give Councillors extra time to learn about the technical aspects of the plan.

The applicants have already made concessions. They’ve agreed to restrict the field of view to 180 degrees. They also say the camera would not magnify and they’d use baffles to block views to sensitive areas.

But Fred felt that would limit its effectiveness as an attraction. He also felt the entrance fee at the similar attractions, up to £8 he said, could be poor value for money.

Although he was against the camera obscura plan, he was pleased that the tower was being brought back into use.

There have been nine letters sent in support of the plan including one from Sabene Schraudolph who is the joint Chair of Island Tourism, and Mark Prebble of St Mary’s Bike Hire. But Fred felt one supporter should have declared an interest. He’s a camera obscura maker in Aberystwyth.

Councillor David Pearson stopped short of backing the plan, saying he was broadly supportive of innovation, although he doubted that term could be used for an invention created in the 1400s.

The main concern was over the intrusion into two adjacent homes. The Larns of Harbour Gaze objected with privacy concerns. They are 14 metres from the tower.

Chris and June Jones, who live 10 metres away, claim they’ll have to sell their home if permission is granted and Fred Ticehurst was concerned the camera obscura could affect the value.

The applicants may have to work harder to allay Councillors concerns. Roy Duncan felt the historic tower could be spoiled by the camera especially as more visitors could be using Porthcressa next year. And Dudley Mumford felt the camera would be a blight on the landscape and added that it would be a “sad day for Scilly” if the plan was approved.

Members will now decide the fate of the scheme in the next planning meeting after they’ve had a chance to visit the tower. David Pearson said he’d go further and visit the camera obscura in Bristol.