Planners Refuse Porthcressa Sunday Working

Work underway on Porthcressa

Councillors have turned down an application for the use of heavy machinery on Sundays and public holidays on the Porthcressa Regeneration project.

Kier Western wanted to be able to work with equipment between 10am and 4pm on alternative weeks, in line with their 10-day-on and 4-day-off shift pattern. They can still undertake quieter works.

They wanted flexibility to remain on schedule and on budget.

Marian Bennett said she was concerned by comments from the Chief Planning Officer, Craig Dryden, that the project was “more likely” to come in on-time and on budget with the change.

She said that’s not accurate enough and it’s the responsibility of the contractors to stick to the original conditions.

Gordon Bilsborough felt they were moving the goalposts. He asked whether there was a penalty for Kier overrunning but nobody at the meeting knew.

Gordon said he expected any project manager to allow sufficient resources in manpower and finance to cover unforeseen delays or problems. He said, as the delays are “largely of Kier’s own making” they should meet the extra costs from the profits of the contract.

He wants a weekly update on whether the project is on track, saying the current updates only show what has happened so far, not how well they’re keeping to the project schedule.

In making a decision on the noise, said Gordon, they should consider not just the nearby residents but also the visitors who “are entitled to one quiet day a week” and could be put off visiting the islands again.

Amanda Martin didn’t want to grant the request and said the Council should have got the project underway sooner.

She said it has been a problem for her that the original conditions were not respected “more scrupulously”, including starting the work last October.

 

Objections

 

Councillors heard that there had been objections. Phil Jones of Crebinick opposed the request as he told his guests that Porthcressa would not be disrupted by heavy plant and machinery on Sundays.

Porthcressa Road resident, Pam Coldwell, was told that there would be Sunday restrictions in place and the Thomases, also on Porthcressa Road warned that changing the conditions would contravene Council policy and set a precedent for future developments on the islands.

But Nan Cons and the Haydens of Buzza Street supported the Sunday working request, as they felt it would speed up the development.

David Pearson said he had to back the locals who objected to the work, but wanted to make sure those objections were valid reasons for refusal.

The builders said they would limit noise to 65dB. David wanted to know what that meant and said he had been disturbed by a lawnmower this week.

Craig Dryden said the Environmental Health Officer would monitor that but admitted it would be reactive, while Chris Savill pointed out it would be difficult as the Environmental Officer is mainland based.

She told members that Kier had “taken liberties” already and had mixed concrete on Sundays.

Chris felt Kier construction had spent a lot of time in Scilly and they should appreciate local concerns better than contractors who hadn’t worked here before. They have a “responsibility to this community” adding that she felt the original condition should stand.

Craig said the planning issues were “finely balanced” and a “little difficult.” He recommended that the builders should be allowed to do the work.

But Councillors eventually refused the amendment to protect businesses and properties in the area.