Harbourmaster Can Install Flags On Quay

An example of a coloured metal flag on the quay

Plans to install coloured metal flags on St Mary’s quay, to help guide visitors to the correct boat, have been passed by planners.

Harbourmaster, Dale Clark, applied to install the signs in April as part of a package of improvements to the quay, but the flags were rejected.

But he asked the Council to reconsider, and the Chief Planning Officer Craig Dryden had recommended approval, based on their removal at the end of each day and outside the visitor season.

Craig demonstrated one of the coloured metal flags, attached to a hollow metal pole around 1m high, in the Council Chamber, leading Vice Chair of Council, Amanda Martin, to suggest tongue-in-cheek, that the Chief Planning Officer had been “pole dancing in the Chamber.”

The issue of the flags caused concern at the last Planning Meeting and Councillor Fred Ticehurst apologised for his, “intemperate language” on that occasion, but he said he was still against their installation

Fred said there was “enough clutter” on the quay and these flags were an ugly addition.

But Councillor Roy Duncan said he’d witnessed the “total confusion of visitors, year in, year out” who had been told to “go to the second set of steps but didn’t realise the first set weren’t counted.”

He said most visitors who come to Scilly will go boating and these “smallish flags” will not spoil what is already a fairly industrial area with ugly containers and machinery.

Councillor Dudley Mumford felt that anything that increases the visitor experience and help the tourism industry should be encouraged, and pointed out that the flags are removable and will only be used during the summer season.

St Martin’s Councillor, John Goddard said he couldn’t see why the name of the boat couldn’t be stamped on the ticket and Councillor Chris Thomas agreed, although it was pointed out that when boats are full, a second or third might be brought in to carry the extra passengers.

Councillor Chris Savill said the experience is confusing and something needs to be done but she felt there could be a better solution than the metal flags.

And Amanda said it was unclear whether the Harbourmaster had consulted with the boatman about whether they’d actually use the system although Roy assured them it would fit in with the system they already use and which he devised twenty years ago.

Councillors eventually agreed to allow the flags on the quay but for a trial period extending through to the end of the 2013 tourist season.