Updated: Lack Of Granite Forces Porthcressa Design Changes

Planners have approved a number of changes to the Porthcressa Regeneration project arising due to unforeseen circumstances.

The most notable is a reduction in the size of the live-work units to create a gap between that building and the adjacent property and which will resolve party wall issues. This will result in some doors and windows being relocated as well.

And a shortage of useable granite recovered from the demolished Schiller Shelter means that the amenity building that replaces it, and which was originally going to be fully clad in granite, will now be part-rendered and painted grey.

The Chief Planning Officer, Craig Dryden, said the original design for this building had three times more granite in it than the Schiller shelter actually contained.

There’ll be changes to lintels on the Library to allow use of smaller granite blocks, and the proposed glazed roof between the library and Register Office will now be boarded and dome lights inserted.

The curved steps to the beach will also be made more angular to increase their resilience to damage from the sea. Craig said the original design would also have taken up a large part of the beach.

Craig felt the changes could be approved as they didn’t materially affect the original scheme.

Fred Ticehurst said he was ‘delighted’ the curved steps had gone as he felt this introduced an element of danger for youngsters.

But Dudley Mumford said he was disappointed that they couldn’t source local granite. He said he knew it was expensive, but he felt this project was going to be a legacy that would survive the members and it was a chance to add “a little bit of extra quality.”

Craig said there would still be two walls of the building completely in granite and the remaining wall would have granite quoins at the corner. But he did acknowledge that finding local granite was becoming a problem, adding that the Duchy was also putting less and less into their schemes too.

Members were told that some stone had also been sourced from the nearest quarry in Penzance, but the colour was still a slightly different shade and it’s only used in a specific area to avoid a mismatch across the scheme.

However, Radio Scilly has been contacted by a number of residents who claim they have offered local granite from their own stores to Kier and this has been rejected. They have also claimed that large quantities of granite excavated from the school building site last year were crushed rather than given to local builders who had requested it.

Update at 12:25pm, Tuesday 24th July: A Council spokesperson said the balance of the salvaged granite is being used in the Registry Office, where the thickness is not critical and the large unmanageable stones can be, with significant reworking, reused in the scheme.

The amenity building is being clad in a thinner gauge of granite and it would be difficult and time-consuming to cut existing granite blocks to a consistent thickness.

They added that if further granite is required to complete the work they will be pursuing other sources on the islands.


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