Possible Way Forward For Penzance Harbour Scheme

Penzance Harbour

The St Mary’s quay development work planned for next summer, which will increase the quay and allow greater protection for the Scillonian, looks more likely.

This is after Cornwall Council offered support for a proposal that could ensure the scheme doesn’t lose government and European cash.

Transport minister Norman Baker sees both St Mary’s and Penzance quay improvements as one scheme, even though we’re at an advanced stage and just waiting for the green light. He won’t separate the two sides.

But it has been looking like the Penzance plans won’t meet the funding deadline and that potentially jeopardises funding for both schemes.

Cornwall Council leader, Alec Robertson, wrote to Penzance Council yesterday pointing out that their scheme, as it stands, won’t get a harbour revision order or planning consent in time.

So his Council is now backing dredging and rock armour as Penzance’s solution. It can be delivered in time, the money won’t be lost and the minister won’t lose face by having to make concessions.

Cornwall Council had not wanted anything to do with the Penzance project following the failed Route Partnership bid. Their offer of support follows yesterday’s meeting between Norman Baker and Scilly’s Council chief executive Philip Hygate, Duchy land steward Chris Gregory and Steamship Company chief executive Jeff Marston.

Council chairman Mike Hicks says it appears that he minister wouldn’t split up or disaggregate the two schemes.

But Philip Hygate says the meeting went well and “it was a very positive discussion.” He remains optimistic that a suitable outcome will be reached.

If this plan for dredging and rock armour at Penzance is accepted as a solution, there won’t be improvements to the passenger facility but it’s understood that the next wave of European funding could be accessed for that.

However, Penzance Town Council still needs to agree.

Mike says everyone is “trying very hard” to come up with a way forward, and he hopes the revised scheme will be acceptable to them, although he acknowledged there’s still “some work to be done.”

Mike admits the suggestion of rock armour could bring objections from some Penzance residents but it would provide a basis for future enhancements there. If that protective could be achieved, he says, that would allow other improvements to be made, such as a covered walkway and better short-term parking.

And Mike says maintenance dredging in Penzance used to take place but was stopped some time ago, possibly due to cost and he doesn’t see any particular objections coming through on environmental grounds.

Cornwall Councillor Chris Ridgers, who looks after economic matters for the county, says the pullout by British International Helicopters means that it’s essential for both sides of the sea link to work together to protect the link between the Scilly and the mainland.


4 Responses to Possible Way Forward For Penzance Harbour Scheme

  1. Bill Hiner September 12, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    I wholeheartedly agree with Adam. A covered walkway and more protection for the Scillonian seems to be the sum total of nearly a decade’s work, planning and money (millions).
    Radical changes need to be made to enhance the journey to these islands for our life-blood visitors.
    Only in this country could 62 million pounds be offered without being spent,and can you imagine the Germans or French failing so drastically to spend those funds when on the table?
    Fewer people are coming here for a myriad of reasons, and we are competing globally to attract them, so it’s essential that they travel with a high level of comfort, and that the quality of transport reflects the fares.
    I love The Sillonian and travel on her whenever possible, but we have to plan NOW for her retirement, so why don’t we think a bit more radically as Adam says and get modernising before the whole sorry wheel has to turn yet again when she gets laid off?

  2. Adam Morton,St.Martins September 11, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    PLEASE! what is a coverd walkway going to do for us?15 years of waffle and it boils down to this !Look at the Scottish islands federation ferry review and read it! Norman baker is clear, the route scheme didn’t offer value for money.Neither to my mind does this, its nothing more than a conspicuose waste.If we only ran it properly we dont even need subsidising (re report)If the levle of trade rises then by all means!
    All the taxpayers money thrown at these islands could be put to good and efficient use, instead its wasted on pointless exercises that dont benifit anyone I know of.We could have for the same money TWO catamaran ferries,one at PZ one here both leaving at 8.300am & 5.00PM rtn with speed and fuel efficiency to give a truly usefull and comfortable service at price which leaves enough money to spend in the islands when they arrive.

  3. DaveH September 11, 2012 at 1:16 pm


    I think the harbourmaster covered this on Radio Scilly a little while back. 1) Getting insurance for the project means that it has to be done when there is less chance of bad weather 2) most of the work is done in penzance to build the quay and 3) the work on st marys will only take about 2 weeks.


  4. George September 11, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Thanks must go to Mike Hicks for spending so much time in sorting this out.
    At one point this project was dead in the water, good on him for going to Penzance and getting the wheels back on track.
    Wouldn’t it be better to avoid any major work in our peak holiday season though?