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.


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