Harbourside Building Plans Approved

St Mary’s Quay

Councillors have approved the Duchy of Cornwall’s plans for a first floor restaurant and two retail units as part of the redeveloped Harbourside Hotel site on St Mary’s quay.

Chief Planner Craig Dryden says the proposal is similar to one approved in 2009.

Cllr Dudley Mumford told last night’s planning meeting that there were concerns from within the business community over the planned shops, even though they were reduced in number from three to two. Craig said the Duchy wanted to relocate some existing quay tenants and users there, rather than provide a space for businesses that would compete those in the town.

But Cllr Christine Savill felt it was odd that the Duchy said that, when some quay users have stated that there’s been no stakeholder consultation by the Duchy, something she calls ‘regrettable.’

Craig said they couldn’t reject the application on grounds of competition and he felt the retail units were appropriate for the quay. He said the Council could write a letter stating that they  didn’t want to see impact on existing town businesses, but he didn’t feel they could make that a planning condition.

Cllr Gordon Bilsborough said he was all for competition but he wanted more information on rental levels as the quay unit overheads may be lower than town traders.

Cllr Richard McCarthy wants more discussion with the Duchy about the overall use of space in the Duchy development. He suggested that the first floor restaurant, accessible by a lift, could be used as a luggage and waiting area. Craig felt that wouldn’t be the best use of the space, but they may be able to negotiate more luggage or waiting room on the ground floor.

The Duchy plans include two workers’ flats and Cllr McCarthy wondered whether they were needed on the quay but Craig felt they were justified.

He said that there has been pressure to put the application through planning because of the quay project funding timeline, but his discussions and negotiations with the applicant would continue.

Whether the work will go ahead at all depends on an £8m government and European grant for the quay extension and infrastructure improvements.