‘Last Chance’ For St Mary’s And Penzance Harbour Works

St Mary's Quay

St Mary’s Quay

The St Mary’s Quay improvement scheme has reached its, “last chance saloon” according to Council officer, Diana Mompoloki.

Cornwall Council is now driving the project in both Scilly and Penzance because our own Council isn’t a transport authority.

The government insists that both sides of the link need to be viewed as one project.

Diana told the Council’s transport committee that the St Mary’s team has provided plans and documents for the mainland team but discussions have been hampered because of difficulty in arranging a meeting with the Cornwall councillors overseeing the project.

Amanda Martin confirmed that councillors had not been able to meet with their counterparts either.

There’s a feeling that Cornwall have other, road-based transport priorities and Dudley Mumford added that the transfer of Penzance Harbour from the Council to a harbour board adds to complications.

The Steamship Company is a St Mary’s Quay project partner, along with the Duchy and the Council. Chief executive Jeff Marston spoke of, “ a degree of frustration” over the Penzance project, which appeared to be going, “slightly backwards.”

Diana warned if the project can’t be finalised now, it would be hard funding the quay improvements in the future. The Government is changing financing of major transport schemes in line with the population levels.

The Local Enterprise Partnership will administer the funding but only £13m has been offered for the years 2015 to 2020. That contrasts with the £63m that was on the table for the failed Route Partnership scheme.

Cllr Marian Bennett said she was concerned that ten years of work could be lost and Diana feels that the European element of the cash will be reapportioned if there isn’t progress within two months.

She’s grateful for the support of a Local Government Ministry official, who looks after aspects of European funding. Diana says he has valuable access to other ministries and can discuss the project, “civil servant to civil servant.”

He is keen to sign off the cash and, “smacked the table” to force a meeting between project partners in Penzance.

Following the meeting in Penzance, the official has agreed to collate a business plan for the St Mary’s Quay works, together with dredging and possible rock armour placement at Penance.

That will be submitted at the start of March.

The Department for Transport’s reaction to the business plan will determine what happens next but Diana told councillors that she doesn’t want to raise the community’s expectations as she is not 100% sure she can deliver the project because of the slipping timeline.

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