Councillor Calls Scilly Flats ‘A Disgrace’

Porthcressa Flats

Porthcressa Flats

The appearance of a block of Scilly flats, “is a disgrace” and the vice chairman of Council would like more attention paid to improving the look of public spaces in the town.

Amanda Martin highlighted Porthcressa Flats in the recent Community Services meeting. She told councillors she recognised that Porthcressa Road is not a main thoroughfare used by visitors but that, “we all have to live and work here and it’s not a good experience.”

Amanda spoke of her aspiration that more could be done to keep areas neat and tidy.

Housing officer Ian Hamilton said tenants were responsible for tidying areas around their homes but the Council is responsible for enforcing that. Some of the garages have been sold off as freeholds but the rear yard is the Council’s responsibility.

He accepted that the building wasn’t attractive but will look better once planned works are complete and that may encourage people to do more.

Exterior improvements to Porthcressa Flats will be delayed though.

Only one applicant has expressed an interest in the work, even though it has been put out to tender twice.

Council rules required multiple quotes and that will need to be relaxed so the work can be undertaken after April, Ian explained.

Cllr Richard McCarthy said it would be, “nice to get a move on” with the work.

It’s been suggested that a consultant will hire a couple of contractors for the work and Ian told Councillors this would be cheaper than the tendering process.


16 Responses to Councillor Calls Scilly Flats ‘A Disgrace’

  1. Pat hicks March 13, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    I went for a walk around Porthcressa over the weekend and thought it was looking quite nice.
    I’m hoping it will be finished in time for the gig weekend tho as i know alot of people use porthcressa beach then.
    fingers crossed !!.
    roll on summer… its going to be scorching hot !!.
    yes positive . wont bet on it tho.
    yes i will twopence !! ha ha

  2. JeffEastick March 12, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    Is there an agreed date by which all Porthcressa work is to be completed ? It was certainly an eyesore last summer but I understood there were guarantees in place that it would all be finished and site cleared for this season. Will this not happen ?

  3. steveatt March 12, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    Nobby, Jonny M

    Surely Kier bid for the work knowing what restrictions were in place so claiming the council is responsible for the delay is just plain silly. I’ve worked on sites where there is no site office or the site office is miles from where work is carried out.
    The delays will need to be investigated – Kier will have kept accurate logs of scope changes and unexpected arisings this should be reviewed prior to proportioning blame and hopfully some reparations paid to the council.
    To call the council and council officers a joke seems unfair – I look forward to scilly having a Pratchett based council after the May elections!

  4. Nobby Nobbs March 12, 2013 at 12:54 am

    As I recall, Kier Western applied for planning permission to place their portacabin office on the small patch of grass on Porthcressa, before they could start work, but the council turned them down!!!!!!
    After six months, planning permission was granted and Kiers could finally get on with the work.
    If the council had not effectively stopped their contractors from working on this council project, then it would have been finished by now.

    Honestly, our council (or should I say some of the senior officers) are a joke, you couldn’t make it up

    As for Johhny M’s comment, I have to agree, but then I expect he would complain if there was large scale building work going on outside his house 7 days a week.

    It will be nice when it’s done, but I’d rather they’d spent the money on a helicopter or fast boat to the mainland instead

  5. maggiemay March 11, 2013 at 11:18 am

    JohnnyM – please do not palce the onus on the residents of Porthcressa, the planning permission for Porthcressa Regeneration was passed subject to conditions and one of them was for no machinery works on sunday !! It did not stop them (Kiers) working, but they (Kiers) chose to pull up stumps and finish on a Friday afternoon.

  6. LINDYLOU March 8, 2013 at 9:10 pm


    • Kev Wright March 9, 2013 at 9:29 pm

      Yes I moved in a month before Naomi and it was a disgrace but we’ve got it looking OK between us. And as for the work the council DID do – which was putting new carpet and flooring in the hallway, well that’s been a total waste because the area by the door is now a huge damp area of carpet because they’ve failed – consistently – to do anything about the damp in the building. We were even told that the damp in our flat was down to it having 2 people living in it, therefore creating more condensation. RIDICULOUS. Maybe the council should take a look. Then they might notice the blocked guttering and the huge hole in the fascia where water – and starlings – freely enter the building instead of making up such unbelievable nonsense. But like I’ve said – we wrote to them and they might as well have just stuck 2 fingers up at us.

  7. Kev Wright March 8, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    I’d like to mention the block of council flats I share. These are at the end of Sally Port – you can clearly look down on them from the battery to the right of Sally Port itself (if you’ve just come up that way), the one just before coastguard cottages.

    We, the tenants, have done a great deal to approve the land surrounding this building, often at the request of our neighbours who’ve had little luck getting the council to do any work. We’re definitely pulling our weight and the area looks much tidier than before.

    However, should you look down from the Garrison on to the building you will see that it is severely in need of painting and has been for years. When it was last done no one can recall. One side of the building is bright red with a strange kind of mould. Frankly it looks disgusting and is visible from a popular tourist path. We wrote to housing officer Ian Hamilton regarding this and we’re told they were focusing on the interior of properties and would not be doing anything to rectify this horrible looking muck. If this is the council’s attitude then frankly, it stinks. We’ve had neighbours asking us to get the council to paint the building – well, we tried! Given the height of the building I suspect scaffolding would be needed to paint it in full and therefore we can’t do it ourselves – nor is it our responsibility to do so.

  8. JonnyM March 8, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Maggiemay – didn’t Kier want to alter their shift patterns to get the work done quicker. But local residents objected because of the disruption on Sundays?

  9. maggiemay March 8, 2013 at 9:28 am

    Visitor – my answer – yes Porthcressa area is STILL very much a building site, when the construction commenced the Council’s Planning Department informed residents that it would take 42 weeks – that was January 2012 – and here we are now approaching the middle of March 2013. This island has for rather a long time had distruption through building constrictions, it has been, and still is, very distressing; we haven’t seen Porthcressa Bank for all this time nothing but stieel fencing surrounding the area. It is an utter nightmare. and yes we are very concerned over the visitors who are the island’s main income. It is the hope that this summer the area will be free of construction, but at the pace of the workmanship it is hard to believe, there does not seem to be any urgency it is also alledged that there are no penalities on the constract!!!!.

    • visitor March 8, 2013 at 5:54 pm

      Really bad news then for visitors. Sometimes wonder whether Scilly wants us! I feel very upset for you locals as at least we don’t have to come and can and probably will go somewhere else – isn’t your Council/Tourist Board bothered? And to be expected to have to endure the possibility of Sunday working to make up for this incompetence is terrible. Very sorry for you – Keir should pay for this big time.

  10. visitor March 7, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    I’m looking at maggiemays comments. Are you serious that Porthcressa is STILL a building site? It quite spoilt my visit last year. And for what – how long are Keir or whoever going to take to tear the Quay apart and put it back together? After the school, it’s bit off putting coming to a perpetual building site.

  11. Jonny Exile March 7, 2013 at 10:14 am

    It’s the flats/maisonettes where the cinema used to be that I’m thinking of.

  12. yet another islander March 6, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    I can’t disagree with your sentiments, some of the council owned property does look a bit neglected but I’m not sure where the council owned flats are in Garrison Lane. The only flats I’m aware of that front on to Garrison Lane are rented out by a private landlord so the Council can’t be blamed for those. I also think that it is incumbent on tenants in rented accommodation to take some pride in their homes; it grieves me to see how some of the fairly new properties on Church Street are looking really shoddy merely because the gardens are not looked after or full of rubbish.

  13. maggiemay March 6, 2013 at 9:25 am

    At last someone has recognised the state of Porthcressa Flats, these have been in need of attention for many decades. The flats were built in the late 1960’s and apart from the windows being replaced nothing, with regard to the exterior, has been addressed, the rendering is an eyesore. Some Councillors will no doubt have some delight with Porthcressa Regeneration but alas many other issues should have been addressed Porthcressa would have been fine left as it was. When oh when will Kiers depart from the island the state of the building site is disgraceful and my how they spread themselves out!!!!

  14. Jonny Exile March 6, 2013 at 8:38 am

    One of the Council’s (many) failings is not looking after its property properly. The state they let the exterior of Parade House get into before it was done up is probably one of the worst examples. The rear elevation of the flats in Garrison Lane is another. Considering how keen the Council always seems to be to use the planning regs to be as prescriptive as they possibly can with private property the situation really isn’t acceptable.