Government Gives Green Light For Scilly’s Quay Funding

St Mary's Quay

St Mary’s Quay

 

The Department for Transport has given the green light for the long-awaited project to upgrade St Mary’s quay.

They’ve agreed to fund their share of the £10m scheme, with the rest of the money coming from the European Regional Development Fund.

Although ERDF haven’t formally agreed their contribution yet, it’s expected they will, following the Government’s announcement.

The scheme will see a 23m extension added to the end of quay, allowing greater flexibility in the choice of new passenger and freight vessels serving the islands.

It’s also expected to improve accessibility to tripper boats at low tide.

There will be upgrades to the passenger facilities, including a new booking office, while improved cold storage facilities should reduce the rush by delivery vehicles when the Gry Maritha docks.

The Duchy of Cornwall is renovating the Harbourside building at their own cost, with proposals in place for a full-length, first floor balcony, new indoor waiting facilities and a restaurant.

The balcony will double up as a covered walkway along the length of the building which will keep passengers dry in wet weather.

But there won’t be an increased wall height to prevent overtopping in storms. That design proved controversial because it blocked some views of Samson from the Strand.

Norman Baker said at least £8 million is being put into the scheme, which shows that the Coalition Government is serious about protecting the livelihood of the Isles of Scilly.

He said the changes to the harbours will ensure new vessels can still access the port, protecting this route for use by residents, freight and holiday makers.

The announcement comes after a long period of uncertainty following the rejection of the original Route Partnership scheme in March 2011.

That would have seen extensive refurbishment of Penzance and St Mary’s quays, as well as a new combined passenger and freight ship.

The scheme was rejected by Transport Minister, Norman Baker, who felt the £60m cost was excessive.

There was also local opposition in Penzance, with some residents unhappy about building on the town’s Battery Rocks.

Both sides of the sea link put together scaled-down proposals although wrangling between Penzance Town Council and Cornwall Council over responsibility for the mainland scheme had threatened to delay the project beyond the European finance deadline.

The government made it clear that Scilly’s project could not be funded separately to the mainland.

In the end, £2.5m has been made available for access road improvements and deep dredging in Penzance, which will again offer more choice of vessel for the route.

The controversial rock armour -the boulder-like structures that would have reduced overtopping in storms – have been dropped from the Penzance plan.

The St Mary’s work is likely to start around April and will last between 8 and 10 months.

The Duchy of Cornwall has said that no heavy construction can be undertaken during the busiest times of the year, such as the weekend of the World Pilot Gig Championships.