Cost Increases And State Aid Questions Could Delay St Mary’s Quay Project

st marys quay welcome signImprovements to St Mary’s and Penzance quays could be delayed after it’s emerged that the costs have increased and questions have been raised over state aid.

In a report due to go before the Transport Committee next week, Strategic Investment Manager Diana Mompoloki says that while the scope of the St Mary’s project has stayed exactly the same, the cost has risen from £7.22m to £10.83m.

It means the total project, including the Penzance improvements, has gone to over £16m.

That means it could be challenging to get funding, especially as the current round of the European Regional Develop Fund is coming to a close.

Cornwall Council is the authority responsible for delivering the project.

Their Assistant Head of Transport, Tim Wood, says the delay is likely to be only a couple of months and they might still be able to make up the time.

Tim says the original estimates prepared by the Council of the Isles of Scilly’s consultants failed to take into account the costs of supervising the project, as well as contingencies for risk.

He said Cornwall Council was unwilling to be left “holding the baby” if costs over-ran, which is why they’ve factored in the extra costs.

Cornwall lost around £6m on the failed Route Partnership scheme to provide quay improvements and a new boat on the link between Penzance and St Mary’s.

Tim says the Department for Transport, which is part-funding the scheme with the EU, are aware of the cost increases and said back in September that they’re “minded to approve” the project.

But questions about state aid have also needed to be resolved.

That’s slowed down the application for the EU funds, says Tim, and they need a response from the European Commission before construction can start.

That could delay the start of construction, which was due to start in April 2014, by two to three months, he says.

Tim says they’ve carried on procuring the project in parallel, which means they’ll be ready to start when the go-ahead comes.

And he says they’ll have to be finished by early 2015 to access the European money.

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