Duchy Submits Formal Proposal On St Mary’s Harbour

st marys quay from aboveThe Duchy of Cornwall has submitted their formal proposal to change the status of St Mary’s harbour to a Trust Port.

Land Steward Chris Gregory says the document went to the Marine Management Organisation on Thursday. There’ll now be 42 days of consultation where you can send any concerns to the MMO.

There have been two previous rounds of consultation on the islands, one with harbour users and another with the general public, since the Duchy announced their plans to hand over management of the facility last year.

Chris says they had a very good response from islanders and they’ve tried to incorporate as many of those suggestions as possible into the new proposal.

He says details of the financial plan and the appointment of harbour commissioners were the two main areas of concern.

In February, Council Chief Executive Theo Leijser said the original finances, which included the introduction of a £1 passenger levy on all boats with greater than 100 seats, didn’t show a “viable, sustainable, long term model” and needed to be “more robust.”

Councillors also said there was no safety net for catastrophic damage to the structure and wanted to see more income being provided from other parts of the harbour.

Chris says the revised proposal has taken those comments into account.

The Duchy is going to allow any new Harbour Authority to keep more of the rent from the new restaurant and two retail units being built as part of the renovation work.

They’re retaining ownership of the property though, and providing a 125-year lease, which Chris feels is standard practice and sufficiently long to be viable.

They’ll also provide long-term guarantees on the structure of the quay, to cover non-insurable losses, and provide security to the banks to allow the organisation to get off the ground.

Chris says the Duchy can be confident doing this because it has made regular surveys of the structure and believes it to be in good condition for its age.

He feels he’d be “a brave man” if he said everyone now supports the revised proposal.

But he’s detected a shift in the attitude of the Harbour Users Group from being “quite negative” to now wanting to make it work to the best advantage for Scilly.

And he feels there’s a growing desire from some people to play more of a role in the running of the harbour.

Chris says it’s hard to determine how long the next stage will take. Any relevant issues raised during the 42-day consultation period will be sent back to the Duchy to try to resolve.

Once that’s completed, the government will need to issue a Harbour Revision Order.

The application is available at Hugh House and on the Duchy website. There’ll also be a meeting for stakeholders later this month.