Grant Bid To Improve Scilly’s Sea Defences

Porthloo sea defences. Photo by Blackwell Building Services.

Porthloo sea defences. Photo by Blackwell Building Services.

The Council is hoping to secure grant money to strengthen some of the islands’ sea defences.

Most of the money will come from a European fund for improving resilience of dunes identified as vulnerable, to safeguard key structures and commercial properties.

Under the scheme dunes at Porthmellon would be shored up to defend the industrial estate, as that area is below sea level.

The work would also help prevent flooding of some homes and the new workspaces on the former wholesalers site.

The height of a 100m length of dunes at Porthloo would be increased at a cost of £210,000. It would be replanted with couch and maram grass to protect the road, boat park and some residential properties.

Work to protect Trench Lane and the Old Town electricity sub station would include removing silt from the drainage channels.

There would also be dune stabilisation at Porthellick on St Mary’s and at Periglis on St Agnes, to guard the Island Hall and the island’s sewage system bio bubble.

On Tresco the dunes that stand in front of the electricity substation and also the area around Long Point Quay would receive attention.

Cllr Colin Daly asked Senior Manager Diana Mompoloki why the dunes on St Martin’s were not being singled out for attention.

Diana said the consultants’ study showed those dunes were “in really good nick” and don’t require any work because St Martin’s is protected by the other islands.

Cllr Marian Bennett was concerned that Bryher was also at risk but this project didn’t propose work there either, which she felt was vital.

Marian said that February 2014 flooding revealed a “great potential for cutting the island in two.” And she warned that when the rock armour at Popplestones was put in place, it was given an estimated lifespan of 40 years and time was slipping away.

Diana explained that Bryher isn’t in this work programme because it has hard sea defences and this cash can only be spent on improving dunes.

Cllr Gordon Bilsborough said he was concerned by the coastal flooding risk on St Mary’s and he felt the Planning committee should act to stop building in areas that could flood.

He said sea levels are likely to rise within the lifetime of younger island residents and asked Chief Planner Craig Dryden whether there could be ban on building in areas susceptible to it.

Craig told councillors there are many factors to consider in planning applications, including the size and scale of developments, and it is hard to devise a blanket policy.

Cllr Gaz O’Neill said the Council, “should leap at the opportunity” to improve sea defences.

Diana will submit a bid for £710,000 from the EU funds.

The entire project will cost around £900,000, and will include employing a new Senior Manager for Natural Resources to manage the work, but she warned that the costs of the six-year scheme might change.

6 Responses to Grant Bid To Improve Scilly’s Sea Defences

  1. Salop Dave November 8, 2015 at 11:07 am

    Wuppee – yet more big building projects for Scilly and more big vehicles, more noise and disturbed nights – just what you want on your hols. Perhaps I should be booking into Marbella next year for a bit of peace and quiet! Your Council and Visit Scilly seem to have a death wish for tourism – have they been infiltrated by competitors from the Lundy tourism board? “There’s only one Scilly” has become endless construction sites on land and massive ugly cruise ships out at sea. And we have to pay a fortune to see it all!! Not great recipe for a successful future tourist business.

    • Morris November 10, 2015 at 11:00 am

      The current mantra is diversification, the Islands (according to the SDA) need to join the space race and become a hive of new age entrepreneurshiip. Let’s just ignore the fact that many other locations have far far better credentials for that function and plough on regardless. Scilly is both hampered by and yet sells itself by being off the beaten track, its isolation and national insignificance has allowed it to remain unspoiled and quirky. By all means work to improve transport and sensitively improve or perhaps better enhance the experience of visiting the Islands but for all our sakes heed the wishes of the community and do our bidding and not your own.

  2. Lois November 7, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    “The height of a 100m length of dunes at Porthloo would be increased at a cost of £210,000. It would be replanted with couch and maram grass to protect the road, boat park and some residential properties.”

    Perhaps someone could find out if the 100 metre length of dunes at Porthloo is only actually planned to go as far as the end of the Green itself. If so, this would leave the point at which the road is closest to the beach (opposite the post box) totally unprotected.

    If that is the case, then this expensive grant-funded work will NOT protect the road, the boat park or the neighbouring properties from ingress by the sea and possible damage.

    If the sea breaches the slipway, it spreads out gradually over the large area of Porthloo Green as witnessed by the Harbourmaster and his staff as well as the responding Fire Crews that night.

    However, during the February 2014 storms, the most SIGNIFICANT breach at Porthloo was opposite the post box. Once the sea overtops the flat area there, it simply uses the road itself as a conduit, flooding both in front of and behind the Duchy-owned Cottages and into the garden at Glandore before pouring through the gate into the Porthloo duck pond field.

    Why does no-one come to Porthloo and actually ASK the residents who witnessed the winter 2014 storms what happened? I stood on that road in the early hours of that morning with the sea water running so deep that it was almost flooding into my wellies!

    So you can see why I find it hard to believe that spending £210,000 on raising the dunes will prevent that…

  3. Country Resident November 1, 2015 at 9:54 am

    I agree with Morris . How many visitors have been put off by the building works everywhere ? A bit of TLC goes unnoticed but remember we have the demolition at the School site and the Tregarthens Hotel to look forward to next year. Hey ho, come to the peaceful Isles ? Perhaps we should advertise The Loveliest Construction Site 28 miles from Lands End !

  4. Jenny October 30, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    Why does a potentially good news story leave you feeling, with a ‘you what’, type reaction.
    The grant applied for is about £700,000. 6years of a Isles of Scilly Council senior manager’s wage, plus no doubt an assistant and administration support will wipe out £500,000 of any grant. Is it me, or has these isles’ administrative organization, our council, lost the plot of late? On another positive note, nice new offices for the new sand and maram grass experts, at the old Wholesaler site.

    • Morris October 31, 2015 at 7:37 pm

      These Islands and St. Mary’s in particular are suffering from construction fatigue, moreover you just know that the projects will be over budget, will overrun and will be accompanied by a plethora of excuses about why once more the visitor season will be disrupted by oversize vehicles and out of bounds areas. GIVE US A BREAK!