Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Penzance Harbour Where are we now.

What is happening to plans for Penzance Harbour? You may well ask.
Penzance Town Council took on the job of trying to bring forward a plan for the harbour after the failure of the Route Partnership scheme promoted by Cornwall Council. This is not a job that a town council would normally take on but with the support of the DfT the town council along with others worked up a scheme that had a broad consensus, met the funding criteria, met the time scale required for funding, this scheme was then submitted to Cornwall Council who would have to take it forward from here as the Harbour & Transport Authority and what did Cornwall Council do? They used every delaying tactic they could to ensure the whole scheme missed the funding timetable.         
On Friday 8 March 2013,
The Mayor, Town Clerk, Councillor Pender and the Project Consultant attended, at the request of Cornwall Council, a meeting regarding Cornwall Council's draft Business Plan requested by DfT in respect of Penzance Harbour. Also at the meeting were representatives from DCLG Convergence Programme, Cornwall Council, the Council of the Isles of Scilly, the Duchy and Consultants employed by Cornwall Council to draw up the Business Plan on their behalf.
Along with detailed plans for the Harbour at St Marys, works for Penzance were discussed.
These works put forward by Cornwall Council are as follows,
•         A Capital dredge to 1.65m below chart datum to allow not only the Scillonian
           but potential replacement vessels to operate at 2 hours either side of high tide.
•         A study into 3 options surrounding Rock Armouring of the South Pier these being
1.              No rock armour
2.              Partial rock armour; and
3.              Continuous rock armour
•     Highway improvements to include a pull-in lay-by for coaches.

The Penzance Town Council representatives strongly advised that the proposals for rock armour were those arising from Cornwall Council alone and reiterated their previous decision that an engineering justification would need to be forthcoming before any further position could be taken by the Town Council. Cornwall Council advised that the Minister for Transport would be making any final decision on the need for rock armour.
The Penzance Town Council delegation expressed their disappointment that their fully worked up and widely consulted scheme was not being taken forward.
Cornwall Councils view on this was that they were taking forward a scheme that would protect the viability of the link within the funding envelope from Convergence funding.
Given this response, the Town Council delegation requested a commitment from Cornwall Council to implement their scheme incrementally when new funding was available from Europe.
This draft Business Plan is currently with DfT for feedback and comment and any developments will be reported to the Town Council in the future.

Update: 27th April
Cornwall Council have so far failed to submit its Business Plan to DfT, again missing a deadline and thus delaying further any development.

Update: 30th May
Cornwall Council have now released their draft Business Plan as submitted to DfT, the full document running to over 300 pages, unfortunately the links to this document, supplied by Cornwall Council are currently not working, the Key message document can be read here....... St Mary's & Penzance Harbour proposals - key messages - Cornwall Council - Revision 2 - May 2013

Update: 17th June
On Monday Penzance Town Council held a Special meeting  to discuss the Town Councils response to Penzance Harbour plans put forward by Cornwall Council. The recommendation put to the council is that laid out below.
Response to Cornwall Council’s submission to the Department for Transport in respect of the Isles of Scilly Link.

It was Recommended that:

  1. Penzance Town council fully supports the development of the proposals at St Mary’s Harbour.
  1. Penzance Town council fully supports the Capital Dredge of Penzance Harbour as proposed by Cornwall Council.
  1. Penzance Town Council supports the initial highways improvements as proposed by Cornwall Council.
  1. Penzance Town Council would not object to limited protection of the South/Lighthouse pier if proposed by Cornwall Council and should the Minister of Transport deem the works operationally essential. Any such should not jeopardise the future development of the harbour specifically the placement of a breakwater.
  1. Penzance Town Council does not support full Rock Armouring of the South/Lighthouse pair.
  1. Penzance Town Council welcomes the opportunity presented to it by Cornwall Council to continue to work together on the development of the Harbour and specifically improved passenger and freight handling facilities.
Six recommendations for the Council to consider, well no, only one, as the Mayor acting as Chairman stated it was a single recommendation. There was no vote on this, and councillors were told they would be able to speak only once.

I think it reasonable to assume that most people would not object to No’s 1, 2, 3 or 6. But what about No’s 4 and 5?

I think it is wrong to lump a group of recommendations together, forcing councillors to vote against something they are in favour of, if they are opposed to something else in the recommendation.

There was a limited debate all concerning Rock Amour.

I am against rock armouring, full or limited, as, so far, I have seen no engineering justification for it, the latest report on the Harbour commissioned by Cornwall Council, also doubts its value. Recommendation 4 hands the decision to Cornwall Council (It was they who proposed Rock Armor in the first place) and so takes it out of the Towns hands.

Even limited Rock armour will stop any maintenance in the areas of the pier against which rock armour has been placed, or add to the cost of that maintenance massively. Rock Armour is also without doubt the ugliest solution. 
Sadly I could not vote for this recommendation, even though in favour of all the recommendations except Number 4. The recommendation was passed.


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