Last week (15th May 2013) I was asked if I would write a piece for the Cornishman newspaper regarding the revived proposals for the development of Penlee Quarry, headlined in the paper last week, with the paper proposing to publish a piece both in favour and against. Knowing how people on social media like to be ahead of the game, I publish below the full text of my piece below.
As a ward member for Newlyn & Mousehole on Penzance Town Council, the Marina plans for the quarry in Newlyn that are again in the news, will I fancy be a issue over the coming years. The question is am I in favour, after some thought the answer is a guarded yes, guarded because as yet I have not seen the plans and no planning permission has been applied for. In principle I am in favour, I can remember when the idea first came to the town council what must be over 8 years ago and I was then in principle also in favour.
I have lived in Newlyn long enough to remember the quarry as a working quarry, with lorries rolling though Newlyn and white quarry dust covering everything on the road between Newlyn and Mousehole. The up side being the numbers employed, I would like to see a return of that employment, to that end, I think this could be the most important development in the area for decades.
In the early stages of the development there will be the employment generated by the building phases and as long as the workers for this are employed from the local area, where possible, as was part of the contract for the Olympic park, then this phase alone will bring a lot of work to the area over many years.
The one thing that Mounts Bay lacks is a true marina and the benefits that one would bring to Penzance and Newlyn are manifold. Yachting has been likened to ‘ripping up twenty pound notes in a cold shower’ and I would like to see those notes spent here, sailing boats bring a lot of jobs, real jobs, boat repair, electricians, sail repair, mechanics, riggers the list is endless. On top of this is an even longer list of secondary jobs in shops new and old, restaurants, hotels etc.
Marinas are themselves tourist attractions drawing visitors to an area. Mounts Bay is one of the finest sailing areas in the UK but walking along the prom on a summer’s afternoon the one thing you are unlikely to see are the sails of a fleet of yachts in the Bay as the facilities are not available in the Bay to support them.
Development in Penzance and Newlyn is constrained by the geographical layout of the towns so it makes sense to use what is available and there is nothing more brownfield than a quarry.
I also realise that the development faces areas that it must overcome before the go ahead is given, the major issue of concern I’m sure will be that of traffic, but I do believe this can be overcome. Others will complain about the housing to be built, second homes, in comers etc, the way that many people holiday has changed, we must also change to accommodate that, the building of what I thing will become a almost purpose built holiday village could be the way forward.