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Harbour: what's the hold-up, asks Minister

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: August 16, 2012

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A GOVERNMENT minister has again written to Penzance Town Council in a bid to keep a multimillion-pound harbour development on track.

Norman Baker MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, contacted the local council to find out the latest on the development.

In May he wrote to Councillor Jon Pender, chairman of the Penzance Harbour Scheme Management Board (PHSMB) raising concerns over the time the scheme was taking. "He was saying, 'Can we get this thing to go and what are your views on it?'," said Mr Pender.

The minister asked for a response on a local and county level within a month.

Town councillors met this week to draft their side of a letter to the Department.

"What we want to set out is that Penzance Town Council has done everything that we were asked to do and we produced a scheme that satisfies all the various requirements that we were asked to achieve," said Mr Pender.

By missing a deadline to find funding for the next detailed stage, the project could miss out on £4 million of EU cash.

The remainder of the £8 million cost is due to come from the Department for Transport.

"There's always been the issue of whether we can plug into the European money," said Mr Pender. "We've asked if the timeframe can be extended but we haven't had a response."

It has been around three weeks since town councillors met County Hall representatives to discuss a way forward.

Asked if he was worried the process was taking too long, Mr Pender said: "I've always been worried about the timeframe."

He also hinted that the council was exploring other avenues if the bid for EU cash failed. "We're thinking of other ways we may be able to get funding for this particular scheme," he said.

A letter will be sent to Cornwall Council within the next week and it will be up to the authority to draft their side of it. A cohesive document will then be sent to the Department for Transport.

A spokeswoman for the department said: "The Department for Transport has set aside funding for potential harbour improvements at Penzance and St Mary's, provided that local partners can develop a deliverable scheme, supported by a satisfactory business case, and can secure part- funding from the EU Convergence Programme."

The plan for development of the harbour on St Mary's will only receive its slice of the European funding if its Penzance counterpart goes ahead.

Mike Hicks, chairman of the Council of the Isles of Scilly, said: "We're all ready and raring to go.

"We're waiting with bated breath for Penzance to make a move."

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  • HannahJones  |  August 19 2012, 9:36PM

    stevepz, I think you must be confusing your piers. There are certainly no "rotten boats" on view from the Albert Pier. Perhaps you means the South Pier.

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  • Trecurnow  |  August 19 2012, 8:25PM

    Contributors have resorted to illinformed statements and a negative attitude. I rest my case.

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  • stevepz  |  August 19 2012, 10:29AM

    Anyone who has been to Cardiff bay will see the renovation there mixed the old and new together in a way that works. It has a nice feel to the place with some nice bars and restaurants, and a buzzing night life. We could of had that in penzance. A nice revenue generator for the town. But some of us have it in our heads that we can keep everything the way it is and have visitors flock to spend time and money around penzance harbor. Penzance harbor is filthy, untidy and completely unappealing. Walk up Albert pier and you get to see rotten boats moored in the harbor. Battery rocks is littered with empty beer cans and dirty needles. Unemployment gives the town an ant social behavior problem. The people who manipulated FOPZH and scupper the original 40m scheme, cut their noses off to spite their faces. It would of been a win win for everyone. Any investment now is just a compromise to what would of been a complete regeneration that would of made PZ investable (Travel lodge walking away proves my point). This was a decision Penzance will live to regret. FOPZH were just were just a bunch of mindless morons G'ed up and backed by self interested parties and were too short sighted to the full potential of this investment. The community should of confronted and exposed them. We didn't and in doing so, failed our children.

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  • H_Trevorrow  |  August 18 2012, 10:17PM

    @trecurnow....as you well know the ios link does not require 'pzhua super harbour' coz the st marys end of the link will always require a shallow draught ship........this is another reason your thinking is suspect...but then WHO are pzhua?..a retired teacher and a part time artist and two or three owners of punts..n'est pas?

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  • H_Trevorrow  |  August 18 2012, 9:38PM

    Trecurnow it is interesting that a tiny port like Treguier, stuck miles up a river and with a population of under 3000, seems able to access such funding as to enable a 900 berth marina...also considering that they are surrounded by similar ports. By contrast Mounts bay is startegically vastly more important as it is the first refuge especially for boats heading to/from points west and north...yet still we lack a cohesive ambition as a unit on Gwavas lake! Having read pzhua docs a while ago i am unconvinced by the 'Pz only' solution to our maritime well being. Newlyn is by far the superior harbour refuge and is blatantly under used . Currently {and since forever } the harbour commission is run by nodding dogs and one significant decision maker..famously any deviant ideas are removed . Likewsise PZ seems controled by a couple of local worthys who did'nt want opt a queering thier personal ambition and won't be helpfull when pzhua get anywhere near creating 'super harbour Penzance' {these local refreshment merchants will sabotage you imo} Lets do the math... Why would any funding body plough x100 million into creating a controversial concrete giant into what is arguably one of the most unspoilt picturesque bays in europe to attract some seasonal yachts when there is a perfectly serviceable all tide harbour within spitting distance...once Liz smells the coffee of money in yachting Newlyn will get its act together....on top of thisi you have potentially Penlee coming on stream. Pz needed to take opt a when it was available...now we will forever be doomed to the pants town counci/mp harbour feng shuie lash up......ios steamship are forced to stumble on with a fleet of outdated ships.

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  • Trecurnow  |  August 18 2012, 2:46PM

    Don't know why you are sceptical of my assumption Trevorrow, I was there when Mr Illiffe said it after viewing the harbour users plan. Treguier (population similar to Penzance)is located on the North Brittany coast within the Cotes d'Armor region. The existing declining commercial port dominates the waterfront at the expense of public uses. A lack of investment in the infrastructure and waterfront areas has detracted from the historic town which sits behind the commercial port. The Mayor's office, Chamber of Commerce and Council General have worked togerther to bring forward a comprehensive mixed waterfront development scheme that will enhance the reputation of Treguier as a tourist destination and establish a relationship between the historic town centre and the currently under utilised waterfront. The masterplan incorporates a 900 berth marina, 270 residential units, 120 bed spa hotel, retail outlets, bars and restaurants, and public space including promenades and a market place. The Mayor has a vision of creating a new destination and attracting new markets whilst supporting existing local businesses. It is worth noting that this development is being brought forward against the background of declining industry in the Brittany region. A key element of the proposed development has been the establishment of quay wall and general infrastructure works including a jetty for utilisation by passenger ferries operating between Treguier and the Channel Islands. The scheme assessment has involved a review of the constraints to development including the environmental impacts with particular reference to the local fishing industry. We can do this if they can!!

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  • TheodoreV  |  August 18 2012, 2:28PM

    It is an utter tragedy that Penzance's greatest asset, namely the coastal stretch from Mousehole to Marazion, including the four harbours, suffers from such neglect. It results from the confusion contingent on the plethora of public and other bodies involved, linked to an absence of clear objectives and strategy over what should be done. We should recognise that the bodies most directly affected are those that lack the legal and administrative ability to effect the improvements needed. Isn't it amazing that most of the existing infrastructure and facilities are down to our Victorian and Edwardian forebears, yet we are even, apparently, unable to paint the railings on the Prom! There is much that is good about the coastal stretch, (not least the fantastic natural vista) including the wonderful Sustrans cycle/foot path but even this appears uncared for. Sadly, the Penzance Council is merely a shadow of its pre-1974 self and the Cornwall Council, the only body capable of action, appears to be a miasma of self-immolation and pettifogging incompetence.

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  • H_Trevorrow  |  August 17 2012, 11:03PM

    So ..yet another self interest , Mr Illiffe wants to help create a yacht basin in competition to his Penlee enterprise...why am i skeptical of your assumptions mr trecurnow? At the great exspense to Pz and ios too many self interested powerfull people are fouling our harbours ...in particular i am thinking of Liz in Newlyn , Sid in Pz and a small development company based in Penryn who own the Barbican building {and were first to object to opt A}...all these millionaires should consider thier communities needs for once before thier own imo. In a nutshell{Liz} Newlyn should expand its facility for yachts as well as nuture fishing as it is the only all tide access port { a decent shower would be a start}//Pz should concentrate on the ios link and Penlee should be encouraged to develop what is an unholy eyesore. imho. There is'nt mich need for PZHUA 's grandiose scheme if our present ports are better utilised. As regen says the dubious historic benefit of Pz south pier will be lost to rock armour soon enough and who but a complete anorak is interested in this it any way?

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  • Regennotdegen  |  August 17 2012, 2:33PM

    Well said H_Trevorrow. There is supposed to be a strategic plan for the whole Bay area, one was carried out by AECOM in consultations with the local community a couple of Years ago but as usual nothing seems to have come of it, (yet another waste of our money) mostly due to the lack of funding but also partly due to the problems with the Harbour which must be a central part of any regeneration. The revised plans for the Harbour are pathetic lashed up by those who managed to turn away £64 Million worth of inward investment for Penzance. The incomers Eddie talks about who fought against the Harbour improvements don't want PZ to change, they've mostly retired here and like it how it is, they don't need to look to the Future or care about the prosperity of the town, they're all financially secure, never mind if PZ is slowly dying. The Historic Harbour and Sea walls will all be buried beneath rock armour soon enough anyway as without it they will not last much longer, rock armour being the cheapest option to protect them. I would also support the PZHU Scheme but am certain it will never happen due to the cost and its huge impact on the Bay area.

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  • Trecurnow  |  August 17 2012, 2:24PM

    "What is needed going forward is a strategic plan for the bay as a whole including newlyn and penlee quarry including the ios ferry link.....we are not making best use of our harbours". In order for Penlee Quarry to progress Mr Illiffe has stated he needs to barge out 30 million tons of granite. Mr illiffe has no problems with the Harbour Users scheme I am told. I have also been told that Cornwall Council are abandoning the sea front from Marazion to Newlyn under the Shoreline Management scheme. Their representative said they were surprised more fuss wasn't being made about it! The proposal I have seen from the harbour users protects the existing harbour/station infrastucture, sees offshore reefs protecting the shoreline in future years. Communities and Local Government Secretary Mr Pickles also revealed that next year the Coastal Communities Fund will be increased by £4million to £28million, a 17% increase on this year. He said: "There is huge potential in our coastal towns that goes way beyond them only being places we visit for seaside day trips and holidays. We are seeing opportunities being developed all the time by new industries and the Government is determined to help our coastal towns make the most of them. "This money will help those towns tap into these enterprises and create the skills and jobs that will benefit the whole community. On Channel 4 News Lord Arnitt, Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority said "We are living with the infrastructure the Victorians built 150 years ago. We need to be building the infrastructure for the next 150 years". I read in the Cornishman letters that they have no problems with such projects in Brittany providing marinas.

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