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Letter to PM calls for the cash to build Penzance breakwater

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: March 13, 2014

Letter to PM calls for the cash to build Penzance breakwater
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THE Prime Minister is being lobbied for support to build an offshore breakwater to prevent further storm-related damage to Penzance seafront.

The appeal, by Penzance Town Council, comes just a few days after hopes for a grant to repair Jubilee Pool were dashed by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.

It is estimated the recent storms have cost Penzance and Newlyn £10 million.

And in a letter from town mayor Phil Rendle on behalf of the town council, the Prime Minister is asked to "revisit the funding it gives to the Environment Agency for flood defences".

"Penzance has had, for a long time, a plan to build an offshore breakwater which would prevent such damage as experienced this February from occurring again," he says.

Mr Rendle points out that Cornwall Harbourmaster Captain Andy Brigden and West Cornwall MP Andrew George raised the issue with the Deputy Prime Minister when he visited Penzance last month. And he urged the Government to form a partnership with Cornwall Council to undertake further scoping and options appraisal work to help produce a robust sea defence.

The idea was backed by Cornwall councillor Jim McKenna, whose ward includes the promenade from the Queens Hotel west to Wherrytown.

"I am wholly supportive of a breakwater being properly evaluated and taken seriously as an option."

The letter was sent off to Whitehall just a few days after the bid prepared by Cornwall council for a share of £27.7 million of funding from the Coastal Communities Fund to repair the Jubilee Pool was turned down.

Adam Paynter, Cornwall Council's Cabinet member for partnerships, said: "While it is obviously very disappointing our bid for this round of funding has been turned down, I am encouraged by the positive comments from the Coastal Communities team who have indicated they would welcome another bid in due course.

"However, since the bid was submitted the pool has sustained significant damage, alongside many other coastal assets, and this will now provide an opportunity to revisit the issues to determine the best way forward."

Local Cornwall councillor Cornelius Olivier said that the lack of an offer of a financial contribution from Cornwall Council had probably been a key factor in the bid being turned down.

"In retrospect, Cornwall Council was being too optimistic without a substantial commitment from ourselves," he said. "The scheme must have some money from Cornwall Council."

However, he said the delay in accessing funding would not necessarily rule out the pool reopening next year although long term remedial work needed to be "done soon" and he still expected the café to open in time for this summer.

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