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Penzance Harbour Development - a balanced view.


Major Contributor
Good - sanity and decorum return, temporarily.
Not much point having a new ferry if there is no dock handy to service her,
in any event.
The issue of ownership is one that should be given proper consideration, as I see it the matter should rest with the people of the Isles of Scilly, but we are now up against matters of 'equal opportunity' and all the other PC rules that determine our planet in this 'civilised' world.


Staff member
Posted to me on Tuesday by fellow member Bilge Rat:
The Route Partnership has met with newly elected Cornwall Councillors to try and persuade them to support their old scheme to build on Battery Rocks beach. The meeting took place at the same time as Cornwall Council consultants were preparing a report on alternative options.

In an e-mail to the Friends of Penzance Harbour, Tim Wood the Project Director has explained that while the Route Partnership has “an open mind”, in the absence of a completed study on alternative options their “position is unchanged, preferring Option A” which is to build on Battery Rocks beach.

The Friends of Penzance Harbour believe that neither Cornwall Council nor the Route Partnership should take a position until all the facts have been gathered about all the options and, as they admit themselves, they have not previously considered an out of town freight depot and the use of existing Council-owned quayside buildings for a passenger terminal.

It is deeply disappointing that the Route Partnership and Cornwall Council should still be trying to promote their old scheme when 672 letters of objection have been lodged with planners and only 8 local people have expressed their support for the scheme. The activities of the Route Partnership call into question the motives of Cornwall Council’s move to appraise alternative options and raise doubts about the likelihood of the appraisal being an objective and unbiased account of the various options available.

The Friends of Penzance Harbour are urging objectors to contact their new County Councillors and make sure they know the continued strength of opposition to the Route Partnership scheme.

See www.friendsofpenzanceharbour.org


Major Contributor
To me, there is an undercurrent in this that STINKS.
In the face of such strong objection, in the face of realisation that an incomplete study has been made, in the face of the possibility of other schemes, in the face of the loss of a ship from The Isles of Scilly ownership, in the face of the knowledge that the forced plan is intended to destroy amenity and history, they are hell bent on this work???
There is one company (I read) involved that supports oppressive regimes, so what do they care about Cornwall.
In the wake of the 'Jewsons' 'Beachfield Court' and Alexandra Road farce, just how can anyone be sure that any such development scheme of the Harbour and its destruction will be completed? How can we be sure a ship will be forthcoming, even if it is to be run by some outsider company that gives not two hoots about locals.
It will all end up in confusion and dis-array, leaving Penzance with a gigantic waste dump, similar to that at the bottom of Alexandra Road, and at Wherrytown. Just what does this Route Partnership hold so dear to its members that it needs to press duly appointed representatives of the Cornish People with browbeating techniques in order to get this scheme started at all? This is no longer the age of the philanthropist. We will pay the most painful of wages. Someone else will be laughing all the way to the bank.


Staff member
I took a lot of grief last month when I mentioned this in the newsletter. I was told that I was incorrect with my article and that Picture Penzance should be impartial to this debate.
Well guess what.... yep this topic will feature again this month. People need to know the truth.
And I will not be bullied by councillors or public servants in to submission. People Power!


Major Contributor
I would like to know just why Picture Penzance is to remain 'impartial' - are we not allowed to have opinions or to voice them. I thought this was Britain - home of democracy and FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Unless Britain has been moved by some odd speliological disturbance or an unparalleled shift in the Earth's Crust to take us like some speeding plate techtonic surf board across the oceans. I am preparing a number of letters enquiring about certain aspects of all of this that a) beggars belief and b) asks for some credulity as to certain legalities being stretched. There are a number of threads that get printed often by 'guests', I wonder why? This is one of those threads ... we are being watched.

Bilge Rat

The Department for Transports Regional and Local Projects officer has informed me after several enquiries that the Route Partnership had not bothered to inform her that they had withdrawn their planning application after I requested she cancel the proposed Harbour Revision Order.
Her colleague in charge of Harbour Revision Orders wrote and told me only the applicant can call in the HRO.
I have written to the Chair of SW Natural England and informed her of the approval by Cornwall Council of 60 homes and a community centre adjacent to Marazion Marsh, where the Cornwall Council led RP told me there would be improvements made in mitigation for the loss of the foreshore at Battery Rocks.
In my letter to the Chair of NE I suggested that CC and the RP were taking the P*** and asked her for her thoughts on the matter.


Major Contributor
Am I missing something here? Marazion Marshes is a RSPB Nature Reserve and the area has one of the largest reed beds in Europe, which was saved from devastation by the RSPB; yet I now discover 'in mitigation' they are proposing the destruction of yet more valuable amenities????!!!! What else is this monster of Transformers proportion aiming to drive through with force, despite local feelings and the absolute beauty of this area?


Staff member
::11: I think it's all unwrapping before our eye. Love to see a copy of the letter you get in reply Bilge Rat!
@ treeve you are absolutely correct!
What a bunch eh!


Major Contributor
Of course - Planning Applications have to be officially withdrawn before the decision date, otherwise a fee is payable (in this case rather large), for any other department, who cares; it all displays a cavalier attitude, which will be continued as the project does, if it does, which I sincerely hope it does not. I wish the law was changed to reflect the real cost of vetting an application and was non refundable in the case of a re-submission. I am long out of the rat race and so am not up with the latest laws and fee structures; maybe a look on various official websites will instruct me ... in fact I may as well to be sure of some salient details which I will be requiring shortly.

Bilge Rat

Route Partnership attempt to undermine local democracy
Penzance historic seafront still in danger: Friends demand action from CC Corporate Director

Officers of Cornwall Council - in the guise of the Route Partnership - have launched a new offensive against the wishes of local people and are pressuring newly elected Cornwall councillors to support their discredited scheme to build on Battery Rocks beach. The planning application for this development was withdrawn on June 12th but the Route Partnership is determined to see it reinstated.

The push by the Route Partnership (RP) comes just weeks after local elections that failed to see a single candidate come out in support of the scheme (most publicly opposed it). There can be few issues where the public’s clearly stated wishes and the Council officers’ desires are so utterly opposed. Two RP “pre-planning” exhibitions produced massive majorities against the scheme (65-85% against), the Town Council voted against the plans (with just one dissenting voice) and 672 local people wrote letters of objection to the planning application (whereas just 8 people felt strongly enough to write letters in support of it).

In this situation the responsibility of Council officers should be clear – to go away and start work on developing an alternative scheme that genuinely addresses the concerns of local people. Instead they have chosen to continue their unpopular campaign, and are now, in the words of one local councillor, aiming to “pick off councillors one by one” in an attempt to get their old scheme reinstated. In a string of meetings with councillors and others over the last two weeks the RP have suppressed evidence in support of alternatives and continued to peddle half truths and dodgy reports in support of a scheme already roundly rejected by Penzance residents.

Assurances from Tom Flanagan that time would be made available to properly review alternatives now ring hollow. The promised report on alternatives to the RP scheme has yet to be published but indications are that the report is biased and designed principally to support a return to the old scheme. The report is being prepared by the same consultants that advised the Route Partnership on their original scheme (so are hardly unbiased) and by a shipping logistics consultant with no experience of operations like the Scilly Link. The Friends of Penzance Harbour have seen a draft of the report and provided detailed comments, but rather than wait for a final version from the consultants, the RP have chosen to use the flawed draft to push their scheme onto councillors. As always, they have no plans to share this with local people, listen to us or engage us in a meaningful debate.

At the time the alternative options appraisal was suggested by the RP, the Friends of Penzance Harbour were concerned about its narrow scope (vessel options were excluded) but agreed that “if the proposed appraisal was undertaken in good faith and with a will to finding an alternative to building on Battery Rocks beach then it could come up with useful proposals”. Sadly the RP’s behaviour in the last two weeks indicates that this was never their intention. The Route Partnership clearly do not understand that “no” really does mean “NO”, and are now engaged in a propaganda campaign designed to undermine the democratic process and circumvent the wishes of local people.

The Friends of Penzance Harbour are calling on Tom Flanagan, the Cornwall Council Corporate Director responsible for the scheme to:

1.Rein in his officers and stop any further efforts by them to promote the old RP scheme to build on Battery Rocks beach.
2. Ensure that the final version of the Alternative Options Appraisal is an unbiased and objective assessment of the relative merits of the alternative concepts being appraised.
3. Initiate a proper independent review of all other aspects of the Scilly Link project including the choice of vessel and funding arrangements.
4. Start negotiations with the Council of the Isles of Scilly (a separate unitary authority) to share the cost of any new vessel (at the moment this will be borne entirely by Cornwall Council taxpayers although the benefits accrue almost entirely to the inhabitants of the Isles of Scilly).
5.Withdraw the application for a Harbour Revision Order (if granted this would allow the old RP scheme to progress).

We are also urging local people to re-engage with the issue. Many people will have assumed that the withdrawal of the planning application signalled the end of the threat. This is not the case – concerned locals must make sure that their MP, councillors and the officers responsible for the issue know their feelings.

For more information go to: www.friendsofpzharbour.org
Or call John Maggs on 01736 332741; 07966 322379


Major Contributor
Something is rotten in the state of Cornwall .... needs investigating on a personal level as to the apparent hidden reasons for this pressure being made to bear. It is one thing for Politicians to be accused of overstepping the mark (largely within the Parliamentary Rules) but quite another that appears to be lurking in the corners.
Is this Britain or some military junta?
Has anyone contacted the European Union over this? If not, I reckon someone should. This reeks of a tanks tracks approach - I wonder why?
I note that we are continuing to see vessels serviced in the Wet Dock by Penwith Marine. Three in today. One from Plymouth.


Major Contributor
Two days later and it is reported that The Route Partnership have taken a new tack. Surprised as they are at local anger at the proposals, they are now considering berthing the new Scillonian at Falmouth, which, by all accounts, will leave Penzance unscathed, and with some job losses. The concept is now to bring her visiting to Penzance harbour for passengers from Penzance to The Isles of Scilly. It has to be assumed that the extra sea haul involved will add to fuel and crewing, and will have a considerable effect on sailing times. It could be assumed that the ship will have to be modified in design. In my mind I see an opening here for options such as sailings to Falmouth, or for a coastal cruise return trip, as well as the Isles of Scilly Link itself. This all means that the present Scillonian III should be able to continue berthing at Penzance, and whatever options are possible for the IoSSCo in their own future would then be left to them. Who knows where this is leading? Or is it a threat/bluff?


Staff member
@treeve... I read this today.... well skipped through it more like. We covered this already. If they launch from Falmouth then the crossing will be half a day no matter how they look at it and no matter what speed vessel they use. OK... sure some might benefit from not having to drive down to Penzance.... but then again they will not be able to have the full package. For instance holiday makers come down here for more than the IoS's. They visit the following whilst here...... perhaps that explains the increase in day trips.
St Ives
Lands End
Newly Art Gallery
Merry Maidens
Tregiffian Burial Chamber
Carn Euny Ancient Village
St Michaels Mount
Just to mention a few attractions. I believe they are trying to bluff the people in Penzance because of the vigorous way people of Penzance have defended against half baked idea.
Frankly, if they move the ferry terminal to Falmouth the helicopter and plane services will double to take on the extra traffic. Also to make it worth their while docking in Falmouth a bigger vessel would have to be made available to carry enough passengers to pay for the extra journey and docking fees.
Just think about it.... they tried the nice approach.... then the Oh, that planning application...... I thought we cancelled that! so all that's left is an idle threat.
Ballowall Barrow


Major Contributor
Quite - another half baked idea from so-called experts? The apparent reason for the larger vessel is to be able to carry the same number of passengers on a daily basis, but to cut down voyage time; add another run from Falmouth, pull in to Maount's Bay, berthing to transferring by ferry to ship, and where is the saving in voyage time? With all their expensively paid design team and advisors, is there a grain of intelligence there? Or is that another batallion of tanks that I hear?

Bilge Rat

My letter to all Cornwall Councillors and IoS Councillors....

Dear Councillor

I write to you to balance the recent comments made by Penzance Chamber of Commerce Chairman Mike Waters.

Mr Waters claims to represent the views of all traders in the town yet, I am told, at the CoC AGM earlier this year 10 people voted for him, 2 abstained and the rest walked out.

As Chairman of Penzance Harbour Users Association I have in the past corrected his misleading statements but he still promulgates them uncorrected. He accuses objectors of manhandling at the RP Exhibition when the opposite is true. The County duty solicitor was contacted to ensure the law was being adhered to.

I have to say the way he is acting brings discredit to Councillors and Senior Council Officers.

Phillip Hygate Chief Executive of the Isles of Scilly Council on the 14th July stated that the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company could relocate its freight and passenger service to Falmouth.

Mr Hygate with all due respect speaks for the Route Partnership not the IoSSSCo.
I believe 6 ferry companies have tendered to operate the service – we have not been told who has won the process.

In fact it has been suggested that if the IoSSSCo fail to win the tendering process and, according to the RP, the Gry and Scillonian III having no resale value, they would continue to operate in opposition to the RP as they are trading profitably.

Also he suggested that if the RP operation were moved to Falmouth the extra journey time (an hour in his opinion) would require a rethink on the boat i.e. a much faster vessel. This is precisely what Hyders (UK) Consulting told them in 2004 when they also rejected the South Pier/Battery Beach option.

5 years down the line the RP are still going for the wrong boat and terminal.

Meanwhile English Heritage in April 2009 said they don’t like the rock armour and infill burying the length of the pier, they would like to see a reduction in scale of the proposal to reclaim land, a reduction in height of the new section of quay wall and less of the existing wall demolished to create access, natural materials be used for any extensions to the quay (consistent with existing structure); or consideration be given to locating the passenger and freight terminal in an alternative location, less harmful to the historic environment.

The South West Design Review Panel in June 2009 said “We would have preferred a review at an earlier stage…We would have liked to have understood why an option outside the sea wall was chosen…. Can this really be the most practical and environmental site for the terminal and ferry berth?”

With the consultants rejecting the Route Partnerships option in 2004 and the people of Penzance rejecting it at the two exhibitions and almost 700 letters of objection to the planning application I would suggest that regardless of the Friends of Penzance Harbour the RP should be seeking alternatives that are less harmful to the historic environment.

An out of town modal freight transfer unit is already available and from my conversations with visitors they see the existing quayside facility as part of the holiday experience. So it shouldn't take long to sort out a suitable alternative!

The people of Penzance are not against the IoS Link but are justified in rejecting the Route Partnership proposal for their historic seafront. It is the representatives of the Route Partnership who are suggesting the link be moved to Falmouth with the subsequent loss of jobs!


Major Contributor
Copies of letters received by Bilge Rat, which I have transcribed from his scans.
This is a letter from Janette Ward Regional Director of Natural England at Exeter.
Dated 28th July 2009.
Dear *******
Cornwall Council/Route Partnership proposal Penzance Harbour
Thank you for your letter dated 10th July 2009.
Natural England has previously provided Penwith District Council (Now Cornwall Council) with comments on the proposed development of the former sidings at Long Rock. This redevelopment is completely separate from the compensation and mitigation package that has been negotiated with Natural England and other parties in respect of Penzance Harbour Revision Order. This compensation and mitigation package is aimed at delivering wildlife gain. Natural England has no objection to the mitigation/compensation package proposed.
For you information I attach a copy of our advice on the redevelopment of the former sidings at Long Rock.
This is a letter written on the 7th May 2008 (the copy mention above)
By Andrew McDougall, Conservation Advisor to Natural England.
To Mr P Bainbridge
Sustainable Development and Design manager
Penwith District Council
Dear Sir
Marazion Marsh Spa and SSSI
Construction of 23 Self Contained Units to include 17 affordable, 40 holiday units, Village Hall and Associated Works.
Former Railway Sidings, Long Rock.
Thank you for your consultation dated 3rd April 2008. We have the following observations.
We not this approval is an amended application. English Nature previously provided comments and advice to Penwith District Council and the applicant and I enclose copies of this correspondence.
Natural England does not object to the principle of the development proposed. However the matters raised in response to your previous consultation do not appear to be addressed in the information provided with the current consultation. For instance the Flood Risk assessment by Hyder Marcus Hodges appears to address the issue of flooding within the development site. There also appears to be no reference to consideration of the potential risk of flooding of the foul sewersand/or the surface water drainage system resulting in contaminated water discharging into the Marazion Marsh SPA and SSSI. Therefore the observations and advice in English Nature's letter to Penwith District Council dated 13th January 2006 apply to the amended proposal currently being considered.
In summary the matters to be resolved are
1 Avoidance of the risk of flooding of foul sewers adversely affecting Marazion Marsh SPA and SSSI.
2 Avoidance of the risk of surface water looding adversely affecting the SPA and SSSI.
3 Ensuring new road and/or security lighting does not adversely affect the SPA and SSSI.
4 Ensuring any overhead power or telephone cables do not adversely affect birds flying to or from the SPA and SSSI.

Bilge Rat

News Flash...
I understand from sources close to the harbour that the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company have taken over the lease of the Dry Dry to enable them to keep their vessels maintained.
What can this mean viz a viz the Route Partnership?
Answers please to those who suggest the link should be moved to Falmouth!