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Penzance Harbour Development - a balanced view.

Bilge Rat

Natural England & Cornwall Wildlife Trust – Double Standards?

I read with interest in the Cornishman about the forthcoming National Marine Week with the Cornwall Wildlife Trust.
Tom Hardy the Trust’s marine conservation officer said: “Cornwall’s 300miles of coastlines host to an amazing array of wildlife; including colourful corals, whales and dolphins, basking sharks, seals, and a myriad of fascinating fish, crustaceans and molluscs.
During National Maritime week we want people to get out there and discover the secrets of out seas at events around Cornwall, but we also want to increase awareness of the issues facing our marine environment”.
The Cornwall Wildlife Trust when asked about the Route Partnership proposal for Battery Rocks beach, an area outstanding educational value, said they had no objection.

Also a series of beach road shows are being held in Cornwall during August co-ordinated by Natural England and the National Marine Aquarium.
Janet Ward, Natural England’s regional director, said:” We’ve found through surveys that people often assume the seabed off our coasts is barren and lifeless. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The undersea landscapes in the South West are precious and spectacular, with distinctive features like seagrass meadows, sponge and anemone beds, pink sea fan forests, sand hills and plains and undersea cliffs.
These landscapes are as regionally distinctive as any found on land. We hope the road shows provide people with an opportunity to learn more about what can be found just off our coasts and create a sense of regional pride for these hidden places”.
Natural England also had no objection to the Route Partnership proposal to infill Battery Rocks Beach in the centre of Penzance. In mitigation they requested improvements for wildlife at Marazion Marsh.
Battery Rocks Beach is the most important roost for Purple Sandpipers in Southern Great Britain. I am told they won’t go to Marazion. They will disappear.

(Surely you mean the Route Partnership proposal should disappear. Ed.)


Major Contributor
Quite - The Purple Sandpipers, of which I took a number of photographs and on site here. According to visiting Ornithologists to whom I spoke, and who had come specifically to watch them, they need the open shore of this type at Battery, they need cliff faces (the old harbour wall is ideal) to shelter and keep together as a group. They have that at the moment. Sorry but I consider anyone who demolishes the site for a set of daft blind unreasoned purposes is a moron. Those birds are a delight to watch, let alone the loss to the bird community. Grrrr.

Bilge Rat

I speak to many businessmen including those in the harbour area, in the tourist industry and multi million pound traditional industries in the locality exporting their products worldwide.

They all say how can such a stupid proposal as the Route Partnership plan for Penzance still be promoted as it brings no improvement to Penzance?

Reading the Cornishman I find that all is not as we are told on the Isles of Scilly. In fact the loading and unloading of passengers and cargo will be worse than now. Having spoken to a businessman on the islands I find many islanders would rather the decision was delayed until the Department for Transport funding lapses.

A vessel operator up country on viewing the plan for the proposed ferry laughed and said it looks like something from the 1950’s.

The Route Partnership and Cornwall Council are subverting the democratic process by pursuing a proposal that has been rejected so many times.

It is time for them to deliver the alternatives that will benefit Penzance and its economy for the future.


Major Contributor
Speaking as someone whose family have come from the Islands, and who has travelled to the Islands on the first Scillonian, the second, the third and the Queen I have yet to see any congestion or problems in access of passenger/cargo being carried - from what I have experienced it is all handled very well, very amicably and very professionally by staff on the ships and on the quay and offices both sides of Lyonesse. However, I am not involved with handling passengers or cargo - just what are these problems and congestion issues?

I really cannot understand this driving pressure to steamroll the scheme over everyone's feelings and over the harbours. Is there no one with intelligent rationale in local government?

Bilge Rat

The Cornishman question should read….

The Route Partnerships proposal for the South Pier/Battery Rocks was rejected in 2004 by their consultants and subsequently rejected three times by the residents of Penzance.
English Heritage stated in 2009 that “consideration be given to locating the passenger and freight terminal in an alternative location, less harmful to the historic environment”.
The Commission for Architecture in the Built Environment South West Design Panel stated in June 2009 “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?”
Should the Route Partnership now be delivering an alternative that is both acceptable to and will provide economic benefits for Penzance?

Yes or no.


Major Contributor
What exactly is going on here? People in 'high places' making asenine comments about a piece of rocky shore not being used? Every time I walk along there, the shore is occupied by people and wildlife. On one occasion recently there must have been 40 people, most times it is six or more, and that is an offchance viewing of an hour - that must go on all day. As to birds, it is a vital piece of their existence. If we were to apply that 'it is not used by many people' argument, half the offices and buildings in Penzance could be dozed down. To back down from a meeting 'fearing demonstrations' indicates weakness, and a firm acceptance that the idea does not get the backing that is officially rendered. Any suggestion that the people of Penzance 'approve' of the scheme is a lie.


Staff member
As you all know today should have been the day that the Route Partnership and the Council met and then took a trip around Battery Rocks area to view the proposals. I understand that it was also meant to be a PR job for those who wished to ask some questions about the proposal.
However, it turns out the planned visit was cancelled to the fury of the council as it was believed that there might have been a group of protesters down at Battery Rock.
Well Sparky and I decided to take a walk down to Battery Rock just in case the scheduled visit to the area took place anyway.
We didn't find any councillors or anyone from the Route Partnership, but we did find quite a lot of people from the Friends of Penzance Harbour and some others.
It was a good gathering of people and just goes to show that Penzance has a great community spirit!
Well done everyone!


Staff member
A short while ago treeve reported to me that guests are printing the topics of the Route Partnership at an alarming rate and that the topic is being viewed more than any other by guests on the site. I wasn't that bothered about this because the Route Partnership is a controversial subject anyway.
However I have since learned disturbing information that a well know official from Penzance has been employed to investigate the associations and websites that are objecting to the Route Partnership. I understand that they have also been investigating where theses associations and websites get their funding....... unfortunately for them Picture Penzance is self funded.
But why are they doing this in the first place...... I sniff a bloody big rat! ::8:


Major Contributor
Of course, all guests of that nature are recorded and IP addresses and email addresses traceable, it does not take a great deal of effort, as all routes and providers are logged. Why all the cloak and dagger techniques? It appears that there is more to this scheme than meets the public eye, as I have said before. If they could only be open and obvious and enter into healthy debate. When will they realise that it is NOT the Route Partnership per se, but the grossly ill considered scheme and its railroad techniques that is upsetting locals. Besides, the latest proposal was to go to Falmouth - fine, no objections. Bye.


Major Contributor
So the Cornishman Poll is in;
out of 22,000 people in Penzance,
just over 3,000 polled.
They were asked 'Should a new passenger and freight terminal be built on Battery Rocks beach in Penzance?'
66% against; 34% for. All rather conclusive in my view.

Of course there are sour grapes jibes at the possibility of vote rigging by oversubscription of logging in.
To have affected the vote to that extent would have required the dedication of a number of online voters sitting at the computer for hours.
I wonder just how this latest stand will be interpreted, if it is heeded at all?

Bilge Rat

The Cornishman poll closed and it shows that the public are still 2 to
1 against the RP scheme. If you remove all the supporters from outside
the Penzance area who were encouraged to vote by the Tresco Estate
and others on the Scillies I think you'd find that opposition in
Penzance is not much different now to what it was a year ago when the
RP first presented its plans to the town and 85% rejected them.

Bilge Rat

Commenting on the publication of the Halcrow Appraisal of Alternatives for the Penzance Harbour improvement works for the Isles of Scilly Link, the MP for West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Andrew George, declared that it would help those who had to take the decisions.

Mr George has cautioned the Route Partnership that he believes that their favoured proposal – to build on Battery Rocks Beach – is now “politically undeliverable” and has offered to assist in negotiations with the Shipping Minister and the Department for Transport in case the funding timetable needs to be reviewed.

Mr George said, “It is vitally important that we secure an improved and sustainable ferry and freight link between Penzance and the Isles of Scilly. Although it is frankly unacceptable that Penzance should have been left with important decisions to be taken in a climate of 11th hour brinkmanship, those decisions should still be taken with care and not leave a legacy for future generations to regret at their leisure. Penzance Harbour already has a history of this.

“The report acknowledges that each of the three options are “workable solutions”. Much of the rest of the report is open to both reasonable interpretation and to calm debate.

“However – and perhaps crucially – the Consultants were not asked to assess the “political deliverability” of each of the options. I have made clear to the Route Partnership that, in my view, recent events have, if anything, inflamed the situation in the Penzance area and has made the Battery Rocks Beach extension a more difficult - if not impossible - project to deliver.

“Alternatives are “workable solutions”, as the report acknowledges. I will, if requested, speak again to Government Ministers in the Department for Transport to make sure that rigid timetabling rules do not scupper the proper resolution of the remaining decisions and statutory approvals which need to be made and secured before the project proceeds to its next phase”.

- ENDS -


Staff member
Interesting reading indeed. I very much doubt that RP will like the comments but it seems that at least a sensible debate can be held and alternatives sort.
I'm glad to see that people power is still listened to....


The Best
Just to show my ignorance, could someone please tell me why?

Why does there need to be a new harbour facility?

Why does there have to be a new ship?

What is wrong with the present arrangement?

Why are Cornwall Council et al attempting to put a long established business out of business?

I don't get it?

Bilge Rat

HRH doesn't reply to any of the above questions.

At an extra-ordinary meeting of the Town Council the issue was discused, and concerns were raised, not only about the impact the proposals would have in terms of traffic generation and on the listed structures in the harbour but also at the way the RP seems to be insisting that its option must be supported.

Mayor Roy Mann said “I am urging the Route Partnership to seek further time to propoperly consider the current scheme and alternatives which would allow both the link and other businesses in the harbour area to develop and flourish while maintaining the character of the historic environment for the benefit of local residents and visitors alike”.

There seem to be many people asking the question - WHY!


Major Contributor
Putting aside the principles of the jack-boot, which Britain vowed she would never see; putting aside the apparent lies and distortion by authorities that were voted into positions of supposed trust (which means they can be soon voted out again); ignoring the probable fact that the new vessel will be boycotted; ignoring the fact that ratepayers will be forced to pay for a vessel that is supposed to be owned and managed by an outside company that has no knowledge of these waters or these islands and harbours; ignoring the fact that they will not care two hoots about locals or our way of life; we have been informed that there is no intended extra traffic in passengers or in vehicles or in goods to and from the islands. Or is that another lie? We have been informed by the RSPB that they care not two hoots about wildlife, we have been informed by English Heritage that they care about our history, yet all they want to do is to insist that protection be applied to protect our history. The islands are sensitive to visitors, and to vehicles, to pollution all the more so because of their isolation ... its magical quality that provides the interest in the first place. The key factor is surely the continuance of the status quo of the surviving Island community and the island shipping company. It appears to me that beaurocrats and officials are aligning themselves in competition with a surviving way of life and of earning capablities of Islanders. This will effectively attempt to destroy a business and the island community itself. How can any business or any place of natural beauty in any of Cornwall take seriously any unreasonable demands aligned on the part of Planning Policies any more. Anarchy now starts at the top and is supported by it. So, I ask again ... with present cargo levels, just why is it necessary to increase flow, to demand extra space, for a miserable carriage flow distance, when it all works now, as it is. Plain fact is once loaded. the yard is empty until return of the vessel later in the day. The more the pressure is brought to bear from such quarters, the more I am conviced of the agendas that are not seen by the public. I have spent all my life defending the land of Britain and its virtues in relation ro what happens in other countries; if this insane madness continues, that word will cease, and I will in future agree with all criticism levelled against it, for with that we will have returned to a world dominated by a regime that cares nothing for its people.
Everbody get in training for the Goose Step ....

Bilge Rat

Dear Friends,

The Cabinet of Cornwall Council will meet next Wednesday at 10:00am
and the RP scheme is on the agenda. We don't know for sure what the
Cabinet will be asked to do, but Graeme Hicks has previously said he
will seek permission to resubmit the planning application to build on
Battery Rocks beach. There are no Cabinet members from Penzance so it
is important that we make a good showing. In addition to contacting
them all personally prior to the meeting we would like to take a
group of supporters to Truro to stand outside the meeting with placards.

Can you let me know if you would be interested in going. The coach
will likely leave around 8:00am and return around lunchtime. I need
to know numbers by Friday noon so that I can book an appropriate
coach. There is a public gallery so it will also be possible to watch
the proceedings.

Friends of Penzance Harbour
01736 332741, 07966 322379


Major Contributor
I regret that over the next few weeks I will not be in a position to join you physically. From previous words and actions which have come from this Route Partnership and their consultants, I have little doubt it will probably be an episode of smoke and mirrors, perhaps distortion and misrepresentation of figures and facts to suit themselves and their own ends. I seriously have doubts of the efficacy of a new ship to the present design actually passing through the channels of St Mary's Sound and The Roads. As far as the cargo holds are concerned, just what is the objection to ScIV arriving at the present location of the harbour by the outer quay of the wet dock for cargo, and then re-docking on the South Quay to receive passengers, or is that too simple a concept for small minded officials to comprehend.

Bilge Rat

Press Release text

Cllr Graeme Hicks is putting forward a number of recommendations to the Cornwall Council cabinet in relation to proposals to provide a new maritime link between Penzance and the Isles of Scilly.

Cllr Hicks, cabinet member for Highways, Transport and Planning, will be putting the recommendations to cabinet at a meeting at County Hall, Truro on Wednesday, September 16th at 10am.

Cornwall Council can also announce that the long-awaited Harbour Revision Order (HRO) has been approved by the Secretary of State for Transport and will come into force on September 18th.

The HRO gives the Council powers to reclaim the land south of the existing harbour, to extend the Lighthouse Pier and put rock armour in place. The application for the HRO was first submitted in September 2005.

The area of land to be reclaimed under the current Route Partnership plans is significantly less than the total area granted under the HRO.

Cllr Hicks said: “The HRO is a real step forward that comes at the end of a four year process.

“We’re absolutely committed to getting a project together that will be good for the people of Penzance and the residents of the Isles of Scilly.”

Regarding the recommendations to cabinet, Cllr Hicks said: “The Isles of Scilly are in a unique and fragile economic position and we need to do what we can to keep Scilly sustainable.

“We are open to exploring other options but I believe we must do everything we can to avoid any increase to freight-handling charges to the Isles of Scilly down.”

The recommendations to cabinet are as follows:

Cornwall Council confirms its intention to use the current funding opportunities to deliver the improvements required to safeguard the Isles of Scilly sea link.
To note the timetable for implementation and the implications of not securing Department for Transport Full Approval and a funding offer from Convergence in time for the Council to award a contract to build the new vessel by 3 February 2010.
That a Planning application for Penzance harbour (modified ‘Option A’ proposals) is prepared and submitted at the earliest opportunity.
That, in parallel, an alternative proposal for Penzance Harbour (‘Option C’) is further investigated to establish whether it is a viable financial alternative and is capable of being delivered within the current funding opportunities.
That the views of the Procurement Assurance Scheme (PAS) Panel are sought on ‘Option A’ and ‘Option C’ and reported to Cabinet to allow a final decision to be made on which option will be delivered in Penzance.

Note to editors

Option A refers to the Route Partnership proposal. Includes reclamation adjacent to South pier to provide a single freight handling and passenger facility with drop off area.

Option C refers to an out of town freight facility with Trinity House refurbished for passenger facilities.

Looks like we are going to have to tell them NO again!