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Penzance Harbour Development - a balanced view.

Halfhidden

Untouchable
Staff member
Administrator
Today the planning committee from Cornwall council debated over the plans for option “A”. The plans were submitted by Route Partnership and was the recommendation of the council to accept the controversial plan. Option “A” included the infill and destruction of Battery Rocks and would likely increase the traffic in Penzance.
The planning committee voted after a 4 hour debate and the results were 7 votes in favour of option “A” and 12 against.
Once again the planning committee refused planning permission to for option “A” and therefore the plan was rejected in full.
Route Partnership have no choice now but to listen to the real majority in Penzance and work with us and not against.
 

Halfhidden

Untouchable
Staff member
Administrator
Now starts the real work!
Sparky and I stood at the door to the chamber listening to the 4 hour long debate because the public gallery was full. Cornwall council weren't taking any risks and employed SIA licensed doormen at every exit.
Route Partnership told the planning committee that if plan "A" wasn't accepted then the people of the Isles of Scilly would no longer exist. A roar of laughter came from the public gallery and the chair reminded them to be quite. Route Partnership had tried this same tactic at county hall in Truro, telling the committee that the Isles of Scilly would perish if their plan "A" wasn't implemented. Now that's one thing telling a load of councillors in Truro this tale as they are likely to believe it..... but trying it on again in Penzance was just comic timing.
Anyway, Mike Waters from Chamber of Commerce had a chance to speak and told the committee that his members were for plan "A" and that a lot of them were scared to speak up. During question time a councillor asked Mike Waters how many members of the Chamber of Commerce turned up for the vote for plan "A"... he went silent for a while and then said 10 (that's 10 members out of 150), she then asked how he came to understand that most of his members were for plan "A".... he thought for a while and replied that he emailed them. Later another councillor asked Mike Waters how exactly did the difference between plan "A" and "C" affect his members financially, but I wasn't able to hear his reply as his tone of voice dropped to a very quite tone and even the speaker asked him to speak up.

Radio Cornwall hosted English Heritage this morning with a lively debate on Battery Rocks. English Heritage went on record to say that they opposed the scheme and that Route Partnership have done their best to keep English Heritage out of the picture. In fact they said that up until a few weeks ago they knew nothing of the plans at all..... which is quite odd as Route Partnership told the public that English Heritage knew all about the planning application for plan "A"

All in all after a exhausting four hours standing in the doorway of the planning committee room..... it all came out in the wash.

Now Route Partnership has to work with the people of Penzance to get the proposals through the planning and ready for central funding. There won't be time for silly, stupid games. Back in the September meeting in County Hall that Sparky and I attended, the council asked, rather told Route Partnership to prepare plan "C" just in case.
If the funding deadline is missed because plan "C" isn't ready then I can see a case for maladministration on the part of Route Partnership.
 

tabtab13

Active Member
Wish I could have seen the expression on Mike Walters' face ....

A big thank you, HH and sparky, for being there and reporting back. ::7:
 

treeve

Major Contributor
It rather asks for the whole episode to be investigated as to legalities, as to the language of the communications, the press releases, the contacts, (eg English Heritage being kept deliberately out of the picture), the degree of cover up and the degree of misrepresentation if it exists. RP Planning procedure itself should be investigated. J n'accuse personne. I see things that need answering.
 

tabtab13

Active Member
I totally agree, treeve. From the outside, this whole business appears to encapsulate exactly what is wrong in Britain today - lies, deceit, profit above all, misinformation, self-serving etc - need I go on? We have a right to know the truth.

Could be that we'll now see RP on the defensive, rather than the offensive? And you're right, there are questions that do need answering.
 

Halfhidden

Untouchable
Staff member
Administrator
The friends of the Penzance Harbour have already launched legal action against Route Partnership on the grounds of maladministration and my understanding is that the secretary of state is likely to investigate the whole affair.
If I may be a blunt to say that it seemed to be that Route Partnership knew all along that the people of Penzance wouldn't want this kind of development in such a highly preserved area.... and that is why they never invited a single representative of the town on board.
Either way heads will roll! £4 million of local tax payers money wasted on preparing a non starter when that money is desperately needed in schools, policing, fire services, hospitals, highways and so on!
£4 MILLION !!! and not a brick laid or a foundation dug!!!!!!!!!

Mike Waters.... well I don't agree with him but he is allowed a point of view. But I wonder how he ended up in the situation he did. Remember that one, if not the main job of his is to build bridges between the community and businesses in town... in his actions he (in my opinion) drove a divide between the two putting the Chamber of Commerce back hundreds of years. He claimed that his members supported him but when it came down to supporting the plan of option "A" only 8 supported it.

I can only assume that the new year will bring many changes to the Chamber of Commerce.
 

treeve

Major Contributor
An interesting legal point arises. The Duchy land and its interests do not lie on the harbour or its surrounding features. HRH appears from what I have heard to be NOT in the loop. The language used in the letter from the Land Agent appears to confirm that. The Duchy is reported and recorded to be a part of the Route Partnership. As The Crown is not a party to this, The Duchy must be seen to be acting on its own behalf outside of its parameters and its brief? An interesting legal situation as to personnel and their accountability?
 

Halfhidden

Untouchable
Staff member
Administrator
If I'm honest... today is the first time confidence has been fully restored to me personally in our elected councillors in over 26 years.
On a personal note I would like to wish all those who rejected plan "A" at todays committee meeting a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.... also welcome to the community ::1:
And Penzance... you have a voice... "Power to the people"
 

treeve

Major Contributor
Yet more Smoke & Mirrors to Cloud the Issue ... if you can't sort it by genuine discussion and intelligent argument, spare us the Fairy Stories and the Questionable 'facts'.
 
[FONT=&quot]Gordon Bilsborough (a good Lancashire name...) pointed out this morning that the Battery Rocks were so called because of a battery built there in 1595 to defend Penzance against the Spanish. Just another example of a lack of knowledge and abuse of facts It was in 1739 that the battery was erected to protect Penzance from the French. Think he's getting confused with Falmouth defences. But as we have seen from the beginning of this sad debate, there are people who couldn’t care less about facts. And now the old chestnut of let’s shift this to Falmouth is being repeated. How about someone taking these people out in a boat around the Lizard to see what it feels like (preferably in a force 8 gale)? [/FONT]
 

treeve

Major Contributor
The song refers to the Luddites in Penzance.
I have a dislike for words like that incorrectly used.
Luddites were people with genuine concerns about machines losing people their jobs. Soooner or later everything could be had to saturation. True?
They began in 1811 in Nottingham, the machines turned out poor quality hosiery, which did undercut skilled specialist workmen.
It was Edward Ludd who had first smashed machines in 1779.
They caused so much upset and unrest in Yorkshire and Lancashire the Government stood in and took extreme measures against these already desperate people.
So, that is two reasons not to use the word.
 

Halfhidden

Untouchable
Staff member
Administrator
A news release from the Friends of Penzance Harbour:

Friends of Penzance Harbour

News Release

15th December 2009. For immediate release
Penzance Harbour: The Decision of the Strategic Planning Committee
The Friends of Penzance Harbour are deeply grateful to the members of Cornwall Council’s Strategic Planning Committee for their principled 12-7 vote yesterday. Many of them had stood in the June elections on a platform of localism, and they were true to their manifesto promises.

We should remember that the Route Partnership’s proposal was essentially to wreck an important historic monument and replace it with an industrial estate – complete with freight sheds, heavy lorries and forklift trucks – bang in the middle of our seafront, in a conservation area, within a stone’s throw of the holy headland and the listed Jubilee Pool. Councillors from all over Cornwall said ‘We wouldn’t want this in our constituencies, we can’t foist it on Penzance’.

We are particularly disappointed in the attitude of the Isles of Scilly Council. At every stage their response when problems with their proposal have been raised has not been ‘Let’s get round a table and find a way round them’: it has been to threaten and bully and bluster.

Characteristically, the response of the Route Partnership and the Isles of Scilly Council to the Committee’s decision has been to issue yet more threats, not to mention warnings of disaster ahead for Penzance. They are investigating ways of getting the decision overturned, and threatening to get the link moved to Falmouth.

Falmouth is not an option. Not only is the money allocated to Penzance not transferable: there are sound operational reasons – double the journey time, the extra cost of fuel (about £250,000 per year) – why that would be a nonsense, not to mention the likelihood that a private operator would start up a rival service, using a fast ferry for passengers, between Penzance and the Isles.

We understand the Islanders’ frustration. They look at the Scottish Isles, and see the considerable subsidies that the operators of the sea routes connecting them to the mainland receive from the Scottish government. They get nothing comparable from London or the Duchy of Cornwall. So they been looking to the council tax-payers of Cornwall, one of the poorest regions in the UK, and seeking to impose a cost on the people of Penzance by rejecting options that would have preserved our seafront. They should not be placed in that position.

The people behind Option A are also being very quick to blame the Friends of Penzance Harbour for their debacle. For some reason they aren’t blaming English Heritage, whose perfectly proper objection to the application for Listed Building Consent would almost certainly have meant a public inquiry, drawing out the decision-making process to well beyond what we’ve been told is a February 2010 deadline for finalising the proposal.

We’ve been told that going for Option C would involve asking operators to re-tender for providing the service. That could have been done after the Cabinet decision on September 16th to have Option C investigated as well as Option A. But it wasn’t. (The tenders received on October 20th were for Option A only.) There would still have been time, because of the delay that holding a public inquiry would entail. But no: the officers pig-headedly persevered with Option A only, to the point where they felt able to say to Cabinet that going for Option C would involve a delay that would cost the Council an extra £5 million. This is only one more example of jiggery-pokery on their part.

We have heard from many sources that since the unitary Cornwall Council was set up this year, it has been run by the officers, not the elected members. Thanks to the Strategic Planning Committee, it looks as though the proper, democratic order of things is being reasserted.

We emphatically do want the Scilly Link to stay in Penzance, and we will do all we can to work constructively with others to find a solution that respects the needs of both the Scillies and our town.

For more information contact:
Peter Levin (p.levin@clara.net, 01736 874727) or
John Maggs (jmaggs@gn.apc.org, 07966 322379).

Or go to: www.friendsofpzharbour.org

A pdf of the News Release with notes for editors is attached.


[FONT=&quot][/FONT]John Maggs
Friends of Penzance Harbour
01736 332741, 07966 322379
www.friendsofpzharbour.org

 

Halfhidden

Untouchable
Staff member
Administrator
To be honest Falmouth isn't an option. Not only because it will cost more on fuel it will extend the crossing time to over 4 hours. That's a lot of extra cost in wages and fuel. Also the boat design would have to be different because the waters are deep in Falmouth and the crossing between Falmouth and Isles of Scilly is a hard crossing. Doing that in a boat that has practically a flat bottom would be so bad that no body in their right mind would attempt it.
Finally, what happens if weather conditions are so bad that the boat is stuck at the Isles of Scilly..... Traditionally they are ferried back by helicopter or light aircraft...... how the hell are they going to get back to Falmouth!!::11:::11:::11:::11:
 

treeve

Major Contributor
Thank you

It has to be said that if it were not for the fact of there being a Friends of Penzance Harbour and all the dedicated work and efforts, this would be a different story and outcome ... a real stitch up,
so a big thank you to all of you and for the work ::7:
which is going to have to continue.
 
@breizh - I discuss the dating and history of this area at
http://picturepenzance.co.uk/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=10532

Thanks for that info. It was just hearing the dismissive attitude of "it dates from the Spanish threat" that prompted me to write. As a journalist myself, I am astonished by the lack of real questioning. As other people have pointed out, the Falmouth option is a ridiculous smokescreen. There are indeed serious questions to be asked about what has been going on here irrespective of the emotional questions. The frankly ridiculous discussion on BBC Cornwall this afternoon surprised me. "People in Penzance deserve what they get after turning down this money." A rather sad reflection on our times when people think if money is there it is to be spent. Frankly I'm disgusted by the attitudes of some people who claim to know about Penzance and pretend to represent others. I guarantee I have absolutely no political allegiance to the Lib Dems, but I hope the people of Penzance appreciate the work done by their local MP (local being the key here), who apparently was not hoodwinked by everything that was said and particularly by certain people, who believe quite wrongly that they represent Penzance. I am not resident there anymore, but from afar was impressed by his rational approach to the question and his willingness to listen. If only journalists would stick their neck out a bit more, instead of believing press releases, maybe things would advance more quickly.
 

treeve

Major Contributor
My mother's family was on The Isles of Scilly in 1726; that is a fact; they were farmers and boat builders. Another part of my family came from Penwith with the Godolphins a hundred years previous to The Isles of Scilly to become farmers and fishermen. What I have learned from both parts of my Scillonian family that they are a special people, resiliant and resourceful (rare qualities to find in this day); I have immense love and respect for that part of my family. The Islands are a special part of my person, I spent my childhood there, my memories and links are Scillonian; My father's family have descended from North Cornwall, moving through Devon and Somerset, briefly to Salford, Hull and Grimsby, and back to Penzance. They were a tough lot with vitality and stamina (more rare qualities in today's 'climate'). So I have backbone from both sides. I want to see neither Scilly nor Penzance thrown to the wild dogs to be torn apart. So when I see bleating and moaning about options to Falmouth and dying Islanders, in the wake of such defiant history that my own family have seen and experienced and survived despite the odds, I wonder just what is going on. Whatever has been built over the years has been with guts and determination, sweat but driven by a common cause and the underlying wit and intelligence to come up with a scheme that works without meaning one scores over another in some childish school playground game. The history that I have read and researched has shown me a society that despite its failings was striving for improvement. How many of today's participants will be remembered for that talent? What will the history books record of this time in Cornwall? I have striven through the years on architectural work to ensure that the generation could be looked upon as providing a contribution to the historic fabric, rather than seeing its gradual decay and destruction, I have tried to note and learn from older times, rather than driving a road through it unrcorded. I see this all the time and I will repeat, it seems to be to me as Oscar Wilde puts it ... 'they know the price of everything and the value of nothing'.

As one who has seen procedures before in discussion and in preparations of schemes and tenders and all the rest, as far as I can see it is a lash-up, railroaded and screened, so that no one knows what is happening or what is proposed, secrets and head to head confrontations generated from not being treated with respect by the company that is supposedly in charge of this farce. The whole thing was apparently run on the basis of 'push it through' to get Option A. That is not the way to form a contract or a project, I can tell you. It will only ensure contractural problems in the future and with cost issues. In the end nothing works. The only people who get paid are those at the top of the tree (except the Christmas Fairy). OK the largest one was for £7m, but we organised it so that it was within budget by having a well prepared scheme that worked for everyone. No good having a scheme that satisfied the client if it was not to get Planning Permission or Building Regulations, Water Management, Specialist Environments ... Structures, Lightning control ... It all had to work right down to the last helical screw on the double slope of curved roof ventilator. If they were in my team they would have been fired ages ago.

None of this 'what are we going to do with the lighthouse' stuff on a supposedly Tendered scheme, which HAS to get through, and by the way is it time we notified English Heritage yet?

Forget the smoke screens about Falmouth, forget the negativity and use the Cornish Resolve to advantage. And while you are at it, bring the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company back into the equation. We do not want some half-baked outsider to steal our custom. We have had a reliable service run since 1926 by Scillonians; Keep it that way.
 
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