Offshore breakwater is “highest priority” for Penzance regeneration
A group of councillors, harbour user representatives and business leaders have agreed that the construction of effective offshore protection for Penzance is now the highest priority for the town and for future opportunities for economic regeneration.
At a meeting called and chaired by local MP, Andrew George, on Friday afternoon at St John’s Hall, Penzance, a stakeholder group of local representatives and Cornwall Council officials, including Cornwall Council’s transport portfolio holder, Cllr Bert Biscoe, agreed to set up a Working Group which will be headed by Jonathan Burnett – former Principal of Truro and Penwith College – and which will draw up an action plan for the planning, design and construction of an offshore breakwater/protection as well as plans for the future development and regeneration of Penzance Harbour and seafront. The Working Group will also include Cllr Jim McKenna, former CEO of Penwith, a Town Council representative and officers from Cornwall Council. They will meet next week in Mr George’s office.
Mr George, who has been urging local community representatives to ‘speak with one voice’ to secure the Government investment it needs to achieve its economic development goals, declared Friday’s meeting as ‘an important and significant step forward for the town’.
Mr George said: “The meeting agreed to put the subject of an offshore breakwater to a vote. A clear majority agreed that this was the ‘highest priority’ for Penzance. No-one disagreed.
“I am delighted that Jonathan Burnett has accepted my invitation to take the helm of the Working Group that will drive this project forward. He has an outstanding reputation for turning hope and ambition into reality and has delivered excellent projects at Truro and Penwith Colleges before his recent retirement.
“I now call on all stakeholders to rally in his support, to make sure that we speak with one voice and demonstrate determination to succeed.
“Penzance deserves Government support to protect its seafront. Of course, it’s right that £multimillion are being spent to restore and protect the severed rail line at Dawlish, but the lifeline link to the Isles of Scilly cannot be ignored by Government Ministers.
“I have long argued that an offshore breakwater is a vital first step to securing the coastal defence and economic regeneration opportunities which Penzance needs. If the dark clouds which have hung over Penzance following the storms are to have the silver lining that the town and its economy deserve then everyone must come together and speak with one voice.”
At the private meeting which Mr George called on Friday, 21 representatives from Cornwall Council, the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company, Penzance Town Council, Penzance Harbour Users Association, the Business Improvement District, Chamber of Commerce, Seafront Forum, local businesses and others were advised by the Cornwall Harbour Master, Captain Andy Brigden, Cornwall Council’s Transport Portfolio holder, Cllr Bert Biscoe and Assistant Head of Environment and Waste Management, David Owens.
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