News that the final piece of the funding package to support the improvements to St Mary’s and Penzance harbours has now been confirmed has been welcomed by the partnership which will be delivering the £11.9m scheme.
The sea link between the mainland and the Isles of Scilly is a vital lifeline for the communities and businesses of Scilly, providing transport for the majority of freight and carrying more than 80,000 passengers to and from the Isles.
The improvements to the two harbours, which includes carrying out pier widening and improving freight handling facilities at St Mary’s and dredging at Penzance, will help safeguard the future of the sea link by creating deeper water berths which will increase the range of vessels which could potentially provide the service in the future.
Last month the Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin announced that the Department for Transport was making £6.347m available for the harbour works at St Mary's, together with dredging and traffic management improvements for the harbour at Penzance. The Department for Transport is also giving Cornwall Council a further £976,000 to cover the costs of preparatory works for the scheme. These costs would normally be met by the local authority.
The remaining funding was due to come from Europe and this week it was confirmed that the scheme had been awarded £5.560m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). This announcement means that the works can now begin, with the dredging and highways work at Penzance expected to be completed by 31 March 2015, and the harbour extension and other works at St Mary’s due to be completed by 30 June 2015.
The scheme has been developed by a partnership including Cornwall Council, Council of the Isles of Scilly, Penzance Town Council, Duchy of Cornwall, Isles of Scilly Steamship Company and Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, with support from West Cornwall MP Andrew George. Cornwall Council is the Accountable Body for the funding and will ensure the improvements at Penzance and St Mary's Harbours are delivered.
Bert Biscoe, Cornwall Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Waste, said “The link between Penzance and the Isles of Scilly is a vital component in linking the Island communities to the mainland. It is always important that the sort of partnership that has given rise to this project is in place to ensure that all the British Islands are able to enjoy the benefits of resilient and modern transport. It is good to know we can now giss’on with these works”.
Welcoming the formal confirmation of the funding, the Council of the Isles of Scilly Council, Duchy of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company, said “The St Mary’s Quay partnership came together at the behest of the Department of Transport to design a lower cost, deliverable, functional scheme that delivers improved vessel options and improved passenger and freight facilities. Now, with support from Cornwall Council, the scheme has come to fruition and we are all looking forward to the completion of the works. ”
Chris Pomfret, Chair of the LEP and Deputy Chair of the Convergence Local Management Committee, which steers the Convergence programme said “This investment complements previous ERDF projects to connect the Islands both physically and digitally. The arrival of superfast, the work at St Mary’s and Lands’ End airports, and the previous slipway improvements at Porthloo demonstrates how European funding has enhanced both social and economic opportunities for the islanders for many years to come.”
“Cormac Solutions Ltd are delighted to have been appointed to undertake a design and build contract to provide the highway improvements to facilitate the development of this important transport link” added Dominic Bostock, from CORMAC Solutions Ltd. “We have been particularly active in Penzance over the past six months, with the rebuilding of the coastal defence at Newlyn Green and Bolitho Gardens along with the Promenade maintenance works, and have forged strong links with the local community which will be extended through our delivery of these works.”
Phil Osmond, the Project manager for Mace, who are acting for Cornwall Council on the project, said “Mace are delighted to be involved in such a worthwhile project . We are well aware of the importance of good sea links between St Mary’s and Penzance, having worked previously with the Council of the Isles of Scilly. Acting for Cornwall Council we are extremely pleased to be providing project control services for works at both ports.”
Peter Marsh, the Operations Director for Kier, said “Kier Infrastructure are delighted to have been appointed as the design and construct contractor for the St Mary’s Harbour Improvements as this is such a strategically important project to the island community. We are extremely conscious of the vital importance of the sea link between St Mary’s and Penzance. This continues our long commitment to port and coastal works in the South West Region and we are pleased to be working in partnership with Cornwall Council and the wider project stakeholders.”
Peter Madsen Rederi A/S will be carrying out dredging within the Penzance Harbour and the Harbour entrance as part of the upgrade to the Penzance – St Mary’s sea link.
Director of Peter Madsen Rederi A/S John Madsen, commented ‘We are delighted to have been awarded this contract and we aim to complete it within the next four months with the minimum impact to other users of the harbour’.
Story posted 26 September 2014