Editor’s blog: Friends and Real Friends

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So it would appear that the proposed new Penzance ferry terminal may not be dead in the water after all.

During a Cabinet meeting on Monday, Cornwall Council officers recommended that “every effort” be made to secure planning permission for the original project to build on Battery Rocks, despite being thrown out by councillors shortly before Christmas.

News that plans are to be resubmitted won’t please the Friends of Penzance Harbour, who called the decision an insult. They believe the project will ruin the town’s historic sea front.

However, another recently-formed local action group, The Real Friends of Penzance Harbour, will be given fresh hope. They fear the economic consequences for the town, should the ferry link be relocated to Falmouth, which is becoming a real possibility, should the Battery Rocks plans be thrown out again.

The Council has agreed to stump up £300k for a feasibility study into Falmouth and A&P Falmouth boss Peter Child said this week that the port could be “ready tomorrow” if necessary.

Just why a feasibility study costs so much, is beyond me, but there you go. And A&P would be delighted to take the route, which could run alongside the return of cruise liners stopping at Falmouth, from December 2010.

The cruise liner business is something A&P is very keen to develop, of course. It received a setback last year when the RDA said it would not be able to finance dredging of the harbour, which would allow the new breed of super cruisers into Falmouth.

However, the business is working hard to secure funding from elsewhere, and has received the public backing of the UK’s Shadow Minister for Ports, Julian Brazier, who recently visited the port.

But while waiting for the dredging issues to be resolved, the Isles of Scilly ferry link would, no doubt, fit very neatly into Falmouth. And unless Penzance and its Friends and Real Friends can get their acts together soon, this just might happen.

3 COMMENTS

  1. I’m still very puzzled as to how it can be thought that the operation can run more economically from Falmouth (more economically than Option C) when it is a long way further east. The sea crossing would take hours and rounding the Lizard followed by the rough open water between Land’s End and the Sciliies would be a hideous prospect in any kind of swell. This would effectively kill the day trip trade, as by the time people had reached St Mary’s – many debilitated with sea sickness – and spent a couple of hours there, it would be time to face the crossing all over again. And surely the cost of the ticket would be more than it currently is because of fuel costs. And what about the frequent occurrence of fog, which grounds the helicopters and planes, necessitating a journey back by ferry? How are these people going to get back to their cars? Or are they going to shift the airport and helicopter over to Falmouth too? Gosh, it was only recently that it was being proposed to move the helicopter to Land’s End because they couldn’t afford Penzance any more.

    The plot thickens.

  2. There has been some confusion about the new ‘Friends of Penzance’. We are “The True Friends of Penzance & Isles of Scilly. Our aim is to represent residents affected by the future of the ferry service who do not feel well served by the activties of the Friends of Penzance Harbour. We believe Option A is an acceptable solution for Penzance and that the decision to reject it damaging and only the result of aggressive and unprincipled lobbying by FOPH who claimed, unjustifiably in our opinion, to represent the whole of the community (meaning Penzance). We have over 1700 signatures on a petition supporting Option A to prove it.

  3. Even this well known madman is disgusted with the situation in Penzance!

    Good article by the way and you’re right about the 300k- how can a feasibility study cost so much and how can anybody believe it will be viable for passengers from Falmouth, and how much more will freight cost from there?

    Cheers Vic

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