Thursday’s Porthleven Town Council planning meeting was likely to be a busy one, and it was, with standing room only. The item residents came to voice their concern over as you can expect was the shipyard application.
These public objections were on the size and impact of the building; not in keeping with the historic fabric of Porthleven; highways; loss of boat yard facilities; parking and access on and from the slipway. The Porthleven Fishermen’s Association also made comment at the meeting about the negative impact on the boat owner and fishing community this building would have.
This application was never going to be an easy-one, as changes to an area on this scale never run smoothly. But change can and does happen. It just not at the expensive of other important areas.
For me, I very much welcome jobs in Porthleven and those which are different to the tourism sector. However it is important to understand how many job, the type of jobs and will they be new jobs or jobs that have been relocated from existing buildings. In answering my question, Trevor Osborne and his architect suggested between 50 and 100 jobs. Though there was no confirmation as to whether these were new jobs or relocated.
I am sure many would agree there could be much more use made out of the shipyard, but this has to be in balance with other aspects of Porthleven and this building should not harm those other important aspects of Porthleven including heritage, the landscape and existing jobs.
This application comes down to need against harm. Yes we need jobs in Porthleven and it is good someone actually wants to invest in Porthleven. However, as the plans stand, I am not yet satisfied this proposal would in fact be totally positive for Porthleven.
This size, scale and impact on the area is of huge importance as this building would in effect dominate this area and would also impact on the surrounding area, including many important historical views. You only have to look at this site from different position like Peverell Terrace, Breageside, Fore Street corner and Church Row to see this building would fundamentally change those views.
There is a total lack of parking provision for the building of this size and for the number of jobs. It is no more than 10 from the plans. Parking is important, and adequate parking must be provided. Without decent levels of parking, this building would just create problems elsewhere. It was suggested by the application that parking could be provided past Tolponds. This option is flawed as the site is far away and there is no footpath. The area is also in a 60 mph zone, and you really cannot have people walking on this road without a footpath. Of course a footpath could be built, but this is not simple due to the sheer costs of putting in a footpath and this footpath would have to cross land in multiple ownerships.
A really important issue is the loss of the bus stop as this current plan removes the well used bus stop and has not been replaced with any dedicated provision in the plans for a bus stop. There is somewhat of a ‘waiting area’ but this is not a protective shelter. It would also conflict with possible use as a café as this space would leave people confused, and unsure if they could use it whilst waiting for a bus. This current bus stop is well-used, and therefore, it would have a negative effect on those using public transport if it was removed and not replaced.
This application raises some really serious highways concerns I do raise serious concerns. There is no turning space not only for large vehicles, but those with trailers/and boats. The road on Methleigh bottoms is narrow in this location, and the field of vision looking towards the harbour with a sharp bend is not clear. If large goods vehicles, boat trailers cannot access the yard, then there would be a temptation to back on the harbour head road. If this happens, this would cause congestion in the area and will have a knock-on up Fore Street. The proposed access in and out of the shipyard is also of major concern.
The impact to the boat owners and fishermen has to be taken into serious consideration; this includes access on to and from the slip. There will also be a lack of boat repair and storage facilities if this plan was approved in its current format. Porthleven is a harbour and ‘safe haven’ and it would be totally unacceptable for a harbour not to have these facilities.
I also very much dislike the ‘company blue’
The matter is this application has to be decided on what are the current plan, and not any further amendments which may come forward. As there is no guarantee any of these changes will be made if support is given. Therefore, in light of the concerns raised, Porthleven Town Council felt it could not support this application and voted unanimously to refuse the application.
From the town council’s decision, the application can be decided by Cornwall Council as it stands, or as I am hopeful, updated plans will be submitted for the town council and the public to make further comment on.