What a day, Strategic Planning Committee had the unenviable task to make a decision on the Isles of Scilly Sealink. To say feelings in Penzance on this very issue are emotive is an understatement. Some may say why is it being resubmitted after a decision was made in December. A good question, and one that was answered by Legal and Planning. Depending on your view to the whole project its either a godsend or something slightly iffy. I for one are happy with the explanation that was given by both Legal and Planning. More so with the Legal stance.
The Chambers at county hall were packed. Both supporters and objectors crammed in so everyone was able to watch this meeting. It started with an address by the Committee Chairman requesting that people refrained from heckling, jeering or clapping. By and large this was respected by all those present through-out the meeting.
The Principle Planning Officer kicked off his briefing on the technicalities of this Application and what was being presented. To be fair most of the Planning has been give under the Harbour Revision Order (HRO). After the PPO laid out his case it was the turn of the Objectors, Supporters, ( these were allowed 4 speakers who were able to speak up to 5 mins). The Town Council also stated their case. After each side had said what it came to say it was the turn of the Committee Member to ask questions to each group.
It’s good to see the Committee Members ask some tough questions to those who had made their points. Some seemed a little taken aback when their statements came under tough scrutiny. One addition to the proceeding was the inclusion of the Isles of Scilly Council Vice-Chairman. She came to speak on behalf of the islands and their views. Sadly at the last meeting this view was not presented.
After much debate between the Members a vote was taken on Option A. Pass or Refusal. The only option brought before the Planning Committee was Option A, and it was that Option we could only vote on. (the other Plans were not presented so legally we could not take them into consideration).
The vote was carried in favour of Option A by way of a recorded vote. Listed below are the Councillors who voted in Favour or Against.
In favour of Option A
Cllr’s Ellis, Flashman, Hatton, Jenkins, Mann, Pugh, Rushworth, Stoneman, Goninan, May, Bull, George, Wood and Wallis
Against Option A
Cllr’s Plummer, Brown, Lewarne, Nolan, Pascoe, Pearce and Cullimore.
Vote carried in favour 14-7
Now you might not agree with the decision, but I have to tell you its was a hard decision to make and one that I gave great thought to before I reached my decision. No matter what way the vote went, I am sure equal amounts of people would be pleased or angry at the outcome.