Option A

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. 

10 comments

  • Anonymous

    So what new evidence did you hear that made you vote that way?

  • Anonymous

    I am sure there are a lot more people pleased with the result than displeased, the Friends of Penzance Harbour seem to be very much in the minority!

  • Anonymous

    The majority of Penzance had been hi-jacked by a hardcore of protestors headed up by a professional lobbyist which had skewed the information previously given to you all. You came to the right decision on this second occasion. Thanks from Penzance!

  • Grev Williams

    Yes Andrew. What new evidence?

  • Cllr Andrew Wallis

    The whole issue was on the merits of Option A. This was to include the benefits to Penzance over the harm. Now that's a tough call to make and I believe that was not fully considered at the last meeting.

    The moot point is over the information that English Heritage gave in the original statement and its stance yesterday. I got the feeling depending on what side of the fence you sat on (supporter or objector)this was a change or not.

    I am no lawyer and understood the Legal reason as to why this was back.

    In Planning you have to judge the facts presented to you. You can't just make up stuff and include it. There are no other Option on the table. Only A. You/we may have liked other options, but they had not even been costed to take into consideration. So they are in a simple sense nothing more than pictures and aspirations.

    The real decision lays with the Sec of State. Its going to be his ruling on this. I just judged on the information from all sides and came to my decision. You might not like it, but please respect that it was done with the best intentions for Penzance.

  • Anonymous

    Please could you tell your readers what the change in stance/new evidence from English Heritage was,ive read the paper reports of the meeting and can see no reference to a change in stance.

  • Cllr Andrew Wallis

    As I have said before. The main issues were over the benefit over the harm to the community, and English Heritages stance.

    Both of these were needed to be clarified as from the view of the Lawyers and Planners these were not at the previous Committee.

    I am only a layman when it comes to Planning Law, but I accept the advice given by the very senior Planning Lawyer present.

    Last time there were (I believe)reasons to refuse the Plans due to the other Options that were still in my opinion worthy of consideration and had not been fully ruled out. (I did indeed vote against last time as I felt these should still be explored).

    This time, there were no other plans as these had been ruled out by the applicant. We had to make the decision on the Plans in front of us, and not on what ifs.

    The Planning Committee supported the Plans, but does not have the power to approve the them. That is in the power of the Sec of State. They will have the final say over the whole project.

    I hope that helps

  • Cllr Andrew Wallis

    The last time English Heritage did not make clear reference to what it was objecting too. Either the whole project financially and historically or just one part of it. It later clarified it was only on the Heritage part and not Economic points. This was in the opinion of the Lawyers not clear at the original Committee.

  • Anonymous

    Why would you think English Heritage were objecting on financial grounds?isnt the clue in their name?
    Ref,other options,surely it was Cornwall council who ruled out the other options,they are/were still available,no change there.

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