Porthleven Shipyard building approved at the fourth attempt

Depending on which side of the fence you sit, you will either be happy this building has been approved, or like me, very sad a building will be built which will have more harm to the fabric of Porthleven than good. As today, the West Planning Committee approved the plans by 11 votes to 4 on the fourth attempt.

Both myself as the Cornwall Council and Porthleven Town Council objected to this building on the grounds that it was:

  • The proposed development is not in harmony in terms of shape, scale, massing, bulk and proportions with the existing character and appearance of the area
  • The proposed development does not protect or enhance the character and appearance of the area
  • The proposed design does not respond positively to the Porthleven Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Strategy
  • There is high number of objections raised by the local community over 100 with only 6 supporting.

I am also concerned that this application was re-heard at committee with only minor changed to the previously refused applications. All we have had is a letter from someone who has been paid by the applicant but was author to the original appraisal strategy, and the colour of the windows being changed from dark/black to white. Hardly real material changes to an already refused planning application. But this was enough for the committee to change its mind, but also, more importantly the conservation office who said having white windows will be less harmful. I know. Nothing about the scale and design of the building being harmful.

The use of the building is not clear. In the planning process, the building has been everything and nothing with claims of creating over 70 jobs, to the latest plan of only 20. In the previous identical application, it was 70 plus. It is not clear if these jobs are actually new jobs, or relocated jobs from existing properties owned by the applicant. There has been no business plan or impact assessment to prove the need vs the harm this building will bring.

Conservation and ANOB areas are important. They are to there to give a level of protection to conserve and enhance an important area. Not to be used to support having less substantial harm upon the heritage asset within the locality. Even the applicants planning agent letter of the 18th July says little substantial harm. In anyone’s definition, substantial harm abet how much, is not meaning conserve or enhance. If there was no harm you would say this, not little substantial harm. You either have harm or not.

As for the 100 plus people who took the time to object (and those 6 who supported) little weight was given to those points. I felt it was like they were not event taken into consideration.

Thanks go to John Boyle who spoke against the application at committee and to Cllr Mike Toy who represented Porthleven Town Council. Thanks to the four Councillors who voted against this applications

Not sure on the time scale, but I would imagine it won’t be long till the diggers move in and start to build this building that we are all going to have to live with.




  • Ms Beryl Stanley

    Is that really the end then? Is there nothing more that we can do, to stop this atrocity going ahead?

  • Gilly Zella Martin

    I feel this is rather a sad day for Porthleven. In my opinion, the aesthetics of the shipyard are imminently to be detrimentally blighted forevermore, with a building which will not be architecturally sympathetic to its surroundings. I believe it is particularly disappointing that a council member of the planning committee living in Helston, who has Porthleven as his nearest coastal town, could clearly not understand or appreciate how wrong this is for Porthleven. He may not be a councillor forever, but his decision has sadly attributed to Porthleven residents having this building in the village forever.

  • Andrew Wallis

    Nope, that’s it

  • K Thomas

    What a sensible decision at last for this land, I cannot really understand the logic of Gilly Zella Martyn on what is deemed architecturally sympathetic to it’s surroundings !!! All that is there at the present time is a glorified private Car Park what I ask is sympathetic to the surroundings there please ????

  • Anne

    A very sad day for Porthleven

  • Rosemary and Francis Polglase

    Very sorry to read this…..a sad day for Porthleven and for those who fought against it. Now this has been passed what next will be on the Agenda? ………Porthleven is fast becoming spoilt by over development!!

  • Gilly Zella Martin

    To clarify my initial comment for K Thomas. The neighbouring surroundings to the car-park and the Shipyard, include the architecturally aesthetically pleasing historic St. Bartholomews Church, Church Row Cottages, and indeed the whole harbour head designated Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The planned building will also be of a scale for which to partially obscure the view of historic existing buildings from some aspects of the harbour. There is Kittos public use car-park run by Cornwall Council, and the “private” parking in the very small area of the actual Shipyard, currently serves a purpose for holiday lets and adjacent businesses, all of whom could lose trade if free parking is unavailable.
    Residents of Porthleven and visitors that love Porthleven for its current character and visual appearance, are the people that will be affected. I believe there is no guarantee even as to the future use of the building.

  • Mrs m Roberts

    It really does prove that money speaks,bugger the people that live here and wish to up hold what we hold dear.Three times this has been refused and but for some stupid person that think the colour of the windows is so so important to the change of this build is just beyond my belief.I hope all that voted for this build too go ahead holds their head in shame.A very sad day for Porthleven.

  • Gilly Zella Martin

    Credit and respect go to you Andrew, and Porthleven Town Council who fought against this, and well done to those councillors on the planning committee who voted against it.

  • Chris Todd

    Very sad day, We travel down to Porthleven every year precisely because it’s unspoilt and so beautiful and peaceful. I fear it will turn into another Padstow.

  • Another nail in the coffin for Porthleven. The only consolation to this I think is that Porthleven is represented by a Cornwall Councillor and town council that actually care about their town. How can a Helston Councillor vote in favour for this? I suppose it’s easy to ignore residents opinions in a town you don’t represent? By the way, how is Councillor Thomas’s world heritage status getting on for Helston’s kennels? Another bloody stupid idea I think, along with the shipyard building.

  • Colin Francis Best

    As I said before the authority needs to buy back the port period !! Money and contacts that is how this has won support ! I do have a great love for this special port which has Incredible people who care for the future and the past I only hope the planners take full responsibility for the harm this will cause due to the modern looking building ? I side with the true great history of this port and of the rich heritage I hope and pray it delivers jobs which are full time and that people can learn to accept this modern feature at Harbour Head .

  • K Thomas

    Gilly Zella Martin. It still doesn’t answer the question of what is aesthetically pleasing about the site itself as it stands now, & I assume if the new application had been yet again denied it would have remained as it is ??

  • K Thomas

    100 against the development, 6 for the development. Population of Porthleven 3128 approx !! Food for thought . Was it I wonder the same people that were against Rick Steins restaurant coming to the village , & were against the building of the new estate overlooking Atlantic a few years back ?? If the new building only generates 20 jobs it can only be good
    surely .

  • Gilly Zella Martin

    K Thomas. I did not say the site is aesthetically pleasing as it stands now, I said it’s neighbouring surroundings are, and the building will negatively impact on that. However, since you raise the question about the shipyard area itself, I reiterate in saying the small parking area serves a purpose for local businesses. In addition, boat owners use the shipyard and the need for easy safe access and turning space exists. The shipyard looks what it is, a shipyard, bordering an historic wall, and perfectly acceptable the way it is.
    The harbour head green may not look much, and look messy at times with litter or weeds etc, but it would not justify building on it, anymore than the shipyard.

  • E Taylor

    I wonder how many palms were greased to get this passed

  • Colin Best

    I agree , I feel a shipyard should be re enstated for the future development and employment building bespoke craft, and as a life skill centre of excellence.

  • Isabell Austin


  • Jen Pearce

    I can’t understand why Cllr. Thomas of Helston thinks this is a good idea for Porthleven, by voting in favour of it, when I think Helston can’t even seem to get its own business park off the ground properly. Perhaps it’s just another vote in favour of a white elephant, only this time unfortunately it’s Porthleven that has to suffer the consequences.

  • Colin Francis Best

    A foundation has not been laid a stone has not been placed anything can be overturned when a planner has made that decision

  • Michael Mearns

    Isn’t this a case of “if at first you don’t succeed then try and try and try again”! Whatever the merits of the proposal, and these are dubious, I believe the Planning Committee were worn down by the three applications. There was also the impending planning appeal, which was more than likely to have been lost by Cornwall Council, who would then have been faced with their own costs plus the appellants costs. These would have been considerable, as developers such as in this case, deploy expert planners and lawyers (even QC’s). Cost is not and issue with them as long as they get what they want! A cash strapped authority like Cornwall Council was put in an almost impossible position.

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