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Dept. of Transport review of projects

posted Jun 13, 2010, 8:49 PM by Richard Cliffe

The Govt review of transport projects includes the IOS Ferry Link project which is currently awaiting Government Office South West approval following a ‘minded to approve’ recommendation by Cornwall Council after the 8 Mar 2010 Planning Meeting.


The Dept of Transport will not know its allocation of funds until later in autumn this year but  substantial cuts appear likely.  This will create a requirement to cut projects and downsize others.  Whilst the IOS ferry link project cannot be cut out permanently it could be delayed and/or restructured.  Delay, if excessive, puts at risk the EU funding component which must be committed by 2013 and spent by 2015 (exact deadlines not available).  A restructuring of the project might question the Penzance element if an alternative can be found using Falmouth which already has most of the infrastructure that Penzance lacks and does require a major injection of Government funds. 


Whilst few in Penwith doubt the adverse impact of the of loss of the ferry from Penzance the situation might look different from Westminster.  The project is controversial in Penzance (almost every aspect contested by the minority objecting) but welcome in Falmouth.  The Government can achieve a substantial capital saving, be seen to bow to objectors and English Heritage, ‘rescue’ the Islanders from a local impasse over the project and all with minimal net effect on the Cornish economy given that jobs and business lost in Penzance would but picked up in Falmouth (“next door” from a Westminster perspective).  The reality would be grimmer but that would become obvious later later.


What is not now in doubt is that this project does have the support of the majority of local people.  Our MP’s (Andrew George's) efforts to assist in derailing Option A and his subsequent endorsement by FoPH in the recent General Election has resulted in him experiencing the largest swing (10.4%)against him of any sitting Lib Dem MP in the South West.  With his apparently impregnable majority gone (11,609 to 1,719) and the seat now a marginal the IOS Ferry Link project gains additional political significance.

See 'Press News' for links to Dept of Transport and local press comment.