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IOS Council submit St Mary’s Harbour Proposals to DfT

posted Aug 4, 2011, 2:36 PM by Richard Cliffe   [ updated Aug 18, 2011, 9:17 AM ]

IOS Council submit St Mary’s Harbour Proposals to DfT

The IOS Council submitted its revised project proposal to the DfT and the local MP (Andrew George) on 22 July 2011.  The  project has been provisionally costed at £8.4 million or 46% of the original Route Partnership proposal (£18.2 million).  The following is taken from the proposal (paraphrased in places):

The project partners are the Council of the Isles of Scilly , Duchy of Cornwall  and the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company.

The proposal has been crafted to fall within the constraints set by the Minister which are:

·         A substantially reduced scheme with a maximum DfT contribution of around £4 -5 million with possibly the same match funding from the EU (ERDF) and a contribution from the Duchy of Cornwall.

·         Must be agreed by all parties including the IOSSCo

·         Must be within the current HRO and FEPA consents


Following direction from the DfT, partners did not look in detail at the long term future proofing of the facilities but responded only to the critical needs to ensure that the facilities were fit for purpose and able to meet the immediate challenges. The partners felt the following, not in any order of importance, were the main priorities:

·         Lengthening of the quay to broaden the choice of vessels which can enter and use the quay.  This reduces the significant risk of the IOSSCo being unable to find a suitable second hand passenger ferry (previous vessels were purpose built for this route).

·         Improved freight handling facilities at the back of the Harbourside.

·         Extend and improve passenger check in, ticketing, baggage collection facilities and passenger waiting.

There was consensus amongst partners that these were the priorities and that further attempts to deliver savings would so devalue the project that it would be difficult to convince the ERDF funders that the scheme justified funding.



The IOS Council submission is an example of the type of proposal Penzance Town Council is now committed to develop by Dec 2011 following is decision at the meeting on the 18 July 2011.   The meeting had been asked to accept the proposal from the MP's Harbour Working Group that the Town Council become the 'Client' for the Penzance Harbour project until such time as Cornwall Council were prepared to get involved.  This essentially means getting the proejct to the point where there is a locally agreed scheme which has DfT/ERDF blessing (politically de-risked). 

 The difficulty faced by the Town Council in emulating for Penzance Harbour what has been done for St Mary's Harbour is that there is no agreed solution for Penzance Harbour that could be simply reduced in scope to fit the budget.  Because the Minister has stated that the go ahead for the St Mary’s will not be given until there is an agreed solution for Penzance, the fate of the St Mary’s Harbour is tied to timely success in finding a solution for Penzance.  It is for this reason that the “Risk & Mitigation” section of the IOSC proposal identifies the most serious risk in terms of probability and impact as  Penzance fail to deliver a scheme in the appropriate timeframe for Convergence ERDF and St Mary’s Quay loses funding”.

The IOSC project proposal includes at Pier extension (shorter than the original RP proposal) whereas it is expected that the Penzance solution will not.  The proposal explains that St Mary’s Harbour is much more compromised for berthing the Scillonian III with only 1.5 metres of water (chart datum) under the forward part of the vessel.  This means that the stern of the vessel juts out into the sea beyond the end of quay unlike Penzance where the whole length of the vessel is protected by South Pier when berthed.