Here's a selection of pictures showing Penzance harbour last week. On Thursday I visited the public exhibition of the Penzance Harbour Scheme Management Board (PHSMB) which showed the latest design for the development of the area.
The 'final design' has some serious limitations to the further development of the harbour as anything other than a ferry terminal. Should the replacement vessel for Scillonian III/Gry Maritha be a combined freight/passenger ship as per the design for Scillonian IV shown here (http://www.bctq.com/bctq-projects.asp?ProjectID=16) the harbour design is wholly unsuitable. Harbours are traditionally modified to suit a change in ship design. Changing to meet the demands of two ships over 25 years old seems somewhat unconventional to me!
The Eastern arm of the wet dock which is planned to be increased in width could be used as a combined passenger/freight berth on the seaward side. This would require the berth face to be longer - acheivable by increasing the width of the North arm further to that shown on the 'final design'. Access for shipping movements to the North Arm and dry dock are not impeded by doing this.
Widening the North Arm further would also create additional space on the Shell shop site for a passenger/baggage handling facility - an angled entrance to this building as shown in the passenger terminal design would further increase visibility for LGV's using the junction. A cafe could be built above the terminal to replace the Dockers Rest Cafe.
This frees up a large proportion of the west quayside which could be developed as small business units or similar. In the 'final design' this area is a passenger baggage handling facility and drop off site for the passenger ship - an area which will see little use other than 2-3 hours daily!
The Lighthouse Pier could serve as a breakwater for the east wall and perhaps a low water berth for ferry operations if required. The local charter/trip boats could also use this facility. A harbour office and visiting boat facilities could be constructed on the area currently used for Scillonian's baggage/cargo handling.
I fear the current 'need for speed' in the harbour development scheme will damage the harbour's long term prospects. Surely it is better to take time and get it right rather than look back at what could have been . . . .