Penzance Harbour is set to undergo a transformation over the next few years as part of work to boost the town’s economy as well as improve accessibility and the environment.
The start of the harbour’s modernisation plans have been made possible following investment from the Government’s Town Deal fund. The project, delivered by Cornwall Council on behalf of Penzance Town Deal Board, covers several aspects:
- A new freight handling facility at West Quay and improved access for road users between The Quay and Battery Road. The work will start next month with the demolition of the Boston Shed – an 18 metre shed which is in poor condition. Further buildings on West Quay will be removed in 2025 to make way for the new freight-handling facility. This will mean heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) will no longer have to park on the main road, reducing traffic congestion and pollution in the area.
- New engineering workshops and harbour welfare facilities for resident and visiting boats on the harbour’s North Arm. The Rank building will be refurbished to house marine engineering facilities, alongside a new harbour office and new accessible shower and toilet facilities and a laundrette area for visiting boats.
- A new fully accessible pontoon to cater for the growing demand from cruise ships and visiting crafts. Increased visitors by boat will boost the local economy and the Harbour’s sustainability.
- New boat lift crane, eco-friendly marine wash bay and improved winter boat storage facilities.
- Enhancement of the public spaces to improve safety of walking and cycling routes.
- Modernisation of the harbour facilities.
Martin Tucker, Penzance Town Deal Board chair, said: “The Town Deal fund is a unique opportunity that won’t present itself again to improve the efficiency of our harbour, improve accessibility and safety, support the local community of leisure boat owners. The project will also have the ripple effect of increasing trade for local businesses to the islands and grow our visitor economy.”
Louis Gardner, Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for economy, said: “This funding is about supporting projects that have been identified by the local community as being key drivers in bringing long term economic benefit to the town. This project has been a long time in the planning and we’re now in the final stages of being able to make it a reality.”
Mike Nowell from Penwith Marine Services – one of the Harbour’s tenants – said: “Maritime services have the potential to boost average wages in our area by providing well-paid, highly-skilled permanent jobs. That’s why the industry was identified as a priority sector in the Penzance Neighbourhood Plan. Local businesses on the Harbour have reported thriving activity levels, with healthy order books. The improvements planned will help secure a bright future for the harbour, the town and for encouraging young people into the industry.”
James Broughton, Penzance Harbour Master, said: “As a commercial harbour one of our statutory duties includes the requirement to operate efficiently and safely. Penzance Harbour welcomes around 115,000 passengers and 16,000 tonnes of freight per year to and from the Scilly Isles, plus additional boat trips. However, we lack sufficient space for HGVs to deliver goods or for cars to drop passengers, resulting in long vehicles queues, congestion in the town and a significant risk of accidents.
“We have been working with all our key stakeholders in the past 12 months, including local businesses on the harbour to shape a cost-efficient modernisation plan that addresses the users’ needs and support the future sustainability of the harbour.”
The harbour is managed by Cornwall Harbours Board who have an agreement with Cornwall Council following a new Harbour Revision Order made in 2023.
The Harbour modernisation is one of seven projects in Penzance and Newlyn successful in securing funding from the Government’s Town Deal Fund as part of its Levelling Up initiative. Penzance Town Deal Board in partnership with Cornwall Council successfully bid for a Town Deal worth £21.5 million to support a range of projects that will contribute to the town’s regeneration and boost the local economy. Cornwall Council is the Lead Authority for the Town Deal programme in Cornwall and supports the governance role of the Board and administrates the Fund.