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Fresh hope to secure controversial ferry landings

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: July 15, 2013

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A previously troubled plan to upgrade dilapidated harbours at either end of a lifeline ferry link has been given a "positive" reception at Westminster.

Cornish councillors and an MP met with Transport Minister Norman Baker last week to discuss proposals for the harbours at Penzance and St Mary's on the Scilly Isles.

The meeting in London was arranged by St Ives MP Andrew George to ensure that Government ministers understood how critically important the project was to the Scillies and to Penzance.

It was attended by Coun Bert Biscoe, Cornwall Council's Cabinet member for transport and waste; Coun Chris Thomas, chairman of the Council of the Isles of Scilly transport committee; and Coun Phil Rendle, the Mayor of Penzance.

The project, initially a £62 million scheme to have included a new boat, has been mired in controversy in the past.

Two years ago the Government pulled the plug on it in the wake of bitter fighting about the redevelopment of Penzance harbour, then Cornwall Council walked away from it.

But at this week's meeting with Mr Baker, all the parties were keen to emphasise they were now singing from the same hymn sheet.

A spokesman for Cornwall Council said: "This assurance was welcomed by Mr Baker."

Coun Rendle told the minister that the town has reached a consensus after a lengthy, robust and wide ranging debate.

The minister was also told the Isles of Scilly wants to secure a durable facility for the sea link and strongly encouraged support for the scheme.

The council spokesman said: "Mr Baker welcomed the consensus and is keen to move forward.

"He stated that he would now consider the proposals put forward by the three Councils and respond as soon as possible."

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