The highest priority for Penzance now is the construction of effective offshore protection, according to a group of community leaders.

At a meeting on Friday afternoon at St John's Hall, Penzance, a stakeholder group of local representatives and Cornwall Council officials agreed to set up a Working Group to draw up an action plan for the planning, design and construction of an offshore breakwater.

The group, to be headed by Jonathan Burnett, former principal of Truro and Penwith College, will also examine plans for the future development and regeneration of Penzance Harbour and seafront.

The Working Group, which will also include Cllr Jim McKenna, former chief executive of Penwith, a Town Council representative, and officers from Cornwall Council, will meet next week in the office of local MP Andrew George.

Mr George said: "The meeting agreed to put the subject of an offshore breakwater to a vote.  A clear majority agreed that this was the 'highest priority' for Penzance.  No-one disagreed.

"I am delighted that Jonathan Burnett has accepted my invitation to take the helm of the Working Group that will drive this project forward.  He has an outstanding reputation for turning hope and ambition into reality and has delivered excellent projects at Truro and Penwith Colleges before his recent retirement.

"I now call on all stakeholders to rally in his support, to make sure that we speak with one voice and demonstrate determination to succeed.

"Penzance deserves Government support to protect its seafront.  Of course, it's right that multi-millions of pounds are being spent to restore and protect the severed rail line at Dawlish, but the lifeline link to the Isles of Scilly cannot be ignored by Government Ministers.