Tonnes of rock used as temporary repairs to Penzance prom underway after it was left badly damaged by the rampaging storms this winter
A number of areas in Penzance suffered severe damage during the storms, including the coastal defences at Eastern Green and Long Rock, threatening the Penzance / Paddington rail line, and damage to the South Quay, the promenade, Newlyn Green and Jubilee Pool.
Temporary repairs were carried out by staff from CORMAC Solutions Ltd at Eastern Green to prevent further damage to the main railway line, the A30 and adjacent retail, commercial and industrial areas.
These interim repairs, which included the installation of 7,500 tonnes of rock armour, enabled the rail link to remain open.
The South West Coast Path and cycle route have also been fully repaired and are now open to the public. Further repairs are now being carried out, with plans being developed for a more permanent scheme subject to Government funding.
Significant work was also carried out at South Quay immediately after the storms to prevent disruption to the sea link to the Isles of Scilly.
More than 30 tonnes of rock were eventually removed from the inner harbour by crews from the Council’s environment and maritime services, enabling both the Scillonian and Gry Maritha to sail to the Islands.
Repairs have also been carried out at Bolitho Gardens where Council staff have removed debris from the playground area to enable it to be re opened and created a new footpath. Crews have also repaired the damage to the wave return on the top of the sea wall at Wherry Town and made the railings safe.
The large waves also destroyed the lower tier of Penzance Promenade , with stones from the wall and some of the paving blocks washed away. CORMAC staff have recovered the majority of these stones which have been set aside to be used as part of the permanent repairs. Tarmac has been laid on the promenade as a temporary measure to allow the area to be re opened in time for the Easter period while funding is sought from the Government for a more permanent scheme.
The scale of the damage to the manmade and coastal defences at Long Rock are currently being assessed to enable a permanent scheme to be drawn up, with the National Trust repairing the damage to the causeway at St Michael’s Mount.
Bert Biscoe, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Waste, said “We have done temporary repairs at the Promenade so we can get it open for Easter. Let’s hope that the good weather persists and that many people will enjoy the Promenade and see what damage can be done by the forces of nature”.
Local Cornwall Councillor Jim McKenna added "Together with the emergency services, the staff of CORMAC did an outstanding job during the recent weather events. Since then they have been working as hard as possible to undertake the necessary clear up and ensure that the Promenade and Newlyn Green are as accessible as possible for Easter and beyond. Some of the work is not pretty, but it is definitely temporary and I am delighted to hear the Leader of the Council reiterate his commitment to securing the long-term investment that the Promenade desperately needs.
“I will be working with the other Cornwall Councillors for the area, the Town Council and the many other interested parties to ensure that the needs of Penzance, often neglected in recent years, remain an absolute priority for Cornwall Council and the next round of European funding".
With the costs of the storm damage in Cornwall currently estimated at £21.45m, the council has been liaising with the Government and the Environment Agency over recouping the costs of carrying out the immediate emergency response and receiving financial support for carrying out the permanent repairs.
Cornwall Council Leader John Pollard said “I well remember the 1962 storms when the Prom was badly damaged. We face a similar situation but must take this opportunity to create a new and improved facility that is fit for the 21st Century. It is an opportunity but it will take time.
“Meanwhile we are making things safe, doing temporary repairs so the area can be open for Easter and working to ensure that the Government gives us the monies required to put things right.”