The applicant behind a plan to site a 20ft shipping container, selling seafood, on the quay at Porthleven harbour has defended the proposal after concerns were raised by a local association of fishermen and boat owners.

Porthleven Harbour & Dock Company has applied to Cornwall Council’s planning department to site the container – which is occupied by Dan Dan The Lobster Man – on Fisherman’s Quay on the west side of the harbour known as Breageside, which forms part of the Grade II listed Porthleven harbour walls.

The company, which has owned Porthleven Harbour and surrounding buildings since 1977, says the purpose is to provide an outlet for the sale of lobster and other seafood, caught locally by Daniel Gilbert and other fishermen, and for the catch to be purchased at a higher price direct from the quayside to assist with the sustainability of the local fishing trade.

A previous application was withdrawn after the applicant received a number of concerns from the committee of the Porthleven Fishermen’s & Boat Owners Association, an organisation set up for the conservation and preservation of the harbour and to protect the rights of its users. It raised concerns about the container taking up space and affecting use of the quay by others, its appearance and the drinking of alcohol on the quayside.

Porthleven Harbour & Dock Company responded via email in January to the points raised and offered to call a meeting to discuss in more detail, but said at the time of the re-submission of the application it had not received a response from the association.

The dock company argues that the quay remains a working space for the fishermen who have their dedicated storage areas and the entire quayside for their activities, with space available for boat maintenance.

“The small number of members that do use the quay were, seemingly, not limited in any way during 2023 when the container was operating. Cars are still able to drive on, storage areas are available, the icehouse is accessible, boats can moor alongside and all ladders are accessible,” the company has stated in its application.

“Drinking on the harbourside dates back centuries. The public is expected to take responsibility for their actions (and many do) when drinking and neither Porthleven Harbour & Dock Company nor anybody else can control how people behave under the influence of alcohol.

"There are already a number of venues on and around the harbourside, The Ship Inn and The Harbour Inn being the two largest, that serve alcohol all year around.

“We feel the shipping container is in keeping as this is typically the type of structure that is a regular fixture of ports in the UK and around the world. The idea is to make the building as recessive as possible and would disagree with the idea of cladding as the idea is to not make it a notable feature on the landscape.”

The applicant stated that if there were concerns about the container being displaced in extreme weather conditions, it could be bolted to the concrete base with appropriate fixings, the design of which would need to be decided by all parties.

For more information see application PA24/01935 on Cornwall Council’s planning portal, via its website.