Planning proposals for a new building at Porthleven’s Shipyard continue to divide public opinion, with the number of opponents outnumbering supporters on the council’s planning portal.
Porthleven mayor Andrew Wallis commissioned an architect to draw the building at scale which triggered an angry response from local residents on social media.
Most complainants believe the proposed building does not fit in with the surroundings and are disappointed the structure will end its current use as a shipyard.
Porthleven is a historic fishing port and I feel it will be a tragedy if this was to come to an end. Although the town has seen many changes in recent years which has improved the area and helped to create an unrivalled foodie destination, and home to some of the finest restaurants in the county.
However, the question does need to be asked about when enough is enough and whether further development would diminish rather than enhance the area?
It goes without saying that the opinions of those who live in the town should be respected, as many have roots that can be traced back generations. I imagine many people feel an obligation to pass it on intact for future generations to enjoy.
After listening to local opinions and reading online comments, it seems most people are arguing about the style of any proposed development in the shipyard, yet I question if any development needs to happen at all? We are not obliged to build on every square inch of land and it is perfectly acceptable to leave some areas undeveloped.
Supporters have pointed out that the area is run down so any development would be an improvement. However, it’s worth remembering that if the land is in a poor state of repair the landlord is able to enhance the site without building on it.
One solution could be for the current boat yard to incorporate a boat building facility and create a place for boat and engine repairs, plus the addition of a chandlery.
My fear for any new development is that if a mistake is made it cannot be undone. Once the shipyard is lost it will never be recovered.