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Chancellor gets masterclass on Falmouth's masterplan

By West Briton  |  Posted: August 25, 2011

From left, Peter Childs; Mark Samson; councillor Chris Ridgers; Chancellor George Osborne; Sarah Newton, MP; and Mike Reynolds.

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THE CHANCELLOR of the Exchequer got to hear the importance of the Port of Falmouth masterplan during his visit to the region.

Representatives from some of the organisations involved in the masterplan met with George Osborne while he was across the water in St Mawes.

They presented him with a copy of the plans and discussed the implications on jobs and the economy.

Peter Childs, managing director of A&P, which runs the dockyard, and Mike Reynolds, ports operation manager, Captain Mark Sansom, harbour master and chief executive of the Falmouth Harbour Commissioners, and Cornwall councillor Chris Ridgers all spoke with the Chancellor.

Their aim at the private meeting was to try to convince Mr Osborne of the economic benefits of the masterplan.

Mr Sansom said: "Given the Government's focus on private-sector-led growth, the meeting was a good opportunity to explain how the masterplan could benefit local businesses and the new jobs that could accrue through its delivery.

"We explained how the public and private sector are working on a shared vision that aims to create high-quality employment opportunities and develop Cornwall's marine economy, and we felt it was a valuable meeting."

Mr Ridgers said: "Falmouth is blessed with one of the deepest natural harbours in Europe but we need to be able to dredge the approach channel to secure and create hundreds of jobs and bring huge economic benefits to the community."

The proposals, which centre on Falmouth Docks, set out projects for the next five years, as well as for the longer term.

One of the main issues highlighted by the study is the need to dredge the channel into Falmouth Docks, to safeguard the existing and future businesses.

Revised plans for the dredging are currently with the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), which has expressed concern over the effects of dredging on algae in the harbour.

It is a project between A&P Falmouth, Falmouth Harbour Commissioners, Cornwall Council, South West Regional Development Agency, Cornwall Enterprise, Falmouth Petroleum, Cornwall Development Company and the Government Office for the South West.

Falmouth and Truro MP Sarah Newton, who also attended the meeting, said: "I feel that by seeing first-hand the site of the plans as well as meeting with key members of the team, will help to strengthen the case for the plan going ahead and will increase our chances of success.

"It is absolutely vital to securing the future economic prosperity of Falmouth that this plan is given the green light."

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