BUSINESSES and fishermen have criticised the time it has taken to complete work on a major £882,000 project to regenerate Newquay’s harbour.
Work aimed at transforming the area into one of Cornwall’s leading fishing ports was due to begin in October 2012, but was then pushed back to February 2013 and then by another three months due to funding complications.
The Marine Management Organisation (MMO), which handles the release of money from the European Fisheries Funding, had unexpectedly demanded details on tender arrangements before the cash could be handed over.
After work finally began in May last year, the expected six-month project was supposed to have been completed by Christmas, but work isn’t set to be finished until May.
Delays to the project – jointly funded by the European Fisheries Fund and Cornwall Council’s Seaside Towns Programme – have had a “massive” effect on Newquay Rowing Club and café.
“It’s affected the rowing club and quay café massively, after all, nobody wants to sit next to a building site,” Kate Poole of the rowing club said.
“All round it has not worked very well, for some reason the huts will be smaller than before and many people are unhappy that no local contractors were used.
“There is no doubting the project will be beneficial to the harbour, but the constant delays and time it has taken to complete has had a huge effect on us, and quite frankly we can’t wait for it all to end.”
Newquay is the largest shellfish port on the north coast, and the new development is expected to bring a great improvement in shore side working conditions for fishermen and boost tourism.
News that construction work is nearly complete will be a huge relief to the town’s fishing community, which has struggled with dilapidated facilities since a fire destroyed storage sheds in 2009.
Until now, fishermen have been using temporary storage containers dumped in the harbour car park. A purpose-built building, called the Treffry Centre, will replace the burnt down storage facilities, and will also provide office and training space.
However, frustrated fisherman Phil Trebilcock said the project should have been completed 12 months ago.
“It’s been dragging on to say the least- the place has been a building site for far too long,” Mr Trebilcock said.
“It should have been finished 12 months ago, there have been many different issues, we’ve had so many different dates, and hopefully the latest one, May, is finally the correct date.
“But it’s coming on, and hopefully we will be able to start using the facilities in June.”
An associated project to expand Newquay Rowing Club is expected to begin shortly after the harbour regeneration is complete.