Plans to transform Sutton Harbour withdrawn in face of protest
DRAMATIC plans to transform Plymouth's historic Sutton Harbour have been withdrawn.
Proposals to create a new boardwalk featuring restaurants, shops and cafes were met with fierce local opposition when they were unveiled last month. The £4million boardwalk scheme was intended as the first phase of a major project to redevelop the harbour.
A spokesman for Sutton Harbour Holdings said yesterday that the company was looking at how it could refine the boardwalk proposals after discussions with the city council and English Heritage.
Sutton Harbour says it will submit details of a revised scheme soon.
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Jason Schofield, the chief executive, said: "We are committed to delivering the boardwalk project which will bring a wide range of social and economic benefits to the harbour and we will be bringing forward a revised scheme shortly.
"We want to ensure that we strike the right balance between increasing the vitality of Sutton Harbour and respecting the harbour's historic setting, and with that in mind we are working very closely with English Heritage on refining our proposals."
The boardwalk project was part of Sutton Harbour Holdings' £75million masterplan to promote the harbour as a national destination.
It outlined new restaurants, cafés, shops, offices and apartments on underused sites around the harbour. The company said it would create a waterside destination to rival the likes of Albert Dock in Liverpool and St Katharine Docks in the City of London.
The first project from the masterplan, a new environmentally friendly café called 'the real food kitchen', to be built on Quay Point, was approved by Plymouth City Council last week and will create five jobs when it opens later this year.
The boardwalk was intended to be a free-standing timber structure on steel and concrete legs. It would run from the Three Crowns pub along Vauxhall Quay towards the Sutton Harbour Marina, linking Guys Quay and Vauxhall Quay for the first time. It would hold three buildings made up of 20,000sq ft of space for a mixture of shops and restaurants.
Local objectors branded the project a "profiteering exercise" that would destroy the heritage of the area.
The Action Group for Sutton Harbour (AGSH), which was formed to fight a previous application in 2006, raised a number of "serious concerns" about the proposals.
Chairman Ben Sanders had claimed the land beneath the harbour was contaminated.
Reacting to the news last night, he told The Herald: "The action group are both delighted and relieved by the withdrawal.
"We hope that any future applications will seek to preserve the heritage and surrounding area of outstanding natural beauty."
Dave Cuthbert, chairman of the Plymouth Fisherman's Association, had previously told The Herald that the fishing community was concerned about loss of space to tie up and dry boats.