Page last updated at 19:01 GMT, Thursday, 5 March 2009

Court blocks fishing jetty plans

Fishermen in Helford are looking for an easier way to land their catches

A residents' group has won a High Court battle to block plans to build a jetty for fishermen in a Cornish village.

The proposed jetty and access road was approved by the local council after fishermen said it would make it easier to land their catches in Helford.

However, numerous people, some of whom own second homes there, opposed the plan, claiming it would spoil Helford.

Now a judge has granted Helford Village Society orders quashing planning permission for the jetty and road.

Deputy Judge Michael Kay QC ruled there was a failure to have proper regard to "material considerations".

He said if the development was to go ahead, an equivalent area of shore should stop being used for fishing to compensate for a loss of natural habitat.

Community plan

The dispute arose when Manaccan Parish Council, owners of the existing jetty at Helford Point, applied for planning permission, backed by the Cadgwith, Helford and District Fishermen's Association.

Currently fisherman have to load their catch into punts and take them to the foreshore, where they are transferred into vehicles driven on to the beach.

Fisherman Chris Bean
Fishermen who are there 365 days a year working in very adverse conditions are being deprived of a way forward to modernisation
Chris Bean, fisherman

However, Helford Village Society believed the area would be adversely affected by the development and claimed it would harm local amenities and the environment.

Chris Bean, a fisherman leading the attempts to build the jetty, has in the past described most of the 150 society members as second home owners who spent a limited amount of time in Helford - listed as an area of outstanding natural beauty and of special scientific interest.

"They were quite happy to have a jetty and pontoon for the sailing club, which only operates six months of the year, but fishermen who are there 365 days a year working in very adverse conditions are being deprived of a way forward to modernisation," he said.

Society chairman Brian Tennant, chairman of Helford Village Society, welcomed the judge's ruling and said that the community now needed to move on.

"This is a good moment to start again and find a way forward for the fishermen that the local community as a whole can support," he said.

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