Complaints about the proposed use of an area of benches next to the fishermen’s lodges on The Wharf for boat trip ticket sellers have prompted the town council to release a statement.

Photograph: Pixabay/gordonray99

The council, Cornwall Council, and St Ives BID have received lots of compliants, and there have been rumblings on social media. The boatmen usually operate from the highway by the harbour, but this has been stopped this summer for health and safety reason related to the Covid pandemic.

The council says it “has been working with the harbour master, Cornwall Council, and the two associations (the Skippers’ Association and the Boatmen’s Association) for many months to try to find ways for them to trade without causing an obstruction to the highway.

“We have worked tirelessly to explore the options with land at the harbour and the Wharf, which is owned and managed by several different organisations. It is extremely disheartening that a solution cannot be found which is acceptable to all – or apparently any — party, including West Pier.”

Separating the ticket sellers between two sites was a possible solution which was considered. But this has resulted in concerns from local residents and the strength of feeling this generated is recognised and acknowledged. The partners to the emergency plan have listened to residents’ views, and without the support of local people and the boatmen themselves, the suggestion cannot be pursued.

“However, it is also disappointing that during the campaign a number of statements have been made which are untrue,” says the council, “including that this was to be a permanent solution — in fact it was just some of the benches for the summer months.

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“Nor is this about favouring visitors over residents. It is local people (lives and businesses) who stand to lose most if there is a second outbreak in Cornwall and the safety plan is an attempt by public bodies to prevent this as far as possible.”

The town council, Cornwall Council, and the harbour master are committed to working with others, who wish to find a solution to this in the future. But this is unlikely to occur this summer.

The statement concludes: “Businesses of all kinds are expected to operate safely and follow all government guidance. This includes not obstructing the highway and affecting pedestrian flows, being respectful to neighbouring businesses, and taking steps for people not to raise their voices or shout.

“In addition, the concessions proposed by government for some relaxation to trade through pavement licences only apply to restaurants, bars and cafés, not other services.

“Cornwall Council’s enforcement team have identified St Ives as a potential hotspot and they will be carrying out pro-active enforcement visits and will be responding to issues which breach these guidelines. We sincerely hope and urge that businesses and residents will follow sensible advice and all try to play their part in keeping our town safe.”