Boardwalk plan 'would damage harbour heritage'
A multi-million pound project to redevelop a historic harbour has been branded a "profiteering exercise" that would destroy the heritage of the area.
Sutton Harbour Holdings' (SHH) plan to build a waterside boardwalk linking Guys Quay and Vauxhall Quay in Plymouth, featuring new restaurants and shops, has been rejected by dozens of local residents and business owners.
The Action Group for Sutton Harbour (AGSH), which was formed to fight a previous application in 2006, has raised a number of "serious concerns" about the proposals.
SHH claims the project would boost visitor numbers and create jobs, but the campaigners have four main areas of concern – heritage and conservation; sustainability; environmental impact; and noise and antisocial behaviour.
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Their chairman Ben Sanders said: "We think this is a profiteering exercise and would be very detrimental should it be approved." Mr Sanders has written to Plymouth City Council's planning department, urging councillors to take the group's points on board.
He said: "The proposal neither enhances, complements or respects the surrounding areas and buildings.
"It is commonly acknowledged that an increasing number of business premises have become vacant in the past year.
"With that in mind, it is strongly felt that a planning application to build further restaurants and takeaway establishments cannot be sustainable, particularly given the current financial climate."
Mr Sanders claims the land beneath the harbour is contaminated, and says the application would lead to a rise in "late-night revellers".
He said: "Vauxhall Quay and North Quay is a predominantly residential area and the proposed development could indeed exacerbate the levels of crime and anti-social behaviour in the area." But Chief Executive of Sutton Harbour Holdings Jason Schofield said: "We are aware that our proposals have prompted some concerns, but we strongly believe that the boardwalk would make a hugely positive contribution to Plymouth's waterfront.
"It would act as a catalyst for the £75 million plan to transform Sutton Harbour into a national destination, which we launched to wide support last year and would also continue the harbour's evolution which has taken place over many centuries.
"We are trying to diversify and boost the city's visitor economy while creating much better pedestrian links to enable people to explore and appreciate the whole harbour as a major destination in the South West region.
"This part of Plymouth is rightly renowned for its maritime heritage and we have been careful to design a scheme which we believe respects and celebrates that heritage."