At this time of year, the road along the Harbourside in Porthleven is normally choc a bloc with visitors and traffic.
And now to ease the congestion the road has had new yellow lines painted : they are fake, but don’t tell the tourists!
The ingenious DIY traffic scheme has appeared after the landowners said they had to do something by themselves to improve safety, as the Highways Agency were being slow to react.
But now a row has erupted in the village over the legitimacy of the lines and local Councillor Andrew Wallis says it has just ended in more chaos.
The road in question, outside the Harbour Inn on Commercial Road Porthleven is a private road – in fact the whole harbourside is owned by a private company, The Porthleven Harbour & Dock Company – and they have now taken the law into their own hands, by spending £25,000 on ‘road enhancements’ that they say make the road much safer, and will prevent an accident.
“It’s traffic calming . We had the sleeping policemen in there before and people kept falling over them and everything else, so we had to remove them” Phil Ward, Porthleven Harbour Master told Cornish Stuff today
“When we removed them we got Highways in and asked their opinion on it, to see what would be best to put in as a replacement but they wouldn’t commit to anything
So we looked it again ourselves and said the only way we could do something is to put a pathway right passed the pub to protect the public coming out of the pub, then put an island each end to restrict the parking in front of the pub and send everybody to the opposite side, by the wall”
To make that work we’ve got to keep the side of the road where the yellow lines are clear, so a car can pass. So it’s single file traffic passed the pub, they give way to each other coming through but you’ve got to have a clear road for it to work”
“So we said right, we’ll put yellow lines down there, we can’t enforce it, but if anybody new to the village sees yellow lines there, they will not park on it. Which I wouldn’t do if I went to a strange village and seen yellow lines, I wouldn’t be parking on them”
The Harbour Master claimed that two cars could still pass in front of the pub if needed but there’s now an island each end to slow the traffic to 20mph through that area and 65m of yellow lines will restrict the parking. “But yes,” Mr Ward admitted “they are just a deterrent”
But now popular Porthleven councillor, Andrew Wallis has waded into the argument.
“The recent changes and the introduction of Yellow Lines are leaving residents and visitors confused and annoyed. Therefore, I want to clarify the legality of those lines” he said this weekend.
“In simple terms, the Yellow Lines on Commercial Rd are not legal, and have no legal standing and no enforcement can take place by official Civil Enforcement Officers, the Police, or anyone else”.
Although Commercial Rd is a private road, it is under still under Highways legislation as it has full public access both pedestrian and vehicular, says Cllr Wallis. “Therefore, the owner of the land cannot just do anything and any changes like adding Yellow Lines have to follow legislation.”
“It’s more chaos now. Harbour and Dock have been advised by myself and Cornwall Council of the correct procedures” Cllr Wallis said “The council has said no such work should take place until the proper processes have been undertaken. In fact, Highways wrote to the Harbour and Dock asking for all work to stop until this matter had been resolved legally. The Harbour and Dock ignored this advice.
I have been speaking to Highways on this matter for several weeks and only last Friday, they still were not happy with the work that has been undertaken. If the Harbour and Dock had engaged with the statutory highways agency, they would have advised the best course of action which would have avoided the chaos that is now happening along this road. Pedestrian and vehicle safety could have been improved by doing this properly
Of course, the Council can take legal action against the Harbour and Dock, but this would cost tax-payers a considerable amount of money”
The Porthleven Harbour & Dock Company will have been owned by The Trevor Osborne Property Group for 40 years in 2017.
The company say they are investing £25,000 to make these necessary improvements which will “benefit both residents and visitors to the village”.
The width of the road outside the pub, which you have to cross to get to the quayside beer garden, has been reduced by installing the pavements.
“With our continued programme of works in and around the harbour, we aim to maintain the historic buildings, improve and add to the existing infrastructure to the benefit of the local economy” says a statement on their site.
A Porthleven resident we spoke to today (who asked not to be named) said
“For what it’s worth, I think it is so much better, no cars parked, easier to walk, people coming out of the pub now go on a pavement not straight on the road. I’ve seen so many people nearly knocked over. With the ramps, there’s easy access to the pub with a wheel chair, no more trying to avoid traffic while turning the wheelchair round with the pusher in the road and a step up into the pub”
The DIY roadworks finished a couple of weeks ago, Habour Master Phil Ward told us, and even if the council told them to remove the new layout The Harbour and Dock would contest it, as it is a private road, and they say, the scheme is working.
“If we didn’t do something by it, and someone got run over or knocked down then they would be saying ‘Oh it’s a private road, Trevor Osborne should have done something about it” Harbour Master Phil Ward claimed today.
“We couldn’t get any joy from Highways and as for Andy Wallis saying that he notified Highways, yes he did,. They sent an email over to the office saying you should stop work but we’d committed at the time for this company to come in and do this work , so we carried on with it
They was saying that Highways had told us to stop the work but Highways hadn’t even turned up on site to look at what we’ve done, or anything else. If they were that concerned about it they would’ve been here within hours, not weeks!”
The Habour Master said the yellow lines were here to stay “Yes we are going to keep them. It’s a private road and it’s worked. Nobody’s parking there now.
It’s only local people saying you got no power, they are going to park there still but that’s just being obstinate and awkward, to my way of looking
At least the girls who work in the pub can cross the road with their plates and not get run over, the public can walk out of the public bar and there’s a footpath in front of them”
“The brewery (St Austell) are delighted with it” claimed Mr Ward
Future projects of the Harbour & Dock Company include new shops and apartments, a 35 bedroom Harbourside Hotel, a contemporary luxury home and the restoration of a number of listed buildings on the harbourside.