Cornwall planning: End is nigh for 'iconic' restaurant loved by generations of diners

The Waterside Meadery at Penzance harbour, which will have to be demolished when a new harbour development takes place
The Waterside Meadery at Penzance harbour, which will have to be demolished when a new harbour development takes place -Credit:Greg Martin

The end is nigh for one of the oldest restaurants in Cornwall, which is loved by generations of diners. A Cornwall Council planning committee will decide next week if the popular meadery will have to be demolished.

As part of redevelopment plans for Penzance harbour, planning permission is being sought to demolish the Waterside Meadery on the town's seafront, which has been in operation since 1970. The council's planning department is recommending that the west sub-area planning committee approves the plans despite 12,500 people signing a petition calling for the restaurant to be saved.

Once demolished, the area would be resurfaced to form an off-road HGV waiting area in a bid to stop lorries queuing on the main road. The development would also include changes to an adjacent freight shed. The application is one of several which have been/are due to be submitted in respect of a larger, overall redevelopment of the harbour, informed by the Penzance Harbour Management Plan.

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The area's Cornwall Councillor Jim McKenna asked for the matter to be decided by committee - instead of council planning officer through what are called delegated powers - "owing to the loss of a locally significant business and building which is not outweighed by the proposed development". Penzance Town Council has also objected on the grounds that development would result in the loss of a "non-designated heritage asset".

Over 50 members of the public have taken to the council's online planning register to oppose the plan to get rid of the meadery. Andrew Hill wrote: "I work for Brian Etherington Meat Company. Directors, management and staff are astounded at the proposal to demolish this beautiful building and remove a wonderful eatery. Many of our staff have had wonderful nights out here.

"Also as a business, this is another restaurant that we supply that will affect another Cornish business with 80 employees. We have supplied the meadery for many years and it is a go-to place when you're in Newlyn/Penzance. Brian Etherington and its 80-strong employees strongly object."

Brian Wills commented: "I would like to raise my objection to the demolishing of the iconic Waterside Meadery to make way for a car park to accommodate HGV lorries. The car park being proposed will not solve the issue of queuing lorries due to its small size.

"Demolishing a thriving business that employs local people, uses local businesses for their supplies and services and brings people into the local area cannot reasonably be seen as helping to regenerate the area."

A planning report notes: "Whilst the concerns of the local residents, town council and electoral division member are certainly understood, it is considered that the economic, social and environmental benefits of the proposal in terms of improving harbour operations and the functionality of the local highway network would outweigh the loss of the longstanding business."

It adds that Penzance Harbour has suffered from decades of under-investment and vital quayside space is currently occupied by the meadery building when there are thousands of square feet of vacant retail space in the nearby Wharfside Centre and Penzance town centre.

The planning committee will make a decision at its meeting on Tuesday, May 28 at County Hall / Lys Kernow in Truro.