Application for Waterside Meadery in Penzance to be demolished

However, they have described it as a “half-baked idea” that would result in closing a thriving business and the loss of jobs.

Cornwall Council Harbours has put in an application for the Waterside Meadery in Penzance to be demolished and resurface West Quay to create an off-road HGV waiting area as part of the modernisation of Penzance harbour.

The project is part of the wider economic regeneration of the town and is funded by the Government through the Town Deal fund. The demolition of the meadery building, which is owned by Cornwall Council Harbours, will allow for off-road space for HGVs to park up and unload their cargo. A planning statement says this will reduce congestion on the quay caused by waiting HGVs.

The Waterside’s owner says demolition of the popular meadery could lead to the loss of 27 jobs and hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of trade for businesses in the area which supply the restaurant. A petition to save the meadery has been signed by 11,000 people.

Waterside Meadery was started by Robin Smith in 1970, who says regular customers have been eating at the restaurant with their families for 30 to 40 years.

“It is part of Penzance life now,” he said. “I am disgusted that a council can do this to a restaurant that has been in business for over 50 years and has paid hundreds of thousands of pounds in rent and rates and millions into the local economy for supplies, not to mention the 27 jobs that will be lost because of this.”

Falmouth Packet: A photograph showing the congestion which the plan, including the demolition of the meadery, is aiming to stop (Pic: Poynton Bradbury Wynter Cole Architects)A photograph showing the congestion which the plan, including the demolition of the meadery, is aiming to stop (Pic: Poynton Bradbury Wynter Cole Architects)

The business is now run by his daughter Emily Stephens and her husband Jon. She said of the demolition application, which was submitted on March 5: “We’re very disappointed. I’m not against development, but do it right.

“To knock down a thriving business for what is effectively a car park, which won’t house as many vehicles as they would like to, and which won’t absolutely clear the congestion there, just seems a shame.

“The original plans were to clear that whole quay and have a purpose-built freight shed. As much as I didn’t like it, that would have worked.

“Now they’re saying they don’t have the funds, so they’re knocking us down and the derelict Boston Shed at the other end, but they’re leaving the green dilapidated sheds in the middle, so it makes a kind of mockery of the development.

“I’m against a half-baked idea and I’m against closing a thriving business and the loss of jobs for the sake of the removal of perhaps two artics and six vans.”


A plan showing the work including the site of the demolished meadery (Pic: Poynton Bradbury Wynter Cole Architects)

A plan showing the work including the site of the demolished meadery (Pic: Poynton Bradbury Wynter Cole Architects)


Mrs Stephens added: “Yes, it’s legal. Yes, we have a break clause in our lease. We’re aware of all these things that people throw in our faces. We are just saying that morally, the loss of jobs and the knock-on effect to other businesses that we buy from is enormous. One business alone stands to lose £50,000 a year.

“I’m not stamping my feet saying ‘it’s not fair’ as I knew it would come in time, but I wanted it to come for the right reasons. The community have spoken and they’ve been ignored.”

Her husband said: “You see all the time about hospitality businesses in crisis, but we’re busy. We’re a thriving business and employ 27 people all year round. They want to close that. The recompense we’re getting won’t even cover half of our costs.

“The council are saying they’re actively helping us find somewhere. They’re not. They’re suggesting premises that could be available, that’s about it.”

Mrs Stephens added: “The only support is that we have the chance of getting an enterprise grant, which will be match funded by the compensation. However, we still need to be able to fund getting a property. Without having a property we can’t get that grant.

“I’ve been trying to contact all the powers that be for over a week and I’m desperately trying to get it all tied up and no one’s helping me. It feels a little bit like we’ve had our notice and that’s the end of it.”

Falmouth Packet: An aerial view of Penzance HarbourAn aerial view of Penzance Harbour (Image: Cornwall Council)

Derek Thomas, MP for the town, said last year: “The implication for the Waterside Meadery has been a concern for a while and I’ve been in discussion with the proprietors to try to understand how this vibrant business can be supported.

“I accept that reconfiguring the harbour area as proposed is a necessary step. The fundamental issue is managing vehicle movements safely on this section of road and members of the Towns Fund Board (of which I am one) have committed to helping the business to identify a suitable alternative location. I’ve also pressed the Harbour Authority to come up with a more helpful financial settlement in recognition of the costs of relocating.

“The Waterside Meadery is a successful business because of the proprietors and their long-serving staff so the time between now and when the development work starts must be spent identifying a suitable venue for the business. If this can be done, I’m certain the business can thrive ensuring jobs are created rather than lost.”

Cornwall Council has been contacted for comment.

Falmouth Packet | News