Harbour Master to report
The Chair introduced a representative from Ilfracombe Town Council to the Board members and asked him to provide an update on solutions being considered to help address the Quay Road congestion issue.
The representative from Ilfracombe Town Council gave the Board members the following update:
· Due to social distancing requirements whereby more space was needed for pedestrians passing each other on the pavement. Access difficulties were identified as caused by the placing of advertising ‘A’ boards on the pavements by businesses. Following several near misses between pedestrians and vehicles along Quay Road and complaints received from visitors to the area it was the aspiration of the Town Council to rectify the problems. Higher volumes of visitors in cars caused congestion along the road and it was expected visitor numbers would be just as high this coming summer 2021
· Several solutions had been considered but rejected such as a traffic light system which would cause backlogs along St. James road
· Traffic calming measures were to be trialled, this would mean the shortening of or complete removal of the loading bay areas along Quay Road, widening certain areas for passing and the use of placing large planters to make the space a shared space, for pedestrians and vehicles. The creation of the shared spaces would give pedestrians safe points to step off the pavement to allow distancing for passers-by without stepping into the pathway of oncoming vehicles
· There would be clear signage for cars making them more mindful of pedestrians and the blockades would reduce cars ability to speed down Quay Road
· The blockades would be temporary to monitor how well the solution worked, if it was not working it could easily be removed elsewhere
· If Traders were happy and the scheme worked it was hoped funding could be sought for more permanent structures for a longer term solution
In relation to a question about whether advertising space could be sold on the sides of the planters. The representative of Ilfracombe Town Council advised that he thought this could be a possibility. The obstruction of ‘A’ boards could then be mitigated.
Councillor Wilkinson added that this method of barriers to create a shared space worked well in Woolacombe and aided social distancing.
The Chair thanked the representative from Ilfracombe Town Council for his update.
The Harbour Master provided the Board members with the following updates in relation to Future Projects:
· The Harbour Master had been approached by a ferry operator using electric/diesel/hydrogen hybrid ferries to bring business to Ilfracombe as a Smart Port. The Marine Business Technology Centre (MBTC) were in the process of applying for funds for constructing a marine digital platform suite using a 5G network. The proposal was to digitally twin Ilfracombe Harbour with the Town to create a small smart port platform as part of the pioneering project first set up in Plymouth Sound. An expression of interest was needed from Ilfracombe Harbour and the Harbour Master hoped that the Board members would support her in registering their interest. There was no cost involved as it was part of a test project
All the Board members expressed their support of an expression of interest being made.
The Head of Resources updated the Board in relation to the Water Sports Centre development. Tenders for the works were due in at the end of this week, as there had been a lot of clarification questions from Contractors it was hoped there were some tender submissions to come forward.
The Harbour Master continued with her update of future projects to the Board members as follows:
· A meeting had taken place with the Harbour Master, the MP for Devon, Senior Economic Development Officer at North Devon Council and the Chair of the North Devon Fishing Associations to discuss the new funding being launched that would replace the Maritime Fisheries Fund. The new Fishing Infrastructure Fund was a £100 million funding opportunity of which, it was hoped, Ilfracombe could apply for £300,000 towards the Cove area plans
· The Pier gate project was progressing with its tender specification, the relocation of the Pleasure grounds and Pier archway. Once completed external funding could be sought. All stakeholders had been kept up to date of progress and were aware that this would not be completed before March 2021