IT has been announced that an alternative proposal for protecting Looe from flooding put forward by the Save the Banjo Pier group will not be taken forward to the next stage of the Looe Flood Defence and Regeneration scheme following a three-month investigation.

It was found that the proposed scheme did not meet the required viability tests and struggled to meet safety requirements.

Martyn Alvey, Cornwall Council’s portfolio holder for environment and climate Change, explained: "We have worked closely with the Save Banjo Pier (SBP) group to assess their option and would like to thank members of the group for the positive way in which they have engaged with us.

"Unfortunately, the analysis has shown that the SBP option does not meet the required viability criteria and so will not be taken forward to the next stage.

“This means that work will focus on developing the Outline Business Case based on the shortlisted Tidal Barrier with Breakwaters and the Tidal Barrier only options which will deliver the aims of the scheme.  This is currently due to be submitted to the Government in the Spring.

“We recognise that the SBP group will be disappointed by this outcome. However, we hope that they will work with us to develop and support the business case and help to secure the funding needed to protect Looe from increased flooding over the next 50 to 100 years and promote economic growth in the town and the wider East Cornwall area. “

While the key aim of the Flood Defence scheme is to protect Looe from frequent and severe flooding for the next 50 to 100 years, the scheme also needs to demonstrate how the preferred option will promote economic growth. Making the economic regeneration case will be vital to securing the funding needed to deliver the scheme.

Seven potential options for delivering the aims of the Flood Defence and Regeneration scheme were presented at the public engagement events in June and July 2023. The top two options selected by the community were the Tidal Barrier with Breakwaters and the Tidal Barrier only option.

Immediately prior to the engagement events, however, a petition opposing these options and putting forward an alternative option was created by the Save Banjo Pier (SBP) group.  

Aimed primarily at protecting Banjo Pier, the proposed SBP scheme involves constructing a smaller breakwater at the mouth of the river and a low-level flood wall throughout both sides of the town. The walls stop around Looe Bridge. The option includes a West Looe pathway extension to the new breakwater and Hannafore, which is a popular feature of the Tidal barrier and Breakwaters option. 

As each of the other options had already been assessed against a range of technical, economic and environmental criteria, it was agreed that the Save Banjo Pier proposal needed to be assessed using the same criteria to see if it was safe and viable before a more detailed assessment was carried out.