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Penzance Promenade

Mounts Bay

Cormac carried out major repairs to Newlyn Green, Penzance promenade and the sea wall after they suffered massive storm damage. We then designed and built a regeneration project to restore the Victorian walkway to its former glory.

Storm Battering

Repairing the damage

In 2014, Cornwall Council employed Cormac to repair storm damage to Newlyn Green. Cormac designed and built the whole scheme within five months! 'It all had to be completed in time for the Newlyn Fish Festival on the August Bank Holiday' remembers Andrew Berryman, Contracts Manager. ‘two thousand cubic metres of marine concrete was used to repair the damaged sea walls, and the project was completed with two days to spare’. 

Penzance Promenade is a two and a half mile stretch of concrete promenade, that runs from Jubilee Pool to Newlyn Green. The promenade was built a hundred and eighty years ago, and it has borne the brunt of storms, and the attrition of the sea over the years. But it was the storms in 2014 that became the tipping point.

Massive boulders, some weighing as much as ten tonnes, were thrown from the rock armour sea defence on the beach, and flung onto the promenade by the storms – smashing the paving slabs, railings and concrete structure.

In 2015, Cornwall Council employed Cormac to repair the upper and lower sections of the promenade sea defence. Two hundred and eighty giant granite boulders had to be winched back into place on the lower tier of the promenade. Our teams cleaned the remaining foundations, laid a bed of concrete and fixed the granite back into place, to reinstate the sea defence.

 

 

Revival and Regeneration

Building resilience for the future

The repairs and regeneration of the Penzance promenade had its challenges.

Around six and a half thousand square metres of promenade were resurfaced, using one thousand four hundred cubic metres of marine concrete. A specially developed dye was mixed into the concrete, so that if it becomes worn or chipped, it will not fade. This allows for the resurfacing to be low-maintenance and highly resilient against weathering (and storm battering).

Our design team worked with local schools and residents to understand and discuss the promenade’s place within the community. The team then designed brass inlay features from pictures drawn by local school children, which were then fixed to the new concrete surface. The designs on the promenade also included footprints of dance steps, swimmers, and the Lunar Cycle. Eighteen new flagpoles, sculptural concrete pebble seats and aluminium benches were also installed. The entire regeneration was completed just in time for Penzance to host the Tour of Britain Grand Depart, in September 2021. 

 

 

Environment Matters

Protecting the locals and the landscape

The noise levels throughout the custruction were the most contentious issues for nearby hotels and residents during the construction works. ‘I was visiting weekly or bi-weekly,’ says Environmental Technical Officer Zoe Hilditch, ‘Monitoring while they were working, making sure we stayed within the guidelines we had set with the local community.’

Careful management is required when concreting beside the sea. ‘I was also monitoring the methods of work, to ensure they were in keeping with our environmental management plan,’ says Zoe.  ‘Which they were… Considering how messy an operation it was, we had no issues in that respect.’

Scaffold protection was installed and lined to prevent any splashback beyond the area that was being concreted. We also used a concrete pump to accurately direct the concrete into the areas being filled. ‘It was very controlled and very clean,’ says Zoe, ‘The concrete washout was taking place at the Long Rock depot up the road, in order to limit the risk of pollution.’

Damaged concrete and paving slabs were also removed from site and crushed down to form base material for other projects such as the West Cornwall cycle path scheme.

 

Success

Local and national recognition

The regenerated promenade was completed in time to host the “Grand Depart” of the UK’s largest bike race, The Tour of Britain in 2021. The project has since paved the way for further waterfront projects, including the regeneration of Penzance Harbour, and the town becoming part of the Sustainable Travel Network scheme. The Sustainable Travel Network scheme aims to transform travel in and around Penzance and create a fully sustainable network of safe and accessible walking and cycling paths, along with functional green and open urban spaces.

Cormac’s regeneration of the promenade, Jubilee Pool and £3.7m coastal sea defence project along the shore of Mounts Bay, all contributed to Penzance winning The Great Town Award in the 2020 Urbanisation Awards. In 2022, Cormac’s refurbishment of Penzance’s Victorian Promenade claimed the Landscape and Project of the Year Award at the prestigious UK Concrete Society Awards. Our commitment to environmentally sound construction, working with local sub-contractors, on community facing projects, is a key part of the project’s success.

 

  • Icons 07

    280

    New Granite Boulders to Protect Against the Sea

  • Icons 06

    6

    Kilometres Squared of Promenade Regenerated

  • Icons 15

    6500

    Square Metres of Promenade Resurfaced

  • Heritage is a major aspect within the overall environment programme. Much like biodiversity, we try to incorporate heritage considerations into any design we do.

    Richard Keast

    Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service

  • We had lined scaffold protection up the side to keep any splashback within the area that they were concreting. We also used a concrete pump to direct the concrete right into the areas that we were filling. It was very controlled and very clean.

    Zoe Hilditch

  • You can’t underestimate the power of the sea. To think that it is able to pick up a ten tonne boulder that’s actually fixed onto the structure, lift it up and throw it onto the top of the prom... It’s incredible.

    Andrew Berryman

    Senior Contracts Manager, Cormac

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