Oyster Farm Update

Chris Gregory, the Duchy Land Steward, has sent us this update on the Oyster Farm:

Plans for the re-opening of the Helford oysterage continue apace. The Duchy have selected Tristan Hugh-Jones as their preferred new lessee and are now working to conclude details for the new lease agreement. Tristan was born on his family oyster farm, where the main focus was to breed and grow native oysters, using ponds for breeding the young spat. He has worked with oysters for over 20 years, both on the farm in Ireland, and also setting up tanks in London for distribution. He now lives in Penberth, near Penzance, with his wife Vickie and four young children. He is delighted that this opportunity to revive a native oyster bed is possible, and at last, close to home!

Tristan will be farming native oysters using traditional cultivation techniques, with the oysters being grown directly on the seabed. Oysters and other shellfish will still be processed from the depot at Port Navas but on a much reduced scale compared with the previous lessee and we are confident that the new enterprise will sit comfortably with the continued use of the quay by the community, under the terms of the agreement that the Duchy has with the Village Hall Committee.

Potentially our greatest challenge concerns the depot building itself. Sadly two engineers have now advised that the building is beyond economic repair and we are therefore having to consider demolishing the existing structure and replacing it. Plans for this have been prepared and an application for planning permission has recently been submitted to Cornwall Council. The full details of the proposals will be sent to Constantine Parish Council in the usual way and they will of course be available to view on line through the Cornwall Council planning portal. We have tried to introduce as few changes to the design of the current building as possible. The most significant addition is the inclusion of a small managers flat under the eves on the first floor, which will provide on- site accommodation and will, we feel, provide for better overall management of the site.

Alongside the planning application, we are also assembling a funding package and if all these pieces come together, we would look to start construction in the early part of 2019. We look forward to updating this post when we have news of the progress of the planning application.

Port Navas Oyster Farm – Proposed elevations
Click to enlarge