Plea for help as ‘Doc Martin’s village’ in Cornwall ‘crumbles’

  • Watch retired fisherman John Brown talk to ITV News

Residents are warning that one of Cornwall's best known villages is at risk of flooding unless money is raised to repair a concrete breakwater.

The Harbour Commission in Port Isaac has set up a fundraiser to pay for repairs, which it says will be 'eye wateringly expensive'.

Port Isaac is a stunning part of Cornwall, perhaps best known as the place where filming for Doc Martin took place, but there are fears over its future if thousands can't be raised for works to protect not just the harbour, but the surrounding homes.

In recent years the commercial boats in Port Isaac have depleted from around ten to just two.

If there are no commercial boats left in the harbour there will be no one around to look after the infrastructure and the harbour commissioners say it will "be a matter of time" until the breakwaters fall in to disrepair.

With sea levels rising, the commissioners say if this were to happen the bottom of the village would be regularly flooded and become "unsustainable and uninsurable" for its residents.

John Brown, a retired fisherman and member of Fisherman's Friends said: "The harbour wall wears and tears and there's a big chunk out of it missing now apparently.

"If it does collapse then we could all be in flooding danger down here.

"The waves are massive - they will go right over the harbour wall that's there at the moment and then they will crash in.

"The waves will come up here about three feet high as it already is, let alone when those breakwaters aren't there to protect it."

Dugald Sproull, the chair of the commissioners, told the Guardian that the fishing industry in Port Isaac "has died a death" and that ultimately a lack of commercial boats means less money and care.

"The problem now is there are only two full-time commercial fishing boats left," he said. "We have lost half a dozen or more in the past few years, more by coincidence than anything else – people have got old or had an accident with a lobster pot or whatever. The fishing is going down the pan."

Port Isaac

In their heartfelt appeal for help to raise the necessary funds, the commissioners say: "We love our village, and we love our harbour, as I'm sure many of you reading this do. That's why we are asking for your help.

"The Harbour is going to struggle going into the future with only two boats to support the infrastructure. There is currently a large chunk of concrete that has come off the outside of the eastern breakwater.

The harbour commission is getting a survey done with the view to it be repaired; the estimated cost is eye watering."

It continued: "I do believe if we can keep global warming at bay we will have a future as a fishing port but it will take time. In the lean period the harbour and the remaining boats will need support from the village and lovers of Port Isaac, if it wants to have a harbour inthe future.

"This is just one example of a major problem in the harbour at present, there are also many others that need our urgent attention.

"We would love to have the opportunity to carry out repairs on our fish cellars so they can be used for years to come - these date back to the 16th century and are crying out for some attention as expected by now.

"There is also a pathway leading down to the breakwaters which has been severely damaged by storms over recent years which we would love to repair.

"Your support would mean everything to this tiny corner of Cornwall and would benefit every local, holiday maker, business owner and Port Isaac lover alike. We are eternally grateful for anything you might be able to contribute and would like to thank you so much on behalf of all of the Port Isaac Harbour commissioners."

A GoFundMe page set up by Port Isaac Harbour Commissioners has raised £33,561 of its £40,000 goal in mere days after its launch.

Donations can be made via the GoFundMe page.