IHBC Yearbook 2017

R E V I E W 29 be raised without risking instability and settlement. Adaptation can involve profound alteration. Flood resilience may be achieved by pressure grouting, or building an impermeable piled ‘cut-off’ wall against the historic walls and installing lock gates to complete the enclosure. This approach was used at Padstow where the Grade II inner harbour walls are now lined by an impermeable secondary structure on their seaward face. At Looe an outer harbour, tidal floodgate and cut-off wall have been proposed by Looe Harbour Commissioners. This scheme should also provide all-tide access for the fishing fleet and some townscape improvements. The survival of harbours with no adjacent community is less certain. Sustainable coastal engineering favours low impact ‘soft’ defences which work with natural change, including ‘managed retreat’. Hard sea defences are now known to contribute to coastal erosion and a review of the shoreline management plan for Cornwall (www.ciscag. org) indicates that resources are likely to be focussed on protecting coastal settlements rather than isolated coastal infrastructure. The marine environment presents a huge challenge for conservators, engineers and coastal managers and raises uncomfortable questions about the application of accepted conservation principles at the coast which are founded on the concept of reinforcing and ‘handing on’ heritage value. In attempting to articulate the significance of harbour settings, we need to be able to understand the historic fabric, context and setting and to make meaningful comparisons between sites. There is an urgent need for best-practice guidance on maintenance, adaptation and mitigation where partial or complete loss is anticipated and a need to engage more fully with harbour authorities, many of which are conservation bodies in their own right. A strong multi-disciplinary approach is vital in establishing strategies specific to the specialised marine environment. In the meantime, change at the coast continues apace. This article began with an examination of the historic evolution of harbour infrastructure: without its shelter and protection, many coastal settlements were untenable. For many, this remains the case. Further Information S Cork and N Chamberlain, Old Waterfront Walls , CIRIA/The Environment Agency, London, 2015 (http://bc-url.com/waterfront ) Fisher Associates, Ports and The Historic Environment , Lymington, 2014 (http://bc-url.com/ports ) Hilary Wyatt is an EPSRC-funded PhD candidate at the Welsh School of Architecture, where she is researching the sustainable conservation of marine infrastructure. Her professional practice includes conservation and design and building surveying. In 2016 she won the Gus Astley Award for her MSc dissertation on small-scale historic harbours.