Cornwall Harbours Board has voted unanimously to approve the break-up of the historic Compton Castle boat on Truro’s Lemon Quay.

Board chairman Cllr Loic Rich made a stark case for the demolition at a board meeting on Thursday, saying: “There has been some pretty bad stuff happening on that boat recently; blue light services have been called there and the risk to emergency workers is very high.

“For me, any amount of money is worth preserving life because that’s how bad it is on that boat.”

The meeting at New County Hall/Lys Kernow heard that the paddle steamer - which has been on Lemon Quay for 42 years and is now in a poor condition - has been the centre of antisocial behaviour such as drug-taking, with paraphernalia including needles being found “scattered” across the deck.

The board discussed a plan to have the boat broken up at a cost of £200,000, split evenly between the Port of Truro authority’s reserve fund and the Truro Town Deal board, which is planning its own £1.5m renovation of Lemon Quay.

Truro harbourmaster Captain Mark Killingback said the Compton Castle had become a “pariah” in the city centre. “At many meetings, we have been getting difficult questions about what we’re doing to remove this focus of antisocial behaviour,” he added.

“It’s a real eyesore and I think the time has come for the vessel to go and the site to be tidied up in line with the Town Deal project.”

The question of why it will cost so much, and why boat owner Porthia Ltd wasn’t paying for its removal, was raised.

Committee member Ian Shipperley asked if there were any alternative options because “£100,000 out of the reserve is a big wedge - it’s dead money.

“Is there any option to perhaps sell it to somebody with a dowry that’s less than £100,000 but gets it off our hands and they take it away?

“Or remove the brows to stop people being antisocial on board and we leave it there? It just seems a lot of money wasted when we have better things to spend the money on.”

Cornwall Harbours’ maritime manager Chris Jones said various options had been looked at, including asking the Town Deal board if it would invest in returning the vessel to its former glory.

Cllr Peter Channon questioned why the Town Deal board was not paying for the whole removal: “They’re getting the maximum benefit from this – we’re not getting any benefit at all.”

Board chairman Cllr Loic Rich replied: “That’s a good question, which I also asked. Is it really our problem? We’re the harbour authority – it’s not our job just to make things look pretty.

“The problem is the boat does need to be gone for a range of reasons, including on safety grounds.”

Mr Jones argued that the harbour authority would benefit from the future rental from the site, as without the Compton Castle’s presence, the prime waterside site’s rental value would be around the £20,000 mark.

He considered the break-up fees “quite reasonable” given the size of the vessel and location. “The cost of removing the Durandal from Boscawen Park was £43,000, which was a much easier site to access than this one and a much smaller vessel. It does offer good value for money. The contractor has held his original price from well over a year ago.”

Cllr Rich made it clear the cost would not be coming from taxpayers but from income from the Port of Truro, and that the bulk of the cost was due to environmental permits rather than the actual work to break up the boat.

The meeting heard that the Harbour Authority’s legal team is in talks with current owner Porthia Ltd to recover both the rent, which hasn’t been paid for a year, and a contribution towards disposal.

The board agreed to seek match funding from Truro Town Deal board, and to pursue recovery costs from the owner.