Plans for a new ferry terminal linking Cornwall to the Isles of Scilly could be a step closer after planning consent was given to develop part of a harbour.
The Government has granted listed building consent for work to be undertaken at Penzance's South Pier.
A decision on whether the Government will fund a £44m ferry terminal is expected to be made in the autumn.
Isles of Scilly residents rely heavily on the ferry link to transport tourists and supplies from the mainland.
The decision to allow extensions and alterations to the South Pier has been praised by Cornwall Council, which submitted the application for planning consent.
However, the work must be carried out within three years if the Government agrees to fund the project.
Alec Robertson, leader of Cornwall Council said: "We are extremely pleased to see that the listed building consent has been granted.
"This is a major milestone for the scheme and we can now concentrate our efforts on pressing our case for funding with the Department for Transport.
"This is clearly a lifeline service and this fact has been recently recognised by the transport minister.
"The importance of the historic sea link between Penzance and Isles of Scilly cannot be underestimated, and preserving the link will have profound benefits for the economies both on the mainland and for our partners on the Isles of Scilly."
Julia Day, chairman of the council of the Isles of Scilly, added: "I am delighted that the planning process has finally reached its conclusion.
"This project is crucial to the islands and the sea link is vital to every aspect of daily life - we look forward to the project coming to fruition."