Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Golphin Farm, St Austell

At County Hall tonight, I attended the latest meeting of Central Sub-Area Planning to address the committee on the Golphin Farm application in St Austell.

The proposal from WainHomes proposed 107 new properties on land on the north side of St Austell. The site is outside of the development envelope of the town and lies within Treverbyn Parish. The case for the developer was that it should be approved as St Austell does not have a ‘five year land supply’ as sought by central government. Because the Council had failed to determine the application within the requisite time-frame, the applicant had gone to appeal and the Committee had to decide whether or not to contest the appeal.

The officer’s report recommended that we did not. It stated that there was only a 3.9 year land supply based on the present (unadopted) version of the Regional Spatial Strategy which wishes to see a ridiculous amount of housing imposed on the St Austell area. I used the meeting to challenge the officer’s approach to calculating the housing trajectory and his unwillingness to challenge the RSS figures or to consider other options. It got very technical!

In the report, the St Austell area was deemed to include St Blazey, Par and Tywardreath – but not any of the China Clay parishes, including the one that the site was located within!

It was also clear that the report was not seeking to apply policies relevant to Treverbyn Parish, but were uncritically applying policies produced for St Austell. The developer was offering 40% affordable housing, for example, as you would expect within St Austell – not the 50% that policies specify in Treverbyn Parish or the 100% affordable housing that can sometimes be achieved on land outside of development envelopes.

With a further Wainhomes application having already been submitted in this area for 1,300 new properties and over 2,500 new properties planned in the so-called eco-town just to the north, I think there was real concern about the scale of development that could happen in this area.

The councillors voted – I think it was unanimous – to contest the appeal.


greenfields said...

Happy New Year, well it really could be now.
Well done to all the councillors who had a hand in this case.
And who made a stand against the constant gobbling up of our agricultural, food producing lands, by developers using the so called affordable homes as a trump card to allow them to get planning permission on fields outside the development window. After all what is the point of having established the development window to simply allow building outside it, the key used by developers is this affordable term,so they can get access by providing a % of these,
But are they affordable to local residents? and does that mean the rest are un-affordable homes?Without employment nothings affordable, and space does not equal jobs, were not short of space or offices or even houses, as anyone can confirm by simply reading the local press they offer plenty, but at a price which to locals are un-affordable and remain empty.

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