Friday, 13 February 2015

People opposing the so-called "eco-community"

On Wednesday night, I was pleased to be attend a packed meeting at Trethurgy Village Hall where local people came together to set out their opposition to the proposed “eco-community” at West Carclaze.

The local Cornwall Councillor is my good friend Matt Luke and we have both made it clear that we oppose the possible development of land to the south of Penwithick for a so-called “eco-community.”

Matt is working hard to bring together the views of local people so that they are fully taken into account when Cornwall Council considers the planning application in a few month’s time.

Looking back, I am proud that in 2008 I was able to produce a detailed report, which opposed the development and condemned the “undemocratic and top-down” approach of the-then Labour Government.

The document also condemned the high housing growth being imposed on the China Clay Area – which, in previous years, had had more development than any other part of Cornwall. It was endorsed by Restormel Borough Council and the document presented to a Government Minister. Sadly, these local views were ignored and, in July 2009, the principle of an eco-town was agreed by central government.

Many people have questioned whether the development would happen, especially when the Conservative Party’s housing spokesperson said that: “Eco-towns are now dead and buried ... at no point will they meet their twin objectives of being environmentally friendly and tackling the housing shortage.”

But the Coalition Government and Cornwall Council have pushed ahead with a scheme for an “eco-community” at West Carclaze for 1,500 new dwellings.

Though advertised as a “brown field” development, a large amount of the housing would actually be built on green fields. The application also contains a wider masterplan, which includes an additional 300-plus dwellings that could be built on green fields between the development and Penwithick. And the amount of affordable housing could be as low as 30%.

It is also the case that application refuses to guarantee the future of the skytip near Carluddon. The actual application does not propose to remove the tip. It states that there will be “no change,” but only “until more information and other interests come to light.”

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