Thursday, 19 May 2016

Day 4 at the EiP: the “eco-community”

It has been another long day at Newquay’s Atlantic Hotel, with the Examination in Public of the proposed Cornwall Local Plan.

This morning commenced with continued discussions around the distribution of housing for each of Cornwall’s towns and associated Network Areas. Representatives of developers and landowners continued to make all manner of apparently “evidenced” arguments as to why housing numbers (in general) should go up but then, at the very end, descended into an unedifying scramble to argue for more housing in local areas where they just happened to have available land.

Consideration of the “eco-community” proposal commenced at about noon and went on to about 3.40.

Cornwall Council presented their argument in favour of the development which was backed by Eco-bos, the promoter of the scheme. And, in an act of shocking self-interest, representatives of Wainhomes argued a range of legalistic points against the principle of the development, pushing instead for a 1,300 development near to St Austell.

I spoke a number of times in the debate on behalf of a number of objectors. Also speaking was Peter Clemo, the vice-chairman of Treverbyn Parish Council.

We set out our opposition to the ‘eco-community’ and made a wide range of comments.

I argued that the ‘eco-community’ at West Carclaze & Baal had been driven by the central government ‘eco-town’ initiative and inclusion of the St Austell ‘eco-town’ in a planning policy statement. I added that the cancellation of the PPS in 2015 removed that policy direction and should allow the principle of the development to be revisited.

I pointed out that the level of housing growth proposed for the China Clay Network Area, including the ‘eco-community,’ would be excessive. In particular, I reminded one and all that the level of housing growth between 1991 and 2010 was 47%, and extrapolated to 2030 (including the eco-community) would be 87%.

While arguing that the ‘eco-community’ be removed from the Plan, I stated that I felt the resultant reduction in the overall housing target would not make the Plan unsound. However, I added that if the Inspector deemed it necessary to reallocate the “residual” housing, this should be done pro-rata across Cornwall and not located elsewhere in the parishes of the China Clay Area or on the fringes of the town of St Austell.

I also expressed our strong objection to the assertion from Wainhomes that they should be able to bring forward an additional large development to the north of St Austell in lieu of the ‘eco-community.’ I made sure that the Inspector was made aware that this counter-proposal had failed to garner any local support.

And in terms of the likely detail for the scheme, Peter Clemo raised concerns about the scale of the development, the loss of many of the remaining green fields between St Austell and Penwithick, the impact on the local infrastructure and public services, fears over flooding, and more. He said that it was clear the applicant had not adequately addressed the nature of local concerns to merit inclusion of the scheme within the Cornwall Local Plan.

We now have to wait and see what approach the Inspector will take on this issue.

1 comment:

Edwina Cousins said...

Wish I was able to be there, say something. Or just listen to the proceedings. This is criminal what is being done to this land and the people here too.

Good luck Dick we are heavily relying on you to fight this as hard as you can.