Saturday, 7 August 2010

Strategic Planning Committee

Cornwall Council’s Strategic Planning Committee yesterday voted to oppose Wainhomes application for 1,300 properties on the north-west side of St Austell.

The application was proposed for land that was not identified for housing development in any local plans. The application was speculative with the company arguing that St Austell did not have a five-year supply of land for housing, as specified in Planning Policy Statement 3. This main argument was based on the ridiculous 15,700 target in the Proposed Changes version of the Regional Strategy for the South West 2006-2026, though regional strategies have recently been abolished since the application was submitted.

The company had already gone to “appeal” for non-determination (ie. the Council not dealing with application within the allocated time frame). The vote to contest the appeal was unanimous.

I am not a member of Strategic Planning Committee but attended in my role as the Chairman of the Planning Policy Panel. I outlined my view that Cornwall’s democratically-elected councillors should decide the amount of development to take place in the future and then assess all options in order to decide the best sites for that development – not for the process to be driven by landowners and large house-building firms.

It was also good to point out that a recent appeal at Binhamy Farm had been dismissed by the Secretary of State and his comments reinforced the position of the Council. His comments included the following:

“ … the now abandoned ‘Proposed Changes’ version of the Regional Strategy for the South West 2006-2026 should not be given any weight as a material consideration in its own right.”

“ … given that land supply only falls below five years if the calculation is done on the basis of the requirements in the abandoned Proposed Changes version of the Regional Strategy, the Secretary of State considers that, until it can be demonstrated otherwise, it is reasonable to determine the case of the basis that there is at least five year housing land supply in the … area.”

“ … the Council … should be given the opportunity to address housing needs and a reasonable time to do so through the preparation of Local Development Documents, and also that the extent to which [the town] should contribute to additional housing is a matter for this process. He gives weight to this consideration, as local planning authorities will now be responsible for establishing the right level of local housing provision in their area, and identifying a long term supply of housing land.”

This view from central government does give hope that communities will be able to prevent inappropriate developments in the future.


David said...

Planning permission for Wainhomes and others like them should be turned down everytime. Should anybody need evidence as to how bad this company is for Cornwall come to Launceston and see the large estates now outside our ancient town that have imported outsiders and their social problems. Seldom has this type of development served local housing needs, it's not meant to!

Barbara said...

I attended the Strategic Planning meeting in St Austell and was pleased that the Committee decided to contest the appeal. For far too long greedy developers have exploited Cornwall. It is time locals were listened to and developments are need led. Thank goodness the Secretary of State made his ruling re Binhamy farm in time for it to be quoted at the meeting.