Thursday, 1 March 2012

A disgraceful tale of “eco-standard communities” and consultation

In recent days, there has been considerable coverage of the eleven proposed “eco-standard communities,” which were included within the Core Strategy to discover “whether there would be local support.”

One of the proposals is for a stand-alone settlement of over 3,000 new properties in the vicinity of Ruthvoes and Quoit Farms (RTP 9) – positioned between Indian Queens and St Columb.

The land lies mostly in St Columb Parish, but is partly within my home parish of St Enoder and earlier this week, St Enoder Parish Council unanimously objected and pledged to vigorously fight the proposal.

As the Chairman of the Planning Policy Panel, I would like to repeat here what I said at the Parish meeting. It is important that this is in the public domain.

(i) The “eco-standard communities” proposals were not presented to the Planning Policy Advisory Panel for consideration.

(ii) When drafts of the various discussion papers (which form part of the present Core Strategy consultation) were distributed to all councillors for comment, they did not include the proposed “eco-standard” areas.

(iii) The proposed “eco-standard” areas were added into the documentation after the councillors had commented and they were not informed of this fact. They were allowed no option to object to their inclusion within the consultation.

Put bluntly, officers at Cornwall Council bypassed the democratic process. What I said, when I received the consultation documents and discovered the additions, is not printable.

The consultation document states that: “The site areas identified were submitted by a third party and are not necessarily supported by Cornwall Council. However, the Council is keen to understand whether there would be local support, in principle, to develop these sites as new eco-communities.”

It is not true that the land in question has been put forward by a third party. Ruthvoes Farm and Quoit Farm are both County Farms, owned by Cornwall Council. It is also the case that the tenants of these County Farms were not informed that their holdings had been included within the consultation document until Monday 27th February – some seven weeks after the start of the consultation.

I am extremely angry about this situation, I am making serious representations on this matter, and I was pleased to be able to produce a strong objection on behalf of St Enoder Parish Council.

The “eco-standard communities” proposals are unacceptable, for a host of reasons, which I may outline in more detail in the future.

It is my view that these proposals should all be withdrawn as a consequence of the machinations of Cornwall Council and the fact that the proposals make no sense whatsoever.


Bob Hayes said...

I was gobsmacked last Friday when I learned about this lot. I was reading the Newquay Voice on line - you can't normally get it on line until the Friday, and was taken aback by the proposal to build two new towns near Newquay of 3,500 homes apiece. I thought I'd take myself down St Michaels and tell them just what I thought of this bonkers idea, only to see that I was too late as the event was over. I know they were already saying that there would be an event about the County plan but this turned it from a dry as dust load of waffle that few local people would want to wade through to a declaration of war. Guess they didn't want to hear local people's views on their annexation plan. Power to your elbow Dick, give them hell

Bob Hayes said...

I keep thinking about Arthur Dent in A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy!

Kate Gregory said...

I was made aware of this consultation on Monday night this week (27th Feb 2012) and was horrifed. I think all of the Ruthvoes and Quoit Community are angry and petrified that they will lose their homes and livelihoods. It is beyond comprehension that none of the residents knew anything about it until last Friday (24th Feb 2012)and then only have 1 week to respond. It is with desperation now that many are campaigning to stop this consultation now; but know the Council will not consider many of their views, and they will be ridden roughshod over.

To top it all- it is the downright blatent inaccuracies and mis-information that are in printed the NC Discussion paper regarding the ownership of the land and how they intend to fullfill their own eco-criteria: (pg 41 Sect 5) re one employment opportunity per household, reducing carbon footprint (by building on ancient farmland, monuements and woodland!).

One only has to go onto the Land Registry website and purchase deeds, as is available to anyone, to see that the third party who submitted the planning and (Pg 42 Sect 5) who "are not necessarily supported by Cornwall Council" are in fact Cornwall County Council.

I strongly and passionatly feel the residents should bring these actions of the County Council and the persons responsible, to higher Government and that an external investigation needs to be launched into disgraceful consultation practices within the Council.

Please do help the residents to stop this travesty now going any further.

Dick Cole said...

Hello Kate

I assure you that I will do all that I can to stop this travesty. And I am confident that it will be defeated.

All the best