Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Update on the so-called "eco-community" at West Carclaze

It unlikely to surprise anyone that the attempt by local MK councillors to get the "eco-community" removed from the Cornwall Local Plan has failed. The Planning Inspector has published his final report and ruled that the eco-community should go ahead, confirming statements he made after the second session of his Examination in Public (EiP).

Policy 2 of the documents will therefore set out support for a “mixed use development to deliver the eco-community at West Carclaze / Baal and Par Docks, to help deliver an exemplar development that provides a showcase for sustainable, greener, low carbon living.” The principle of development on the site will therefore be established when the Plan is formally adopted.

However the document also states that the “eco-communities at West Carclaze, Baal and Par Docks will be identified in the Cornwall Site Allocations Development Plan Document and Neighbourhood Plans. The standards expected for the proposed eco communities are set out in Policy 3 and guidance will be provided in the Site Allocations DPD” but “the Council will monitor the delivery of the eco-community sites to ensure delivery. If proposals have failed to progress sufficiently towards delivery within two years of adoption of the Local Plan this area of the Plan will be reviewed to consider redistribution of the housing apportionment for the area.”

The “Site Allocations Development Plan Document” referred to above has just been published for consultation and gives local people the ability to comment on the proposed detail for the development. Copies of the document and the supporting evidence can be viewed on where documents can be downloaded and representations can be made.

Consultation on the document runs between Monday 3rd October and 5.00pm on Monday 14th November 2016. Please make your views known on the detail.

Eco-bos have also released a statement following the Inspector's decision, along with a "survey" which claims that 73% of local people support the proposal. The statement is as follows:

Eco-bas: Eco-community proposals win backing of Planning Inspector and 73% of local people in new Mid-Cornwall survey 

Proposals to reuse former china clay land north of St Austell to create a vibrant and sustainable new Eco-community have been backed by a planning inspector as ‘ambitious’, ‘deliverable’ and having ‘transformational potential’.

The Inspector’s report follows an extensive review process at an Examination in Public earlier this year into Cornwall’s Local Plan and confirms the Ecocommunity as an important part of Cornwall Council’s strategy for the regeneration of the Mid Cornwall area.

It comes as Eco-Bos today announced the results of its latest research showing a high level of awareness of the Eco-communities project and widespread support for the proposals from local people - with 73% of those who expressed a preference saying they were in favour.

The results put into context the often-quoted 1,000-plus objections to the Ecocommunity plans on Cornwall Council’s website, the majority of which date back to earlier proposals for the Eco-community.

Earlier this year Eco-Bos took over the planning application for the scheme and submitted revised proposals, addressing the concerns people raised, to Cornwall Council. These plans would see 1,500 new homes built, hundreds of new jobs created, extensive areas of green space opened up to the public and an estimated £1 billion pumped into the local economy over the next 20 years.

Following the Planning Inspector’s report Cornwall Council is now expected to formally adopt the Cornwall Local Plan, which will put in place a framework to help determine planning applications across the county including the West Carclaze scheme.

John Hodkin, Eco-Bos Managing Director, said: “We are pleased that the Inspector’s final report acknowledges the potential for the Eco-communities project and its goals in terms of environmental and economic benefits and that the Inspector has found it is a sound component of the Local Plan.”

As part of its on-going consultation process Eco-Bos commissioned Cornwall-based independent research company PFA Research to carry out face-to-face doorstep interviews with 400 people in the St Austell area and surrounding clay villages. “We are also very encouraged by the survey results which we are announcing today and which correlate well with a similar survey carried out in 2010 and demonstrate continued strong support for the Eco-community proposals,” John Hodkin added.

The survey was carried out following the updated submission of the planning application for West Carclaze and three days of exhibitions and tours organised by Eco-Bos at the West Carclaze site and in St Austell town centre earlier in the year. John Hodkin said: “Much has been made of the objections to the planning application but many of these were lodged before significant changes were made to the plans, precisely to address the concerns being raised. “Our own experience, supported by surveys in 2010 and now 2016 is that there is widespread understanding and support in the community for using redundant china clay land as a way to regenerate the area, delivering economic, housing and wider community benefits as a result. It is clear that people see our proposals not as ‘just another housing estate’ but as a huge opportunity to create something special for Mid-Cornwall.”

Support was even stronger among those who visited the exhibitions and tours, with feedback forms showing 80% of those who expressed a preference agreeing the proposals were a good use of the land. Mr Hodkin said: “The face-to-face feedback we received from the public exhibitions and the enthusiasm from visitors who took the time to take a tour of the site was excellent. Many arrived feeling quite sceptical about the plans but left with a much greater understanding and a supportive viewpoint having had the opportunity to ask questions, tour the site and in particular see the extent of green space which would be opened up.”

No comments: