A 63 bedroom 3 storey Travelodge hotel, a Marston’s Family Pub/Restaurant including managers flat, a KFC Drive Thru and a Costa Coffee Drive Thru have been approved to be built on a disused brownfield site at the Tolvaddon junction in Pool.
Councillors raised concerns that the design of the buildings are too generic and as the entrance to the Camborne/Redruth part of the World Heritage Site the design they should reflect the “Cornish vernacular” of design – eg to fit in with the other building around it and try to look nice.
Some councillors made the point that the new Local Plan enables Cornwall to insist that generic corporate designs can not be forced upon us and local distinctiveness can be insisted on. Travelodge et al have been asked to change their design to reflect the area but have refused on account of brand awareness and marketing – and so the planning committee were left with a straight choice to like it or lump it.
The junction has become known locally as ‘Heart Attack Corner’ as there is already a McDonalds, Subway, Dominos and Barnecutts Pasty shop opposite. The junction also leads to South Crofty Mine, Heartlands and Pool Retail Parks inc B&Q, Poundland and Tesco Extra and Pool Market. The actual site to be built on is opposite the Western Power building and west entrance to Cornwall College entrance as you come off the A30.
Cllr Jackie Bull said “We understand that as a marketing tool Travelodge wants to be recognised as a Travelodge – but also Cornwall needs to be recognised as Cornwall”
Councillors ignored these concerns and voted in favour of the current design as they considered the economic benefit to the area to outweigh the design concerns.
A full Design & Review Panel report says the design did not fit in with local surroundings and should be changed.
The applicants dismissed this as ‘a matter of opinion’.
Carn Brea Council made representations to say it has unanimously supports the application as they feel the site is currently an eyesore and does nothing for the local economy. A small proportion of the site falls within the World Heritage Site but Carn Brea council pointed out that the current site has a negative effect on this status.
The proposal also suggests over 100 jobs will be created if the scheme goes ahead. A previous application on the same site was approved in 2010 but was never acted on as it wasn’t economically viable at the time.
The council’s report stated “The site is particularly challenging given its brownfield status and has been prepared for redevelopment by the Homes and Communities Agency (who are one of the joint land owners with the other applicant) over a number of years although despite these efforts there has been little interest from a developer to develop the site until now. The proposal makes a valuable contribution toward the economic and social dimensions of sustainable development as defined in the NPPF which weighs positively in the planning balance. The scheme however has given rise to design and heritage based objections. The site is adjacent to the World Heritage Site (WHS) on its southern boundary, with the south-eastern tip of the site sitting inside the WHS. The scheme has been subject to an independent review by the Cornwall Design Review Panel (CDRP) who have concerns with the layout and design of this scheme. The WHS team have also raised concerns. In response the applicants have been challenged to re-examine their scheme and while some changes have been proposed the applicants have confirmed that the layout and appearance of the buildings on this site is dictated by the retailer’s commercial needs to have buildings that are publicly visible with a clear brand image visible. Whilst it is appreciated the end occupier’s requirements require their outlets to be modelled in a certain way, it is considered the design and layout is generic in nature and does little to conserve or enhance the WHS. This therefore weighs against the scheme. Notwithstanding the above, on balance it is considered when weighed against the public and economic benefits from a final regeneration of this key site, the proposal does not warrant refusal on design grounds alone. Carn Brea Parish Council support the application. The application is recommended for approval”
The proposal was voted through 12 – 8. Cllr Mark Kaczmarek asked that his name be noted as one of those who voted against.