1500 Home ‘Eco Village’ Approved but Wainhomes St Austell and Falmouth Rugby Club’s Menehay Fields plans rejected



Steve Double MP welcomes refusal of St Austell Wainhomes application

Steve Double, Member of Parliament for St Austell and Newquay, has welcomed the unanimous decision by Cornwall Council’s Strategic Planning Committee today, to reject the application by Wainhomes to build 300 houses on land north of Cornwall College in St Austell.

Commenting, Steve said:

“I am delighted to see Cornwall Council’s Strategic Planning Committee have unanimously refused this application.”

“I have opposed the development of this site since my days as the local councillor for the area. The vast majority of the people of St Austell do not want this land built on for very legitimate reasons and I am delighted that the committee has listened to the views of local people, the local Town and Parish Councils as well as my own representation.”

“I hope Wainhomes will now get the message and respect this decision and decide not to appeal.”

“The message is clear, we do not want these houses here!”

However the Strategic Planning committee has today made two further major decisions they  approved the controversial ECO Village at St Austell,

ECO-BOS Development Ltd sought outline planning for ‘West Carclaze Eco-community’ a development of up to 1500 dwellings, a local centre, incorporating local retail, health and community facilities, and a  primary school amongst other details,

Access from the A391 is still to be agreed.

Cole and Luke at eco-town 2
Dick Cole and Matt Luke of Mebyon Kernow  survey the land that will be given over to the so called ‘Garden Village’

St Austell Town Council supported the application. Their members welcomed the employment, education and health facilities proposed. They were also pleased that there would be contributions towards highways improvements at Tregonissey Lane End and Sandy Hill junctions and air quality monitoring/strategies. Members raised questions with regards to drainage, the safety of sky tip, the allocation of housing for local people, the potential for hydro energy within the development and the extent to which jobs were secured. It was resolved to support the application subject to agreements being put in place to secure 30% affordable housing and self-build properties; education, employment, health and open space facilities; drainage mitigation; highways contributions to mitigate the impact on the junctions at Tregonissey and Sandy Hill and the surrounding roads; air quality monitoring and mitigation strategies.

Further representation has been received from Treverbyn Parish Council who told the committee at County Hall.

“We would like to emphasise the thoughts of the residents of Treverbyn Parish who will feel the greatest impact of the proposed Eco-Community development. It is proven by the very volume of objectors that it is totally inappropriate to increase the Northern End of St Austell. It is felt that the site is not appropriate and the majority of this development will be built on a green field site not as claimed by the developer a brown field site. The projected figures for the area show that currently this has the highest development within the County of Cornwall (87%) and over the past 20 years the St Austell area has constantly had the largest development figures. This together with the highest diversity of ethnic groups being situated within Treverbyn and neighbouring Rural parishes saturates all issues within our Community. We appreciate that St Austell Town Council have been consulted on this application but are extremely concerned that they can be supportive of this major development which is wholly in Treverbyn Parish and question if there are ulterior motives for their decision”.

Steve Double added on the Eco Village:

“I note that Cornwall Council has today voted to approve it, which is not surprising seeing as the site is included on the Cornwall Local Plan.”

 “Now we know this development will be going ahead we need to ensure we have the infrastructure to support it.   The new road is already in place and work has started on Carluddon Technology Park, as well as plans for the new school continuing to take shape.”

“I will now do all i can to make sure the developer is held to account for the promises they have made as work on this site commences.”

Mebyon Kernow Councillors raised strong objections in passionate speeches to the committee. Matt Luke of MK told the committee

“As the councillor for Penwithick and Boscoppa, I am here to put forward the views of local people.

The majority of the proposal lies within my division and I do not support this “eco-community” application. The vast majority of local people that I speak to are also opposed to the development.

I would refer councillors to paragraph 140 in the committee report. This states that there have been 1,179 letters of objection, but only three letters of support.

And even though the update report shows that there have been two extra letters of support, this is next to nothing – especially compared to the massive level of local opposition to the scheme.

Cllr Luke continued “I am fed up being told this is a brown-field development. It is a fact that much of the housing will be on green fields to the south of Penwithick.

It is also the case that the existing landowner already has planning obligations to restore the clay workings in this area.

I am also very unhappy at the level of housing growth being forced onto the China Clay Area. It is so much greater than other parts of Cornwall. It is excessive and unsustainable. It is certainly not “eco.”

The development of this “eco-town” will also put great pressure on the local infrastructure, such as the NHS which is already creaking in the wider St Austell area. And the cars from 1,500 houses will increase congestion on local roads”

MK Leader and Clay country councillor Dick Cole added

“Between 1991 and 2010, the China Clay Area experienced faster housing growth than any other part of Cornwall. According to Cornwall Council’s own figures, housing growth was a very significant 47%.

If the level of housing presently proposed for the China Clay Area in the Cornwall Local Plan (including the eco-community) was allowed to go forward, it would mean that the housing stock of Clay Country would increase by 82% over four decades (from 1991 to 2030).

This amount of new housing growth is not sustainable, and it represents a level of growth, much greater than other parts of Cornwall.

It would, for example, be three times that of the Cornwall Gateway CNA and significantly more than double that of a number of other areas including West Penwith, Falmouth & Penryn, and Wadebridge & Padstow”

In the end the committee overwhelmingly voted through the plan mainly on the grounds the the Eco Village was allocated as a development site within the Cornwall Local Plan.

The planners then went on to reject an application from Falmouth Rugby Club to develop land known as Menehay Fields in Falmouth. It would have been for a total of 226 new dwellings comprising an outline planning application for the erection of 155 residential dwellings (54 affordable).