The Council are one step further to taking a ‘proactive role in delivering local housing’ in the Truro area. Yesterday, Cabinet agreed that work should progress over the possibility of acquiring land at Langarth Farm, Threemilestone, Truro at commercial values to save the development as a whole.
A final decision will be taken by members when full Council finally meets in November.
The cabinet room and public gallery was nearly full as the Cabinet needed to decide whether negotiations to buy the land could continue, after the private developers had pulled out.
It was the general consensus at the meeting that the plans for the whole area to the western approach to Truro, which includes the Stadium For Cornwall was a pig’s ear, made up of many separate developments and planning applications cobbled together. However in the great Cornish pragmatist tradition most councillors reluctantly agreed ‘we are where we are and we’ve got to make the best of it’.
Portfolio Holder Andrew Mitchell insisted there were no negotiations behind closed doors and that the housing development is in line with the motion passed by the council not to fund the building of the Stadium for Cornwall. Nothing will be signed off and no cheques written before further financial and legal assurances.
Council Leader Adam Paynter admitted the process ‘had been a bit of a mess’ but said the Council’s plans would deliver something better than if left just to the open market.
Conservative Leader Phil Seeva asked “What’s the rush?” and Cllr Mitchell admitted that any money needed to complete the deal will need to be borrowed.
Cllr Rob Nolan, until recently the Mayor of Truro, received a round of applause from the public gallery for his contribution when he said that Inox, the principle developers, ‘had led us by the nose to a disastrous place’
The Langarth Farm site already has planning permission to build 1500 new homes. A first stage of development of 700 homes is planned. The land acquired by the Council will provide 150 homes and the Council would work closely with Sanctuary Housing who propose to acquire the remaining land in this first stage of development.
This relationship and reputation of Sanctuary were called into question by several councillors.
It is proposed that part of the site will provide land for the development of ‘Extra Care Housing’ (aka supported living) which is housing designed with the needs of frailer older people in mind and with varying levels of care and support available on site.
Cllr John Dyer, in whose ward the development sits, called for a complete re-think, go back to square one and development the whole site as one, rather than many separate projects. He also claimed that the current planning permission for the Stadium has expired.
Cornwall Council cabinet member for Homes, Andrew Mitchell said: “At the time these planning applications were approved we did not have a Local Plan in place. Now we do, we are in a stronger position to resist unwanted development but we are where we are with this site, along with several others along the A390 corridor. The planning permission is in place so it is a question of when development will take place, not if. It is now for the Council to take back some control and unpick some of the issues that are holding up the provision of quality new homes as well as unlocking improved infrastructure, including a northern access road.”
Cornwall Council has committed to helping deliver 1,000 new homes over the next four years through a number of housing developments across Cornwall in response to local housing demand and need.
We caught up with Kevin Bennetts, one of those who asked a Public Question, after the meeting
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