Dear Mr Lloyd,
PLANNING APPLICATION FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF EAST TRURO: 11/04599
The above application relates to a proposal to create an Eastern District Centre that would require the demolition of two houses and the construction of a Park and Ride car park, a recycling and household waste facility, a supermarket (Waitrose) and a residential development that would be situated within an Area of Great Landscape Value (AGLV) and an Area of Great Scientific Value (AGSV). It is noted that the proposed development is near to ancient woodland and is within a critical drainage area.
CPRE Cornwall is concerned that this application for a major development is being considered in advance of the Local Development Framework that is currently being produced, and that the need for such a development in this location has not been ascertained. This concern is exacerbated because one the applicants is Cornwall Council itself. An unbiased approach to the application is unlikely when the planning authority meets to consider and determine the proposal.
This further encroachment onto “greenfield” land threatens the character of the city, as the urbanised area will continue to sprawl away from its centre, and in the process take up valuable farmland and open countryside. The loss of land that is designated as AGLV and AGSV is not a price that should be paid for unnecessarily increasing the size of Truro and making it more difficult for traders in the city centre to survive. A proposal of this magnitude, along with plans to develop Truro to the south (Truro and Threemilestone Action Plan) and to the west at Threemilestone (including a possible stadium), would not only ruin the countryside around Truro and the pleasing aspect of a rural city, but it would devastate the city centre as businesses failed to compete with more out of town shopping facilities that provided free parking. In short, Truro would suffer from the “polo mint” effect; i.e. nothing in the middle and all activity spread around the periphery.
It is absolutely essential that this application is not considered in isolation and that determination must wait until the Local Development Framework is completed. Apart from randomly extending the city eastwards, the proposal for the Eastern District Centre would create unbelievable traffic congestion and chaos. Its location near the junction of the A39 and A390 main roads would seriously impede traffic approaching the city from the north and east, and be likely to cause traffic gridlock within the city at peak times. This piecemeal development of Truro is deplorable, as it does not consider the city as a whole and the implications of an unbalanced approach. Developers, such as the three applicants promoting the Eastern District Centre, must not be allowed to profit at the expense of the city’s demise. The first priority is to improve traffic flow in and around Truro, with through traffic being taken away from the city completely. The next stage would be to identity what is really needed, bearing in mind that this must be based on the requirements for the whole of Cornwall, as set out in the Local Development Framework that has yet to be agreed.
Media coverage has shown that there is considerable local opposition to the Eastern District Centre. This public concern must be taken into account. Coercion by the developers must be resisted. It is not acceptable for the applicants to stipulate the ultimate size of any development by stating that land would only be made available if certain conditions were met. Neither should the inclusion of “affordable” dwellings be used to justify the creation of residential dwellings in an inappropriate area.
CPRE Cornwall condemns the whole proposal as it premature and fails to consider the needs of the city and county as a whole and it calls on the planning authority to refuse planning consent for the Eastern District Centre. It would be better for the application to be withdrawn and then await the publication of the Local Development Framework, which should evolve from extensive consultations with the public and environmental organisations.
Please acknowledge receipt of this letter and keep me informed of this application’s progress.
Ted Venn – Secretary
Mr P Mason, Head of Planning and Regeneration, Cornwall Council, St Austell One Stop Shop, St Austell, Cornwall. PL25 5DR
Dear Mr Mason,
Planning Application 11/04599 – Land at Newquay Road and Union Hill, Truro - Eastern District Centre including residential development
1. I refer to the letter from the CPRE Cornwall Secretary, Ted Venn, dated 16th July objecting to the above application. This letter of objection is in addition to that letter and both form the CPRE Cornwall objection to this proposal. At this stage this letter addresses important and fundamental points of principle. If the application proceeds to determination then a further letter on detailed considerations will be submitted by CPRE Cornwall.
2. CPRE Cornwall objects to the proposal on the grounds listed below:-
1. The proposal is premature pending the outcome of the LDF. The LDF is the vehicle which should be allowed to determine if there is a need for any further growth in Truro, the scale and location of any growth and the need for any associated infrastructure facilities. Ad-hoc planning applications such as this one should not be allowed to determine planning policy and the future direction of Truro.
2. The Coalition Government is committed to a plan led system that is planning policy documents such as the LDF determining the level and location of any and all major new development. The Council has only just started the LDF for Cornwall and more importantly started to seek the engagement and opinion of the many communities and people of Cornwall. The CPRE Cornwall response to the Core Strategy Community Network Areas (CS-CNA’s) consultation, which forms part of this objection, is attached to this letter. Please refer to paragraphs 69 to 73 inclusive.
3. The LDF CS – CNA consultation document from earlier this year offered the people of Truro to comment on the possible level of future growth in the city. That consultation is ongoing with no definite or agreed conclusions. There is however a growing feeling Truro might have reached a scale and size where major new development is not wanted or required on the scale proposed. That view and widely held opinion must be allowed to shape and influence the LDF process and be debated at any Examination into the LDF.
4. In addition to point 3 above the very nature of the landscape and countryside around Truro with its sensitivity and protected designations means that any further expansion of the city will have potentially severe and adverse impacts. These need the most careful and comprehensive analysis by the Council to help inform the process of selecting any potential development sites. This process has not yet started so again this proposal is premature.
5. The proposal represents an uncontrolled expansion of the city into the countryside in an unplanned and uncoordinated way.
6. Both the Council and Duchy should be setting the highest possible example and standard in dealing with this proposal. To present this proposal at this stage when the Truro people have only just started to have via the LDF process an opportunity to influence and shape the future of their city is an insult to them. In presenting this proposal at this time the Council and Duchy seeks to get in front of other potential developers to have their proposal approved first regardless of the views of the people of Truroand the LDF process. Approving this proposal outside and in advance of the LDF will discredit both bodies and negate the LDF as a process to allow local people to shape their future. Furthermore for the Council to submit the application at this time is contrary it its own LDF SCI. This is not an appropriate example to set. CPRE Cornwall formally calls on both Cornwall Council and the Duchy as applicants to withdraw this application now.
3. Given all the above CPRE Cornwall reiterates that the proposal has to be refused if it is not withdrawn
4. This letter is copyrighted to CPRE Cornwall. It can be reproduced and read out in full but cannot be reproduced or reported in part or be summarised by the Council or LPA. CPRE Cornwall approves the loading of the entire letter, without alteration or omission, onto the Council’s planning website.
Richard Ward, DipTP MRTPIPlanning and Development Manager CPRE Cornwall