Background to this story
At a small public meeting on Aug 31, advertised by a notice in the local Post Office, and attended by various vested interests, St Clement Parish Council threw its weight behind the TEDC proposals.
Parish council chairman Graham Ellis called the EDC “the most major development I have seen in this parish in many years here” and said the council should “give as much time to it as possible”.
After the meeting, Mrs Yeates from Cornwall Council said: “It’s nice to know the parish are supportive.”
However, once the Parish actually got to know about this proposal, feelings ran high and representations were made at the next meeting to have this vote taken again. This was refused point blank by the Chairman.
Mr. Buddell then arranged for his own meeting and the result of this points up the inadequate consultation by the Council and vested interests throughout this whole procedure.
Address by Philip Buddell to meeting in Tresillian Village Hall
1) The reason most of us are here this evening is because of the inadequate opportunity given to local residents to view the TEDC scheme both by our parish council and Cornwall Council, who in their wisdom decided that a display on Lemon Quay earlier this summer would be sufficient. To ignore the parishioners of St Clement and not to call a full general public meeting in our community is unacceptable. Most of the scheme is situated in this parish, partly in Truro, and although its effects would be felt far and wide and Truro itself would suffer immeasurably, we are the people whose lives would be affected more than any others.
2) I have worked in and around Truro for almost all my business career, mostly as a chartered surveyor in land agency and agriculture. I believe I have a sound understanding of what is right and wrong for the area and can generally form a reasoned opinion of what is best and what should be rejected.
3) Many of you will not previously have seen the detailed plans on display this evening. Certain significant aspects have been modified since they were originally shown to the public earlier in the year, in particular a number of the road junctions where traffic lights have been added.
4) You will see that the proposals cover some 55 acres of mostly Grade 2 agricultural land – high quality farmland which should not be used for such purposes according to national planning guidelines. It has not been scheduled for development.
5) The location of the site is 1.1/4 miles from Truro city centre. It is simply too close to Truro to succeed as a park-and-ride location. It should be at least 3 miles from Truro. It would bring many more cars further towards the city than is either acceptable or feasible. To locate the site on the Duchy land at this major road junction simply points to the commercial pressure the Council is under to adhere to solving this most important issue in the cheapest and simplest possible way with little or no thought to the impact it would have on the retailers, farmers’ market and other businesses in the city, quite apart from the visual intrusion in open countryside of unusually high agricultural value. We do not want to see another Poundbury here in Cornwall – people hate it. Why should this ‘Charlesville’ be any different?
6) Tresillian would suffer even more than at present. Not only would traffic levels increase but congestion would extend much further as a result of the traffic lights which would have to be installed near Woodcock Corner. Residents of Bodmin and Treffry Roads in Truro would similarly have to endure extended traffic jams as a result of the new traffic lights at the entrance to the park-and-ride close to the cattle market. Road and roundabout widening proposals for Truro would affect all those coming into Truro from Malpas and St Clement.
7) Architecturally the plans are a disaster. Small-paned wooden windows are specified, painted metal railings, downpipes and gutters. Cornish slate roofs – how many years would they have to wait for Delabole? A 3-storey mock Georgian crescent of flats and houses; scaffolding would have to be used for maintenance. Do we really want to see such inappropriate structures on the edge of the city with no relevance whatsoever to a modern Truro?
8) Then there is the front elevation to the entrance of Waitrose and the Cornish Food Centre: four enormous granite columns supporting a canopied roof more suited to the Parthenon in Athens than a modern shopping facility. From the A390 at this point all you would see would be the service centre to these commercial buildings with glimpses of car parking beyond. I think someone should remind the Duchy that 200 years have passed since the Georgian era.
9) Since plans were originally drawn, the road changes have now included the provision of a bus lane heading into Truro along Tregolls Road, which would result in the loss of the magnificent flower beds in the central reservation, a most beautiful feature at the eastern entrance to the city. Exiting the city there would be a short bus lane around the Uplands junction. Buses would have priority at all times, with a reserved access and egress point on the A39/A390 junction solely for their use. Additionally the council has made the fatuous proposal that traffic lights with a right-hand turn should be provided for buses to directly enter Quay Street across the dual carriageway. What thought have they given to the additional delays this would cause traffic coming down Morlaix Avenue? Their statement adds that this would save 20 seconds on each bus journey!
10) Statements from Waitrose have continually alleged that the centre would create millions of pounds for the local economy and provide valuable jobs. I dispute this entirely. They have rejected outright any idea about taking a site in the city, partly for economic reasons but also on the basis that this would be the only site from which they could operate within 4 years. The Somerfield site is immediately available but is deemed unviable. Supermarkets have in themselves provided little other than low-paid part-time jobs; any wealth created would largely go to the John Lewis Partnership and its staff. As for the Cornish Food Centre, we have scores already in the county – from the twice weekly Farmers’ Market on Lemon Quay to the farm shops throughout Cornwall. Neither a wholesale nor retail food centre is a new addition to the local economy; there are plenty to be found wherever you travel in Cornwall. GVA Grimley, the Council’s own consultants, reported in November 2010 that “any new district centre for the Truro area should be placed on the western side of the urban area”, a fact which appears to have been conveniently forgotten.
11) We know how important it is to have a Household Waste Recycling Centre in or near Truro. The journeys we presently have to make to either United Downs or St Austell are wasteful and time-consuming, but again I maintain this is not the right location for such a facility, which I believe should be on the old Gas Works site at the end of Newham – truly local for the people of Truro.
12) If these proposals go ahead, and in my opinion we must do everything possible to stop them, Truro and St Clement will effectively be ruined. The scheme would be the catalyst which others would follow. Out-of-town supermarket shopping would be the norm and existing businesses in the city would close. Far from easing traffic movements, these schemes will only generate more car travel. Truro has already lost far too much with so many specialist retail outlets having closed in recent years. Any further harm to our local economy must be resisted.
13) The site for a local park-and-ride scheme should lie to the east of Tresillian at Denas Water. Yes it would mean the Council would have to provide a further 4 or 5 buses, but these would not require dedicated lanes in the city, and both Tresillian and Truro would gain enormous benefit from the reduction in traffic. Access to and from the site would not require traffic lights – a simple roundabout would suffice. Waitrose would have to look elsewhere. What is so wrong with Kingsley Village for Waitrose? I have it on good authority that they would welcome them tomorrow!
14) Far too many wrong decisions have been made in recent years by our councils largely due to a lack of vision for the future. This is no time for a blinkered approach clouded by the Duchy of Cornwall and its close harmony with Waitrose, dangling the carrot of so-called affordable housing and a waste recycling centre. I certainly do not want the TEDC. I hope that most of you will support the outright rejection of the scheme and demand that Cornwall Council refuses planning consent.