Housing public inquiry
BATTLE lines have been drawn at a four day public inquiry over whether a major housing development should be given the go-ahead in Par.
The public inquiry started hearing opinions and evidence on Tuesday after Cornwall Council’s Strategic Planning Committee unanimously refused developer Wainhomes' plans for 183 new homes in May last year.
The development would be an extension to Kingdom Hall with provision for additional parking, allotments, school drop-off and turning facilities including additional parking for allotments, in addition to footpath and cycle connection from Mountside Road to Lamellyn.
The application was already set to go to appeal after Wainhomes appealed to the Government against the council for non-determination of the plans within the agreed time period.
Chairing the inquiry is Paul Griffiths from Bristol and arguing the case for the developers is top QC Sasha White, from Landmark Chambers, assisted by Anjoli Foster.
On hand to rebuff their appeal is David Lintott, from Cornerstone Barristers, on behalf of Cornwall Council.
David Hughes, Cornwall Councillor for the Tywardreath and Fowey division, spoke as the principle spokesman officially for the council.
Speaking to the Voice before the inquiry began at a packed Roche Victory Hall, Mr Hughes said: “We refused it against officers recommendation because we felt that the risk to the people, particularly at Brooks Corner and in that part of Par, was too great.
“There were too many unknowns to be covered by condition. So I moved refusal, it was refused unanimously by the Strategic Planning Committee and for that reason I’m speaking as the councillor for the defence of the appeal.
“Fundamentally, the reason we reason we refused is flooding. There’s been ongoing flooding at Brooks Corner for probably 30 years and it’s got worse and worse.
“We have consistently objected to all the buildings that have gone on around there because of the flooding problems. But, our objections have been overruled and we’ve seen more building and more flooding.
“We feel that the risk of putting more buildings into that area has a serious probability of exacerbating the problem and for that reason we feel that the risk does not justify the housing need.
“There are also very strong arguments about the impact on the landscape, the roads, congestion and problems outside the school.”
Manor View resident Tania Watkins, 37, added: “My main concern is the traffic in Par Lane. I don’t think it’s safe for pedestrians or road users and on the estates children can’t really play out safely. To add another 184 houses onto an already congested estate is asking for trouble.
“I haven’t met anyone locally who is actually in favour of the development. Local people want houses and we ultimately buy houses where they put them. But, this development is not what is wanted in the area. It needs to be developed elsewhere.
“I think the other concern is the flooding, people are really concerned about the flooding. South West Water can say they haven’t had any objections but they know there is issues.”
Doug Scrafton, Cornwall Councillor for the Par and St Blazey Gate division, encouraged as many residents as possible to attend the public inquiry and express their views on the application.
He told the Voice: “This is a public meeting, and anyone who has an interest in the application is free to attend.
“Subject to the permission of the Inspector, members of the public will be allowed to express their views on the application. So if you have views, this will be your opportunity to make sure they are heard.
“I know that many people are very busy, and may feel that they cannot afford to spend four days at a public hearing. We must all decide on our own priorities.
“Perhaps people – if they wish to be certain that they know what goes on – might wish to arrange between themselves for some to attend on each day.”