PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT

Update on Proposed Wind Turbine at Smeathers Farm This application is still ongoing! The original application was submitted to Cornwall Council on 27th July 2012 and is still unresolved.

In brief, the situation is that three Parish Councils and Cornwall Council Planning Committee democratically turned down the original application (11-2). The applicant then went to appeal and the Council’s decision was revoked by a single Inspector.

The Amble Valley Group of local residents (AVG), supported by CVBMPS, lodged a claim in the High Court and in July the Secretary of State consented to judgement. This means that the Appeal findings are quashed and the case goes back to the Inspectorate for re-determination by an Inspector. The Inspectorate now wish to deal with this by written representations.

As the local democratic decisions taken by our elected councillors have been overturned by an Inspector, we and AVG feel strongly that the re-determination should be by a Public Inquiry where AVG would fund our expert witnesses. AVG’s legal team have written to the Secretary of State and the Inspectorate to this effect and also to Cornwall Council. A number of Cornwall Councillors are supporting the request for a Public Inquiry. We are still awaiting a decision.

Apart from the campaign to stop the turbine at Smeathers the Society has not had to deal with any new inappropriate applications. This is possibly because many small developments, such as conservatories and garages, no longer need to go through the full planning system.

Solar farms remain a concern. In many cases it is hard to make a material planning case of damage to the landscape as they can be well hidden. Nonetheless, it is wrong that some have been constructed on good quality agricultural land.

We have been asked to comment on amendments to the Cornwall Local Plan which is called “Strategic Proposed Submission Version”. This mainly concerns new housing numbers and where they are to be built. This, of course, has been a subject for discussion for some years with the belief that the Council is wildly over-estimating the number required. What proportion of houses should be ‘affordable’ is an ongoing debate amongst the politicians. The figures can also be distorted by the demand for second homes and a fear that people could be drawn in from outside Cornwall.

What appears to be overlooked is that the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) directs that all plans must be regularly reviewed and kept up to date, resulting in a change to the estimate of dwellings required as actual demand becomes clearer.

As for the Society’s area of concern, we appear to get off quite lightly, with the biggest development being in Wadebridge - 1,000 homes during the period 2010-2030 - (291 having already been completed). This compares with towns just outside our area - Bodmin 3,000 and Newquay 3,500. There are also some minor developments in Padstow and Camelford, and major villages may be allowed small developments, but all are guided by the Neighbourhood Plans (which have yet to be completed in many cases).

However, developers are keen to build in our area, especially within close range of the coast because the houses are expensive and they make a good profit. This could be the Society’s main concern in future. An example is the two recent applications in St Tudy for a total of 37 houses, and our members should remain vigilant and identify inappropriate applications so that prompt action may be taken by us.

I am pleased to be able to inform you that the new company was registered as a charity by the Charity Commission on 25th June 2014.

As always, it would be really helpful if you could offer any suggestions at the AGM with regard to future speakers for our meetings in February, May and October (Agenda item 6)

I look forward to welcoming you to the AGM on 15th October.

Richard Vyvyan-Robinson
Chairman