No Eco Town

No Eco Town

New Objection Letter

Head over to the Documents page to find new objection letters relating to the recently updated planning application.

NEWS 03/02/2015

Make sure to check us out on Facebook. If you're happy to, please share the Facebook page.

There is a public meeting on Wednesday 11th February at 7pm in Trethurgy village hall, for all those who wish to learn more about the latest planning application. 

Site Update 10/01/2015

The site has been updated to include the following;

 

  • New documents relating to the new planning application, available on the documents page.
  • New questions for joining members. These are not compulsory but allow members to give their opinion on the eco-town. Existing members can answer these questions by going to their profile page.

 

Regeneration or Obliteration?

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Main Email: oppositonecotown@hotmail.co.uk

Website Admin: b.eddy16@hotmail.com (Ben Eddy)

Public Meeting: Penwithick Community Hall Wednesday 1st June @ 7.30pm onwards.

Update 23/05/2011

 

 

 

 

 

OBJECTIONS! 14/06/2011

Please find below 'our' list of objections, please feel free to use as many or few as you feel necessary.  The list is not complete, just a guide, so feel free to add your own concerns to your letter.  For ease you can email your letter to: planning.central@cornwall.gov.uk  Please quote application number PA11/01390. 

Please ensure your letter is received ASAP!

Planning Application:  PA11/01390  - Baal and West Carclaze - 2,000 homes.
 
I would like to object to the above mentioned planning application on the following grounds:
 
Eco Bos advertise Baal pit as if its the development site, whereas its the regenerated areas that will be destroyed, and very little building will take place around the pit.
 
Baal and West Carclaze was not made 'surplus' to requirement after Imerys made their announcement in 2006, unlike the other places in the Eco Town Vision.  In fact, with financial help from Imerys, and other bodies the area in question has successfully been regenerating itself over the past 20 plus years.

The term 'pilot phase' is misleading, it isn't a pilot project as the planning application has been submitted to develop the whole site.

The Wainhomes planning application for Godolphin Farm (land opposite) was turned down by County Council last year, this application should be turned down for every single reason to that of the Wainhomes development.  If it is passed then the County Council will show that they have not listened to local objection.

Renaming the pits to 'lakes' and Sky Tip to 'hill' is another sign of urbanisation, we live in the countryside and the site is part of the areas local mining industry, why try and change it?

Local Policies

The land is outside of the Development Envelope, therefore planning permission should be refused. (Policy 75 – Restormel Local Plan 2011. This policy specifically prevents permission being granted outside the development envelopes of St Austell and Newquay).

New developments should “not protrude above prominent ridges or skylines”,  not intrude into prominent views into, out of or across any town, village or areas of countryside”(which it would) and “not intrude into the setting of any prominent building or significant landmark” (such as the Sky Tip). (Policy 6 – Restormel Local Plan 2011).

The proposed development is contrary to the Development Plan.

Recent major planning application by Wainhomes (1,300 homes) - on land opposite the proposed development has been rejected by Cornwall Council. St Austell’s green fields should not be destroyed if housing numbers have to be maintained.

There are numerous brownfield sites available, if and when the need for these houses is substantiated.

It is not within the present Development Plan or Local Development Framework and has no justification to allow planning to be granted.

National Policies
 
Gordon Brown’s flagship policy has effectively been ditched by the coalition in its drive to reform planning and promote localism. It is scrapping the eco-town planning policy statement (PPS) as part of a merger of dozens of planning documents, removing the onus from developers to meet any particular standard.  Also, the Eco Town guidelines stated that an Eco Town must have a minimum of 5,000 houses.  The planning application is for 2,000 houses?  Grant Shapps, the Housing Minister has commented on the coalition government’s current stance. “We will back genuine new eco-town or eco-village developments, which have broad-based local support and are genuinely environmentally sustainable. We will not impose eco-town developments (through national planning rules) on communities which do not want them,” he said.  With this in mind why is Eco Bos still going ahead with the planning application?  The development will therefore only be yet another housing estate.

The development boundary is too close to Trethurgy, Penwithick, Stenalees, Carthew and Scredda.  In some places a cycle trail seperates the development from a village and with the others a road.  This is not acceptable. It also borders with St Austell Enterprise park which means the development will all but join with St Austell, leaving no greenfield buffer zone which in turn will open the flood gates for more development on the Trethurgy side of the northern distributor road.
 
This is a greenfield site, not a brownfield site. 

The application site is in the open countryside. There is insufficient justification to overcome the presumption against development in the open countryside in accordance with PPS7.

The applicant has failed to justify that there are exceptions to warrant granting planning permission on the site which is in the open countryside as required by Planning Policy Statement 7. 

Land previously built on e.g.site of redundant industrial buildings should be used for development in preference to green fields. There is plenty of such land around St Austell that could be used satisfactorily. (PPS3 Housing – 36 & 41)

This proposal contradicts the robust evidence the council has already obtained regarding housing need. (PPS3 Housing – 10)

The location is not a sustainable one, with poor infrastructure, lack of employment opportunities locally, lack of community facilities and poor public transport facilities. Hence the proposal is completely contrary to the guidance of PPS1.

With a substantial amount of empty houses in Restormel the council should identify and bring into residential use empty properties, using compulsory purchase if necessary. (PPS3 Housing – 31)

This is the wrong location for such a development. There is no good access to jobs, key services & infrastructure. (PPS3 Housing – 10)

Inappropriate housing design, which doesn’t improve the character and quality of an area, should not be accepted. (PPS3 Housing – 13)

Proposed developments should integrate well with neighbouring buildings and the local area in terms of scale, density, layout and access. They should create a distinctive character that relates well to the surroundings, supporting local pride and civic identity. They should provide for the retention of biodiversity within residential developments. This planning application fails on all of these counts. (PPS3 Housing – 16)

The council should not be under pressure to accept applications on green field sites even if it is suggested that development on brown field sites is behind schedule. Local Planning Authorities should reject applications on Greenfield sites until evidence of under performance of development on previously developed land has been addressed. (PPS3 Housing – 67)

Significant housing development of the proposed site could very easily bring about an increase in commuting by car to employment centres such as Truro. 

The developers are using the affordable term to attempt to unlock areas outside the already identified development envelope on which no building would be allowed. Furthermore, affordable should be affordable to local residents, in local employment, on local pay rates.

Locals are saying that Eco Bos and County Council has deliberately given the misleading impression that this proposal will benefit St Austell, and that the development would be in accordance with government policy. 

People have complained that the Public Consultation has been a total sham. Most exhibitions were at short notice and invitations were sent out haphazardly. On one occasion, villagers had to plea with Eco Bos to exhibit in their community hall, Eco Bos were reluctant due to a poor turn out elsewhere.  With a little bit of advertising by the local people the community hall was packed to capacity.  Eco Bos were reported to say that they were shocked with the turn out.  Because 'we' ensured it was advertised well, people turned up.

The use of the term “affordable” is used as a means to an end. Without this being used the application on a greenfield site, outside the Local Development Plan, would not be entertained.

Local people fear that affordable housing provision can be sold on the open market if they remain unsold after a period of time. No mention is made of how the sales during this time are “controlled”, or even monitored.

Traffic and Road Safety

Traffic generation, the development will create an additional 1,000 cars in the local vicinity during peak times.  Currently, the by-pass at peak times is standstilll, and we haven't encounted a rainy day in the summer yet.  Not to mention the additional traffic generated from other ongoing/future development sites.
 
Trethurgy will become a rat run for people leaving The Eden Project - sat nav's will direct cars through the village as it will be the quickest route to St Austell.  The road through the village has become very dangerous with speeding traffic and no pavements. The road through Garker and Tregrehan Mills will also become a rat run and increase the probability of accidents. This road is used a lot by horse riders, walkers and cyclists. Locals have already reported some close shaves with motorists almost colliding with pedestrians and horse riders. In one incident a person had to jump in the river to avoid being run over!


If allowed, the proposal would lead to increased hazards and congestion especially in Tregonissey Road, which is a main route into town and has a history of accidents.

At peak times Tregonissey Road is already a major bottleneck. This plan would only make this worse. 

Treverbyn Road is already very congested. Cars already park in the road by the chapel, so vehicles are forced into oncoming traffic. The traffic lights at the bottom of Treverbyn Road, where it joins Carclaze Road, Slades Road and Tregonissey Road are the location of existing congestion, so adding to this should not be allowed.

Traffic is already predicted to increase in St Austell by more than 20% in the next decade, without adding to it with another 2,000 propertie, aside from other planned developments that will increase this further.

Cars already queue back as far as the Lovering Fields roundabout during morning and afternoon busy periods.

Because of long queues in Treverbyn Road in the morning and evenings, motorists use Drummers Hill as an easy access to the town. Drummers Hill is a narrow, steep and winding road, which has seen several accidents. The increase in traffic will undoubtedly increase the number and severity of accidents in Drummers Hill.

The increase in traffic using Drummers Hill, in order to access St Austell, will end up on Bodmin Road. This road is notorious for accidents, including fatalities. 
 
Employment

There already not enough jobs for local people, without adding thousands (4k?) more people from the new development.

The main employer in the St Austell area, Imerys, is still reducing it’s workforce. There isn’t any immediate prospect of another source of jobs on that scale.

Merely building offices and light industrial units doesn’t create jobs. If that were the case why are so many offices in the Urban Village still vacant after 3 years?

Cornwall’s population has already increased by 47,000 since 1991 due to inward migration. This has contributed to employment problems for local population and this proposal would only make this worse.

The claim by Eco Bos that they will create employment by providing employment space is open to challenge. The many empty spaces in and above Fore Street and in the Urban Village bears witness to the fact that employment space does not provide jobs.

Employers have identified that skills shortages are a problem in filling job vacancies. It is better to focus efforts on training on currently unemployed people and those who will become unemployed, rather than adding to the problem by bringing in more people.

This plan doesn’t contain any assessment of the local jobs market. A proposal of this scale should provide some evidence of where people buying these properties would find work. 

Effects on local community

Overall the local community feels that the provision of jobs and infrastructure has not kept pace with housing and this has led to an 'unbalancing' of the area.
 
This proposal increases the potential for increased crime and disorder. The risk is that people housed on this site by Housing Associations from all over the country would bring their social problems with them and add to difficulties already present in St Austell.  Every year, 'thugs' torch the gorse bushes on Carn Grey Moor (adjacent to the proposed development).  Without doubt the fires will happen more frequently and could possibly lead to the loss of an important ecosystem or the loss of life.

The Crime & Disorder Act 1998 places a duty upon local authorities to consider the impact their decisions have on crime and disorder in their local area, including planning. The Asst. Chief Constable of Devon & Cornwall said “We are trying to design out bad estates where, for example, there might be cut-throughs which could create issues with antisocial behaviour into the future”. This proposed development shows many cut-throughs, and no facilities to reduce their effects. 

Would the local secondary school, Poltair, have the capacity for an additional students?

The strain on the local infrastructure is obvious to anyone who thinks this through.
 
Doctors’ surgeries and NHS dentists are already under pressure to meet the needs of the existing population. Treliske Hospital and Devon and Cornwall Police are making cut backs, they will all buckle under the strain.

St Austell residents who require hospital treatment generally have to travel to Truro, Hayle, Plymouth or Penzance. There should be an embargo on large scale development until St Austell has the infrastructure and services to support the existing population of the area. 

Sewerage and flood risk

Question 15 on the application form, question is answered no (Flood risk)  Without analysing the EA Flood Map, I can give you some local knowledge.  Alseveor pit discharges into the river that flows through Trethurgy, Tregrehan and Par Moor.  Tregrehan and Par Moor (including Cornish Market World and Imerys car park) was flooded in November 2010 after heavy rainfull.  If the development goes ahead, the chances of these places flooding more frequently will rise.

St Austell’s sewerage network already running at beyond its maximum capacity. Waste is already being taken away in trucks because the local sewage treatment works cannot cope.  The responsibility to upgrade the sewerage network falls on South West Water. Who will pay for this?  We can only assume we will all be left with higher water rates. 
 
Wildlife issues
 
Whatever mitigating proposals put forward in the application to prevent damage to protected species, the likelihood is that protected species will be lost. Property developers only pay lip service to ecological matters. It is too late to save bats and badgers once they have been wiped out. Bats and baders are a protected species, the site is also home to numerous bird species (with many appearing on the RSPB's red and amber list) and to deer. Such a valuable facility should be preserved.  No matter what is said, the wildlife can't prosper whilst living side by side a housing estate. 

Trees and hedgerows provide habitats for a wide range of flora and fauna. Cutting down mature trees and replacing them with saplings does nothing for wildlife.

Allowing this development would mean the destruction of fields, hedgerows and trees. These are not only important to wildlife but provide a beautiful backdrop for miles around. These views are important to local people and are what tourists expect to see when they come to Cornwall. 

Public rights of way

There are Public Rights of Way across the land. These would be ruined as why would anyone want to ramble through a housing estate?  Eco Bos propose 7,000 meters of new footpaths, bridleways, etc.  Sounds great, but a lot of the proposed routes were fenced off a few years ago, stopping the public from walking on them.  Also, some proposed bridleways run alongside existing footpaths, so these figures are in question

Loss of important local recreational amenity.  There is no where else locally that is so big for people to use. 
 
Other matters

Tax payers money has been used to promote the Eco Town - this is not good use of our money during times of financial cutbacks.  Wainhomes, etc don't get the same special treatment.  It is therefore assumed that the Council will therefore pass this development regardless of local objection.

There would be increased air pollution caused by extra traffic. Furthermore the rural backdrop to St Austell would be destroyed by light pollution from street-lighting and noise pollution from all the extra people and cars.

The scale, character and appearance of any development should relate sympathetically to the built and natural environment, including on the skyline and important views, but this proposal fails on every count.

Other parts of Cornwall have benefited greatly from the receipt of Objective One grants, so it should be that housing is sited nearest to where job growth is actually taking place. There is nothing in the St Austell Town Centre redevelopment that will create jobs on the scale of the china-clay industry.

This development, if allowed, would be an intrusion into open countryside.

The design does not retain local distinctiveness and is alien to the character and rural feel of the site and area. 
 
Matthew Taylor MP supports development of brownfield sites around St Austell as this is a far greener, more community orientated way than estate developments on the edge of town. Quote: "Growth of the communities needs to be planned with the community, and choices made locally. The devil is in the detail and that needs local involvement, not centralised diktat.” 

Local need

More than 10% of the land in Cornwall is classed as derelict – the highest proportion in England. With this amount of waste land available there should be absolutely no need for building on green fields.

Property developers have already done much to damage St Austell with their existing developments. Policies should be made at a local level and be based on what is actually needed rather than what developers want to do. Nothing else should be allowed, and the democratic process should be followed.

The proposal is not, it appears, supported by any up to date local needs survey which clearly demonstrates the need for the proposal. 

Recent housing developments in St Austell have been very slow to sell. This is a poorly paid area and even with low interest rates local people will find it difficult to buy.

I have no issues with supplying affordable homes for local people to address demand. But I object when it’s a misused description and priced well beyond the reach of local people.

The proposal appears to have no real support in the local community. It is however opposed by hundreds who have attended public meetings.

Housing policy should reflect the needs of the local population, and not satisfy the housing requirements of net migrants.

Please seriously consider my valid objections, prior to making a decission that could be more than an evironmental disaster in the making.

Press Release - 17/05/2011

Click here to see what the papers have said!

Now the Eco Town planning application has been submitted N.E.T (No Eco Town) are now pushing again to defeat this development of 766 acres of open green fields and heath land between Carclaze, Steneleese, Penwithick and Trethurgy. Andrew Dean of N.E.T has said this is the largest housing development St. Austell has ever faced with 2000 houses planned in the first stage alone. People are having a hard time comprehending the scale of this monstrosity. The land area is approximately 12 times the size of Penwithick and can't be seen as 'eco friendly'. It's eco credentials are questionable as in the detailed consent for the pilot phase 92 houses have 166 parking spaces to share, meaning 74 houses will have 2 parking spaces whilst the last will have 1. Eco Bos must expect each household to have 2 cars, despite how excellent they claim the public transport system will be.

Affordable housing is another false premise advertised by Eco Bos as there will be only 6 social rent houses out of 92 in total for the pilot stage. The remainder of 86 will sell for prices the local people simply won't be able to afford, leaving us with the question of who will fill these houses if not the local community? Again how will be benefit from the 6.2 acres of land set aside for holiday lodges, a problem Cornwall is already facing.

 The list is building, the Eco transport is set to be a failure as suggested by Eco Bos themselves with more car parking spaces then they have houses, claiming many of the houses will be affordable homes simply doesn't add up and the pilot scheme is set to be built on the most Ecologically diverse land in the whole site. What is Eco about that?

This is just a massive housing estate on land owned by Imerys, which if they don't get planning permission for will be charged in returning the land to heath land and green field.  This is part of their planning consent when they originally acquire the land for mining, this project will save Imerys millions and perhaps even make them millions more at the cost of the local community.

The promise was the scheme would be self contained , but their own report suggests it will rely on St. Austell and its facilities. So where are these people going to shop, get dental and medical care and get their children educated. Everyone knows St. Austell is 'full', as many of you may have heard on the radio recently school children are being turned away from their local schools as classes are reaching 35+ students per class. As for the roads, if this town is built we would suggest either waiting for a bus, or if you wish to get to your destination before next Thursday then purchase yourself a helicopter.

 If we need more houses in St. Austell why not put them in the right place?

 If you want your say, or wish to learn more there is a public meeting at Trethurgy Village Hall at 7.45PM on Thursday 19th. All Welcome. For Further details calls 01726852701

 Finally Cornwall council with their wisdom have only given a 5 week consultation period for this application, which isn't enough time to sift through the 2CD's of reports filled with 1000's of pages of text. It would seem the council is tuned up to say yes. Leaving us wonder if this is more of a legality period rather than a true consultation period.