What a journey this planning application has been. It has been a close run thing with the outcome finally balanced as the application was recommended for approval. The application was nearly refused at last planning meeting, but – and welcomed – a site meeting was arranged. This site meeting allowed the community to show its feeling and for Councillors on the committee to see first-hand the impact this building would have not only of the area, but Porthleven as a whole. I thank the committee for agreeing to this.
The people of Porthleven accept change will happen, but this change has to be sympathetic to our history, culture and environment. This building is not sympathetic to those important factors.
There is a statutory duty to preserve and enhance Conservation Areas that are designated under s.69 of the Act. The area’s designation has the highest protection in terms of the adopted 2010 Management Appraisal for Porthleven and Local Plan (National Policy); therefore, any building has to align itself to those important principles and this application does not uphold those principles; as the building’s location, scale, form and design would fail to preserve or enhance the character and appearance Conservation Area.
The Porthleven Fishermen’s and Boat-owner Association – much to their credit – stood firm and objected most strongly to this application. This is because the proposed building and layout would harm boat related activity. Lynne Lees as Secretary of the Association spoke amazingly at the recent site meeting. John Boyle put the views of the association at both planning with purpose and clearly highlighting why the association had continuously objected to these plans.
The Town Council objected most strongly to this application and made strong representations both in writing and at the committee meetings. The Town Council’s viewpoint were admirably put forward but Councillors Mike Toy and Liz Lane. The Deputy Mayor, Bev Plunkett showed her support at today’s meeting too.
Porthleven’s community have also stood up with over 120 representation against this proposal. Yes, not everyone was against this plan, but the objections far outweighed those who supported it.
This was all rewarded today at the West Planning Committee meeting Councillors on that committee refused to grant permission for this building. The committee understood the impact and harm to such a central and important of Porthleven part of this building would have and rather than just go with the recommendation for approval voted to refused this application. I thank the committee for the consideration and robust challenge.
The reason for refusal is:
The proposed development would, due to its scale, bulk and form, result in an imposing building which would fail to preserve and enhance the character and appearance of the Conservation Area and wider appreciation of Porthleven within the AONB landscape and harm the setting and appearance of non-designated heritage assets namely St Bartholomew’s Church and the stone boundary wall fronting Methleigh Bottoms.
The less than substantial harm identified would outweigh the benefits of the proposal and the development would be contrary to the aims of Policies 1, 2, 12, 23 and 24 of the Cornwall Local Plan Strategic Policies 2010-2030, paragraphs 7, 14, 17, 56, 57, 58,115, 126, 127, 131 and 135 of the National Planning Policy Framework 2012, guidance within the Porthleven Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Strategy and Cornwall AONB Management Plan 2016-2021 and Section 72 of the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Area) Act 1990.
Only three Councillors voted against refusal with one Councillor, Mike Thomas of Helston spoke in favour of this application at the committee. The other two Councillors who voted against were Councillors John Herd and Richard Robinson.
Of course, this is not the end. As the application has the right of appeal. I am hopeful if an appeal is launched, the robust reasons for refusals would be upheld and the appeal dismissed.