Hayle, Seven Hours and a Decision

Yesterdays Strategic Planning Committee was a mammoth session ofover seven hours. On this agenda put simply, is the future of Hayle. TwoSupermarkets and a Bank were all desperate for their application to be passed.As I have said before the ‘expert’s advice is Hayle could only support oneadditional supermarket. It was high stakes for all applicants.
All the applicants were able to present their cases, supportersand objectors to the three plans had their say too, as did other experts. Theorder of play was ING, Morrisons and then ASDA. To be honest all three planshad benefits to Hayle. Because all three did have good points itmeant there was no overall preferred option by the people of Hayle. 
South Quay: Home to the new ING development 

The debate on the three applications was in parts passionate, tothe point and emotive. Occasionally, there were points that bordered on theridiculous and I did wonder if they were talking about thesame applications. But this is part of the rich tapestry of planning. Noone could argue that these three applications were not given a full and fairhearing. As few might say the running order of the applications was biased, butsomeone had to go first.

At the end of the day a vote had to be taken. And those votes wereduly taken. Before it came to the vote, things got a little heated with theadditional conditions that needed to be placed on one application if it was tobe passed. Originally the ING proposal for their as yet unconfirmed supermarkethad a 65/35 split on food and non-food. This, I did not like; due to the factthe non-food goods generally have a far more negative impact on the highstreet. This was even highlighted in the GVA ‘independent’ report.
I felt, as did many of my colleagues that an 80/20 splitwas better. This point resulted in a little bit of a stand off, but I ampleased to say the 80/20 split prevailed. Another issue rose during the debate of the concern time limited of free car parking at thenew as yet unnamed ING supermarket.

As many will know supermarkets generallyonly give you free two hours parking.  After that they can, and do, fine you. I feltif secondary shopping to the town centre shops was to be encouraged, then thisperiod of free parking needed to be longer. Again, I proposed an extracondition that a minimum of three hours of free car parking should be providedat this site.
Once these extra conditions were added and vote had to be taken.This vote was taken and the ING proposal was passed by 13 votes for, 6 against.This was only for minded for approval, as this decision needs to be referred tothe Sec of State to see if he is happy with the decision. 
Next it was onto the vote for Morrisons. The vote for refusal was 14 for, against 3 and two abstentions. This vote was taken after a votefor approval was lost. It was now onto the ASDA application.The vote for the ASDA site was always going to be the difficult becausemany in the town wanted it, partly due to the fact that a new rugby groundwould have been provided from the sale of the site. Again, a vote was taken.This vote was for refusal, and this vote was carried by 12 for 5 againstand 2 abstentions.
So there you have it, ING with its yet unconfirmedsupermarket (Sainsbury’s subject to contract) won the day. I am not sure whatthe other supermarket applications will do, but they may appeal against thedecisions. 
For me, this was one of the hardest and most emotive planningdecisions I have had to make. It was not an easy task having to vote on any of the applications as they all had good points. For the record I voted for the ING and the ASDA applications, but against the Morrisons plan.

Hopefully now ING will honour its promises and help make Hayle a better place and not fail it like so many have in the past.

Lastly, the application for the new rugby ground was passed too.

Once Upon a Time in Hayle

Once upon a time there was this maiden who despite being a widower was still in her prime and looking for a suitor. She was not young, but still held her natural beauty. Along came a rather dashing suitor, who promised her wealth and security for the future. The maiden was bowled over by his charm and wit, but at the day of the wedding he hightailed it off to sea. The maiden was devastated, and fell into despair.

Near three decades later the maiden had still not found a suitor, and she felt that no one would ever love her again. As her agony continued; her health and looks faded until no one would give her a passing glance. That was until three suitors saw her potential.

These three suitors now made a play for her affection, the first one had his roots in the north, the second was from across the English Channel, whilst the third now resided in the Americas. All three offered security and money which would help make her attractive once again. The only issue was, she could only marry one.

Which one would it be as each had their own strengths and attributes? It was a hard choice because picking the wrong one would have far reaching consequences. Unable to make that decision on her own, she enlisted Counsel who she hoped could advise her as to which suitor was best.

This advice was complicated and fraught with danger, as the two rejected suitors would no doubt take the rejection personally and seek to change her mind in other more formal ways. Counsel has indeed advised her of the best suitor that would give her all she needs now and for the future, but is this suitor trust worthy, or once married run off with another and leave the now old maiden dead and dying.

We shall know in a week’s time as to who she has picked. Let’s hope it is the right choice.

ING and Selling the Family Silver?

The Town of Hayle has been subject to a lot of interest by four supermarkets. Cornwall Councils Strategic Planning Committee will have to decide which application, if any, gets the go-ahead. These plans are scheduled to be presented to the Committee in September. It is a slight understatement that feelings are running high, and for better or worse  the future of Hayle will be decided.
The preferred application by Cornwall Councils Planners (although disputed by the opposition) is the development of South Quay which includes the building of a supermarket and housing.
In the first half of 2011 ING announced its intention to move fully out of property. I thought nothing really of it until today when I stumbled upon a press statement by CBRE Investors. In that press statement it announced the acquisition of all of ING’s Real Estate Investment Management (REIM) businesses in Europe and Asia for £960 million.
This statement made me pause and then check where Hayle Harbour sits in ING’s portfolio. Has it been included in the sale of the REIM’s? After a few checks and the odd phone call I found out Hayle Harbour sits in a Real Estate Development (RED). Generally, a non-completed project sits in a RED before it is transferred to a REIM once the project is completed. This sounds logical enough until you realise ING has sold its REIM’s.
The question is what will ING do if it gets planning? Could there be a real possibility, and danger, that once planning has been obtained ING will sell the harbour off for an enhanced price because it has planning? It already has planning for development, but this has been touted as ‘not viable’ in the current climate. After all it has said its intention is to get out of property.
If (and it’s a very big if) ING sell it on, will the new owners stay with the current plan, or modify or change, or start again from scratch. Where will this leave Hayle? I have blogged before that Hayle has been let down once too often in the past. Will it happen again? I guess only time will tell.
Do you think ING has told Cornwall Council? I doubt it very much.

Hayle Supermarket Wars – Three Out of Four Survive

Wow, a simple word, but it sums up todays Strategic Planning Committee. This meeting started at 9:30am and continued past 6pm. I always thought it was going to be long, but I never expected how long, or what would transpire during this meeting.

Hayle, a town that has a population of 8000 has certainly been re-placed on the map of Cornwall. It has a proud history, but for the last decade it has been left out of much needed investment. That was until three supermarkets and one international bank decided it wanted to develop various areas.

First to present it’s case was ING, their proposals are for South Quay. I could give a detailed account of what happened, but that would take half the night just to type out. It would be far simpler to say the debate took over four hours, and when it finally came to the vote, four different motions and counter motions were put forward and vigorously debated. At certain times some of the issues got confused, but in the end a decision was made. It was felt that as this application was the preferred option by means of sequential testing, a deferrement for 5 months was passed. This would enable the applicant to address the major concerns that were raised during the debate and highlighted in the report.

Next up was Morrison’s with their proposed plan on the current Jewsons site. This was less controversial on the heritage side than the ING plan, but similarly it had a few concerns needing to be addressed before any application is approved. This debate took slightly less than ING’s but still took around two hours. This was also deferred because this plan was second on the sequential testing and if ING could not, or did not address the concerns, then this would be the new favourite.

It was ASDA’s turn to try and convince the Committee than their plan was best. Unlike the previous two applications this was the first of the out of town proposals. Now this application really did go though the millstone as this was recommended for refusal, but ended up with something different. Lots of the community had turned up to show support, mostly I believe was because of ASDA’s plan for Hayle RFU to be given new grounds. When it came to the vote we started with refusal, then deferment, then approval, and finally deferment. I could go on, as at one stage we could have faced two Judicial Reviews if we had gone down a certain path, but light shone though, and pulled back from the brink (only down to some clever thinking on the consititution).

The last plan to test the metal of the Committee was Sainsbury’s. Again, this was an out of town proposal. This plan was the forth and last on the sequential test. In other words, it would have been a miracle to be suddenly be the front runner as it would have needed the three previous plans to be refused. After a short debate (short by means of the previous three) to motions were presented, deferment and refusal. Refusal won, but I very much doubt the applicants were best pleased with this.

So what happens now? Well, the three remaining plans in the race will need to go away and look at their proposals. They will all need to be improved and the items that need to be addressed will have to be, because as shown today, this Committee will want the best price and deal for Hayle before any permission is granted.

The question now is how far will these three applications will go to secure permission? I hope a very long way, as I believe this will be of benefit to Hayle.

Hayle’s Supermarket War – The Eve Before the Battle

Tomorrow is a big day for Hayle in what could be described as the ‘Battle of the Supermarkets’. Four of the beasts all wanting to come and build in Hayle, but only one spot up for grabs.

From what I can tell the public are split over which supermarket should win. For every person who says they prefer a certain plan, you find someone against it, or who supports another option. My previous blog on this subject has attracted a lot of traffic and comments. Over 22 people have made comments, some close to the personal mark (not aimed at me), but I have allowed them to enable the debate to carry on.

So what is the best plan? That is a very good question which is hard to answer. This though will be needed to be answered by the 21 Members of Cornwall Council’s Strategic Planning Committee. Which way will they go? Who knows. I think it would be easier to pick the Winning lotto tickets for the next 3 weeks than make a call on which application gets the nod.

What I do know is that those Councillors present will listen to all the speakers on all sides, the professional officers comments and would have studied the extensive report that has been produced for this meeting. If you have some spare time and want to read this report, then click HERE.

Far too long Hayle has sat between it’s bigger cousins of Penzance and St. Ives, and I truly believe that it has been overlooked far too many times for investment. Could these plans be the break Hayle needs, or will it break it’s back and destroy what is left?

No matter what decision the Committee comes to, it will be wrong. Why? Well, this is because (as I have said before) there is no clear winner of support by the public or a plan that pleases all the statutory agencies that have been consulted. Planning is never simple, even a house extension can lead to hostilities between groups and neighbours. Let’s hope when the dust settles there will be no long term adverse feelings between the people of Hayle.

Hayle – Which Supermarket Do You Pick?

Supermarkets seem to be the de-rigeur applications for planning lately. I have blogged about this subject numerous times before. The last few years the major supermarkets have been waging a massive expansion plan in Cornwall. Wadebridge, Truro and Penzance have proposals on or about to be placed on the table. Helston has just had two large stores recently open.

The Town of Hayle has caught the eye of 3 of the big boys of the supermarket world, namely Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and a major bank called ING who own Hayle Harbour, who in turn want to develop that area. Their plan also includes a supermarket.

Last night, I attended along with most of the Strategic Planning Committee a public meeting on these proposals. All 4 of the applicants were given 10 minutes to outline their cases and highlight how their plan would be best for Hayle. Of course, they all said their plan was the best for Hayle and the other plans would not be as good as theirs. It was then the turn of the public to raise various points and concerns that they had with these applications.

Around 300 people attended this meeting, and roughly 35 of those present decided to speak. From what I heard there was no overall preferred plan, but I did get the impression that the ING and the Asda proposals had the most support from those gathered. That does not mean the whole town feels the same, as only a small percentage attended.

I don’t want to spend much time on the details as it would take a week to read and most probably bore you to death. I will though give you a brief overview on the current proposals. For guidance the Asda store in Penryn is around 72,000 sq ft.

Sainsbury’s – 53,637 sq ft store, located Marsh Lane. Offering a long term nature reserve on the additional land they own.

Asda – 59,535 sq ft store located on the Rugby Ground at Marsh Lane. In their proposals they will build a new Rugby Ground at another site. Also other business units on this site.

Morrisons – 36,113 sq ft store located on the current Jewsons site. Offering retention and renovation of grade two structures in this area

ING – 56,295 sq ft store located on South Quay. Master plan for the whole area and like the Morrisons plan includes renovations of this Quay.

The difficult question that Hayle has to answer is what plan will be best for Hayle in the long term. Hayle from my knowledge has been let down many times before on plans to regenerate the area. Grand plans have been drawn up, but nothing has ever come of them. If Hayle has to sell its soul for development and investment what price will they ask and accept. Then again, they could say no to all.

This is something we as the Committee will have to take into consideration when we make our decision in a few weeks time. Strategic Planning is never easy, especially when the decisions you make could have far reaching effects.