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.