Planning Application for three timber shelters on ‘Harbour Head Terrace’

After the excitement of the Shipyard application being live and open for comment; brace yourself for another one. This time it is a re-submission of thee timber shelters and kiosks in the location of what is being named at Harbour Head Terrace.

The official planning application number is PA17/00847. The documents can be found HERE.

The plan for Harbour Head Terrace

In the Design, Access and Heritage statement it says:

“At the centre of the proposals is the desire to enhance the communal enjoyment of the Harbour Head, the harbour itself, and the popular views of the harbour and notable buildings. The proposals offer an appropriate and sustainable use of the Harbour Head Terrace for the long-term benefit of the local community and wider area. The Heritage Impact Assessment produced for the purposes of the application outline the conservation principles which are to:

  • Improve views of the inner and outer harbour by providing an appropriate public space;
  • Enhance the communal and aesthetic heritage value of the Harbour Head; • Bring sustainable new uses to the existing Harbour Head.
  • Enhance the Harbour Character Area identified within the Conservation Area.”

It goes on to say:

“Alongside this, there are clear objectives regarding benefits to the local economy which are to:

  • Promote permeability, activity in the local and wider area;
  • Promote local arts, crafts and trades to exhibit and trade in the local area;
  • Support local events, markets, concerts, and festivals;
  • Promote regeneration in the local and wider area.”

All the document information can be read HERE. You can also make comment online, or like the Shipyard application at one of the applicants consultation events, If you cannot make either of those events, you can officially comment to Cornwall Council and/or Porthleven TC.

The proposed design of the sheds

Planning application for Shipyard building is now live

Drum-roll….

The planning application for the new building located in what is commonly known as the Shipyard is now live after it has been validated and has an official planning reference number. I am sure this application will be of interest to those near and far; as it is quite a fundamental change to what is currently located in the Shipyard.

The planning reference number is PA17/00573 and all the detail on the application can be found HERE.

There has been a pre-application on this proposal and Cornwall Council gave advice and whilst “there is support in principle from a planning perspective for development within this area of the Shipyard”. However, the Council’s advice raised a number of issues that needed to addressed

  • There is potential conflict in views from the harbour towards the town between the building proposed and the Grade II* Methodist Chapel.
  • The loss of the historic wall to the West of the site to facilitate access by service and good vehicles has potential to result in the loss of significant element of historic fabric”
  • The site lies within Flood Zone 3” The proposed finish floor level of the ground floor is raised to 7.00m which is similar to the adjacent building to the west.

In the Design, Access and Heritage Statement (Click HERE), it says these concerns have been addressed.

My advice would be for everyone to read the planning documents, attend the public consultation arranged by the applicant, and take part in the official public consultation (which is live now) making your views know to both Cornwall Council and Porthleven Town Council.

The building elevations

Layout of the Shipyard Building

Consultation for Shipyard building in Porthleven

Porthleven Harbour and Dock Company are holding two periods of public consultation in reference to two planning applications they have submitted. The first is a building in the Shipyard and the second is three structures on what is being called Harbour Head Terrace.

I am sure people will remember a previous pre-application for the Shipyard building and how there was concern about the use of this building. This pre-app never progressed to a full planning application. This time a planning application has been submitted (not yet validated yet) for a shop/cafe and office space.

The second application is for is for a re-submission of three structures on Harbour Head Terrace. This was previously withdrawn by the application due to concerns from the Conservation Officer.

 

This public consultation is arranged by the applicant. The applications will still be subject to the official consultation by Cornwall Council and Porthleven Town Council. This will be where anyone who wants to support or object to these applications can make their views know.

This event is listed on What’s on in Porthleven – HERE

St. Ives Neighbourhood Plan: Residents 1 – Property Developers 0

In a landmark case, which will have an impact not only in Cornwall, but also across the land. Cornwall Council is welcoming the news that the claim for judicial review (JR) submitted by RLT Built Environment Limited of the authority’s decision to support the publication of the St Ives Neighbourhood Development Plan and put it to a referendum in St Ives has been dismissed on all counts.

In simple terms, the residents of St Ives and Carbis Bay have had the Court uphold is Neighbourhood Plan to restrict new builds from being used as holiday/second homes. The neighbourhood plan has been tested by referendum on 5 May 2016 and of the 47% of electors entitled to vote , 83% voted in favour of Cornwall Council using the St Ives NDP to help decide planning applications.

Those who submitted the JR do have three weeks to submitted and appeal, but if they do not, then this plans can be used in planning applications.

The decision also means that town and parish councils with similar policies in their Neighbourhood Plans will also be able to progress them. These will be dealt with on a case by case basis subject to supporting evidence and the relevant Examiner’s report. I know this will be of interest in Porthleven; as the subject of restricting holiday/second homes has been raised by residents as part of the Porthleven Neighbourhood Plan process.

Prior to the referendum RLT Built Environment Limited, a firm of architects specialising in residential development and design, challenged  the Council’s decision made on 17 March 2016 to proceed to referendum. The original challenge comprised 8 grounds, all but 3 of which were abandoned prior to the hearing on 6 October 2016, with the main challenge claiming that Policy H2 – the principal residency requirement , was incompatible with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Judge in the case, Mr Justice Hickinbottom said in dismissing the judicial review he had not been convinced by any of the grounds put forward by the claimants:

I do not consider any of the grounds strong – and I have expressly found some to be unarguable” he said.  “I heard full submissions on all of the grounds, and I have given a full judgment. In all the circumstances, not without hesitation, I shall grant permission to proceed on all grounds; but, having done so, refuse the substantive application”.

The Judge heard full submissions on all of the grounds from both RLT Built Environment and the Council and gave permission for a hearing. He  found that Grounds 1,2 and 3 ((4) of the original application) failed for the reasons set out in the detailed judgment and refused the substantive application.

For those technically minded in planning, the three grounds put forward by the claimants as part of the judicial review were :

Ground 1 : Policy H2 – the Principal Residence Requirement – does not comply with the requirements of the SEA (Strategic Environmental Assessment ) Directive and Regulations.

Principal Residences are defined as those occupied as the residents’ sole or main residence , where the residents spend the majority of their time when not working away from home. The condition or obligation on new market homes will require that they are occupied only as the primary (principal) residence of those persons entitled to occupy them. Occupiers of homes with a Principal  Residence condition will be required to keep proof that they are meeting the obligation or condition, and be obliged to provide this proof if/when Cornwall Council requests this information. Proof of Principal Residence is via verifiable evidence  which could include,  for example  (but not limited to) residents being registered on the local electoral register and being registered for and attending local services (such as healthcare, schools etc).”

Ground 2 : Policy H3 Development  of Un- Allocated Sites and Additional Sites Following the Commitment of all Allocated Sites does not comply with the requirements of the SEA Directive and Regulations

The development of un-allocated sites may be considered only if:

  1. they are for 50 dwellings or less;
  2. the site forms a logical extension to the existing built up area and is not an isolated development in the countryside;
  3. housing density is a maximum of 35 dwellings per hectare;
  4. they are affordable housing led schemes (i.e. deliver the maximum viable amount).

Ground 3 : Policy H2 is incompatible with article 8 of the ECHR (European Convention on Human Rights . This states that .”Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.” and “ There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.” 

Well played Cornwall Council for defending the wishes of residents of St. Ives and Carbis Bay.

Pre-app for extension to Shrubberies Hill development

There is no easy way to say this, but developers have submitted a pre-application to the Cornwall Council’s planning authority. A pre-app is a way for developers and individuals to see if an idea is supported under the planning system and feedback is given prior to any formal submission. This is a paid for service.

This site in question is easily explained in the following picture.

Shrub pt2In the submitted documents, the agent has indicated this site could take up to 80 dwellings. Due to the location of the site, this would be classed as an exceptional site and therefore, this could be a site of 100% affordable, with a minimum of 50%.

I can see why this pre-application has been submitted now, because the emerging Porthleven Neighbour Plan (PNP) has this area one of the least preferred for development. This is because the working group has done a huge amount of work on a Local Landscape Character Assessment (LLCA), which has prioritised those areas that would be ‘better’ for development. You can read the detailed LLCA HERE

Just to recap, the Local Plan, and the emerging Porthleven Neighbourhood Plan has Porthleven requiring a further 80 dwellings over the next 15 years.

The PNP is also spending a lot of time using the LLCA details to do site allocations. A site allocation is where a plan based on evidence, sets a preferred area to be developed first. This does not guarantee another site is developed, but gives you a strong defence to resist a site that is not one of the preferred. The following picture gives you a clear idea where the preferred sites are.

image

In light of the LLRC and the work of the PNP, I do not think this site should be supported for housing. I know it is for affordable, and this is much needed in Porthleven. However, this site could have only a minimum of 50% because of something called viability. If you compare this will with the split of open-market to affordable for Porthleven in the Local Plan – 70/30 –  which would be imposed on all other sites.

The difficulty in resisting this application if a formal plan comes forward is the PNP is an emerging plan; which has not been tested by referendum and therefore, it is given little weight in the planning process, or at an Appeal. This is always a danger with any emerging plan when an area is deemed less suitable for development and the landowner wants to act quickly before they find it is very difficult/impossible to take forward.

As I said before, this is only a pre-app and there is no process for the public, or the town council to give a view. This site should not be supported because there are other more viable areas in Porthleven for future development.

For more information on the PNP, please click HERE

Appeal for Shepherd Huts in Porthleven dismissed by Planning Inspector

The Planning Inspector has dismissed two appeals made by Saracen House Estates Ltd (Harbour and Dock) in reference to placing several shepherds’ huts between Beacon Rd and Mount Pleasant Rd:

  • Ref PA15/03264; the proposed is siting of four shepherds huts for holiday use, formation of car parking spaces, widening of access (including removal of part of existing stone-hedge), together with associated works, and;
  • Ref PA15/06091, the development proposed is siting of two shepherds huts for holiday use, formation of car parking spaces, widening of access (including removal of part of existing stone-hedge) together with associated works.

In the refusal of the appeal, the inspector applied significant weight to the AONB Management Plan which is due to its fairly up-to-date adopted status in protecting the setting of the AONB, including that of the Conversation Area. And, the Cornwall Design Guide (the Design Guide) which is also a fairly recently adopted document to which significant weight can therefore be applied in respect of its role in, amongst other things, supporting development that relates to, respects, and sits well in its local context.

A typical shepherd hut design.

A typical shepherd hut design.

The appeal site is one such area of key open space in Porthleven, identified as such in the (Porthleven) Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Strategy to which the inspector have applied significant weight, again due to its fairly recent endorsement by Cornwall Council, following a consultation process.

In summing up, the inspector found that the settings of the listed harbour walls and the boundary stone would be preserved. However, this does not lessen the harm that the inspector otherwise found would be caused in respect of the character and appearance of the Conversation Area and the setting of the Ship Inn.

Looking at the bigger picture, there needs to be consistency in appeals. As if you used the same decision for refusing this appeal, then the large building on Frankie’s Allotment that was given planning permission at a appeal last year, should never have been given permission because of its impact to the ‘green wedge’ in this area.

With the inspectors decision, it stops any further application for shepherd huts in this area.

 

 

Government set to change the affordable housing criteria – again

The Government just cannot leave the planning rules for more than a few days without wanting to make changes. They say it is for the benefit of people who are unable to access the housing market. Others would say the tweaks are to the advantage to developers. The latest changes which are currently being consulted upon are around affordable housing.

The Government is looking at changes to broadening the definition of affordable housing to include starter homes; increasing the density of development around commuter hubs; supporting sustainable new settlements; helping development on brownfield land and small sites; ensuring delivery of housing allocated in plans; promoting and aiding the delivery of starter homes, including exception sites in rural areas and as part of mixed use commercial developments. As you can read quite a few changes to the current planning rules.

In the latest round of tweaks, the Government plans to soften the current exception site policy in favour of ‘starter home’ developments. For the Government’s definition of a starter home click HERE.

I am concerned to extend rural exceptions to deliver starter homes. In Cornwall rural exception sites have played a vital role in the provision of affordable housing in Cornwall.

Furthermore, the proposal to allow exception sites for starter homes could significantly reduce the willingness of landowners to make sites available for affordable housing outside of starter homes. The loss of this approach or undermining its acceptance with local communities and landowners could significantly reduce the delivery of local needs housing.

If the provision is to be made, the Council should have the flexibility to require local connection tests. It is not clear from the consultation whether this test would be made perpetuity. Which means someone could purchase a starter home and then make a large profit on a re-sale.

Rural exception sites are often located in the most expensive and desirable areas of Cornwall and the changes could impact on a local person’s ability to be able to purchase a home with only a discount of 20% from open market value.

The evidence included within draft policies within Cornwall’s emerging local plan indicates that that the average ‘purchasing power’ of households looking to buy an affordable home may only be £87,000-£104,500 for typical 2 and 3-bedroom houses. With average house prices as high in Cornwall, if (or should I say when) this change happens, it should be up to the local authority to set the discount.

As 20% of a averagely (last quarter of 2015) price house in Helston of £202,481; Porthleven (£237,151) and Praa Sands (£378,900) is not going to make much difference in the ability to afford a house.as they currently are, it is highly unlikely that a 20% discount will enable a significant number of additional households to purchase a property.

A further impact of these possible changes to the rules is the knock on effect on affordable rents. If starters homes are given more weight, or developers see a greater profit in delivering this type of house will mean less affordable rents. High rents are an issue in Cornwall. If these are less houses available for rent, the demand for existing stock will no-doubt push the rental price up.

More details From the Planning PAC HERE

Consultation event for Porthleven Shipyard’s proposed new building

The proposed new building at Porthleven’s Shipyard has certainly got people talking. In a previous blog, I showed the concept of a building and talked about a planned consultation. This consultation was organised by the applicant, Trevor Osborne – owner of the harbour and shipyard.

Just under 40 people attended this event and gave their views on the concept. As with any large-scale planning application, this attracted a series of views both positive and negative. It is always good to hear people’s views as it shows they take an interest in what is going on in Porthleven.

FullSizeRender (2)

In an age of social media, people are quick to give their views on these platforms However, having been involved in planning for over 10 years, I would suggest before people start a petition or write to Cornwall Council to lodge their views either for or against, they should wait till the actual planning application is submitted with the final design.

As at the moment this building is a concept and apart from a pre-app, (which is very basic) there has not been any official plans submitted. Time has taught me that many things change in design and layout from a concept stage, to a planning application being submitted, to and if, any plan is approved either by the Local Authority, or at an appeal by the Planning Inspector. During that time there will be plenty of opportunities for people to comment.

When people object or support, the objection/support need to be on planning grounds for those views to carry any weight. Non-planning grounds whilst important to those who make them, carry little weight in the planning process.

Areas like impact, harm, smells and other planning issues will be picked up in the planning process. Design of the building is always difficult in planning terms and is subjective on people’s own aesthetic views.

However, I should point out the area in question is classed as industrial, so in simple planning terms, an industrial building is permitted in this area. People may have forgotten that there was plans to put three or four industrial building behind the current sheds. This from my knowledge did not come forward due issues on the water culvert that runs under this part of the shipyard. So putting new buildings in this area is not a new idea.

I also have been looking (as part of the research for the Porthleven CIC town trail) at pictures of different types of building large and small including just grass land in the area in question to show how this area has changed over the years. When you see these pictures you are amazed at the changes that have actually happened.

There has been comments on who will build the building. This is simple to answer is it will be built by Trevor Osborne and funded by him. Origin Coffee who plan to relocate from Helston are the planned tenants. They are not building it.

Porthleven has seen lots of changes and has grown in the last 50 years will large developments like (to name a few) Wheal Rose, St Peters in the 60’s/70’s; the area around Treza Rd; Penrose Park in the 80’s; Forth Scoul in 2000; Highburrow; Sunny Bank 90’s/00’s; Guissiney Place in the mid-2000; Methleigh Bottoms and Monterey on the site of the former crab factory; and lately Shrubberies in 2014/15.

I know these are houses, but Porthleven adapts and changes with the times. It has to, or else the world moves on and Porthleven is left behind. It is one reason why Porthleven has a buoyant economy and businesses want to move to Porthleven. The fact is for every shop (harbour and dock) that comes vacant, there are at least 5/6 applicants. Not many towns can boast this.

For instance, anyone living or visiting will have seen a lots of open and busy shops in many sectors. People travel to Porthleven to eat, shop and enjoy Porthleven. We have award-winning restaurants and chefs who appear on national cookery programmes. Porthleven has many community events like the Food and Music Festival and RNLI Day to name but a few. Porthleven is the place to live, and people want a slice of that pie.

The question is, will this new building and its proposed tenants Origin Coffee, add to this wonderful environment, or harm it. That question will need to be answered when plans come forward and are submitted to Cornwall Council’s planning dept.

 

Public Consultation for Origin Coffee new building in the Shipyard, Porthleven

Just over six-weeks ago, the media covered a pre-application plan for a new mixed-used building to house Origin’s business operation. The area this business is planned tobe located is in the Porthleven Shipyard. From the responses I have had, ranged from WTF, OMG to Wow, this is good.

Now the pre-application process is out-of-the-way, the Harbour and Dock Company want to proceed to the next stage of the planning process and submit a full planning application. However, before they do, the company will be holding a public consultation event to gather all views before a full planning application is submitted.

This event will take place on Friday October 9th between 16:00 – 18:00pm at The Brew House on the Harbour Head.

The plan is ambitious, and includes (taken from the pre-app document):

A drum at the pavement edge contains the café, training and office uses. It addresses the public space, the harbour and the views with its curved façade. The rear rectangular form is a simple large industrial volume with private access at the rear of the site away from public interaction.

The design is bold, but has a strong relationship with Porthleven: the materials are “of the place”; the massing and organisation relate well to the site, the built context and the public space; the building use/typology is symptomatic of Porthleven’s new/ emerging positive identity – a centre of food culture and high quality tourism. 

The existing bus stop is a standard stand-alone plastic and steel shelter of poor quality. The approximate location of the new shelter will remain unchanged but is now integrated into the new building. Its glass roof links the existing single storey Brew House building (once the harbour master’s office) with the drum of the new Origin building. The choice and quality of materials will match those of the new building.

This development presents an opportunity for a huge improvement of this focal public space. A newly paved shared surface with re-aligned kerb edges could be provided, giving greater space for and priority to, pedestrians. With views onto both sides of the harbour this is an important orientation point for visitors to Porthleven.

It connects pedestrian routes from the public car parks and to the green space further up the valley. Some information/signage might be appropriate as well as seating. A large baulk timber screen wall is also shown which conceals parked cars within the Shipyard and the trash screen from the public space and provides a new backdrop suggestive of the former uses and materials associated with the shipyard.

 

The pictures below will illustrate the plan and give you an idea how the building would like if it was approved (in the current form). I should point out a lot can and does change from a concept to planning permission being granted. Including taking onboard the public view.

FullSizeRender (1) FullSizeRender (2) FullSizeRender (3) FullSizeRenderoriginAs I said before, the plan is ambitious, and will be discussed on its merits and benefits to Porthleven. One of those merits or disadvantaged (depending on your view-point) is this will bring more (abet some relocated) employment to Porthleven. I am often told Porthleven needs more job opportunities. So could this plan be one of those opportunities?

The answer to that question will be up to you, the residents of Porthleven. Therefore, I urge you to take the time to see the plans in full and ask any questions you may have.

Cornwall Council helps to win a Judicial Review on the threshold for affordable housings

Planning is a roller coaster ride of emotions, no matter which side of the fence you sit on. There is a feeling with councillors and the public that the Government has deregulated planning policy so much that the system favours the developer.

I highlighted a huge concern in a previous Blog on the thresholds for affordable housing and how changes to the rule would affect the desirability of affordable housing.  So much so joined a Judical Review by providing evidence in support of a JR brought by West Berkshire Council and Reading Borough Council.

The changes to the policy would have stopped any contributions either financially or by means of a percentage of affordable housing will be sought from developments of 10 or less.  In Cornwall 26% of previous permissions were on sites under 10 units.

The good news is this Judical Review was successful and following the successful challenge the Government has now removed those new limits from national planning policy guidance. This judgement means that the affordable housing threshold reverts to 2 rather than 10.

 

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