Porthleven Shipyard building approved at the fourth attempt

Depending on which side of the fence you sit, you will either be happy this building has been approved, or like me, very sad a building will be built which will have more harm to the fabric of Porthleven than good. As today, the West Planning Committee approved the plans by 11 votes to 4 on the fourth attempt.

Both myself as the Cornwall Council and Porthleven Town Council objected to this building on the grounds that it was:

  • The proposed development is not in harmony in terms of shape, scale, massing, bulk and proportions with the existing character and appearance of the area
  • The proposed development does not protect or enhance the character and appearance of the area
  • The proposed design does not respond positively to the Porthleven Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Strategy
  • There is high number of objections raised by the local community over 100 with only 6 supporting.

I am also concerned that this application was re-heard at committee with only minor changed to the previously refused applications. All we have had is a letter from someone who has been paid by the applicant but was author to the original appraisal strategy, and the colour of the windows being changed from dark/black to white. Hardly real material changes to an already refused planning application. But this was enough for the committee to change its mind, but also, more importantly the conservation office who said having white windows will be less harmful. I know. Nothing about the scale and design of the building being harmful.

The use of the building is not clear. In the planning process, the building has been everything and nothing with claims of creating over 70 jobs, to the latest plan of only 20. In the previous identical application, it was 70 plus. It is not clear if these jobs are actually new jobs, or relocated jobs from existing properties owned by the applicant. There has been no business plan or impact assessment to prove the need vs the harm this building will bring.

Conservation and ANOB areas are important. They are to there to give a level of protection to conserve and enhance an important area. Not to be used to support having less substantial harm upon the heritage asset within the locality. Even the applicants planning agent letter of the 18th July says little substantial harm. In anyone’s definition, substantial harm abet how much, is not meaning conserve or enhance. If there was no harm you would say this, not little substantial harm. You either have harm or not.

As for the 100 plus people who took the time to object (and those 6 who supported) little weight was given to those points. I felt it was like they were not event taken into consideration.

Thanks go to John Boyle who spoke against the application at committee and to Cllr Mike Toy who represented Porthleven Town Council. Thanks to the four Councillors who voted against this applications

Not sure on the time scale, but I would imagine it won’t be long till the diggers move in and start to build this building that we are all going to have to live with.

 

 

An Epic 2018 Porthleven Torchlight Procession

This year’s Torchlight Procession was by far the biggest with 1300 – if not more – people taking part. It was staggering to see just how many people took part.

This event is organised by a small band of people (6) which make up the Porthleven Community Group along with helpers from Porthleven TC, Cober Valley Rotary and a few students from Falmouth University who helped out during the event.

The Procession was wonderfully lead by Porthleven’s Town Band.

A sea of torches make their way pass the Institute

To help fund this event, Porthleven TC and Coastline Housing give grants to keep this a cheap as possible for all who are attending.

On torch selling duties

Just before the off, torches are lit

The Procession coming down Cliff Road

 

Object to the Shipyard Application before it is too late.

The battle over the innovation-come-restaurant-come-unclear use building is still being fought. The building has been refused twice at committee stage, but with a slight change to the windows, a fourth incarnation of this building is winding its way through the planning system.

I have read the comment on Facebook and I am heartened to see so many comments that are supporting refusal. However, by commenting on Facebook will not stop this application from being approved. As people need to let planners and councillors on the planning committee this proposal is not wanted.

For this application to stand a chance of being refused, please take the 5 or 10 minutes to make you comment via the planning system by either online, email or in good old-fashioned letter form. Not just post on Facebook and think you have done your part. Ironically, it probably took longer to post on FB than it would via the official means. You could even cut and paste your comments from FB into an email etc.

The online way is via HERE or email planning@cornwall.gov.uk using the planning reference number in the header – PA18/06813

I have seen a few comments to ask how to object on planning terms. These three simple reasons are valid for any objection:

  • The proposed development is not in harmony in terms of shape, scale, massing, bulk and proportions with the existing character and appearance of the area;
  • The proposed development does not protect or enhance the character and appearance of the area;
  • The proposed design does not respond positively to the Porthleven Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Strategy.

These points have formed the strong reasons for refusal(s) at the committee.

I ask you what would you prefer, take 5-10 minutes to make your objection known or having to look at the building for the next 50 plus years and wish it was never there. Once it is there, you cannot undo it. I know what I would rather do than see something that will result in harm to our much-loved Porthleven.

For a more in-depth objection you could use these reasons as follows:

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 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.

(Of course for those supporting this application are able to give supporting comments too).

Porthleven Town Council supports industrial units along Methleigh Bottoms

The Harbour and Dock Company has in the last year submitted a series of Pre-apps or planning applications for certain areas to be developed. The latest is the planning application for a series of industrial units and parking spaces along the Methleigh Bottom road.

The Town Council as part of the planning process has studied this site and it the plans for it to see whether it should be supported in full, supported subject to conditions, or refused.

The plan for the two cleared fields.

As you can see from the three pictures, the first being the site layout, the second and third the design of the buildings, this is a large development of an area which has been used a fields for the last 80 plus years.

Whilst people might wish for this area to remain in its natural state, the Town Council has looked at this site on whether changing its use will be of a benefit to Porthleven in terms of employability without an undue harm to the environment.

For any settlement to be successful it needs to have an economy that is varied and can weather any change. Porthleven is well-known as a great place to live and visit, has amazing shops, eateries and a stunning environment. But this is mostly within one sector. With this in mind, this proposed site strengthening another sector of light industrial. Which means more opportunities for employment outside the current sectors.

The Town Council has spent a lot of time looking at the proposed plans, it has looked at the evidence for both positive and negative impact to the area, listened to the reason why this is being built and has to come to a conclusion to support this application in principle, subject to a series of conditions.

These conditions are:

  • Screening – conditions set to ensure adequate screening is put in place, screening of deciduous trees preferred. Request that the mature trees on site are protected. This includes the rear of the site to enable the residents of the area to soften the impact of buildings;
  • Boat storage – adequate secure provision for boat storage / repair facilities, including water and electrics, offered all year round. In the current plan, the applicant has only offered this in the winter months);
  • Health & Safety – sprinkler system to be installed (at requested by the Fire Brigade);
  • Traffic Road Order entered into to reduce speed limit from 40mph to 30mph from sewage works towards Porthleven on the B3304. To include ‘dragon teeth’ markings to further identify the new speed limit;
  • Detailed travel plan to be submitted, including more details on the exit/entrance points – request that the Town Council are a consultee;
  • Footpath installed for approximately 20m towards Mill Lane to allow for safe pedestrian crossing on the B3304;
  • Design / building materials sympathetic to the area using traditional materials so that the proposed has a positive impact on the area;
  • Details of bike storage facilities in Porthleven required (to avoid bikes be abandoned around the main settlement area).

If these conditions are not met to the satisfaction of the Town Council, the Council has the right to change its support to one of not supporting and seeking the planning authority to refuse this application. It should be noted, this application subject to the aforementioned conditions was supported unanimously by the Council.

The issue of drainage and flooding has been identified by the Town Council, but other than the use of SUP within the site and the details contained within the proposed plan, this will be covered by the statutory bodies such as the EA, SWW etc. in the planning process. In the submitted documents, there is a substantial flood risk assessment that has been undertaken.

I know some people has raised the issue of costs of units. This is something that the Town Council has no control over or has the power to ask for conditions to be placed on the units. Likewise for the type of business there. The applicant has made some suggestions of what type of business go there, but again the type of use outside of the building classifications cannot be conditioned and is at the end-of-the-day up to the applicant to fill.

For more details on the application, or to give your viewpoint, click HERE

 

Pre-application submitted for Hotel on ‘Breageside’ of Porthleven Harbour

The proposal for a hotel on the Breageside area of the harbour has been mooted for as long as I can remember. Yet despite the rumours of it happening, nothing materialised. Until now.

The owner of the harbour has submitted a pre-application proposal for a 14 bed ‘arts hotel’ with a café/bar and restaurant, exhibition gallery and workshop. The pre-app number is PA17/03203/PREAPP. The documentation can be found HERE via the Cornwall Council planning portal and therefore in the public domain.

Like all pre-applications, there will be advice given in planning terms and from that advice the applicant can either take or ignore that advice and submit a full planning application. In any full application the public can give their comment.

As with most pre-apps, much of the detail is confidential. Therefore, apart from the information contained within the pre-app documentation, I have no further information.

The only information I have is contained within the associated documentation. In that documentation, there is no on-site parking for guests. Any guest will have to park in the yet to be built – or planning application submitted – car park and other building along Methleigh Bottoms. Guest will be chauffeured between the hotel and car park (in practical terms I am not sure this will work).

Public Meeting for the Shipyard building amended plans

It might not come as a surprise, but there has been an amended plan submitted for the proposed building in the Shipyard. Details of the amended plans can be found HERE. The planning reference number is: PA17/03371/PREAPP

This application is slightly smaller to the previous application, but what sets this apart from the previous is the applicant has entered into a Pre-application Community Engagement Forum (PACE) for the public to have their say at a public meeting.

In liaising with planning officers on this and the previous application, I welcome this PACE meeting as this way the public have a forum to give their views – whether for or against – prior to this application going through the planning process. Rather than having to request a site meeting at the planning committee meeting.

This PACE meeting will take place on the 5th Feb at 6pm at the Porthleven Public Hall. No matter what your stance is on this application, I urge as many people to attend to give their views.

However, just because there is a new application in, the original plan which was refused by Cornwall Council can still be appealed. As the applicant has the right of appeal for up to six-months from the date of the decision. As yet, no appeal has been submitted.

 

 

Porthleven Torchlight Procession 2017

No matter how many times I see Torchlight, it fills me with the same pleasure and delight as I did when I first saw it take place. It is truly a great community event that is shared by both residents and visitors alike.

Getting ready for the off

The procession heading down from Gibson Way

This event is organised by the Porthleven Community Group and its small committee. However, the event would not be the success it is without the fine support from Porthleven Town Band, the Town Warden, volunteer marshals from the town council, residents and Cober Valley Rotary Club. Thanks also must go to Porthleven Town Council and Coastline Housing for their grants to keep this event running. 

A massive thanks goes to those who took part, either in the procession or turned out to watch the procession weave its way through Porthleven.

For me it was great being involved as one of the committee members, but leading the procession as the Mayor. A great honour.

Action to be taken against yellow lines on Commercial Road, Porthleven

Let’s be clear, this is not about whether there should or should not be yellow lines on Commercial Road, Porthleven. This issue is about the a lawful process of placing parking restriction and a proper consultation via a Traffic Regulation Order. Here is the previous blog HERE

This would have given the public and official bodies such as Highways the ability of discussing the merits and disadvantages of placing lines along this stretch of road. From this, if there was a requirement of placing parking restrictions along this stretch of road, it would have been done legally and with the proper process and then enforceable.

No-matter who you are, you have to follow the law and people do not have the right to just paint yellow lines wherever they think they can. We have rules for a reason.

In discussing this issue with Highways and Cornwall Council’s legal department and because there has been a clear breach of the law, Cornwall Council is taking action against the Harbour and Dock Company. This is something I welcome.

Cornwall Council has written to Harbour and Dock clearly pointing out the legal breach under Section 132 of the Highways Act 1980. It has given Harbour and Dock two options.

The first is make a formal application for a TRO to regulate, if appropriate, the yellow lines currently in place. This application will ensure that all the relevant aspects of traffic management are considered and provide the opportunity for the public to make representations. The Harbour and Dock Company has one month to comply and submit an application.

The second option is if the Harbour and Dock fails to submit an application for a TRO, then the Highways Authority will remove the unauthorised lines and recover the costs of doing so from Harbour and Dock.

I believe this is a sensible way forward and one that I very much welcome. This could all have been avoided if the proper process was followed…

It should be noted that placing parking restrictions on a stretch of highways doesn’t necessarily stop parking for a couple of reasons.

Those with Blue Badges can park on double yellow lines for up to three hours (so you just replace parked cars with another type of parked car). If you ‘double clip’ a yellow line which means no parking at any time, you do stop parking, but you also stop any delivery vehicle stopping to unload/load as it is an offence and will result in an instant parking ticket. To overcome this, you then need a loading bay. As you can see, placing parking restrictions without proper thought, just causes more problems.

 

The legality of the Yellow Lines on Commercial Rd, Porthleven

The recent changes and the introduction of Yellow Lines to Commercial Rd, Porthleven are leaving residents and visitors confused and annoyed. Therefore, I want to clarify the legality of those lines.

In simple terms, the Yellow Lines on Commercial Rd are not legal, and have no legal standing and no enforcement can take place by official Civil Enforcement Officers, the Police, or anyone else.

To make Yellow Line legal, a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) has to be undertaken. This is subject to a full public consultation, and only after that, and the work has been deemed necessary, a TRO can be made law and enforceable.

Commercial Rd is a private road, but under Highways legislation, it has full public access both pedestrian and vehicular. Therefore, the owner of the said land cannot just do anything and any changes like adding Yellow Lines have to follow legislation.

Harbour and Dock have been advised by myself and Cornwall Council of the correct procedures; with the latter saying no such work should take place until the proper processes have been undertaken. In fact, Highways wrote to the Harbour and Dock asking for all work to stop until this matter had been resolved legally. The Harbour and Dock ignored this advice.

I have been speaking to Highways on this matter for several weeks and only last Friday, they still were not happy with the work that has been undertaken. If the Harbour and Dock had engaged with the statutory highways agency, they would have advised the best course of action which would have avoided the chaos that is now happening along this road. Pedestrian and vehicle safety could have been improved by doing this properly.

Of course, the Council can take legal action against the Harbour and Dock, but this would cost tax-payers a considerable amount of money.

Summing this up, a person can park their vehicle on this stretch of road and no enforcement will be undertaken. Of course all other Yellow Lines in Porthleven are legal – just to stop anyone thinking it invalidates all other lines. Enforcement officers has been informed too.

Porthleven has a new Town Warden

Porthleven has been without a Town Warden since Rod Barnes retired. This is a hugely important role and therefore, Porthleven Town Council was very keen to replace Rod.

From an advert placed, five candidates applied and all were interviewed. The field of candidates was strong, but the three person panel of the Mayor, Cllr Bev Plunkett and myself appointed Carol Jewell to the post.

I would like to congratulate Carol on her appointment to this position. Carol will be an excellent Town Warden. I would also like to thank all who applied and made the panel’s decision a tough one to make.

Carol Jewell – The Porthleven Town Warden

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