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.