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.

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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

The Current Position on the Shrubberies Hill Development in Porthleven

Anyone who has passed Shrubberies Hill will have noticed work has started on the site. The first stage of the development is an archaeology survey on the site to see if there is any long-lost ancient settlement located on the site. After this has been carried out, work will then progress on building the houses.

The good news is the rental and shared ownership properties will start to be built at the end of June, with the completion of the first batch at the end of 2014. All the rental and shared ownership dwellings will be completed by September 2015. In total there will be 27 shared/rental properties on this site. There will be 36 local needs including the discounted sales, rental and shared-ownership properties

There will also be nine discounted sale dwellings. These will be sold at a 50% less of the market value. For example, if the market value of a three bed is £200,000, then a three-bed on this site will be £100,000. I expect the three-bed to be sold for between £98,000 and £120,000. The discounted sale will be sold via a local estate agent. As yet, not local agent has been signed up to sell these properties. To buy one of the discounted properties, you will still need to meet the local connection requirement as you would for a rental or shared-ownership properties.

The Shrubberies Hill Development. Thanks to Wendy James for the picture

I have been contacted by many people asking how they can apply for one of the 27 rental/shared-ownership properties. The first thing you need to do is to make sure you are on the Homechoice register. If you are not on this, then you will not be able to apply for one of the properties. I would also suggest if you are considering one of the shared-ownership properties, you need to start to look at getting an in-principle mortgage offer. It does not rule you out if you don’t, but it makes it easier if you know you will get a mortgage. The same goes for one of the discounted sales. You don’t want to find yourself being offered a house only to find out you cannot get a mortgage.

Now onto the rumours. again people have contacted me saying “they have heard” or “I have been told” someone has been allocated one of the new properties. Let me make it clear, no-one has been allocated one of these dwelling for a few reasons.

The first one is for a house to be allocated you need to have Registered Social Landlord (RSL) in place. Officially  and as of last week, the RSL has not been appointed, though the likelihood this will be Coastline once contracts are signed. You need a RSL in place for any house to be occupied.

The second reason is the Local Lettings Plan has not been completed. So the criteria to qualify for one of the properties has not been established. So again a dwelling cannot be allocated without first the criteria being established. This is being worked on, and will have a heavy local connection element as the first requirement to qualify for one of these properties. And for someone to be allocated has to be done in conjunction with the RSL and Cornwall Council.

I would also like to dispel the rumour this site has been sold on. It has not, I know this as I spoke with the developer last week and asked this very question.

For anyone interested in the open market properties, these like the discounted sales will be sold via a local estate agent. As yet, I there is no firm details on the prices, but once I do, I will let people know. There is no qualifying criteria for these properties. It is basically you have the funding, you can buy one.

The last thing that needs to be sorted is a name for the site. I like the name – The Shrubberies. However, the final name will be decided by Cornwall Council in conjunction with the developer and town council. Any sensible suggestions for a name?

Shrubberies Hill Development Approved

Today, the West Planning Committee of Cornwall Council met to discuss and decide on whether the controversial application would be approved, or not. The application has been emotive and has divided Porthleven. For me is one of the most difficult applications I have had to deal with.

During the meeting both sides spoke with passion on why it should be refused or approved. Questions were asked from the committee members and clarifications were sought on aspects of the plan. I made my representation that highlighted the concerns of the objectors; like the AONB and road structure. I also spoke of the need for local needs housing in the area. No site is ever perfect, and it could be argued other sites could be used, but in planning terms, these are not available.

A recommendation was proposed for approval. And after more committee members spoke, it was time to vote. The vote was taken and six Councillors voted in favour, with six voting against. With a hung vote, it was decided by the Chairmans casting vote. I would point out the Chairman did not vote first time round. So it was approved subject to the 106 and other planning matter by seven votes to six.

Now a decision has been made, I hope the community works together to make sure the plans are delivered in line with the application. I know for many, this is going to be difficult.

Shrubberies Hill Public Meeting

The public meeting for the planning application for 60 dwellings at Shrubberies Hill took place last night.

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The meeting was very well attended by around 100 Porthleven residents. Out of those residents 25 spoke about the application after a short presentation from the planning officer.

From those 25, 16 spoke against the application and nine spoke in favour. Both sides put their cases well and with passion. It was good to see both sides respect the others viewpoint without resulting to any heckling. The Chairman of the planning committee also made the point at the end of the meeting on how well people had conducted themselves.

The questions raised from the meeting will be addressed in the final report. The date for the decision for this application will be held on the 27th August at 2pm in the Guildhall, Penzance. This is a public meeting so all can attend.

Public Meeting for the Shrubberies Hill Planning Application

Tomorrow, or today – if you are reading this on the 31st – is the public meeting on the proposed mixed use application along Shrubberies Hill.

This meeting will be held at the Public Hall and will start at 6pm. The meeting will be run by Cornwall Council. Porthleven Town Council have also been invited to attend. I expect a packed house for this meeting which will allow those present the ability to give their views on the application. This will help Porthleven Town Council’s planning committee and Cornwall Council’s West Planning Committee reach a decision on the application.

Ultimately it will be the members of Cornwall Council’s West committee who will make the final decision on this application.

I would urge anyone interested in this application to give up an hour or two of their time and attend.

See you there.

Public Meeting for the Shrubberies Hill Housing Development

Due to the high number of planning consultation responses and the greater public interest, I have asked Cornwall Council’s planning department in conjunction with the West Planning Committee to organise a public meeting. This will enable the residents of Porthleven to give their views not only to Cornwall Council’s planning committee, but also to the town council.

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This meeting will take place on the 31st July at the Public Hall. The meeting will start at 6pm, and will go on till 9pm. All are welcome to attend. If you want to speak at this meeting, all you need to do is register to speak when you turn up at the event. The meeting will be chaired by the Chairman of the West Planning Committee. All the points raised will have the answers in the final report which will go to the planning committee.

It will be the West Planning Committee who will make the final decision if these plans are approved or not. So it is important to turn up and give those views.

Shrubberries Hill Development Public Consultation

The application for 60 dwellings – 31 local needs and 29 open market – at Shrubberries Hill is now open for the public to make comment on. The application number for this plan is PA13/04905. This consultation will take place till the 28th of June 2013.

There are a few ways you can make your views known. These are; by letter, sent to Cornwall Council’s planning department; email, again to the planning department, or to me and I will make sure it gets to the right person. The other way you can make your view known – and I think the easiest – is to do this online.

The link to the application is HERE All you have to do is register and make your comments. The online comment is treated the same as any other comment. So there is no reason to duplicate your comment by either email, letter or both!

Please make your views known. It does not matter if you are pro or anti this application, it is very important you make a comment.

Planning Application Submitted for the Shrubberies Hill Development

As of this week, the planning application for the land along Shrubberies Hill has been submitted to Cornwall Council. These are not ‘live’ as yet, as they need to verified before they can be accepted. All this means is checking all the right paperwork has been submitted. I would imagine this work will be completed early next week.

Once the verification has taken place, the plans start their journey through the planning system. These plans will be subject to consultation not just with the public, but also the various non and statutory agencies and organisations.

The Porthleven Town Council will also have chance to comment on the plans, and the public can make representations to the town council in addition to Cornwall Council. After the town council has had its say, the final decision will be made by Cornwall Council. This final decision will be carried out by the West Planning Committee.

The overview of these plans are:

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The site layout

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The location of the various dwelling type

This site in question is a mixed-use site of Local Needs and open market. The total number of dwellingson the site is 60 (52% local needs 48% open market). This is made up of:

  • 29 x open market
  • 4 x discounted sale
  • 9 x shared ownership
  • 18 x rental

These plans have and no doubt will continue to divide opinion in Porthleven. There are both pro and anti views to these plans. However, no matter which view you have, I would urge if not beg all and everyone in Porthleven to take the time and make comment on the plans. A simple email or if you prefer letter giving you views can be sent to both Cornwall Council and the town council. After all, this is your chance to have your say. Surely it is worth five minutes of your time to do this?

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The proposed site

If anyone has any question please feel free to contact me, and I will be only too happy to help. But at the end of the day, please make your views known to the two councils. It really is one of the biggest decisions the people of Porthleven will have to make.

Responses from the Second Public Meeting on the Proposals for Shrubberies Hill, Porthleven

I now have the feedback from the second public meeting on the proposals for a mixed-use site of local needs and open market that could be built on land adjacent Shrubberies Hill, Porthleven. To refresh, the details of the first consultation event is HERE.

The number of residents who attended the second consultation was 89 (signed the visitors book). Out of those attended, 54 provided feedback and here are those views on the revised proposals:

  • Supportive – 10 (18.5%)
  • Support but with reservations – 10 (18.5%)
  • Against – 31 (57.4%)
  • Unsure – 3 (5.6%)

Combining the two events, a total of 229 residents attended. Out of that figure, 33 residents attended both events and 14 of these left feedback on both occasions. These people’s view did not show a shift in opinion after seeing the revised proposals.

If you combine the two consultation results* the results are:

  • Total responses – 139
  • Supportive – 23 (16.54%)
  • Supportive but with reservations – 32 (23.2%)
  • Against – 69 (49.64%)
  • Unsure – 15 (10.8%)

Out of all the views and comments received,  50% of the feedback highlighted traffic, highways and access as a concern. Though again 50% of respondents felt that homes should be provided to local people at an affordable price. I feel if any plan is submitted, the highway/access issue must be addressed.

*Those who gave feedback twice only the recent view has been used. 

Results from the First Public Exhibition on Proposals for Shrubberies Hill

I now have the results from the first public exhibition on the proposals for mixed-use housing in a field adjacent to Shrubberies Hill in Porthleven. This meeting took place on the 5th October. There was a second meeting in November, but I have not had those figures as yet.

A total of 161 people signed the visitor book at the exhibition and out of that, 99 people left feedback via the forms provided. Though from my understanding the number of visitors actually reached the 200 mark. From those 99 people who left feedback on the day, the split on people’s views is as follows:

Support – 15 (15%)
Support with reservations – 24 (24%)
Unsure – 13 (13%)
Objections – 47 (47%)

The supporters felt the need for the affordable housing, but must be for local people. The objectors highlighted concerns over road and transport issues, strain on the infrastructure, and harm to the character of the village if this proposal was to go ahead. As you can see, the objectors are in the outright majority, but the support (including with reservations) are not far behind. It will be interesting to see and compare the feedback from both exhibitions. I hope to have those new figures in the next few weeks.