Councillors Resist Section 106 On New Duchy Property

Councillors won’t insist only locals can live in a new development at Normandy Down in case the Duchy scraps the project.

Members discussed an application to demolish a single storey concrete building and replace it with a marginally larger, two-floor property.

The Duchy’s agent says the current building would cost too much to repair and is no longer suitable for occupancy. David Pearson agreed that the work was “long overdue” and the building had been used by squatters previously.

The replacement unit would have two double en-suite bedrooms, a kitchen and dining room on the ground floor, with the lounge on the first floor linked externally with a set of steps.

The timber-framed walls would be covered with a buff lime, sand and grit textured finish.

It would be built into the hill to reduce the impact.

Dudley Mumford felt that the authority as the “social landlord” should consider a planning condition to be placed on the Duchy of Cornwall as the “private landlord” to restrict the new dwelling to local use.

Councillor Mumford felt members, “should be quite brave on this” adding “a restriction would benefit the local community.”

Dudley said he could remember Scillonian families living there. “If you don’t ask, you don’t get,” he told members.

John Goddard backed this suggestion and meeting Chairman, Amanda Martin, said she sympathized with that point.

Richard McCarthy had  “suspicions” about the intended use of the refurbished site. He spoke about what appeared to be a “bizarrely large” patio area, which was larger than the floor area of the house. He wanted it halved in size.

The Planning Officer agreed it had to be smaller.

Members also were concerned that the parking ‘rectangle’ on the plans was much larger than required and pointed out that Duchy–owned roads in the area had recently been upgraded, possibly in preparation for increased road traffic access to the site.

But there was also a strong opinion that the Duchy was becoming more sensitive towards the locals’ housing shortage.

Chris Savill said they were “going in the right direction.”

Marian Bennett echoed this view, stating that the Duchy was “well motivated towards housing local people.”

And Richard McCarthy also stated that Hugh House had made it known that the Duchy had “confined activities” regarding holiday lettings on St Mary’s to the Garrison.

Some members voiced concern about forcing a Section 106 on the building, reserving its occupation to locals and key workers.

Marian Bennett and Fred Ticehurst recounted stories of empty, unlet properties on Bryher, which Marian felt helped no one and meant that there wouldn’t be additional use of services like that island’s shop.

And Christine Savill said that the rent for this stand-alone redeveloped house would be unaffordable for many locals, especially as there was no attached business or potential as a guesthouse.

Members accepted Chief Planner Craig Dryden’s opinion that he couldn’t force an occupancy restriction on the property as the current unit didn’t have one

Richard McCarthy felt if that restriction were added, the Duchy could abandon plans to update the accommodation and “just walk away” and Marian Bennett felt the Council should “tread very gently.”

Fred Ticehurst summed up that view with “slowy slowy catchy monkey.”

Marian believed that members should “live in the real world and not encumber the Duchy with unrealistic conditions.”

The Duchy has already made concessions.

The Chief Planning Officer Craig Dryden didn’t want to see the old concrete RAF buildings, part of the Deep Point radar station knocked down.

The Duchy has originally planned to level the site and start again.

They have agreed to incorporate the old military structures in the new project works and retain them for future generations to see.

The Duchy claims this refurbishment will cost an additional £20,000.

Amanda Martin was pleased that a part of Scilly’s heritage was to be maintained, and she asked that information signage should be added to the finish build to explain the historical significance of the site.

Members requested that the planning officer should negotiate with the Land Steward over occupancy but the final decision on the use of the building would stay with the estate.