St Agnes Hall Gains Planning Approval

Existing hall will be refurbished

St Agnes residents have moved a step closer to getting their new community centre after plans for redevelopment of the old Island Hall were approved.

The AONB Planning Consultative Panel had raised concerns that the scale of the new building, to the rear of the old hall, significantly affected the character and setting of this important historic building.

Bat roosts were also found in the hall during pre-planning bat survey work last August.

However, Chief Planning Officer, Craig Dryden, said the refurbishment of the Island Hall would improve its character and appearance, especially the removal of the current lean-to extension.

And he considered that the significant economic and social well-being benefits outweighed those concerns.

St Agnes Councillor, Molly Peacock, supported the development saying that, even though the rear extension was bigger, people wouldn’t notice the size, “because it’s hidden.”

Molly says the project committee will also be taking professional advice to maintain the bat roosts during the works.

She felt it was “one of the best things we’ve done in a long time.”

Councillor Roy Duncan said it was “marvellous” what the small community on St Agnes had managed to achieve and supported the project.

Councillor Chris Savill felt there could have been work done to excavate the site and make the new building lower, but Councillor Richard McCarthy said this would have increased the flood risk.

He said the project had already taken more than two years to get to this stage and the project team had consulted extensively with locals and visitors.

He said the Island Hall has a place at the heart of the community but is, in parts, starting to fall down with a lack of proper toilet and kitchen facilities.

Richard says development of the building is urgently required and the LAG and ERDF funding will allow this to happen.

Councillor John Goddard was concerned that the “lovely granite lean-to” was being knocked down. He also asked what the mezzanine floor was going to be used for, considering this was the main reason for the height of the building.

Molly responded that this was required for meetings and to allow star-gazing at night and Richard said the granite would be reused in the new building.

Planning Chair Amanda Martin said a lot of hard work had gone into the proposal and she wished the applicants every success.

Councillors voted unanimously to approve the application plans.