Planners Unswayed By Well Cross Objections As Permission Granted

the strand 3Two social housing units can now be built at Well Cross after councillors were unswayed by a string of objections from neighbours.

And Cllr Richard McCarthy voiced concern that dealing with the latest representations from the owners of next-door Lemon Hall could jeopardise the Council’s grant money for this and future housing schemes.

Last July, Cornwall Rural Housing Association was granted planning permission to convert the sheds and barns in Tom Chudleigh’s yard into a two-bedroom unit and one-bedroom home.

The Council received written objections at the time from some businesses on The Strand, which back onto the yard, and from Lemon Hall’s owners.

Many of the protests were over a loss of privacy, security concerns over creation of open access to the rear of the Lower Strand properties and complaints that the site was too small to fit two homes.

A reworked application was submitted by the housing association. It added skylights and ensured that the new units would no longer use the Lemon Hall boundary wall.

Councillors attended Tuesday’s meeting with guidance papers recommending that they should defer any decision, to give the housing association time to address the latest written objections.

But the association’s response was tabled on the morning of meeting, as it arrived when planning staff were away on leave. Consultant Bill Wilson changed his recommendation, suggesting that members should now back the revised plans.

Cllr McCarthy felt enough had been done to address Lemon Hall’s new owners’ concerns and they should have expected the development, as the site had been earmarked for social housing for 10 years.

Cllr Steve Sims wasn’t convinced by their 25 points of objection, which included concerns over provision of a fire escape and allegations that the proposal contained inaccuracies and was at odds with the Council’s own design guide.

Steve said they were, “throwing mud against a wall and seeing what sticks” and he added that a loss of privacy was always an issue, “if you put houses with windows near houses with windows.”

Richard went further, alleging that the complainant had backed-up their objections with claims which were, “factually totally inaccurate.”

He was concerned that hold-ups could jeopardise the £280,000 Homes and Communities Agency cash granted for the work.

Councillors voted through the required Listed Building consent but there will be further discussions delegated to the Chairman and Vice Chair of Planning, and the Director of Place, Craig Dryden.

Richard wasn’t in favour of more talks, claiming enough had been done to find a compromise on two occasions. He said the complainant would probably, “be in touch whether we consult with them or not.”

Steve Sims asked whether the complainants could go to appeal, but Planner Bill Wilson said he felt that, with approval being granted, it was the end of the story.

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