Planning Objectors Question Council’s Well Cross ‘Give Away’

The Strand

The Strand

Objectors to the development of two local needs homes at Well Cross Yard in Hugh Town have questioned why the Council are ‘giving away’ the land to a Cornwall-based housing association.

Councillors voted unanimously last week to grant planning permission for the scheme.

But in letters submitted to planners, three islanders with business interests on The Strand, whose properties back onto the yard, say they’ve offered to buy it several times over the past 10 years, but have been ignored by the Council.

Syd Lewis, Ray Jackman and Terry Hiron wanted to use the land to improve access to the rear of their shops and provide more suitable space for waste.

The three men question why the Authority is now giving the land to Cornwall Rural Housing Association to allow them to build the units, rather than accepting up to £70,000 for it.

Mr Lewis says letters he wrote to the Council about a potential sale “appear to have vanished” and he didn’t received any replies.

He feels that “cash in the local coffers” is better than “this apparent give away” and accuses the Council of being unlawful and unethical in their dealings over the matter.

Ray Jackman says the Council told him they didn’t want to sell the land, but now appear to be giving it away at a financial disadvantage to islands’ taxpayers.

But in response, the Chairman of the Community Services Committee, Cllr Richard McCarthy, says the Authority’s original decision not to sell the land was reached after considerable consultation back in 2004.

The Council’s approach has always been to try and find a way of providing affordable housing there, he says.

Richard says Cornwall Rural Housing Association have signed a Section 106 restriction on the site, limiting its use to local needs, and £285,000 has been allocated by the Homes and Communities Agency, specifically earmarked for developing empty or derelict brownfield sites.

He says that money will give the community a couple of social housing units for locals to downsize into, rather than an offer of a quarter that much to stop the dwellings being built.