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Mebyon Kernow calls for cancellation of “eco-community” project
MK Councillor Matthew Luke has called on Cornwall Council to withdraw the planning application for a so-called 1,500 – 1,800 property eco-community near Penwithick and to cancel the project for good.

Cllr Luke who represents Penwithick and Boscoppa on the unitary authority said:

“There is a so-called ‘eco-community’ in the planning system because central government imposed the concept of an eco-town on the mid Cornwall area. This was specified in an eco-towns planning policy statement (PPS) and the principle of development was therefore fully established.

“But in early March, the Coalition cancelled the PPS. This means that the policy basis for the whole development has been called into question and, as the local councillor, I am calling on the unitary authority to withdraw the planning application and to permanently quash its plans for the development.”

Cllr Matt Luke is supported by fellow MK Councillor Dick Cole (St Enoder), a long-standing opponent of the development and the Party’s parliamentary candidate in the St Austell and Newquay seat.

Cllr Cole said: “There is little or no local support for this scheme. Over 700 letters of objection have already been received and it is time that Cornwall Council respected this significant level of opposition and withdrew the planning application.”

Further information

In 2008, Cllr Dick Cole produced a detailed report, which opposed the eco-town project and condemned the “undemocratic and top-down” approach of the-then Labour Government.

The document condemned the high housing growth being imposed on the China Clay Area – which, in previous years, had had more development than any other part of Cornwall. It was endorsed by Restormel Borough Council and the document was presented to a Government Minister. Sadly, these local views were ignored and, in July 2009, the principle of an eco-town was agreed by central government through a planning policy statement (PPS).

Many people have questioned whether the development would happen, especially when the Conservative Party’s housing spokesperson said that: “Eco-towns are now dead and buried ... at no point will they meet their twin objectives of being environmentally friendly and tackling the housing shortage.”

But the Coalition Government and Cornwall Council pushed ahead with a scheme for an “eco-community” at West Carclaze for 1,500 new dwellings.

Though advertised as a “brown field” development, a large amount of the housing would actually be built on green fields. The application also contains a wider masterplan, which includes an additional 300-plus dwellings that could be built on green fields between the development and Penwithick. And the amount of affordable housing could be as low as 30%.

It is also the case that application refuses to guarantee the future of the skytip near Carluddon. The actual application does not propose to remove the tip. It states that there will be “no change,” but only “until more information and other interests come to light.”

But the cancellation of the eco-towns planning policy statement (PPS) now places great doubt on the whole project.
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Published on 20th April 2015.

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