Housing development plans being ‘shrouded in secrecy’
Residents are concerned that 100 new homes will be built on agricultural land between the end of Growan Road and Bishop Bronescombe School, St Austell
31st March 2021
By Natasha Swift
Residents concerned that 100 new houses will be built on a green field behind their homes have been warned that “a planning application is definitely on its way”.
In 2019 the Voice was contacted by residents living in Killyvarder Way following rumours that a new housing development was being lined up on their doorstep.
They set up the campaign group Save our Green Space and have been keeping their eye on the agricultural field ever since.
The field extends between the end of Growan Road and Bishop Bronescombe School.
Residents are concerned about the loss of agricultural land, overlooking and that construction traffic will cause nuisance if Growan Road was used.
After a quiet few months a JCB was spotted in the field on Wednesday morning.
One resident said they had been told by a worker onsite that Wainhomes was planning to build 100 one, two and three bed homes with access through Growan Road.
But a spokesman from Wainhomes has confirmed to the Voice that they are not behind any plans for the site.
Residents are now demanding answers and claim the potential development has been “shrouded in secrecy”.
Cornwall councillor for the area, Malcolm Brown, said planners at Cornwall Council had told him that 61 homes are being lined up for the site.
He told the Voice: “Various tests on the land have been done at different times and last week workers were back doing more. I spoke to one of them on site who told me that these were the final stages of tests before an outline planning application is submitted.
“I have spoken to the head of planning on and off about this land. In view of the new activity last week, I asked the planners for an update and was told that an incomplete application for 61 dwellings was submitted late last year. It's still not complete and, it's only when we get to that point that the local Cornwall councillor and the public are told.
“I fully understand why local residents are so concerned. This time a planning application is definitely on its way.”
Clare Edwards told the Voice: “The potential development appears to be shrouded in secrecy, numerous residents have contacted the council who have so far denied any knowledge of what is happening, that is if they even respond – hard to believe when this has been going on for so long and in full view of the locals.
“People who have bought homes near the field were told at the time of purchase that nothing could be built on the field because of the mining works under the field and with this all going on there is a growing feeling of having been deceived.
“Also, the field did not appear in the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment.”
Clare said over-building was an issue for everyone in St Austell as there was no infrastructure to support the levels of housing and the people it attracts.
“I think we also need to question where the perceived need for this housing is coming from, these homes are expensive when they are released for sale, only small proportions are made affordable,” Claire told the Voice.
“We have all seen recent reports of people rushing to try to purchase property in Cornwall following the pandemic. Our green space is being lost forever for the sake of greed. Local residents are very upset about this and what it means for our local area. The consultation process for developments such as these is unfit for purpose and inherently unfair.
“Developers are intimately aware of the procedures involved, the correct wording to use and are used to dealing with planners.
“Cornwall Council should demonstrate their integrity in this case by releasing all they know about this development and further by openly disclosing their vision for development in the St Austell area and how it will impact on our communities.
“You can only concrete Cornwall over once then it will be gone.”