Questions and Answers
If you have a question on the Allocations Development Plan Document or the planning application that is not already answered below, please email [email protected] and we will try to answer your question and post the response on this page.
1. The initial public consultation was this through PTC or CC? The link you provide seems to cover everything from Saltash to Penzance. [Glasney Green Space Regeneration Group]
A: The public consultation that was held on the Town Framework (now Allocations Development Plan Document) was carried out by Cornwall Council and the results of that consultation were published together with the results of the consultation on all other Town Frameworks throughout the County. We do not have a breakdown by town available, however, you can search for key words in the document to find the responses on Falmouth and Penryn.
2. If there is 15 years in which a site or sites need to be found why is there a rush to build on this particular site? Correct us if we are wrong but nowhere in the planning criteria does it state the site should already have a planning application in place. [Glasney Green Space Regeneration Group]
A: Cornwall Council is required to identify the land supply for the plan period 2010-2030, but there is no requirement for the homes to be built immediately. However, if a planning application is submitted, Cornwall Council is obliged to consider it regardless of whether there is a plan in place. Local Planning Authorities have up to 13 weeks to consider major applications after which time the applicant may choose to refer the application to the Secretary of State on the grounds of non-determination. In practice, there are often legitimate delays whilst legal advice is sought or further information is obtained, however, it is the applicant's decision whether to accept the delay.
3. Your website feature about the proposed development of College Valley claims that a decison has been made on "evidence" following an assesment process. However, the link to the "evidence" seems to refer to brownfield sites in around Falmouth and Penryn and not Greenfield sites. Is this the evidence you are referring to? If not, could you please point us more clearly to where the evidence is? [Andrew Clappison]
A: The link provided is to Cornwall Council’s background papers on the Falmouth and Penryn Town Framework, now part of the Allocations Development Plan Document. It includes the two sites at Penryn North and College Valley.
4. The comparison document comparing the two sites in Penryn appears to be a highly open and subjective document that provides zero robust analysis. With this in mind, could you please confirm whether you are calling this evidence or not? [Andrew Clappison]
A: It is not evidence, but a summary of the conclusions from the evidence from the Town Framework process referred to above.
5.The comparison document comparing the two sites in Penryn notes that the College Valley site carries a flood risk, could you please explain more clearly what the identified risks were and what the proposed mitigation strategy is to reduce this risk in light of the existing threat of flooding to lower Penryn? [Andrew Clappison]
A: The Environmental Assessment concludes that a significant proportion of the site is Zone 2 (land having between a 1 in 100 and 1 in 1000 annual probability of river flooding) / 3a (land having a 1 in 100 or greater annual probability of river flooding) and functional flood zone 3b (comprises land where water has to flow or be stored in times of flood) along the Glasney Valley. A link to the Environment Agency flood map is included below:
The proposed mitigation strategy is as yet unknown to the Town Council, however, the Town Council has been advised by Cornwall Council that the landowner has already considered this issue and any future planning application for the site will have to demonstrate how the risk will be mitigated. Failure to do so adequately would be sufficient grounds to recommend refusal.
6. The Council website states that "It should also be noted that reversal of a decision by the Town Council requires written notice to the Town Clerk by a minimum of two Councillors in accordance with Standing Order 10." Could you please explain what this means in practical terms? [Andrew Clappison]
A: It means that in order for the Town Council to rescind a decision of the Council within six months of the date of the meeting at which it was made, the Town Clerk will need to be served written notice of a motion to Council to rescind the decision which must be signed by a minimum of two serving Town Councillors. On receipt of such notice, the Town Clerk will place the motion on the next Council agenda for consideration.
7. Has the council fully considered the additional traffic that will be created on College Hill. A narrow road that is not suitable for access to this proposed number of houses? [Andrew Clappison]
A: The Town Council has been advised that the likely access to the site would be from a new road access which is already in place off Hill Head. The impact on local highways is a material consideration that would be taken into account when considering any planning application that may be submitted.
8. Has the council fully considered the additional traffic that will be created on St Thomas Street (as existing residents use this as a cut through to College Hill) and the detrimental affect this could have on the oldest and one of the narrowest streets in Penryn? [Andrew Clappison]
A: This is not an issue that has been raised as a consideration, but is something that will be taken into account at planning application stage if it is believed to be relevant once the facts of the application are known.
9. Would Penryn town council please explain there policy on protecting the social, cultural and environmental capital in the Penryn and how the development plan either supports or contradicts this? [Andrew Clappison]
The most recent policy adopted by the Town Council is the Penryn Town Plan published in September 2003. The Town Council has recognised that the Town Plan is in need of considerable updating to reflect the change in national planning policy and is awaiting the completion of the Cornwall Local Plan as it recognises that any Town Plan will need to take into account national and regional policy. Early discussions have centred around the following priorities: the regeneration of Commercial Road as a gateway to the town and the need to improve links to and from the town centre; the continued reinvigoration of the town centre; the right type of affordable housing based on local need, in particular, the need for providing accommodation for the many people wishing to downsize in the light of changes to the housing benefits system; the importance of retaining the town's library and its potential for becoming a community hub; the provision of a care home for the elderly; the requirement to find a suitable site for allotments; the protection and improvement of Glasney Valley and College Field; and the desirability of securing a green corridor through College Valley to link up with the walks around the reservoir. All of these issues have been raised with Cornwall Council's planning officers and we are awaiting the next consultation on the Place Based Plan for Falmouth and Penryn.
10. We have heard that the council was not keen on developing College Valley and that it was a difficult decision to make. In such a case, why did councillors not refuse to vote, or request for other sites to be identified? I would not expect councillors to vote for something they do not believe in, so this seems like a strange defence of that decision. [Andrew Clappison]
How Councillors choose to vote is a matter for them personally. The minutes of the meeting provide some detail of the debate and are available here. With regard to a request for other sites to be identified, Councillors are aware that this was part of the Town Framework process and there have not been any suggestions put forward to the Town Council for sites that have not already been investigated.
11. As a large percentage of the prioritised land referred to as Penryn South on the CC evidence has been highlighted to fall within the Parish of Budock and Budock Parish Council have yet to be consulted, how then can Penryn Town Council possibly prioritise, 'Penryn South', for development? In effect much of the land is not Penryn's to prioritise surely? [Pip Carlton-Barnes]
The Town Council has not prioritised the site, it has endorsed the recommendation of Cornwall Council based on their prioritisation assessment. Cornwall Council is the Local Planning Authority and they will decide what will be contained in the final Allocations Development Plan Document for submission to the Secretary of State. The Town Council is merely a consultee as is Budock Parish Council. Cornwall Council will also be consulting with Budock Parish Council separately.
12. It does seem that the evidence provided by CC in the first instance was hugely inaccurate and, it appears to have resulted in a not entirely well informed decision. Could you please clarify how the decision now stands please? [Pip Carlton-Barnes]
The decision currently stands as it is i.e., 'That the Town Council endorses the recommendation of the prioritisation assessment, based on the evidence available at this time, that the College Valley land should be prioritised, with a very strong emphasis on ensuring the delivery of 40% affordable housing.' If anyone can provide information that proves that Cornwall Council has submitted ‘hugely inaccurate’ evidence to support their assessment, then we would be happy to raise it with the planning officers.
13. Are you aware why Cornwall Council only gave Penryn Town Council 1 week to make this decision? [Andrew Clappison]
A meeting was held with Planning Officers on 8 December to receive an update on the Allocations Development Plan Document. They advised that they would need a decision from the Council in January as the document was due for public consultation in winter 2014/2015 as set out in the latest Cornwall Local Development Scheme. To the best of the Town Council's knowledge, delays have been due largely to debates on housing numbers, which have been reduced from the original targets.
14. Why is there such a rush, and why does the development have to take place on such a large scale? [Andrew Clappison]
The housing targets have been agreed by Cornwall Council and the Local Plan has been submitted to the Secretary of State for approval. If approved it will be adopted as it is. For more information on how the figures were arrived at, please contact Cornwall Council. In terms of timescales for completion of the Allocation DPD, please refer to the Cornwall Local Development Scheme. With regard to the timescales for the imminent planning application, that is the developer’s decision and any questions on this should be directed to them. Regardless of the progress and outcome of the DPD process, Cornwall Council is legally obliged to consider any major application that is submitted within 13 weeks, or longer if an Environmental Impact Assessment is required. If the planning authority fails to meet this deadline, then the applicant will have the right to appeal on the grounds of non-determination.
15. Are the council aware that the housing quota also includes student housing and that both Penryn and Falmouth are likley to meet these targets through existing developments and those already approved without development on this scale? [Andrew Clappison]
The Town Council has been advised by Cornwall Council that the housing targets do not include student accommodation and are solely based on the need for permanent accommodation, and that if the need for student accommodation had been included in the figures, then the targets would be higher. If anyone can provide evidence to the contrary, we would be happy to raise it with the planning officers.
16. Could you please tell me how Penryn Town Councillors are elected and how many votes each of the councillors recieved? [Andrew Clappison]
The current Town Councillors were elected unopposed at the last Local Council elections in May 2013 with the exception of Councillor Smith who was co-opted in July 2013 to fill a vacancy as a result of a resignation.
17. In relation to College Valley site, could you tell me whether the council would consider revoking this decision, accepting that a proper consulation has not taken place (with approval form Cornwall Council if need be), and agree to hold a proper consulation, followed by a referendum so that the people of Penryn can decide what happens to this visually and culturall significant site? [Andrew Clappison]
The Council is already considering whether to revoke the decision at its meeting on 2 February in response to the petition, but it is not possible to predict the outcome. As stated on our website, there will be a consultation on the DPD by Cornwall Council, but we have not yet been given a date. It is also not possible to predict whether the Town Council would consider a referendum. A referendum would cost Penryn taxpayers in the region of £5000 (this is the cost as advised by Electoral Services) and in passing an amendment to remove a power for residents to require referendums from the Localism Bill, Lord Greaves stated:
‘Councils already have the powers to hold referendums when they want to do so, and as I have already said, if passed, the referendums would only be advisory anyway. Councils could simply ignore them, and the whole thing would be a waste of money.’
18. Also, are the council aware that the current college farm development did not meet its quota for affordable housing (to my best knowledge), and that (to my best knowledge) a number of trees holding presevation orders were simply cut down? What hope does this give us for any prospective development by the same landowner? [Andrew Clappison]
The Council is aware that the affordable housing element at College Farm was 10%, which is below the 40% target, and made representations to Cornwall Council regarding this. However, Cornwall Council approved the application based on the economic viability assessment. There was an allegation made of trees having been cut down within a Tree Preservation Order area in September 2014, but on investigation no breach was found.
19. Could you please let me know till what date does the council have the right to revoke the decision to prioritise College Valley as a development site? [Andrew Clappison]
We presume you are referring to the Town Council here, although the decision lies with the planning authority, Cornwall Council, and the Town Council is merely a consultee. Once six months has passed since a decision has been taken a Town Council can revoke a previous decision at any time, provided of course that the decision has not already irrevocably been carried out. Obviously in this case that would be the point at which the Allocations DPD was approved by the Secretary of State.
20. Could you also let me know what the process for issuing a vote of no confidence is against the council? [Andrew Clappison]
A Parish meeting may take a vote of no confidence in the Council and I attach a briefing paper on Parish meetings produced by the National Association of Local Councils.
21. I'm also aware that two council seats have not been taken up and are available, could you please let me know what the process is for standing for these seats and how long this process takes? [Andrew Clappison]
There are two vacancies on the Town Council which have recently arisen and notice of which has already been published. For more details on the process for Town Council elections, please visit the Councillor Vacancies page on our website.