Two joint meetings with the Parish Council, Cornwall Council and others have given rise to cautious optimism.
Cautious optimism for NDP progress
The steering group has been concerned over the past few weeks about departures from the process set out in the neighbourhood development plan. These worries were described in a previous posting, but two joint meetings with the Parish Council, Cornwall Council and others have given rise to cautious optimism.
Some 39 people, including Parish Councillors and two representative Members & Officers of Cornwall Council, attended a meeting of the Steering Group on “Zoom”. This meeting was very business-like and set out the progress and issues facing the NDP, and ways of dealing with the apparent conflict over development both at Tregew Meadows and near Saltbox Close. In relation to the former it was made very clear that the site (TM2) in itself is entirely appropriate and that there is a need for affordable housing.
Both the Parish & Cornwall Council together with the NDP Team are committed to meeting this need.
The main issues are the scale, size and style of these houses and what tenure types they should be. It has subsequently been clarified by Cornwall Council that they intend to be led substantially by the results of community consultation and that there is no expectation that this development should be anything other than of mixed tenure. We expect that the Parish Council will be putting in hand appropriate consultation arrangements in the not too distant future. The steering group has experience of consultation during lockdown and stands ready to help.
It was agreed that the steering group was not a developer, nor does it have a role in the final selection or purchase of sites.
The steering group, however, is expected to produce, (and has done so), a draft plan on behalf of the Parish Council in which the views of the community are paramount.
This Plan also sets out expectations for good practice in relation to a range of other important issues for the parish including the processes to be followed during planning.
Principal among these is the need for consultation in the community.
It seems that the land to the North of Mylor Bridge may not be available for affordable housing until some point in the future and there is an immediate need for some affordable housing now.
Two ways forward present themselves
Option 1. Change the NDP before referendum, to incorporate Saltbox Close.
There are three main problems with this option.
- The residents have already made their views very clear.
- Changes are only allowed to the draft Plan in response to comments made in the Reg 14 consultation –none of the comments recommended Saltbox as a site.
- It would almost certainly require a further Regulation 14 consultation which would cause a long delay to the Plan which might risk delaying housing urgently needed in Flushing.
Option 2. NDP goes forward unchanged, showing the preferred direction of growth in Mylor Bridge
This option has a number of advantages
- It would not delay the development at Tregew Meadows
- At any time the landowner/developer may still make a planning application and the application would be judged within the policies of the NDP.
- The need for affordable housing is so great that an application can still be passed in the ‘wrong direction’ if land in the preferred direction of growth is not available. This would be judged as an exception to the plan (policy 9) and allowed. The Steering group have always accepted this.
- The NDP Plan would be ‘Made’ (goes into planning law) sooner so that the boundaries are defined and the villages in the AONB are better protected.
Meeting with Cherilyn Mackrory
A second joint meeting on Friday 30th October took this thinking a stage further. Members of the Parish Council, the County Council and representatives of the Steering Group met with the local MP, Cherilyn Mackrory.
At this meeting it was agreed, amongst other things, that there should be a full informal business like conference between the Parish council and the steering group to agree the best way of working on the NDP from here and the best way of integrating the work of the consultant with any past or future work of the NDP.
A meeting has also been scheduled between the consultant, Parish council, and key members of the steering group. Clearly these two future meetings will be crucial in determining how the way forward is mapped out.
It is most encouraging that the problems which have arisen over the past few weeks have been recognised and that a process for addressing them has been initiated.
Further posts on this website will give updates as they arise.
This article is also available as a PDF here