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Coyte Farm: over 70% vote against plans

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: November 30, 2012

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THE PEOPLE of St Austell have spoken – nearly three quarters of those who voted in the Cornish Guardian's poll do not want a major out-of-town retail development built at Coyte Farm.

Almost 1,200 people voted through our postal and online poll, with 72.5 per cent against it.

The news comes as developer Mercian Developments Ltd announced it would give £60,000 per year to St Austell's Business Improvement District (BID) if its scheme goes ahead.

But St Austell BID chairman Chris Witt, one of the campaigners against Coyte Farm, declared: "St Austell is not for sale."

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"The amount of money involved is irrelevant and we would reject it out of hand. We don't want their money, we want them stopped," he said. "They are going to suck millions out of St Austell town centre. It would destroy it."

The BID would use money from a 1 per cent levy on business rates in a set area for projects to improve the town.

Businesses in the town are due to vote on the BID in February.

Mercian said it would provide the money as part of the application's Section 106 agreement – to offset the impact of its development on infrastructure.

Simon Hoare, from Mercian, said: "The poll certainly doesn't mirror our consultation responses and is 1,184 people from a town the size of St Austell with its surrounding villages as well, a representative sample?

"Planning applications are not determined by weights of numbers. A bad point made by a majority of people doesn't make it a good point. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity."

St Austell Bay Chamber of Commerce chairman Tom French said in response to the poll results: "It's very good of the Cornish Guardian to do an independent referendum or survey on how people feel and it's very interesting that they have come up with 75 per cent in favour of stopping Coyte Farm.

"We would expect the traders to be against it but it's reassuring to know the public are also behind us."

A planning application for the £110 million proposed development was submitted last month.

It outlines ambitions for a Sainsbury's superstore, 160,000sq ft shopping park, care home, pub and up to 250 homes – 30 per cent of them affordable.

Controversially, it would have more retail floor space than all St Austell's town- centre shops combined.

Mercian said the development would provide more than 1,000 jobs but Mr Hoare maintained that Coyte Farm would not be a threat to the town centre.

"The units proposed at Coyte Farm would be too large for traditional town centre retailers to come into. We are going for the larger retailers who can't find any space in the town centre."

St Austell Town Council are due to form a response to the application at a meeting on Tuesday, December 11, and said they would take the results of this newspaper's poll into account.

St Austell Town Council clerk David Pooley said: "The town council notes the results of the Cornish Guardian poll with interest.

"Members of the public will also have an opportunity to make their view known at its meeting on December 11."

A fourth supermarket and development concept is due to be revealed this week as an alternative to Coyte Farm. See next week's edition for the full story.

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  • josdave  |  December 19 2012, 10:03AM

    St Austell does need shops but not out of town. This combined with the proposals to build on the land between St Austell and St Blazey and another supermarket ( we already have more than enough) on Penwinnick Road will create the longest gridlocked road in the county. Do these excuses for planners ever consider the traffic problems they create? They have already in collusion with the Duchy of Cornwall started to create a further bottleneck on the eastern side of Truro. This development should have been on a brownfield site and there are plenty of them - the old St Austell college site for example - and not plough up even more good agricultural land. We are continually being told we must produce more food and then planning permission is given on the nod to cover more land with concrete.

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  • MarjProops  |  December 19 2012, 9:19AM

    In my view this is all down to a few in high office that believe they personally will be badly affected by the development. St Austell had it's chance over 10 years ago when they turned M&S away for the same reason. These people are scared of healthy competition. The only praise they are worthy of is actually doing something whereas the majority of the population are mainly apathetic allowing them to get away with it. If they truly represent the people of St Austell then they should prove it with a proper survey instead of this, pathetic one sided newspapers one!.

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  • forum  |  December 19 2012, 8:31AM

    How come its 70%. 70% off what, only 1200 people cast there vote so cant wait for this to happen. People want to come to St Austell and invest and I think we should grab the opportunety while we can. White River had there chance to buld a town to be proud off and what have we got a white elephant with shops not big enough for the big retailers. Like it or not, out of town shopping is here to stay, so do we really want St Austell to be just a little market town with no substance. Come on St Austell Town Council and the rest of you, grab it while you can, support this development and any other that comes to St Austell. Let us have a town to be proud of and not go down the same route as we did back years ago when likes of Broads/Sidney Grose and Morgan and Mycocks. They stopped likes of M&S coming to St Austell because they where afraid of competiton.Where are they now , gone and not because of out of town developments

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  • Oli1282  |  December 18 2012, 11:41PM

    1,200 people........not really the majority of St Austell is it!!!!

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  • CoyteFarm  |  December 18 2012, 11:38AM

    For more information on Coyte Farm like our Facebook Page: http://tinyurl.com/buuxlmh or follow us on twitter: @coytefarm

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  • jimjams2011  |  December 04 2012, 8:46PM

    The Poll is not representative of Cornish People or those from St Austell. This newspaper is not representative of opinion. The fact is ST AUSTELL NEEDS SHOPS!! A big shopping mall would be amazing, but a Shopping park will have to do. God knows what the developers thought they were doing with 'white city' but they had their chance. We need jobs, we also need shops open later into the evening.

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  • kernewekonan  |  December 02 2012, 5:12PM

    What i really find uncanny about all this is how the news paper had coupons to fill in regarding this developement at coyte farm yet other major developements and schemes that have been proposed in and around the town like the eco towns the developement up behind john keay house even the council offices & many more, yet none of these have received anywhere near the same attention that this has. i wonder why? Shoppers have everything to gain by more competition and choice and my family and i are all in favour of this being passed and coming to fruition. it is just a pity more people that would like to see this passed do not register their support. but like me i suppose when i was working i never seemed to have the time.

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  • Phil_lip  |  November 30 2012, 3:27PM

    106 money is not anything to do with BID's, talk about finding a new way to skin a cat. Funny thing is that investment like this is what Is wanted in an area like Newquay so why don't they change the location and put it where it is wanted.

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  • JJLee  |  November 30 2012, 1:53PM

    St Austell Town Council clerk David Pooley said: "The town council notes the results of the Cornish Guardian poll with interest I would not trust such Poll; we elect people to represent us, if we are going to start using Iternet polls then kick the over-paid fools currently paid to do it on our behalf

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  • kernewekonan  |  November 30 2012, 11:45AM

    how silly. st austell was left to die years ago when big named stores were stopped from coming to the town this is going down the same old road as then. somehow nothing seems to change. it may not be the same people complaining but it seems to ring a bell as being a similar fraternity. i am cornish, born and brought up in town went to west hill & mount charles schools worked and lived there i say go forward and build it. the internet is more of a threat.

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