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Pickles refuses to 'call in' homes plan

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: January 30, 2013

NO GO:  Eric Pickles will not 'call in' the Hill Hay application.

NO GO: Eric Pickles will not 'call in' the Hill Hay application.

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A HIGHLY disputed application for more than 80 homes in Fowey looks likely to go ahead after campaigners' latest hopes to halt the scheme were dashed.

Following months of objection, packed public meetings and heartfelt pleas, Wainhomes' plans for 82 new homes at Hill Hay seem set to be built as Secretary of State Eric Pickles, MP, has refused a request by Fowey Town Council to 'call in' the application.

If Mr Pickles had agreed with campaigners, it would have meant that his department would look again at the application and make a new recommendation.

However, campaigners' hopes for a U-turn look to be over after he snubbed their calls.

The town council approached Mr Pickles after he 'called in' a similar, but smaller, development of 31 homes that had been planned for Mevagissey.

Fowey resident Tony Delves has been one of the figureheads for residents opposing the scheme.

With 50 per cent of the development at Hill Hay being set aside for affordable housing, he believes Cornwall Council is having its head turned by the notion of delivering so many affordable homes.

"The promise of affordable homes is being used as a bribe to build on an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)," he said.

The town council has also been unanimously opposed to the plans on a variety of grounds, including drainage, sewage and general infrastructure issues and the fact that the land is an AONB.

Councillor Anne Boosey and town clerk Sally Vincent, spoke to Sarah Mason, chief executive officer of Cornwall Association of Local Councils, and were told it was her strong belief that further action should be taken.

Councillor Boosey and Fowey mayor John Berryman, then asked Mrs Vincent to draft the letter requesting that the application be 'called in'.

Mrs Boosey said: "Both the mayor and I are more than aware of the need for more rental accommodation in Fowey but certainly not 42 more 'affordable' houses, which aren't.

"Sadly, Mr Pickles has replied denying our request but I am very heartened by the fact that we were, and still are, supported by our MP, our local Cornwall councillor, Councillor Bain, and the Tywardreath Cornwall councillor, Councillor Hughes."

Mr Berryman spoke of the council's disappointment over Mr Pickles' decision.

"We were extremely disappointed to receive the letter informing us that Rt Hon Eric Pickles refused to call in the Wainhomes' application," he said.

"We considered we had proved a strong case to support the 'calling in' of the application, having taken it to the people of Fowey and received overwhelming support for our objection."

He went on: "Perhaps our AONB is not as sensitive as the Mevagissey AONB?"

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  • Fowydhmaid  |  January 30 2013, 12:11PM

    How can such flimsy objections be given any credence? sewerage isnt an issue: Wainhomes can easily be accommodated and doesn't go through the old systems down in fowey town which tend to be problematic. Infrastructure? With so much of the town sat empty as holiday homes I would be surprised if the population had greatly exceeded the towns highest recorded level of 2575 (1931) despite the addition of around 150 homes over the last 15 years. Finally suggesting that rental property is required more than affordable housing is a fallacy. Mortgage repayments at the current interest rates are half the amount charged by landlords for houses on Hill Hay at present. If the first time buyer houses are not required then why is there already a waiting list for them? I wonder if the main objections are from those who live on Hill Hay overlooking where the new Wainhomes will be built and are dismayed by the prospect of losing their field view? There is demand for additional housing in fowey and I can't think of a more appropriate or sympathetic location for these houses. Fowey will become a very sad place when there are no young families able to afford to live here and no one available to join the Fire or lifeboat crews as they can't live near enough to respond quickly in an emergency. Progress must and will happen, it will inevitably upset a few people but it should be done with careful thought and realistic expectations. Support the next generation of Fowey!

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