Cornish planners using delegated powers refuse 430-home scheme over design concerns

Plans for 430 homes have been knocked back by Cornwall Council planners using delegated powers, following concerns that the design of the proposed scheme would be insufficiently 'Cornish in character.

An artist's impression of plans for 430 homes in Saltash, Cornwall. Image: Barratt Homes/David Wilson Homes
An artist's impression of plans for 430 homes in Saltash, Cornwall. Image: Barratt Homes/David Wilson Homes

Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes had secured outline permission for a 1,000-home mixed-use development at Broadmoor Farm in Saltash in 2017.

A reserved matters application for a first 430-home phase was submitted in September last year.

Refusing the proposed development under delegated authority powers granted to them during the coronavirus outbreak, Cornwall Council planning officers advised: “There is little of the appearance of the proposal that would suggest - were it to be built out – that one would know that one is in Cornwall.”

Officers said the appearance of the proposed scheme would be in conflict with the council’s 2016 local plan, citing further issues including a “cramped and over-intensive layout”, the fact that it would not be tenure-neutral - meaning that homes, whether they are affordable or for private sale, should be of the same standard - and inadequate sustainability credentials.

Addressing the proposed design, officers noted the buildings would “exhibit a preponderance of a brown and ruddy palette with much brickwork”, whereas the Cornish vernacular “has more of a grey scale, with natural stone or white-rendered walls, with grey, natural slate roofs”. 

The proposed scheme includes a 27.5 per cent affordable housing contribution, comprising 60 per cent affordable rented units and 40 per cent shared ownership homes.

While the proposed contribution falls below that required by the local plan, officers said this level of provision was agreed after a viability negotiation at outline stage.

However, they advised that the proposed scheme would not be tenure-neutral.

“The affordable housing is evidently less attractive than the market housing, with more pinched gardens, clustered in locations more likely to be over-shadowed,” they said.

Citing a lack of measures to address climate change, officers said assurances that solar panels would be installed were not reflected in the plans and no use of sustainable water sources or long-life materials had been specified.

In conclusion, officers said: “This is considered to be a poor development scheme on a large and strategically important site.”

Earlier this month, local press reports cited concerns raised by an opposition councillor in Cornwall that the decision to grant planning officers powers to decide major planning applications was a departure from the democratic process.

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