Homes refused to safeguard tin mine revival

The need to protect nationally important tin reserves has led an inspector to refuse outline permission for 99 houses on derelict mining land in Cornwall.

The brownfield site lay in a location accepted by the council as suitable for housing but within a safeguarding area around a mine ranked the world’s third largest tin reserve. Planning permission to reopen the mine had been granted subject to conditions specifying noise levels that could not be exceeded within the curtilage of any existing dwelling in the vicinity. The inspector observed that the appeal site was closer to the mine than any such dwelling.

After analysing noise assessment evidence, he concluded that noise levels permitted by the conditions on the mining consent would be exceeded on parts of the appeal site, thus placing additional restrictions on mining operations. He found that this would hinder exploitation of a nationally significant resource, contrary to local policy safeguarding mineral resources from sterilisation and the great weight placed on the benefits of mineral extraction by paragraph 205 of the NPPF.

The inspector also found that viability constraints arising from remediation of the site precluded affordable housing provision and therefore limited the scheme’s benefits in increasing housing supply. In the final balance, he decided that the advantages of reusing the derelict site for housing did not outweigh the importance of avoiding sterilising mineral reserves.

Inspector: Nick Davies; Written representations

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