Fowey Co-op set to be built despite admission it could affect area

Westcountry Land has applied to build the store on the outskirts of Fowey with a decision set to be made next week.

Plans to build a Co-Op store on the outskirts of Fowey look set to be approved, despite opposition from the town council. The planning application for the development on land west of Polscoe will go before Cornwall Council’s central sub-area planning committee next week.

Planning officers have recommended that the application should be approved as it would improve choice for local residents and reduce the need for them to travel to buy groceries. They say that the social and economic benefits support the plans.

However, they also state that the proposed site is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and could cause “moderate harm”. But they conclude: “The public benefits associated with the new retail store in this location outweigh the level of harm identified to the AONB and heritage asset and the proposal is considered to comply with the development plan when considered as whole.”

The proposed store would have car parking spaces outside and the application indicates that it would be open seven days a week from 6am to 11pm. The application site is currently an open field.

Fowey Town Council has raised a number of objections including the visibility of the new store and that it “will result in the first appreciation of the town being this new development, apparently in open countryside”.

It added: “The development site lies within the AONB and development of it would further erode the local character of this protected landscape and the setting of the town. The AONB has the very highest level of landscape protection, equal to that of National Parks. The primary purpose of this designation is to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the area and planning policy requires that any development within the AONB respects this criteria.”

The town council also said that it would be against the town’s own neighbourhood development plan. It also said that there were concerns that there is no pavement between the proposed shop and nearby homes and that it would increase traffic in the area.

An objection has also been submitted by the Cornwall AONB unit which said that the planned shop would not enhance or conserve the AONB. It said: “The conspicuous effects of the proposed development introducing uncharacteristic suburban development into an elevated position in the open agricultural landscape on the approach to the town within the AONB, fails to respond to the primary purpose of the designated landscape and we object to it on this basis.”

The planning application will be considered by Cornwall Council’s central sub-area planning committee when it meets in Truro on Monday (Marc h13). To view the plans search for planning application number PA21/06771.