Homes challenge being considered

A LEGAL challenge could be on the cards against approved plans to build houses on a beauty spot. Mevagissey councillors say the decision by Cornwall Council to allow 31 homes in a coastal Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) off School Hill could set a national precedent.

Parish council chairman Michael Roberts confirmed it was considering a judicial review against the decision.

Councillors approved the plan as it includes 21 affordable homes, but Mr Roberts expressed concerns that developers anywhere could offer a high number of affordable homes in order to get access to prime development land.

“It gobsmacked most of us,” he said. “Everybody was absolutely horrified the decision was made.

“We haven’t given up yet, though. We have made initial enquiries about going to a judicial review.” The council would make a decision in the next few weeks.

“A review costs money, so you need to make sure your case has a reasonable chance of success,” said Mr Roberts. “It could be money very well spent.”

John Schuttkacker, from developer Mevagissey Bay View LLP, said the matter was between the parish and county councils.

“Cornwall Council’s planning committee made a democratic decision, based upon the exceptional need for affordable housing,” he said. “In the absence of suitable alternative sites or evidence to address the affordable housing need within the parish, the application was approved.

“We are not aware of any procedural issues in Cornwall Council’s determination of this scheme that would be required to pursue a judicial review.

“The parish council will have to answer to the 100 or more local people on the waiting list for these homes as to why they are continuing to oppose and prevent the most affordable homes this village has ever seen from being built. Is that really in the best interest of the village or their constituents?”

After the plans were submitted in April, opposition group MUC (Mevagissey Under Concrete) was set up to fight the development, citing fears over the blighting of the AONB, flooding from surface water run-off, increased traffic and a negative impact on tourism.