Housing scheme on the outskirts of St Just in Roseland thrown out

PLANS to build 18 homes in an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) on the Roseland have been thrown out by Cornwall Council. Officers rejected the proposal from Westcountry Land & Homes for 10 affordable homes and eight open market houses on agricultural land east of Bowling Green, on the outskirts of St Just in Roseland.

Up to 28 letters of support were received from people outside the parish while there 13 letters of opposition to the scheme. The plan was opposed by several residents in St Just who raised concerns about the impact the development would have, the AONB, the lack of local employment and facilities, and that the entrance to the homes would be on a blind bend.

St Just in Roseland Parish Council did not support the scheme either, saying: “The community feels strongly that new homes, especially for young families in housing need, should be situated where there are facilities such as a school, and employment, as well as shops, local surgery and amenities. If the proposal went ahead, those housed would need to travel for the most basic of services. This is contrary to both local and national planning policy for developing and creating sustainable communities.”

Cornwall AONB Unit said: “The proposed development would cause harm and in no way serve to protect the rural character of the setting of the attractive village of St Just, which makes a positive contribution to the appeal of this section of the AONB.”

It was decided that, despite the need for affordable housing, it did not constitute exceptional circumstances under the National Planning Policy Framework for building in an AONB.

Parish council chairman Keith Warren said there was a “sense of relief that this application has not been passed”. He added that St Just in Roseland Parish Council and Cornwall Council had been working to try to identify the right place for affordable housing. “We must balance the visitor economy with local jobs and homes. You can create houses but they have to be houses where people want to stay, where there are jobs and facilities. You can’t build houses in the middle of nowhere and have people in fuel poverty because they have to drive miles to get to work or the shops. People must have homes but we felt this particular site, for the reasons given in the report, was not appropriate.”

Praising the report, he added that it gave the AONB the accord and “respect” it deserves. “A big part of our economy comes from the county’s natural beauty. People visit to leave behind their urban lives and come somewhere lovely. Cornwall Council is standing up and recognising there is value in the AONB.”