Mevagissey development set to be approved

Westcountry Land & Homes has applied for planning permission for 12 new homes, seven of which would be affordable, on land next to School Hill in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The council’s planning officer has recommended the application be approved despite the objections of Mevagissey Parish Council on the grounds of its impact on the surrounding area and that there are more suitable sites for affordable housing.

The parish council also fears the multiple accesses to the site from School Hill would present an increased traffic hazard, in particular to local school children, and objects to the two-storey style of the proposed new houses. Commenting on the plan on Cornwall Council’s website, people living nearby have also raised concerns about the plans. Adrian Martorana said: “I do not think it is appropriate for the area that is a designated AONB and should therefore be protected not spoilt by the construction of out of character housing. The accompanying chaos of increased traffic on an already busy road serving the village’s only school would make it extremely hazardous for both pedestrians and drivers and spoil the quality of life for existing residents and visitors to the area.”

But others have supported the application, saying the affordable homes would be welcome in the area. Teresa Barron said: “This application will give locals the chance of an affordable home which is much needed. It is opposite the school and on the bus route. There is already a pavement on the opposite side of the road and a 20mph speed limit is in place to protect children going to/from school and to my knowledge there have been no accidents on this road. Definitely this is on the ‘right’ side of the village.

“Some people have said that it is too nice a site for affordables, but I totally disagree. Why shouldn’t a local person who has maybe been born and brought up here be entitled to have a nice view and not be put ‘out of sight, out of mind’?”

A planning officer’s report to the committee says it is not disputed that the development will harm the natural qualities of the AONB but that in the officer’s opinion the application cannot be considered as a ‘major development’ as was a previous plan for 31 homes on the same site. It adds that “on balance more weight is given to the housing benefit as the harm to the landscape is partly alleviated by the built context created by the adjoining village”.  

The previous application for the site was approved by Cornwall Council in 2012 but the decision was overturned when the parish council took the county authority to judicial review. The application (number PA15/03079) will go before the central sub-area planning committee at County Hall on Monday (June 8) at 10am.