Midas wins appeal for 94 homes near Budock Church

Midas wins appeal for 94 homes near Budock Church. Plans for 94 homes between Budock and Bickland Water Road in Falmouth have been given the go-ahead despite failing to preserve the setting of the historic St Budock Church. The Planning Inspectorate has overturned at appeal a decision by Cornwall Council to refuse permission for Midas Commercial Developments to build the homes, including 33 affordable, at the Poolfield site.

The plans, which followed a previous application for 153 homes, had been turned down by the council due to their impact on the setting of the Grade II* listed church and its churchyard, including the surrounding network of footpaths.

Part of the more recent proposals included handing two fields to the west of the site to Cornwall Council for the nominal sum of £1, to provide a buffer between the church and houses which could be used to provide extra cemetery space, as well as creating a landscaped bund on the western boundary and a “green sward” running alongside a cross-site path. In his decision, planning inspector Nick Fagan accepted that the plans “would fail to preserve the setting of Budock Church, albeit that the harm arising would be less than substantial.” He noted that the bund, the green field buffer and the level of the church would all help to protect local views, both of and from the church. He also took into consideration the fact that the development provides 94 homes in an area without a five year supply of deliverable housing, with an £88,839 contribution for transport infrastructure and the provision of “on-site public open space.” He said there would be a “modest level of harm” to the church setting, while “the public benefit of providing additional dwellings and especially affordable homes would outweigh the harm identified.”

Phil Hart, chairman of Budock Parish Council, said he was “very, very disappointed with the outcome.” He said: “It’s something we have been fighting against for a long time, to stop any development along Bickland Water Road. “We can see, eventually, Falmouth is going to supplant us, and Budock as a parish is going to be diminished by this. “But as that is what the planning inspector says, we have no further come back and so we must try and live with it and make the best of it.”

John Bastin, Cornwall Councillor for Constantine, Mawnan and Budock, added: “I am very disappointed by the clear lack of empathy shown for local history and culture, things must change, at present developers are walking all over us.”