Proposals for new Falmouth School sports facilities and Union Corner housing opposed

Proposals for new sports facilities and housing in Falmouth have been opposed – partly over a plan to sell alcohol from the school’s site. Falmouth Town Council’s planning sub-committee opposed the plans for sports facilities at Falmouth School and housing at Union Corner, on Monday.

A spokesman for Westcountry Land & Homes said it was “overwhelmingly disappointed” with the decision in the face of local support and housing need. The proposals include a new sports hub and an artificial sports pitch the size of that at Wembley Stadium. The housing at Union Corner would comprise 104 homes, and there could be more in the future. Plans for floodlights to operate until 10pm raised concerns from residents and councillors, as did the proposal to sell alcohol at a bar at the sports hub. Councillors also argued that the planned access to the homes was not good enough, that cutting down hedges and trees to widen the road nearby would harm the area’s character and unacceptable pressure would be put on local services.

But Jeremy Wallis, head of sports at Falmouth School, said that, in an age of austerity and cuts, there would not be another chance to build a sports hub like this in Falmouth. While councillors generally supported the idea of new facilities, there were concerns about neighbours’ privacy and the location of the main pitch. The plans would not be able to go ahead without approval of the Union Corner homes to fund them.

Councillor Diane Merrett said: “It’s a school. I don’t like the idea of selling alcohol on school premises at all.”

Councillor Alan Jewell said: “I went to Falmouth School and think this is a good idea but have concerns with some parts of it. I have issues about the use of the pitch up to 10pm seven days a week.”

Residents told the meeting they would prefer the pitch and the sports hub to be located on a different part of the school site. Councillors also said they were under the impression the site would not be alongside Trescobeas Road. Concerns over contamination of the old Budock Hospital site meant the school did not want to risk building there. The school also claimed the lack of documentation from the demolition of the site meant it could not be certain all of the former basements had been properly filled in. It was argued that the school should go back to the drawing board and see if the Budock site or the so-called Channel Four pitch nearby would be a suitable alternative.

Of the floodlights, one neighbour said: “As a resident of Trescobeas Road, I have serious concerns about how this will affect the quality of life for residents. Another added: “It should be developed on the old Budock site because it has good cover and people won’t be able to see it. A development of this kind should go on to the brownfield site. If that is impossible then the Channel Four pitch site is still there.”

Councillor John Bastin, from neighbouring Budock Water Parish Council, warned about the dangers of “urbanisation by stealth” regarding the homes. Councillor Vicky Eva said: “I’m concerned about the impact on Falmouth. We can’t keep putting in more houses without the additional services.” Mr Jewell said the loss of the hedges and trees to widen the road would negatively impact the character of the area.

Both applications were overwhelmingly opposed by the committee but Cornwall Council will make the final decisions.