Union Corner housing proposals get positive response from planning officer

The developer behind plans which could see 98 homes built on land at Union Corner has been advised by a Cornwall Council planning officer that the principal of the scheme is likely to be acceptable.

Westcountry Land & Homes Ltd had sought pre-application advice from the council’s planning department over its plans for the site, which is currently used as sports pitches by Falmouth School. The ultimate aim is for the school to develop the former Budock Hospital site across the road to create a sports hub. This would leave the two pitches surplus to requirements and the sale of them for housing would help pay for the school’s proposals.

A public exhibition of the initial plans, which included 98 homes with 34 of them affordable, was held at Falmouth School in December. Local residents were invited in to look at the plans, talk to members of the development team and offer feedback. The company then sought pre-application advice from Cornwall Council and principal development officer, Peter Bainbridge’s report has now been published. In it he says: “I’m aware this development is part of a wider proposal to reorganise and improve the sports facilities at the school. “However, if there is a loss of sport pitch provision or a break in availability this could be a concern. Therefore, the application will need to demonstrate there will be an overall improvement in sports provision and when the various elements will be provided.”

He adds: “The site is considered to be a sustainable location and therefore the principle of residential development is likely to be acceptable. This is provided the replacement sports pitches are considered acceptable and can be delivered in a reasonable time. The proposals also have the support of the council’s affordable housing team, providing 35 per cent of the development is given over to affordable housing. Chris Rose, principle development officer on the affordable housing team, said: “Whilst the site is located mainly in Budock parish, the development can reasonably be associated with the growth and affordable housing needs of Falmouth. Falmouth’s needs should therefore be considered together with the parish. In Budock there is a significant local affordable housing need and in Falmouth there is a very high level of need. The Cornwall housing register currently has 1,084 applicants in need of housing, meeting the Budock or Falmouth local connection criteria. There is therefore more than adequate needs justification for requiring new residential developments to contribute towards affordable housing.”