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190502 | Cornwall Design Review Panel Meeting: Wednesday 4 May 2016 | Strategic Planning Meeting | PA18/04577

Extracted from PDF -  please refer to original for definitive version


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Cornwall Design Review Panel Meeting:
4th May2016

Site Address: North Quay, Hayle Harbour, Hayle

Proposal: Mixed use project incorporating up to 276 dwellings, commercial, hotel and retail/café uses.The anticipated reserved matters application will not include the adjacent Riviera Fields site.

Design and Development Team in attendance:
Williamsarchitect (FCB Studios)
Rothnie architect (FCB Studios)

Cornwall Design Review Panel Members in attendance:
David Orr (landscape architect and urban designer
Estelle Doughty
Graham Lawrence (historic environment + planner)
Tim Kellett (urban designer + architect
Mark Pearson (architect +Chair)

Advisors to the Panel:
Martin Mumford (police architectural liaison officer)

Nick Cahill (historic environment strategy officer)



Conflicts of Interest:
Mark Pearson advised that he had been invited by Cornwall Council /English Heritage
in 2011 to independently facilitate design workshops concerning South Quay at Hayle. These involved the same development/design team.

Graham Lawrence acts as a technical advisor to the World Heritage Site Partnership Board and is a member of the Technical Panel on behalf of West Devon District Council.

All agreed that these were not an impediment to the meeting proceeding and indeed this was useful knowledge / experience to bring to the discussion.


Thank you for your recent presentation.

Please now find below the formal guidance of the Panel. You should disregard any specific points made verbally by individual Panel members as part the formative discussion during the meeting as those may not now reflect the considered and collective views of the Panel.

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For clarity the Cornwall Design Review Panel does not consider the principle of the development but focuses its observations on design matters arising from the presented scheme to assist both the Design Team and the Local Planning Authority.

Panel Guidance


Several members of the Panel had visited the site and its environs in advance of the meeting. We are very pleased to be consulted regarding this significant project which occupies an important position within the ambitions to regenerate both Hayle Harbour and the wider town. We are aware that an outline planning permission has already been granted. We are also aware of the single Parameter Plan recognised as part of that permission (which relates to building heights) and we note the considerable work regarding a Development Framework and Design Codes that has been subsequently submitted and approved. The planning circumstances are complex (given the apparent desire to re-visit some of this earlier work) and we regret that the local planning authority’s case officer was unable to attend and inform the review. We were delighted to be shown a working model of the project and we trust this will be invaluable in testing and refining alternatives as the ideas mature.

The Policy and Planning Context

We know that a special Supplementary Planning Document is in preparation to inform planning applications and development management decisions within the World Heritage Site, and we understand that the origins of this initiative was, in part, as a response to concerns raised by UNESCO over the completed project on South Quay. Clearly proposals (by the same design and development team) will need to show how they respond positively to this new policy, but when we asked about the SPD, there seemed to be little to report regarding its implications for design.

There is also a World Heritage Site Management Planand again an explanation of how the design of the project will need to respond to or be influenced by this would have been useful for us to understand.

We observed that the National Planning Policy Framework calls for development to enhance or better reveal” the historic significance within sensitive and/or important settings. We recognise that the enabling infrastructure to the quaysides, access roads etc. have already been completed and major questions over substantial harm or loss have been dealt with, but we do urge that beyond this mitigation of negative impact then greater intellectual effort is exerted to explore how a stronger empathy between the new work and the historic setting might be forged. The presence of the World Heritage Site ought to be an inspiration rather than a burden, but we did not hear a clear narrative about how the design response had been generated except that it was a revised version of the outline approval. The adjustments were important to understand, but do not in themselves represent a sufficient exposition of the revised ideas and we call for a clear account of what drives the new design from ‘first principles’. The Panel believe that the development offers a great opportunity to create an exemplary contemporary response and urge the design and development team to seize this.

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Whilst ideas about respecting the geometries and alignments of the former railway tracks of the original (now buried) quay were introduced to our discussion, on reflection these seem to be a rather simplistic, and too literal, as a way of registering the history of the place and would probably lead to some unsatisfactory consequences in terms of the urban design and architecture.

We are not aware of the format or nature of the project workshops that have been conducted with stakeholders, but we would hope that these have helped to immerse all involved in what happened here historically and culturally, and explore ways to channel that knowledge into the proposal. It could be in layout, or massing, or movement, or landscape, or materials, or detail or more likely a succession of subtle references combining these aspects that are able to be ingrained into a new sense of place that has some evident empathy with the history of the site and its qualities.

We were pleased to hear that a specific Heritage Impact Assessment is underway and trust that the programme that you are working to will allow time for the design to be adjusted in response to its findings. We were surprised by the reported timescales that were expected in order to reach a planning submission and recommend that these are reviewed.

Departures from the Outline Planning Permission

The maximum building heights defined by the approved Parameter Plan do not seem to have been adhered toin the proposals that were presented to us.One of the most significant changes from the Development Framework and Design Codes is the increase in proposed height along the wharf area, but we also note that there is a proposed reduction in height of the Yards area to the rear. A full Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment of the more regular massing proposed along the waterfront ought to be conducted and assessed.

The approved Development Framework and Design Codes seem not to be governing the preparation of the reserved matters applications as required by Condition 5 of the Outline Planning Permission. They were not referred to in the presentation nor in the comparison of the proposed scheme with the earlier illustrations of the approved permission. We assume that they will be revised and believe that they can certainly be improved upon and therefore support this.

More explicitly, Condition 3 of the Outline Planning Permission calls for a Development Brief and Design Codes to be submitted and approved in advance of Reserved Matters being submitted. We have no concern that the current documents might be revised and hopefully bettered, but would expect this to be accomplished and the new versions to be submitted and approved, again, in advance of Reserved Matters maintaining the principles of the Outline Permission.

We notice that a second significant departure from the previous strategy for the site is in the means of providing car-parking with housing now substituted for the multi-storey decked car park in the former quarry - and (replacement) underground parking now proposed serving the apartment blocks along the wharf-side. We welcome this subterranean parking proposition as an idea and given the intensities of development this seems to be an ideal solution, but recommend that its financial viability is

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 robustly and urgently tested, since if it is not a realistic way forwards then the impact of an alternative strategy upon the site layout will be profound.

You advised that the total number of dwellings to be provided was to be reduced. We welcome this and think that the amounts of accommodation within Outline Permission were rather inflated, with some unfortunate design consequences likely to arise as a result. We would also have liked to understand how this reduction affects the total square metres of floor area being developed and/or the comparative plot ratios achieved clearly if larger dwellings are now being provided then the intensity of development may not be much altered and the character of the place will be little changed. The impact on provision of affordable units is another dimension of this decision that we would have liked to understand more fully.

Revising the Outline Permission

Whilst we acknowledge that some elements of the previous masterplan could be improved we do think that some useful analysis,guiding principles and design coding were developed in those earlier documents. We encourage you to revisit this work, critique and update it, clarifying the proposed changes with all stakeholders before proceeding with any further detailed design.

It was recognised that the approved Development Framework did not allow for a very cohesive and connected new “quarter” or neighbourhood serving North Quay because the development areas are somewhat strung out along what is, in reality, a long cul-de-sac of an access road. This includes Riviera Fields (beyond the current Reserved Matters applications) at the end of the route. Therefore any opportunity to create better linkages between these development areas would be a positive improvement to the layout and we would encourage this to be explored.

Perhaps because of time pressures, the ideas that you presented were very focused on the site itself. The project did not yet seem to be part of a wider narrative relating to the development of Hayle as a place, the relationship to the town centre, to employment places, to beach and leisure opportunities,etc. In particular, the likely patterns of movement both within the site and to community and social facilities available within Hayle (schools/shops/GP surgeries,etc.) needs to be understood as a stronger design generator and allowed to influence the layout - and indeed this could potentially refine the provision of non-residential uses if gaps within facilities within comfortable walking distance were identified. Encouraging walking and cycling to and from the site, in all weathers and at all times of the year, will be important to encourage an active, healthy community. This side of the harbour is potentially highly exposed to inclement weather and as well as open spaces with coastal views there may be a need to provide some sheltered spaces and routes within the site. We are also aware that the routethrough the site provides access for pedestrians and vehicles to Godrevy Sands, the sense of North Quay acting as a ‘gateway’ to the adjacent coastline needs to be explored and exploitedcar-parking may need to anticipate and provide for day visitors and the main street should respect ‘through’ traffic. There may be some ‘passing trade’ to be captured...

In both the existing development framework and the current proposal two or more character areas are separated and segregated by the existing access road. Whilst there is some attraction in allowing the different urban typologies to clarify the

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character of the parcels to either side, it is a more difficult challenge to make a main street that is coherent and civilised (as a street’, rather than a road) when poised between them. As the design codes are re-written then it would be good to start with key cross-sections through this thoroughfare since it will be the experience and character of this primary public realm (the main street) that will largely determine the feel and nature of the new neighbourhood. We applaud the aspiration to enrich the spatial sequence along the street using squares and shared spaces. However, this needs to be developed further to create a variation in both spatial enclosure and activity, which, along with the articulation of building frontages,will contribute to creating a definite sense of place (or places) along its length.

We heard that the alignment of the new vehicular highway is fixed it therefore firmly defines the depths of development parcels to either side. Urban typologies (building groupings and associated space) need to be alighted upon than can, at once, contribute to forming this street whilst responding positively to the wharf edge to the south and the topographical changes in level to the north. The temptation to leave the street as simply a divide between character areas should be avoided - in fact it is, or should be, the main linking element (in every sense) within the place being created.

The design by character areas that you have undertaken is a logical initial approach, but needs to be finessed. We felt in its current form this was leading to a weakness in the creation of a particular place, somewhere to go, somewhere to belong, somewhere to dwell, somewhere that forms a complement to Hayle town rather than a completely isolated quarter. The new neighbourhood needs considerably more refinement in both its 2D and 3D hierarchy, in patina, massing and in grain. The lack of certainty over the ‘heart’ of the scheme which you indicated might be at the step in the harbour wall was borne out in the lack of a clarity as to what kind of place was being developed here and why it should exist what should anchor it?

Commercial Fish Quay

We were unclear as to what role (in terms of place-making) was envisaged for this element of the layout. We think that it could potentially provide significant interest and genuine character, potentially answering some of ourconcerns above, but clearly there may be difficulties in providing full public access to a working environment. Has the servicing of the quay been tested to identify if some of this space can have a more public use? Have the requirements for safety and security fencing around working compounds been researched?

The buildings that frame the space might have a particular character or posture in relation to the activity cross-sectional ideas would be important to explore here. We are aware of other developments in the South West where wet fish sales or seafood restaurants have been positively combined with a commercial fish quayside. We think it maybe helpful if there was an adjacency or strong linkage between this activity and what you described as the ‘heart’ of the development. We were also unsure whether there is still a possibility of the fish quay being transferred to the East Quay in the longer term? in which case, a solution that can evolve through time may need to be proposed for this part of the site? Perhaps early temporary uses in relation to the Fish Quay could be established and help to posit North Quay as a ‘destination’ early in the phasing of development?

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The Wharf Character Area

The panel felt that the proposed development in this area was the least satisfactory and least resolved in terms of place-making,scale and legibility.

It was good that the layout was aligned and sub-divided to allow long views from the Yards to the north of the access road between the blocks or groups of blocks. However, in three dimensions, it was very noticeable that the increase in height of residential blocks along the majority of this frontage had two negative impacts. The first created a more uniform wall” of comparatively tall development that from outlying areas may screen the topography of the hillside behind it to the north east. The second impact was the lack of emphasis on particular spaces or focal points able to be created within the regular rhythm of buildings to assist with place-making.

We wondered whether some buildings should be lowered (and/or possibly skewed in angle or set back in relation to the harbour wall line) and in this respect noted the approved parameter plan and the differences between the existing and new proposals. We think it is likely that the scale of development proposed could support one focal pointor ‘heart’ that might become a node for routes, framed by taller buildings, and be a natural place to around which to gather the more active ground floor uses.

It was observed that it was unlikely that the whole of the ground floor of this wharf-side development would be filled with active commercial uses [shops,cafes,retail, small businesses,etc] and it would be clearly beneficial to concentrate these in a key location, on the corners of the buildings and in places to face onto the main street and its main connection to the waterfront. Ground floor finishes, detailing of entrances and fenestration needs much further development to show how this could work with consistency and elegance and could be a good subject to be included in design coding.

Within these routes and spaces it was suggested that a careful landscape strategy should be developed to ensure the design is appropriate to the larger scale and waterfront locations - which may be quite different in character to other parts of the development. Soft-landscaped spaces and significant planting on the wharf side may not be entirely appropriate and a harder palette should be explored.

It may be appropriate and necessary to allocate residential uses to some ground floors and here the design coding should be developed to avoid conflicts due to privacy issues, unclear use of defensible space adjacent to the dwellings, or blank facades/vents that may result from the lower level parking. Providing some dwellings at ground floor level could usefully assist with natural surveillance and security of streets and pedestrian routes. All public spaces and parking courts will need to be overlooked by commonly-habited roomsto discourage crime and anti-social behaviour.

The usage of all the public space needs to be fully considered, so that it is not just a landscaping treatment but has a programmatic function. This initiative could be extended to help differentiation within the wharf buildings to include some (modest) public function over and above the prescribed retail/commercial uses. We are aware that a community cinema has been an ambition in the past.

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The parking strategy for the scheme is a major challenge to get right - particularly if the financial viability of underground parking became a problem. Should an underground solution be able to proceed then it will need to be fully secure and properly managed. It is imperative that realistic assessment and depiction of the likely impacts of all surface level parking is undertaken as the design evolves.

We observed that the setting of the historic chimney at the western end of the site seems rather forlorn - shouldn’t the new layout aim to improve on this? Here is a physical remnant of the history of the site, but it seems to be an obstacle rather than a generator?

The Yards Character Area

The layout of the medium density housing in this area based on the Accordia development model was interesting and as an initial proposition offers exciting possibilities. It allowed each housing group to have a direct link to the waterfront area through the semi-public shared landscaped areas. However the panel felt that the delivery of so many housing units without significant private gardens or shared private courtyards would be a disadvantage in helping to build a good mixed community here. Is the lack of external private space (rear gardens) appropriate and realistic for the Cornish housing market and especially in serving affordable units? We feel that a more varied mix of private spaces e.g. small ground level gardens together with small yards, terraces built over garages, balconies etc.should be explored. In some instances the tight layout could perhaps be made even tighter in order to win some outdoor private space? We do have to observe that integral garages (on which the model relies) are likely to be used for watersports or other types of store rather than car-parking so may need to be excludedfrom any realistic count of the parking spaces available?

It was also thought that there could be more scope to increase the development height in some areas of the Yards maybe along the main street or close to the ‘heart’ of the neighbourhood?This might help to offset any loss of units in the Wharf-side - if heights there were reduced? We also felt that there would be potential to show how glimpsed lateralviews of the harbour might be achieved from dwellings using oriel and bay windows, glazed dormer windows and balconies etc.

The potential positive impact of this housing on the character of the main street was definitely under-developedat this stage and more must be done to allow building elements to create a positive, attractive and strong frontage. Blank gable end walls presenting to the South should be avoided, and ideally there should be ‘fronts’ here - along this southern street edge.

Finally we would suggest that you note the entirely different aspect of this side of the harbour to the sub-tropical King George V Walk and ensure you have the right advice on dealing with planting in this microclimate.The Hilltop Character AreaThe panel were very clear that it would be unrealistic to include public open space between individual properties to the extent that was proposed. The hilltop open landscape was dotted with individual houses lacking private space for normal family

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activities. This layout would allow public access to all boundaries with poor security, surveillance and little or no useful external space for the enjoyment of residents. Appropriate definition of public and private space is essential. We encourage a housing form that could perhaps group units into small clusters, allowing more defensible space and private outdoor spaces, garages, bin stores, drying areas etc. set between the houses. The intention to develop clear house types (the villa and chalet) is supported but the types should therefore remain distinct and not become merged into a hybrid it may be that secondary structures and garden walls, etc are mobilised to define/form the clusters. Utzon’s early housing projects in Denmark may be informative? Permitted development rights or other legal agreements should be used to control future alterations/additions in this ‘skyline’ location. It might be useful to also look at Chapel Point, Mevagissey by John Campbell for a local precedent that takes a similar approach in placing buildings within an otherwise ‘wild’ setting? We are very aware of the small lightweight holiday huts and chalets that currently exist elsewhere on the Hayle headland but do not think that these represent a realistic precedent for now creating permanent homes in the new Hilltop area.

Careful landscaping details would need to be developed to maintainand enhance the landscapecharacter of the areaperhaps incorporating change in levels, sunken areas hedge-banks, ‘ha-ha’s etc. Structural tree planting on the hillside or ridge line could be strengthened to maintain the visual character of this feature (the area used to be thickly forested). This would require careful species choice in all landscape design to succeed in maritime environment / difficult soils but should be used to enhance the skyline effect of the hillside profile above the development in views from across the harbour. We felt there was potential for a fully public park space of modest size somewhere on the Hilltop that would act as a focus and avoid conflict between the publicly accessible areas and private residences. It might usefully have a direct pedestrian link to the Yards and Wharf.


The prospect of developing North Quay is an exciting one, but we are nervous about the current proposals simply being presented as a set of revisions to the permitted scheme. The scale of change is significant and we urge that a new Development Framework and Design Codes are prepared and agreed. These need to be based on a vision for the site that returns to ‘first principles’ and discovers the appropriate design generators for development on this special site. The Heritage Impact Assessment and other policy documents will be importantin guiding this, but we call for the design team to go beyond these and discover some deeper inspiration from working in this specific location within the World Heritage Site. We would hope and expect to hear a clear ‘storyline’ about the design of the development as a response to the Outstanding Universal Values that define it.

In replacing the Development Framework and in re-drafting the Design Codes before advancing detailed design, it will also be important to commit to an agreed phasing programme for the development and to confirm viable car-parking strategies.

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The new layout and its massing seems to us to be driven too strongly by development value along the water’s edge and we think that the regular rhythm of taller blocks proposed is unlikely to be successful, and this should be tested thoroughly with a Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment, but the internal impact of this strategy on the formation of places within the layout is a further concern.

The strict division of the site into very distinct character areas,each possessing its own building typology,is supported butseems currently to be a rather too literal an interpretation of the advice emerging from the HIA and is likely to produce a neighbourhood that is incoherent and disjointed in its urban characterand needs to be finessed. The interfaces between the character areas seem unresolved the main street and cliff faces could be negative parts of the layout. Wedo not see the need to be so strict about the character difference between the Wharf-side and Yards or would at least urge that the main street conjoins them more satisfactorily. Better linkages between parts of the site, and to the wider town should feature more strongly in the thinking.

Rather than hide the topography with the general scale and massing of the developmentit would be good to reveal it. We think that landscape needs to form an integral part of the thinking for the Hilltop area not least in clarifying public and private space. Ensure that the arrangement of buildings defines places identification of a ‘heart’ ought to register in the figure-ground depiction, massing,and distribution of activity within the development. Aside from WHS influences, clarity is needed about the new ‘vision’ for the place and its future community and then the rationale for the development form should flow from that. This is an extraordinary opportunity and,if more time is needed to resolve the design then,we firmly urgethat shouldbe madeavailable to the design team.

We trust these observations are helpful and of assistance,it must be emphasized that they represent the views of the Cornwall Design Review Panel only and are based on the information presented and discussed at the Panel meeting.They cannot prejudice the outcome of a full appraisal of a planning application on this site or any final determination made through delegation by the Head of the Planning and Regeneration Service or a decision made by a Cornwall Council Committee. However, the local planning authority is required tohave regard to the recommendations ofthis guidance in assessing applications in accordance with para 62 of the NPPF.

Subject to payment of the appropriate fee the Panel would be pleased to review this project again preferably whilst still at the pre-application stage of the process. If the design of the project is subject to only modest revision prior to submission then a ‘desktop review’ may be a more appropriate mechanism with which to update ourguidance, however, substantial change will merit a further ‘full panel review’.

Queries regarding the report content, administration or operation of the Panel should be directed in the first instance to the Panel Facilitator, Judy Howard, Cornwall Council Tel (01872) 224311 or email


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Unless expressly requested by the design team on the grounds of bonafide commercial confidentiality the information within this report is not regarded as confidential and the Panel will publish a copy on its web page.

Where commercial confidentiality has been requested by promoters then the Panel will respect thatduring the pre-application stage, although Cornwall Council is subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) and the report may have to be made accessible in response to an information request, unless one of the exemptions in the FOIA applies.

Beyond the pre-application stage, this Cornwall Design Review Panel guidancereport (together withany subsequent updated versions)willbe made public once the project becomes registered as a formal planning application.

Use of the Report

Extracts from the report shall not be used for the purposes of marketing or for press release without the express permission of the Panel which should be sought via the Panel Facilitator.

Any comments or quotations taken from this guidance for use in other documents such as design and access statements must not be abridged and, if selective quotations are used, then a complete copy of the full guidance should be attached as an appendix to that document.