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090101 | The Great Hayle Towans Land Grab (aka ING Planning Application) | PZ News


The Great Hayle Towans Land Grab (aka ING Planning Application)
Ruth Lewarne, Penwith District Councillor
January 2009

Outline planning permission for a very large development at Hayle has been granted to ING by Penwith Council. There are many features, but most notable and most concerning is a landmark permission to build a great many houses, with accompanying access, on Riviere Farm, a greenfield site. Once this has been granted it may not come to fruition immediately, but there will be no going back.

Fortunately this is such a breach of planning policy that it must be agreed at government level for it to go ahead, so objectors get another chance to make their views known. UNfortunately, this government has just passed an Act of parliament designed to reward planning departments according to the number of houses built in their area, which isn't very encouraging, but nevertheless those of us that love Cornwall can but try.

This proposed development is known as the Hayle Harbour development but, just as a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, so the land grab of a green field site directly on/adjacent to a superb dune system, categorised as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, destroying prime agricultural land, plus a cricket club, stinks just as it would if it were called by ITS proper name.

And I haven't mentioned the views, which will be fantastic for the owners of the new houses, but utterly spoiled for everyone else living, holidaying or passing through Hayle. In fact the development, which by the way flouts Penwith District Council's own Local Plan, will, if it goes ahead, be an in-your-face two-fingered monument to the short-sightedness of councillors, the shameless greed of ING, the developers, and the pitiful attempts of council officers to 'negotiate' with them - as if a cornered mouse were to claim it could 'negotiate' with a hungry python. Yep, the landscape some of us have loved since childhood is just a snack which will barely whet the appetite of the Profit Monster.

Because that's what it's all about. Hayle harbour is a landscape of flattened quays, relics of when it was a thriving port and manufacturing centre. In Planning-speak, a huge 'brownfield' site that most locals would like to see developed in some appropriate way; eg. infrastructure supporting maritime industries: boat-building and repairs, shellfish and seafood processing ( we really don't make the most of the sea's shellfish harvest from Hayle, most of the investment in this sort of thing ends up in Newlyn) and so on.

Even certain types of seaweed can be harvested and processed on site - check out the seafood cuisine of Brittany, which is like a more successful Cornwall. And locals wouldn't mind seeing houses and shops on this mega brownfield site either. There are possibilities galore; perhaps most exciting is the possible 'wave hub' project, as green an energy source as you can get, and with proper jobs to go with it!

Unfortunately there is contamination of the land from the previous heavy industry that was on it and it is costly to decontaminate, plus the kind of job creating infrastructure that everyone REALLY wants doesn't come cheap - or yield instant, easy profits. On the other hand, building on a green field site with absolutely prime views is a very profitable endeavour indeed.

So that' s it, in a nutshell. ING says it has to build the houses to make the money to do all the other stuff. I say: how do we know you'll do any of the other stuff? After all, you say in the Planning Committee report that went before councillors on the 13th January 2009 that you've got to build the houses first - even though ING is an extremely wealthy multi-national which doesn't seem to have been harmed by the recession at all. A nice gentleman with a charming Dutch accent reassured everyone that ING would look after us all, so that's all right isn't it?

No, it really isn't. If you don't like covering the countryside in concrete on the promise of creating some jobs some years down the line - and bear in mind, Hayle harbour has had several owners, and they've all tried this on, but never before 13.1.09 had any permissions been granted for any works to be done outside the large 'brownfield' area- please write to:

Richard Ormerod
Government Office for the South West
Mast House
Shepherds Wharf
24, Sutton Road
Plymouth PL4 0HJ

Tel : 01752 635 000

please copy or email the same letter to:

Jeremy Content
Penwith District Council Planning Dept.
Penwith DC
St. Clare St.
Cornwall TR18 3QW

The deadline for letters of objection is two weeks from the 22nd Jan. 2009, when the notice of a 'departure from policy' appeared in the local press - or should have, I didn't see it. The point is, you see, that this is such a major catastrophe for the environment that the planning committee of Penwith is not allowed to actually approve the application - they voted that they were 'minded' to approve it depending on the resolution of certain details and dependent on the final approval of the Secretary of State.

Here are some pointers about what to write. Please use your creativity and don't copy exactly, because believe me any excuse will be used to dismiss your objections.

Example letter:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I wish to object to Planning application 08-0613-P by ING RED UK (Hayle Harbour) LTD passed in outline, subject to the approval of the Secretary of State. My main reason is the impact of the 300 new houses on Riviere Farm and the 98 houses on an area ING call 'Hilltop', as well as the associated access roads and parking on a green area that I believe should continue to be protected.

I do not object to the development of the 'brownfield' disused areas within this application being used for development, especially if there is a genuine emphasis on job creation and not just houses, but I see no necessity for this destruction and on this scale. This housing estate will have fine views all over Hayle, but itself will be visible from miles around. It will generate a lot of traffic on roads which are relatively quiet except at the height of summer. It will create no jobs for locals, except for temporary ones, and it won't house locals, as the 'affordable' element will be less than 10% as opposed to the recommended 25% on a development of this size.

I do not believe this proposal will benefit anyone except ING and prospective second home owners. Please do not allow this destruction to go ahead.

Yours, etc.

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