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A new town could be built on the outskirts of Truro

West Langarth  stadium for cornwall

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 7:29am 26th April 2018. (Updated at 3:47pm 26th April 2018)

By Local Democracy Reporter - Richard Whitehouse

A new town with a population similar to that of Liskeard, Launceston or St Ives could be built on the outskirts of Truro.

Cornwall Council has previously indicated that it wants to step in and build homes on a site at Langarth near Threemilestone but has now revealed more details of how it wants to kick-start developments which could see 2,700 homes built with a population of 8,000.

Documents which will go before the council's ruling Cabinet next week call the development a "small town" and state that it could include a "town centre" which would have all the facilities needed for prospective residents.

Outline planning permission is already in place for the housing developments across several sites at Langarth Farm, West Langarth, Willow Green and Maiden Green.

Cornwall Council is planning some interventions which would look to bring together the four different schemes to create a more coherent development. The Cabinet report says the existing plans compete with rather than complement each other and have no connection to existing communities at Threemilestone, Treliske, Gloweth and Highertown.

It states: "This means that over the next 15 to 20 years we will see a place the size of Liskeard, Launceston or St Ives being built as a series of housing estates led by speculative developers, housebuilders and their financiers. If implemented in the form envisaged by the current outline permissions [they] would deliver little more than a series of competing schemes, poorly connected with out-of-town/road side retail and commercial proposals instead of the people-centred, walkable and liveable places that our communities and councillors want us to deliver".

The report is critical of the existing permissions saying that the "layout is uninspiring; the houses themselves are designed to appeal to any of the national house builders rather than the residents and are a far cry from the council's ambition to create a distinctive and good quality entrance to Truro".

It states that “significant upfront infrastructure” is needed for the sites including a gas main and moving an electricity pylon along with drainage and access.

And then it talks about the development being a new town, saying: "Truro has a strong economy, and the focus of this development is to provide homes. Building a new town, however, gives an opportunity to grow jobs alongside homes. Imagine Liskeard or Launceston without businesses, shops, services or other facilities: we should not allow the developments at Threemilestone to become just a housing estate".

The current planning permissions granted to developers there include allocations for out-of-town retail units but the report says these cannot be supported by the market and could lead to “some poor quality shopping in a sea of car parking that harms the city centre”.

One of the recommendations for the Cabinet to consider next week is the need to draw up an urban design strategy for the development and the need for a new or revised Truro and Kenwyn neighbourhood plan.

Truro councillor Bert Biscoe said the idea of altering the neighbourhood plan had been put to Truro City Council this week and was not welcomed.

Mr Biscoe has questioned the need for such large-scale housebuilding in the Truro area and said he was very concerned that there is not the infrastructure or services available to support such a large increase in population.

He said: "I feel that it is vital for the future of Truro (and indeed Cornwall) that we have an adequate and resilient sewage system (a second sewage treatment works), and health facilities which enable a growing population to be able to be accommodated in community-type beds (for post-op care, recuperation, palliative care and clinics etc) - Truro City Council has been calling for the provision of a community hospital to put Truro on a par with other Cornish towns, and which replaces the City Hospital since the mid-1990s. Treliske is overloaded and not designed to provide Truro with a community facility.

"Other issues arise, partly associated with climate change - such as assurance that we have an adequate and sustainable water supply, and that we will be able to develop the railway around the growing town (as we see in Falmouth Penryn) with a halt at Hugus (partly to serve the stadium) and at Claremont Terrace (top of Pydar Street), and possibly at Chacewater and Probus. This is about looking into the future - 30 years ahead, as our predecessors in the 1950s did, and to provide for our successors a successful, safe and pleasant town set in a vibrant countryside and which is recognisably and, as ever, fiercely Cornish".

The report to Cabinet states: "The scale of growth at Threemilestone is critical to meet our adopted Local Plan; housing will be built here. The choice we now have is to allow the continuation of the current situation or to take an interventionist approach to build a town rather than housing estates.

"This is a critical moment. This report sets out four broad options and strongly recommends that the Council takes a strategic place-making role through a series of interventions, proportionate to the need to take a leadership role, that will allow us to build a new town that both our existing and the proposed new community will be proud of".

The Cabinet will meet to discuss the plans on Wednesday (May 2).

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