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More details revealed on plans for new town near Truro

More details revealed on plans for new town near Truro

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 6:28am 30th April 2018. (Updated at 12:02pm 30th April 2018)

By Local Democracy Reporter Richard Whitehouse

Cornwall Council’s Cabinet will consider a report this week which suggests that the council could take the lead in getting a new town built on the outskirts of Truro.

Large scale housing development has long been planned for land on the A390 near Threemilestone, but is all separated on different plots of land in the area.

The council had previously indicated that it wanted to intervene in the development planned at Langarth and West Langarth as it wanted to ensure that the housing was built after the development ground to a halt.

Earlier reports had seen the Cabinet agree to look into acquiring some of the land at Langarth with a view to build 154 homes. Under the proposal the council would have spent £7.3million on the land.

However the new plans, which are coming before the Cabinet on Wednesday, suggest that the council would instead look at a series of development areas which already have planning permission with a view to bringing them together and creating a new town.

It’s still early days on this plan, but here is some of the key information from what the council has released so far.

A new town? That sounds major – where is it and how big will it be?

The town would be made up of a number of different sites which the council would look to bring together. These are Langarth, West Langarth, Maiden Green, Willow Green and Pollards Fields.

Combined these sites have planning permission in place for 2,658 homes which the council suggests could provide housing for 8,000 people.

To put that into context, the council says it would be a “small town” and is equivalent to a town the size of Liskeard, Launceston or St Ives.

If there is planning permission in place already why haven’t these homes been built and why is the council getting involved?

All of the sites have outline planning permission, which covers the overall scale of development, and two of the sites also have detailed planning permission, which covers issues such as design and layout.

However these developments have been talked about for more than 13 years and nothing has happened.

There could be various reasons for this – one of the main ones is that several of the developments were based around large supermarket and retail park plans. Changes in the economy mean that supermarket chains have put a halt on all new stores while the retail sector continues to take a hit with several chains announcing closures so new stores are not a priority.

Cornwall Council has adopted a local plan which sets out its plans for the number of new homes which will be built across Cornwall between 2010 and 2030 and the Truro section of that is a major element.

As well as the 2,658 homes around the Threemilestone area there are also plans for another 1,328 on other sites in the Truro area – in total 3,986. Of that total 3,162 are scheduled to be built by 2030.

The council is concerned that unless work starts on these homes then it could fall short of its targets under the local plan.

However another issue raised in the Cabinet report is that if the developments were built under the current proposals the council says that they would be “incoherent and uncoordinated series of housing estates that would fall short in creating an environment in which communities can develop and thrive”.

The council is also concerned that infrastructure for the new homes would not be provided until the housing has been built “lagging behind the needs of new residents”.

Under its plans the council would create a new plan for the entire area to make it more cohesive and of a better quality along with providing the infrastructure which is required.

Great – so we could have the schools and facilities which everyone says is needed with housing developments?

One of the things that the council has highlighted is that because of the “uncoordinated approach” there is a risk of duplication across the sites in terms of facilities – such as schools and retail.

The council also says that without having a defined “centre” to the development reduces the attractiveness of the development.

Some key elements have been highlighted by the council – one of which is the northern access road which would cut across the development areas and link them to the A390 and Treliske.

There should also be a new town centre with shops, services and facilities, along with two local centres.

A mix of housing would be needed including different sizes, types and tenures along with affordable housing to meet local housing need.

Community facilities would include two primary schools, a medical centre, a community centre and sports pitches.

A high proportion of public open space along with cycleways and walkways linking all areas as well as linking the development with Threemilestone.

And employment opportunities, both retail and non-retail.

This is surely going to cost a lot of money?

The total cost identified in the report for the council’s intervention projects is estimated to be £94.5m.

This breaks down as follows:

  • £300,000 for an urban design strategy and design code
  • £2m for modifications to A390 and already approved crossings
  • £30m for the northern access road
  • £20m (plus development costs) for land acquisition at phases one and two Langarth Farm
  • £20m land acquisition at Maiden Green
  • £10m land acquisition at West Langarth
  • £5m for a primary school
  • £200,000 for playing fields at Threemilestone
  • £5m for other public infrastructure
  • £2m for green infrastructure

But what about the houses?

The council’s aim is to carry out interventions which it hopes will then see developers build the housing required.

Under these proposals the council would be able to set the design and mix of housing which would be built in the area while also providing the infrastructure which would support the development.

The Cabinet report states: “By providing infrastructure that developers would otherwise have to fund at the outset of development, Council investment will also help to unlock private sector development of the area. This will support the achievement of the Council’s ambition to deliver 1,000 homes in Truro over the next four years, and 3,900 new homes between 2010 and 2030.”

The report also suggests that this move will also help others living nearby. It states: “Council investment will also deliver key benefits to the residents of the existing Threemilestone Village south of the A390. Possible realignment of the road layout and creation of improved public realm in Threemilestone centre, together with improved connectivity with the new neighbourhood centre at Willow Green, will provide a better sense of community. The possible provision of a playing field for the use of the Threemilestone Football Club will also meet a long-expressed need for improved local sports provision.”

So, when would work start on all of this?

The council report states that work could start at Langarth next month with 344 homes built by 2023.

Works at Pollards Fields could start in May 2019 and works at West Langarth, Maiden Green and Willow Green are on a timetable to start in February 2020.

What happens now?

The Cabinet will meet on Wednesday to consider the proposals and will be aksed to agree in principle that the council takes a lead role in the developments.

Councillors will also be asked to approve the creation of an urban design strategy and design code which will involve public consultation.

The Cabinet is also being asked to approve progress on a revised planning application for Langarth Farm. and to start engagement with the local community about the overall plans.

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