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Council could buy land to kick start 'new town' on outskirts of Truro

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Published by Sarah Yeoman at 4:12pm 13th June 2018

By Richard Whitehouse, Local Democracy Reporter

Cornwall Council could buy land to build 154 new homes on the outskirts of Truro in a bid to kick start the development of a new town.

The council’s Cabinet will decide next week whether to press ahead with the purchase of land at Langarth Farm near Threemilestone. The final decision on any purchase will have to be made by the full council.

It was revealed in April that the council was set to take the lead in developing the new town which could provide homes for 8,000 people – similar in size to Liskeard, Launceston or St Ives.

Planning permission is already in place for 2,700 on a series of neighbouring sites in the area but as yet no development has started.

The council was critical of the plans which are already in place saying that they would result in a number of “incoherent” housing estates and said that by taking a lead it would be able to harmonise them and encourage better design.

Next week the Cabinet will decide whether to press ahead with buying land for 154 homes along with another plot of land which is earmarked for an extra care facility, primary school, community asset or housing.

The council would buy the land from Sanctuary Housing which is in the process of buying land for 700 homes from developer and current land owner INOX.

Full planning permission is in place for 494 homes on the land which Sanctuary is looking to buy but the council says that this permission has some “serious deficiencies”.

The report going to Cabinet states: “This proposal is to buy 154 plots from Sanctuary Housing as part of Sanctuary Housing’s purchase of land for approximately 700 homes from the developer Inox. This provides an opportunity for the council to work with Sanctuary Housing, to develop a viable and high quality scheme for the whole of the 494 homes.”

It also details some of the changes which will have to be made to the existing plans.

These include:

  • improved layout making better use of green space
  • improved appearance of homes from the current standard housebuilder designs
  • fundamental redesign of the road as a tree-lined avenue with cycle and footpaths and well-controlled roadside parking
  • redesigned junction between the planned Northern Access Road and A390
  • clear connections to sites for primary school, extra care housing, doctors surgery and community open space.

All the changes would be included in a reserved matters planning application which the council intends to submit later this year.

The report states: “We have a one-off opportunity to get this right, and the proposed purchase of this land will give the Council an opportunity to control design quality. Reserved matters approval has been granted for 494 homes but the approved scheme has some serious deficiencies. The current  approvals for the area fall significantly short of what we want to achieve.”

It adds: “The designs are at the low end of average housebuilder designs and are uninspiring. Even though nearly 500 homes are planned the controlling outline permissions do not require a school or other social infrastructure to be built, at this stage and it could be nearly ten years before the school is built and open. The green spaces are functional but not creative in making best use of the environment.”

If the council does buy the land to build 154 homes it states that it would look to include a mix of housing which could include around 54 affordable properties.

The Cabinet will discuss the proposals when it meets next Wednesday (June 20).

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