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Decisions due on first phase of 'new town' near Truro

Decisions due on first phase of 'new town' near Truro

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 3:51pm 5th July 2018. (Updated at 3:52pm 6th July 2018)

By Local Democracy Reporter, Richard Whitehouse

Cornwall Council will meet next week to decide whether to take a lead in helping get a new town for up to 8,000 people off the ground.

The council is looking to buy land at Langarth Home which would be used for 154 homes and other land which could provide facilities including a primary school.

It is all part of a wider project which is aiming to kick start a series of developments near Threemilestone.

Here we look at what decision is being made at the full council meeting on Tuesday and answer some questions about the overall project.

A new town? That sounds big…

Planning permission currently exists for around 2,700 homes to be built across a number of sites which are adjoining each other to the north of the A390 near Threemilestone.

Cornwall Council says that these, together, could provide homes for around 8,000 people creating a town which is about the size of Launceston, Liskeard or St Ives.

OK, so if planning permission is there why has this not started and why is the council getting involved?

That is precisely why the council is getting involved. The various planning permissions have remained in place but no work has started on any of the various developments.

The 2,700 homes proposed across the various sites are a key part of the council’s housebuilding targets which are included in the Cornwall Local Plan.

With the developments stalled – and with no indication that they are likely to start anytime soon – the council took the view that it should take the lead in firing the starter pistol.

But these are plans which have been drawn up by private developers – shouldn’t it be up to them?

In an ideal world that is what would happen. But Cornwall Council has seen an opportunity here to improve what could be built and make it better for the people who will live there.

The council has been critical of what is currently planned to be built and has described it as a “fragmented series of housing estates”.

By taking a lead the council is looking to improve the design of the potential new town and make it much more cohesive.

Effectively the council wants to bring all the various developments together and make them into one overall development, rather than being built by different developers who will have different ideas.

Changes that the council wants to make to the existing plans include a better layout making better use of green space; an improved design of the homes; a tree-lined avenue with cycle and footpaths; clear connections to the planned primary school, doctors surgery, community space and extra care housing.

Is it all homes? Surely a town will need more than that?

Yes. The various planning permissions include a number of other developments including schools, medical centres, dentists surgeries, shops, restaurants, hotels and open spaces.

Cabinet member Bob Egerton, who is taking the lead on the project, indicated that there could be two primary schools and a secondary school built in the new town area.

There is also a plan for a Northern Access Road (NAR) which would run through the developments and link them from the A390 to Treliske. Cornwall Council is bidding for government money to build that road as part of the infrastructure.

The council has been clear that by taking a lead on the developments then it would have more control over what infrastructure is provided and when.

Traditionally housing developers will have their main focus on building homes and then add the infrastructure later. The council wants to take a different approach and build the infrastructure so that it is there ready for when people move into the new homes.

So, what is the council deciding on Tuesday?

This week the council will be asked to support a recommendation made by the leading Cabinet to increase the council’s capital budget so that land can be bought at Langarth Farm for 154 homes and an area of mixed use land.

154 homes? That doesn’t really sound like the start of a new town…

The purchase is part of land that Sanctuary Housing is buying from landowner Inox which would see 700 new homes built.

The council would work with Sanctuary to build its 154 homes which would be part of a development of 494 new homes.

As well as the land for homes the council will be buying a plot of mixed use land which has outline planning permission for a primary school, extra care facility and community facility.

This would enable the council to bring forward the infrastructure which would be needed for the new town.

The report going to council states: “Langarth Farm is the first of a number of housing developments that will be developed at Threemilestone. It is critical that this development is designed and constructed to high standards of design and quality, since it will set the tone for the whole new town at Threemilestone. It will set a standard of place, a level of quality, pattern of development and value that will then be hard not to repeat. It will be the first articulation of what is being achieved.”

When could work start then?

The council is aiming to have completed the purchase of the land by the end of this year.

Before then it wants to bring forward a business case for the first package of infrastructure including the primary school and first phase of a town centre and a business case for the NAR.

No details have been given for when work could start or how the rest of the new town could develop.

And what is this new town going to be called?

There has been no indication at all about that kind of detail as it is still very early in the project. But if you have any suggestions, let us know.

  • Cornwall Council will meet on Tuesday at 10.30am at County Hall.

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