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£160m approved for new town on edge of Truro

£160m approved for new town on edge of Truro

Published by Emma Carton at 8:46am 24th January 2019. (Updated at 9:02am 24th January 2019)

Almost £160 million pounds is going to be spent on a new town on the outskirts in Truro, similar in size to St Ives.

By Local Democracy Reporter, Richard Whitehouse

Local councillors will be able to have more involvement in plans for a new town on their doorstep.

Cornwall Council agreed on Tuesday to provide £159 million towards the authority's intervention in major developments near Threemilestone and Langarth outside Truro.

But there had been concerns among councillors in the area that they were not being given the chance to get involved in the council project.

Cornwall Council decided last year that it wanted to get involved in the developments in the area after they ground to a halt.

There is existing planning permission across several separate sites for around 2,700 homes along with facilities such as schools, health centres, hotels, shops and workspace.

But none of the developments have started and the council was also concerned about the quality of what was planned.

So the council has decided to make an intervention so it can make the development more coherent and of a better standard. It is also hoping to ensure that infrastructure can be provided before residents move into the new homes.

Cornwall Council has said the combined developments will be a new town which could have around 8,000 residents - similar in size to Launceston, Liskeard or St Ives.

The money agreed to be used on the scheme by the council this week will be used for the purchase of land at Langarth Farm which will be used for 164 homes to be built.

It will also be used to draw up a masterplan for the development and a new outline planning application for the whole area. There will also be investment in design and delivering the Northern Access Road which will run through the site.

And plans for public infrastructure including a primary school will also be drawn up.

However Threemilestone Cornwall councillor Dulcie Tudor tabled an amendment which would give local councillors in the area more say on the plans.

She said councillors to the north and south of the development area wanted more involvement in “the detailed plans, the community facilities in the area and on the development”.

"This amendment is aimed to guarantee local member involvement.

"It is entirely right and proper that local members have their say on how this becomes a reality".

Dulcie Tudor

Truro councillor Rob Nolan seconded the amendment saying he thought it was important that local members were involved in such a major development.

Bob Egerton, Cabinet member for planning and economy, said that while he was not against the principle of the amendment he didn’t think it was necessary.

Cllr Tudor said that Cllr Egerton's response was "disappointing" but urged councillors to support the amendment. And it was overwhelmingly backed.

During the general debate about the request for funding there were concerns about the amount of money being spent on the project and the amount of council officers' time used on the development.

There were also concerns about plans by the council to start work on providing infrastructure such as the access road and school and then ask developers to pay for them afterwards.

Andrew Mitchell, Cabinet member for housing, said the intervention by the coucil was to “make a real positive contribution to this development”.

He said he understood if there were concerns about the finances behind the project but was "saddened" by the negative comments:

"The implications that we don't know what we are doing and that we are incompetent, I think, are totally unfair".

Cllr Mitchell said the local plan set out how many homes needed to be built in Truro and that the developments around Threemilestone and Langarth are a large part of that.

He said that without these developments there would have to be developments of 600 homes and 400 homes elsewhere around the city.

The council agreed to increase the capital programme by £159m for the works on the Threemilestone project.

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