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Controversial housing development in Camborne approved

Controversial housing development in Camborne approved

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 6:27am 30th June 2020.

Written by Richard Whitehouse, Local Democracy Reporter

A controversial housing development has been granted planning permission on a planning committee chairman’s vote after councillors were divided.

A reserved matters application for 94 homes to be built off Tregenna Lane in Camborne went before Cornwall Council’s west planning committee yesterday morning.

It was not the first time the plans had gone before the committee having previously been refused and then the current application was deferred earlier this month.

The development, which has attracted a number of objections from local people and councillors, already had outline planning permission but there were concerns about plans to tackle surface water drainage.

Developers AKD Developments provided more information to the committee which set out how it would pay for a drainage pipe to take surface water from the site to Roseworthy Stream.

The developers said that the cost of the scheme, which was put forward after an alternative pumping station was dismissed, would be viable if the development went ahead.

But the issue divided the committee with some saying that they could not support the plans despite them having had the backing of all statutory consultees including the Environment Agency (EA) and South West Water, which would install the drainage system.

Councillors were warned by both senior planning officers and legal officers that there were no reasonable grounds to refuse planning permission and that if the developer appealed a refusal it would be unlikely that the council would be able to defend the decision.

They warned that this could also result in costs being awarded against the council.

Jackie Smith, sustainable drainage officer for the council, told the committee that she was satisfied with the plans and supported the proposal.

She repeatedly explained to councillos that the EA had been consulted on the plans and had said that there would be no need for a permit for the drainage system because the size of the outflow from the site was not large enough to require permission.

Committee member Mark Kaczmarek proposed that the plans be approved as recommended by the planning officers.

He said: “After listening to all the debate on the water drainage, I am very satisfied that everything has been done to deal with the water issue.

“The discharge is no greater, I believe, that what already goes in there (the stream).”

He added: “I am very happy, well I am not happy as nobody wanted this development, but there is no objection from all the bodies that are consultees, so I am very happy to move the recommendation as set out.”

Committee member Mark Kaczmarek

He was supported by Graham Coad who said: “All the questions have been answered, there are no policies to decline this application.”

But Lionel Pascoe was not happy, saying: “I still can’t support this application. I am really worried about taking all this water from there and into the stream.”

Richard Buscombe also said he could not support the plans saying “we just don’t have enough information”. He claimed that the committee had not been told the cost of the drainage scheme, despite it being outlined in the report.

But Mike Thomas said he would be supporting.

He said: “Our officers have answered all of the issues that we raised over the drainage.

“It is not an application that I feel pleased to be supporting in any way but it is an application that we can’t turn down (for planning reasons). We should trust our officers and the advice they have given us.”

And Richard Robinson added:

“Members are playing a very dangerous game here. We are asking questions that have already been answered.

“I think it looks terribly like obstructionism.

“We have to support the officers on this. They have done a great job and shown an enormous amount of patience. We must support it even though it doesn’t sit well with members, it doesn’t sit comfortably with anybody.”

The proposal to approve the plans was voted on with six votes in favour and six votes against. Committee chairman Roger Harding had the deciding vote and said that as he voted in favour originally he would stick with his original decision.

The plans were approved.

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