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Committee shrugs off objections

By This is Cornwall  |  Posted: January 27, 2010

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BATS and dormice nearly stopped councillors allowing 22 affordable homes to be built in St Stephen.

Despite St Stephen Parish Council objecting to the application, for 22 affordable dwellings on land off Terras Road, and a recommendation of refusal from planning officers, the committee gave the plans the green light at County Hall last week.

Planning officers objected because the county council's ecologist suggested a survey needed to be carried out to see if the development would adversely effect the bat and dormice population which could be living on the land.

However, in line with the creatures' life cycle, any such survey would not be able to be carried out until the summer and councillors were worried that a delay could lead the housing association, which filed the application, to lose funding to build the development.

Parish councillor Barry Davy told the committee there was no need for affordable housing in the village.

"When you consider other nearby developments at Foxhole and Trethosa Road, there simply isn't the need for these affordable homes."

He said the site would be taking up land currently being used for food production.

Cllr Mike Varney said: "I don't think we can stand to lose the funding for affordable housing. This is, I believe, an exceptional circumstance and we have good reason to go against the advice of planning officers and legal advice."

He said it was important for St Stephen to have affordable homes as a need for them had been identified.

Cllr Geoff Brown agreed and said the committee was within its rights to go against advice in this case.

Speaking later Mr Davy said he was deeply disappointed with the decision.

The committee voted 12-3 in favour of the application.

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