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Local hostility sees off scheme for new homes

By West Briton  |  Posted: September 27, 2012

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CONTROVERSIAL plans for eight new homes at Lowertown are to be refused, town councillors have been told.

Helston Town Council discussed the proposals on Thursday, watched by a large number of local residents.

After members of the planning committee spent an hour discussing the application, eventually voting unanimously to oppose it, Cornwall Council leader Alec Robertson told them in a few short sentences that it would not be supported by his council's planning officers either.

Mr Robertson, who also represents Lowertown on Cornwall Council, was not present for the planning committee meeting but spoke at the subsequent full town council meeting.

"I've received an awful lot of correspondence on this," he said.

"I can confirm that this plan is not going to receive officers' support."

They would refuse it under their own delegated powers, he said.

Earlier, planning consultant Steve Bott had told the planning committee that the proposal was partly intended to enable brother and sister Sarah Puckey and Mark Heims to return to Lowertown, where they were brought up, to be close to their elderly father David Heims.

The four affordable homes included would be single-storey, and three of the houses intended for sale on the open market would be occupied by Mrs Puckey, Mr Heims and fellow applicant Derek Towler.

"The site is suitable for the level of proposed development," said Mr Bott.

Many residents are opposed to the plan, saying they fear it will merge Lowertown with Helston, but Mr Bott said: "We consider a significant gap between Lowertown and Helston will still remain."

There was also concern over the situation with access to the site, from the only road through Lowertown.

Objector Owen Baker told the planning committee: "It's an accident blackspot waiting to happen."

He also said the development "would be out of keeping and out of character with the hamlet itself".

Town councillor Niall Devenish, who led the committee's deliberations, recommended refusal on a number of grounds.

These included access, the fact that it was clearly not supported by the local community, that in view of the "topography" of the site the new homes would be "overbearing" and not in keeping with the rural community, and that development could cause a flood risk elsewhere in Lowertown.

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