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Plans to build £110 million retail park at Coyte Farm, St Austell, refused planning permission

By CGGayle  |  Posted: January 16, 2014

Coyte Farm plans thrown out by one vote

Comments (27)

Plans to build a £110 million retail park in mid-Cornwall were narrowly defeated after dividing councillors at County Hall today.

The chair of Cornwall Council’s strategic planning committee Rob Nolan was given the casting vote after a proposal to refuse the application to build an out-of-town shopping centre and Marks & Spencer store at Coyte Farm in St Austell was tied.

Speaking after the meeting the mayor of St Austell said the town had missed out on a golden opportunity.

“St Austell has been stitched up by Truro again,” he said.

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“I believe today was a huge opportunity for our town and I believe there will be thousands of very disappointed people in St Austell.

“Once again St Austell has lost out to Truro of an opportunity to boost our local economy, create jobs and lift our town.”

However opponents to Coyte Farm, who feared the development would kill the town centre and put traders out of business, welcomed the decision.

Ally Watkins, who established the Stop Coyte Farm campaign, said the town could now begin focussing on developing plans to improve the town centre.

“This is just the beginning of a massive journey towards putting St Austell back together in an intelligent way and transforming St Austell town centre and the surrounding area into something Cornwall can be proud of,” she said.

“We hope we can now be left to get on with this without this hanging over our heads.”

St Austell and Newquay MP Stephen Gilbert said the decision was likely to go to appeal.

“I’m sure every member of the planning committee took their view with the best intentions but the decision is now outside of Cornwall’s hands,” he said.

“It will most likely be determined by lawyers outside of Cornwall.

“Personally I had some significant reservations about the scheme but my job as MP is to reflect the views of the community but it is clear that people were willing to take the risk to see the potential rewards and investment in St Austell.”

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  • AveSticks  |  January 21 2014, 9:32AM

    The chair of St Mewan School's governors, Mrs Taylor wrote to Cornwall Council on Mon 13th Jan to complain that the school has not been consulted about the Coyte Farm scheme and have not agreed to any proposals offered to them. The school's letter is on Cornwall Council's Coyte Farm planning file for anyone to check. In the letter Mrs Taylor states that: "We have been concerned that the developers have previously implied that we have agreed to their proposals - we have never given our consent..." The school is also concerned about their pupils' safety during the proposed construction and states: "We are not currently prepared to agree to the existing school car park being used during any construction works, given that the safety of the children attending the school is our paramount concern..." It's very worrying that the construction of Cornwall's 3rd largest retail centre could be undertaken without the proper consultation of the primary school on its doorstep.

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  • Lollipops  |  January 19 2014, 10:55PM

    I am disappointed regarding this decision, I am also disappointed with inaccurate reporting, that stated st mewan school was not consultated regarding this development, in fact the school was consulted and was going to benefit from land and building.

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  • SnozzellBoy  |  January 18 2014, 6:50AM

    Do we know the names of those local councillors who rejected the scheme? Surely they need to be voted out as they are out of touch with the 21st Century. We need some young blood in these corrupt Councils.

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  • EdSquires  |  January 17 2014, 10:17PM

    This is an absolutely disgusting outcome and only contributes to holding Cornwall back. This project would do wonders for the unemployed around St Austell and the presence of these well-known companies would be sure to attract other big names to the area. The council that made this decision is essentially corrupt; ran by a disillusioned, out-of-touch, and selfish set of individuals. Put this to a public vote and without doubt the large majority will disagree with the decision that was made today. We are in the year 2014 and times have changes; to have a successful local economy the town needs to embrace these big names, not shun them away. Nothing else has worked for St Austell; those who grow up their are held back from the day they are born in comparison to many other areas of the UK; developments like these need to be given a chance as they are a step in the right direction for the town. Efforts need to be put on place to help with what is hopefully an appeal against this judgment as it is often the case that only those opposing the development will feel strong enough to protest. St Austell has been given a huge opportunity and it is absolutely ludicrous to even contemplate rejecting the application; the only logical conclusion to come to is corruption and selfish self-interest exist within the council.

    |   15
  • DipStick  |  January 17 2014, 7:31PM

    ... and again! Wot a game some people play to influence the red arrows :-( DS

    |   -12
  • cornwall999  |  January 17 2014, 6:44PM

    While I have no time for Cornwall Council , they have been elected by the general public to make decisions on our behalf. The vote was split down the middle by Councillors and the chairman Mr Nolan as our laws stands had the casting vote for Coyte Farm which was 11/10. It is going to appeal and hope the minister Mr Pickles will look at the adverse in pact this will have on Truro and St Austell town center . Whether we agree or disagree that is democracy. We need change at County Hall and would love to see some dynamic motivated intelligent young people to come forward at the next election and represent the people of Cornwall. I do shop in 99 p as I hate being ripped off by big cooperate businesses who charge over inflated prices for the same product , and the fact that many people on the minimum wage simply have no choice . Shirley Sweeny

    |   -8
  • BDGStaustell  |  January 17 2014, 6:28PM

    Having Lived within 1mile of St Austell Town Centre for the last 11 years. I have watched it slowly die, no greengrocers, no sizable grocery outlet (only lidl with its limited range), all we have got is pay day lenders,charity shops,Pound stores and mobile phone outlets.Even Warren,s the bakers have gone. Also the town centre is at the top of a steep hill making access difficult,and parking is expensiveThe Coyte farm no decision has made sure the Town Centre will continue to die, send shoppers to Bodmin Truro or Plymouth.This is the same backward thinking that prevents Cornish Market World from opening more than at weekends preventing shoppers being attracted to St Austell.

    |   9
  • goliath_david  |  January 17 2014, 5:59PM

    So let me get this straight - the planning committee decide that the permission is refused, yet the permission will end up being granted as the developers will chuck endless amounts of money towards an appeal, and have the decision overturned. Truro didn't want the Eastern 'District Centre', all the councillors in Truro voted against it, but the decision still went the developers way. No independent shops will want to open up nowadays as there are so many towns up and down the country that have the same shops - 3 supermarkets within 1/2 a mile in Penzance. How would this development actually help St Austell? It's already had the White River Place built and now thinks that's not enough. It's about time councillors stood up to these developers and showed that Cornwall isn't for concreting over every acre of land available.

    |   -8
  • SnozzellBoy  |  January 17 2014, 4:47PM

    The councillors that represented the views of the majority in welcoming this development have done there bit. Those that decided to go against their constituents views for there own personal gains or archaic views should be ashamed. You have effectively voted for Truro's bright future and left St Austell in the gutter. Fortunately the scheme will still go ahead as the large majority will prevail.

    |   24
  • josdave  |  January 17 2014, 3:16PM

    As there is already an M & S in Truro do we need another one? The experience of other towns up and down the country has been that out of town retail parks have been detrimental to the town so I for one am glad it has been turned down. As has already been mentioned the traffic problem in the summer is bad enough already and this would make it much worse. Truro is also shooting itself in the foot with "developments" proposed on the eastern side the west side and, if they get their way right in the middle at the Football Club. These planners need to go back to school as they have no idea of how the real world goes.

    |   -12