Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Planning for the future - where Launceston may grow

Councillors from across the Launceston area have met to decide our recommendations for future development in and around our town. This was the latest in what is known as the Town Framework process which saw an exhibition and public consultation in the town hall a while ago.

 As part of our discussions today, we took the decision to recommend that two areas which had previously been included in the consultation should not be taken forward. These are land at Trebursye (marked KUE2 on the western end of the map) and land off St Stephens Hill (hatched in red and marked KUE6 in the north west of the map). All the other areas for potential development will be taken forward.

Why did we take these areas out? In planning terms, the Trebursye area has access and connectivity problems. The St Stephens area would create more traffic through the already over-congested Newport Square and bridge, add to air quality concerns and there are concerns about how traffic would access St Stephens Hill. In both cases there was also significant public opposition to the plans at the consultation stage.

The importance of this decision is because of changes to the planning legislation. All areas have to be prepared to accept new development according to both the national planning framework and Cornwall-wide 'core strategy'. The town framework process allows local communities to decide where within our boundaries this development should go. So we brought together all the Cornwall councillors for our area (although Cllr Burden has chosen not to attend because he owns land in the area which might be seen as a conflict of interest) as well as representatives from the town council and from St Thomas, South Petherwin and St Stephens parish councils as they were directly affected by the discussions.

The process has looked at all undeveloped land around the town and, on the basis of planning, highways and environmental considerations, has considered whether there are any reasons why land could not be kept in for potential future development. The public consultation phase was crucial in deciding whether marginal areas such as those excluded today should be in or out. In the event, the public response has given weight to the planning reasons why we are recommending they should be taken out.

It's important to note that inclusion in the document does not give carte blanche to developers. Their plans would still need to pass all other planning requirements. But it does pave the way for the community to be able to say no to development in areas where we believe it is wrong to build.

Note: Apologies for the map not being very clear. I'll try to get a better version uploaded shortly.

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