Last night I attended a meeting of Launceston Town Council's Planning Committee to hear a presentation about the possible development of Haye Common. This the land adjoining the newly approved Wain Homes site behind Hurdon Way.
The land is the last significant patch of possible housing development in Launceston and might accommodate up to 450 new properties.
It would be wrong of me to take any sort of final view on this proposal at this stage for two reasons - first because councillors (even those who don't sit on planning) should keep an open mind on future developments and secondly because we only have a very basic outline idea about what is being proposed at this stage. It would be wrong to judge one way or another until we see a definite proposal - if the developers decide to go ahead.
The developers behind the scheme are Bovis and I would give them marks for being willing to come at this early stage to talk to the local community.
In my opinion, if this application is to go ahead, it of course needs to conform to all the current planning rules and regulations. But it must also make sure that it offers a fully developed local community - with all the features that means such as play areas and open space, bus links, a local shop, community building and possibly even a local pub. The homes should fit with our community and there needs to be the right mix of affordable housing including homes for rent. Cornwall Council must also decide how it will cope with the extra demands on local schools that new families will bring.
But there is more than that. If Launceston is to see further development, then there should be benefit to the people of Launceston as a whole, including the provision of new community facilities that will benefit the whole town. Some ideas for what might be wanted are coming out of the consultation that took place recently in the town square and the new local development framework consultation.
I am sure that the developers will have taken the views of the town council members and myself on board and we will wait to see whether this proposal is brought forward as a planning application and, if so, what proposals they make. At that stage, the local community will be asked to comment formally. But if you have any views on the idea of such a development, please don't hesitate to get in touch with me using the details to the right. Any thoughts you pass on to me will be shared with my fellow Launceston councillor Sasha Gillard-Loft.