Council members make decisions on housebuilding, parking and infrastructure at full Council meeting

Members began today’s (10 July 2018) meeting of the full Council by paying tribute to Cllr Paul Summers who passed away suddenly at the end of May. Members from all parties shared their memories of Paul before standing for a minutes silence to remember the huge contribution he made to the Council and to his community..

Members then debated and made key decisions about housebuilding, parking and infrastructure as well as discussing the proposed new pattern of electoral divisions.  Council Councillors also voted to seek an extension to the consultation about a proposed merger of Devon & Cornwall Police and Dorset Police forces and to seek a full business case before discussing further.

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Members agreed to £2.1m for technology improvements in Council car parks as part of the Positive Parking Framework for Cornwall.

The Positive Parking Framework includes a range of measures to improve Council car parks to better meet the needs of users and local communities. This will include simplified tariffs, new machines and barriers so drivers can pay on exit, improved signage and consideration of carers who need to park in areas with restricted parking.

Cornwall Council Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Transport Geoff Brown welcomed the decision: "Upgrading technology so car park users can pay on exit means people can more easily spend time in town centres without having to rush back when their ticket is about to expire. The changes will also free up enforcement officers to focus on tackling drivers who park illegally or cause an obstruction on Cornwall's streets, which is a major frustration for residents. The use of mobile ANPR cameras will enable enforcement officers to carry out mobile patrols around schools and bus stops to reduce indiscriminate parking which is creating road safety concerns.”

Forty-nine Members agreed (46 against, 2 abstentions) to the purchase of a development site at Langarth Farm in Truro so the Council can take a lead in its development and bring forward a high quality housing scheme of 154 homes and set the tone for further development of the area.  The Council plans to deliver a mixture of housing types, including a significant proportion of affordable housing and also housing owned by the Council and rented at market rents.

It was agreed that the Council buys the land for the homes from Sanctuary Housing and another parcel of land nearby which gives the Council the option to build a community facility, such as a school or care facility, or additional housing.

Cornwall Council Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Planning and Economy Bob Egerton said: “This is the first parcel of land that we are proposing to purchase so that the Council can ensure that developments are coordinated for the benefit of all. If the Council did not intervene, we risk some sites being built by individual developers under existing planning permissions.  We could end up with an uncoordinated series of estates without the appropriate infrastructure, or, instead, duplication of infrastructure, to the detriment of the whole community.”

This decision by full Council could pave the way for further proposals to be put forward to the Council to purchase specific parcels of land and to bring forward developments on those sites. The Council will also aim to enter into contractual relationships with other developers who own land there so that the Council can create a masterplan for the whole area.

The Council also agreed the Cornwall Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Charging Schedule. The CIL will apply to planning applications approved from 01 January 2019 and will raise funds from new housing and commercial developments to be spent on a wide range of infrastructure projects to help communities address the impact of development in Cornwall.  Developers will get certainty up front about the charges they will have to contribute to infrastructure and facilities to support the growth of communities.

Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Planning and Economy, Bob Egerton, said: “It is right that developers help to pay for the facilities that are needed as a result of their development of a piece of land. This levy on new developments will sit alongside existing contributions that developers are required to make, and help to deliver infrastructure where it is most needed, which is not always in the immediate area of the development.

“A proportion (15-25%) of the levy raised in a town or parish council area will be given back to that local council to use in a way that best serves the needs of their communities. The remainder of the money raised will be allocated to support projects across Cornwall. We will shortly be consulting town and parish councils on the most appropriate method for deciding which projects should be supported with CIL monies. A report will be coming to Cabinet later in the year with recommendations on how this should be done.”

The Council also agreed that the Capital Programme be increased to purchase strategic sites to build more homes for local people, including sites in Newquay (Colan Parish) and Launceston, to deliver 675 new homes. The sites will be purchased under the Council’s Housing Development Programme (HDP). 

Agreed earlier this year, the HDP will see the Council investing up to £200 million in directly building and providing 1,000 new homes on sites across Cornwall. The developments will be a mix of homes for private market rental, affordable rent, shared ownership and private market. The first 113 homes to buy or rent, built on pilot sites in Tolvaddon and Bodmin, are set to be ready later this year. 

A new company, wholly owned by the Council, will be set up to buy, let and manage the properties built as part of the HDP. The income generated from the private sales and rentals will subsidise the affordable homes so there is no cost to the Council over the life of the business plan.

The sites in Newquay and Launceston will be added to other housing development sites in Liskeard and Torpoint which the Council already owns.

Cornwall Council Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Homes Andrew Mitchell said:  “We are committed to delivering 1,000 homes for local people.  Cornwall needs more homes – both to rent and to buy - for local people with a genuine housing need. For example, in Newquay there are more than 1,500 applicants on the Homechoice register who have stated Newquay as their first preference.  The development in Newquay could provide up to 400 new homes which will go some way towards addressing that need.

“This is about providing good quality homes that people want to live in, with space, gardens, parking and which are well designed with low energy costs.”

The Council plans to build a mix of property sizes, types and tenures to meet local needs. Some will be for private rent, providing quality, choice and greater security for those in the private rented sector with five-year tenancies as standard. Some will be sold at market prices and others will be for affordable rent or shared ownership.

Members also considered an interim report from the Electoral Review Panel on the Council’s response to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) draft proposals for a new pattern of electoral divisions in Cornwall.

The LGBCE public consultation runs until 17 September 2018, following which the Commission intends to publish final recommendations for Cornwall Council in December 2018.


Story posted 10 July 2018