St Austell, St Blazey and China Clay Area Regeneration Plan

The type and quality of development that is built across the UK reflects the nature of local planning policy for each area. Whilst local policy should follow national guidance, it also needs to deliver the type of development that reflects the needs of the local area, benefiting communities for generations to come.

The St Austell, St Blazey and China Clay Area Regeneration Plan was adopted by Cornwall Councils Cabinet at its meeting on 7 November 2012 as a Cornwall Council policy. This means the Regeneration Plan will be a material consideration to the determination of relevant, mainly large-scale, planning applications within the plan area.

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The Regeneration Plan does not allocate sites, but provides criteria that large-scale and strategic developments should achieve in order to bring about sustainable and high-quality development within the plan area. The plan may also be relevant to some small scale exemplars. It provides interim guidance for the area ahead of the adoption of the Cornwall Local Plan. Once the Local Plan is adopted it is envisaged that the plan will go through the required processes to become a Supplementary Planning Document.

Detailed site specific information will be found in the Local Plan through limited strategic site allocations, the St Austell Town Framework which will seek to accommodate the Local Plan growth requirements around the town and Neighbourhood Plans.

The emphasis of the Regeneration Plan is sustained economic development that brings with it improvements to the environment, transport, public and community spaces and building design and efficiency. In combination the aims of the Plan would contribute to establishing St Austell and the surrounding areas as the ‘Green Capital’ of Cornwall.

The Regeneration Plan became a Council Policy following adoption by Cabinet on the 13 July 2011 however, in two previous statements (the original statement from September 2011, and an update statement from January 2012) Cornwall Council announced it would carry out a review of the Regeneration Plan as a consequence of the publication of the Coalition Government’s draft and now final National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which was published on the 27 March 2012. This review also provided an opportunity for further Sustainability Appraisal (SA) to be carried out. The Council's cabinet agreed this approach at their meeting on the 25 January 2012.

A public consultation ran on the first draft of the Regeneration Plan between 7 February and 21 March 2011. The consultation phase received 45 responses, 10 from Parish and Town Councils, 2 from Community Groups, 11 from Public Sector Organisations and Pressure Groups, 8 from Private Sector Interests (Companies) and 14 from private individuals.  The responses have been summarised in a table as a guide, although a more detailed summary is also available.

A further round of public consultation ran between 25 May 2012 and 9 July 2012, following revisions to the document following the NPPF and SA reviews. The same organisations and respondees were consulted, of which 28 further submissions were received.  

Because of the scale of this Regeneration Plan it cannot be written in isolation. It is influenced by a large number of strategies and policies that already exist, from national to local level. To access the large evidence base that has shaped the Regeneration Plan, read The St Austell, St Blazey and China Clay Area Regeneration Plan Evidence Base.

The original Sustainability Appraisal has also been subject to some minor revisions to correct typological errors and take into account the proposed amendments.  A supplement to the Sustainability Appraisal identifies and assesses land-use alternatives.

A summary of how projects can make the most of limited public funding, and how they could be monitored and evaluated is also available.

Policy documents are prepared for the major towns across Cornwall to help direct and manage development, and are known as Town Frameworks.  The St Austell Town Framework is being prepared and will be subject to public consultation in Spring 2013. The parish of St Blaise are preparing their own Neighbourhood Plan to direct growth in that area over the next 20 years.

The collective area that is covered by the Regeneration Plan experiences many similarities, including the level and types of development pressure.  A summary paper has been prepared that explains how this policy has been formed, and how it will be used in the future.

In preparing the Regeneration Plan for the area, a call for sites was used to identify potential development sites, known as 'cells'.  

A series of documents explain how these sites are assessed as potential development opportunities, including an environmental assessment (plus accompanying information on how the environmental assessment was made), a connectivity assessment (accompanied by a Cell Connecitivity & Spatial Assessment Criteria Matrix and a transport context paper) and sustainability appraisal.  The SA contains a large amount of information, and a summary table has also been produced.