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You are here: Penwith on the Web/Living in Penwith/Sustainable Development and Improvement (Planning and Building Control)/Local Plan
Penwith District Local Plan
Adopted 2004
10 TOURISM
This Chapter in PDF format (125Kbs)
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INTRODUCTION
POLICY BACKGROUND
POLICIES AND PROPOSALS
Safeguarding the Primary Environmental Resource
POLICY TM-1
Holiday Accommodation
POLICY TM-2
POLICY TM-3
POLICY TM-4
POLICY TM-5
POLICY TM-6
POLICY TM-7
POLICY TM-8
POLICY TM-9
Development of Tourism Facilities and Attractions
POLICY TM-10
POLICY TM-11
Resort Towns
Farm Tourism
Conversions
POLICY TM-12
POLICY TM-13
Summary of POLICIES and PROPOSALS
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Local Plan Menu
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1 Introduction
2 The Local Plan Area
3 Plan Strategy
4 Objectives
5 General Development Guidance
6 Coast and Countryside
7 Towns and Villages
8 Housing
9 Employment
10 Tourism
11 Recreation
12 Transportation
13 Community Services
14 Environmental Appraisal
15 Monitoring and Review
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Proposals Map
Inset Map
Glossary
Plan Help
Terms and Conditions
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10. TOURISM
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10.1 INTRODUCTION

10.1.1 Penwith is an important holiday destination within the British Isles. Some visitors are attracted by the wealth and diversity of the area's interests in terms of its landscape, archaeology, ecology, culture and artistic traditions. Others are attracted to the more hedonistic and recreational activities associated with the sun, sea and beaches. Such qualities have forged a strong identity attracting visitors since the advent of the Great Western Railway.

10.1.2 An estimated 741,000 people visited Penwith in 2001. Activity on such a scale makes a substantial contribution to the District in terms of injecting money into the local economy and creating job opportunities. Tourism can help sustain other sectors of the local economy and support services and facilities which might otherwise be considered marginal.

10.1.3 However, in terms of tourism generated employment there is a much higher proportion of seasonal and part-time jobs and lower wages than in other job sectors. In addition the sheer scale of activity places a strain on local resources and services, such as health facilities, water supplies and the road network, and the industry can bring pressure for intrusive and inappropriate development, including accommodation and visitor attractions, which has important implications for such a fragile environment as Penwith.

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10.2 POLICY BACKGROUND

10.2.1 In PPG 21 "Tourism" emphasis is placed on achieving a balance between the economic benefits of tourism and the need to sustain the physical resources on which it so depends. The Regional Planning Guidance closely reflects this approach, stressing the relationship between promoting tourism and the achievement of quality, whilst recognising the physical and environmental capacity of different areas to accommodate the pressures.

10.2.2 The Structure Plan acknowledges that the foundation of the holiday industry in Cornwall is the rich and mainly unspoilt character and diversity of its coast, countryside, built environment and culture. This character and diversity must be maintained and enhanced as the underlying resource of the tourism industry.

10.2.3 The Structure Plan no longer identifies areas where increased tourist accommodation is unacceptable (the former Tourism Pressure Areas) but seeks to provide a more general framework within which proposals can be assessed. There is an overarching aim of improving and adapting the quality and range of existing accommodation, with increased weight being given to the environmental impact of the development itself (Policies TOUR 1 and 2, 1997 & Policy 13, 2004).

10.2.4 Within this context it is considered that the natural physical features of Penwith, together with its culture and heritage, form the main reason for attracting visitors and as such could be termed the 'primary' attractions. Other attractions, more commercially orientated, are provided mainly for visitors and could be termed 'secondary', tending to serve those already in the area or as a draw for day visitors. Such facilities are nonetheless important since they can form an integral part of the holiday and are of particular importance in times of poor weather. It is considered necessary to make this distinction since it is paramount that the strong identity of Penwith, its fundamental resource, is not devalued by the proliferation of secondary attractions. The Plan will provide the framework in which tourism potential can be realised without compromising Penwith's character and qualities.

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10.3 POLICIES AND PROPOSALS

10.3.1 The growing awareness of environmental issues and the recognition that tourism should be viewed within the broader environmental context are now well established and reflected in national and regional guidance. This approach is in turn reflected in the objectives of the Plan which seek to encourage tourism development based on, but not harming, the natural attractions and cultural heritage of the District. Within this framework there is a need to locate development in the main centres of population to maximise accessibility which in turn will help maintain their vitality and viability and reduce reliance on the use of the private car, thereby integrating the environmental as well as the economic objectives of the Plan.

Safeguarding the Primary Environmental Resource

10.3.2 The Council fully acknowledges the fundamental importance of Penwith's environmental resource and this is already reflected corporately in its strategies relating to tourism and economic development. The District Tourism Strategy is not based solely on a marketing approach but aims to achieve a balance between maximising the economic benefits of tourism whilst ensuring the maintenance of a high quality environment and helping sustain the local community and its culture. Its underlying principle is the pursuit of quality rather than quantity. This approach to tourism is complemented by the Council's Economic Development Statement which acknowledges the importance of tourism to the local economy, with a commitment to maintain and improve opportunities for tourism related employment as well as protect the quality and character of Penwith.

10.3.3 The prime concern is to safeguard Penwith's environmental resources in line with POLICY CC-1 (para 6.3.3). Proposals for tourism related development will therefore need to respect those values. Any development that is considered acceptable must be located where there is minimal impact on those interests, including any adverse effects from increased numbers of visitors and traffic. POLICY GD-1 (para 5.3.3) is the key policy to be considered in terms of general development guidance.

10.3.4 POLICY TM-1:

PROPOSALS FOR DEVELOPMENT RELATED TO TOURISM WILL BE EXPECTED TO RESPECT THE PRIMARY ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCE OF THE INDUSTRY BY UTILISING LOCATIONS WHICH HAVE A MINIMAL IMPACT ON THE COAST OR COUNTRYSIDE AND AVOIDING ANY ADVERSE EFFECT OF INCREASED PRESSURE FROM THE NUMBER OF VISITORS AND TRAFFIC.

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Holiday Accommodation

Protection of the Resource

10.3.5 A broad range of holiday accommodation, from quality hotels to basic camping facilities, caters for the many tourists visiting Penwith. This stock represents a vital element of the area's tourism infrastructure which underpins and sustains the industry. There is a fundamental need, therefore, not only to retain the level and choice of holiday accommodation as a resource, but provide opportunities to achieve improvements to that stock.

10.3.6 Since the 1980s there has been a steady loss of holiday accommodation, particularly in the hotel and guest house sector, to other uses such as housing and care homes. This process has occurred either through change of use or removal of holiday occupancy conditions. The effects of this particular trend are reflected in Policy TOUR 4 of the Structure Plan, which seeks to protect hotel areas that contribute significantly to the character and amenity of tourist areas from change to uses other than tourist accommodation. Although that trend may be part of adapting to changing conditions in the tourism industry it is important that a continuing loss does not undermine the basic tourism infrastructure.

10.3.7 POLICY TM-2:

PROPOSALS FOR DEVELOPMENT WHICH WOULD RESULT IN THE LOSS OF HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION WILL ONLY BE PERMITTED WHERE THEY WOULD NOT HAVE AN ADVERSE IMPACT ON THE TOURISM INDUSTRY IN TERMS OF:-

(i) THE AMOUNT AND TYPE OF ACCOMMODATION LOST; OR

(ii) THE REDUCTION OF PROVISION IN THE TOWNS OF PENZANCE, ST IVES AND HAYLE.

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Hotels and Other Purpose Built Accommodation

10.3.8 Hotel accommodation is considered to be of particular importance to the local economy in terms of income and employment generation. Although it is not expected that there will be much demand for new hotels it is considered that such development should only be located in the towns and main villages, in line with Policy TOUR 2 (Policy 13, 2004) of the Structure Plan. Large new hotels should be located in the main towns of Penzance, St. Ives and Hayle where there is good access to the main road and public transport networks. This is in line with the general locational strategy of the Plan.

10.3.9 The extension of existing accommodation will also be acceptable provided that there is no adverse impact on the original building and its wider setting. Opportunities may also arise for the conversion of larger properties to hotels and guest houses, both in settlements and in the countryside, and such proposals will be assessed in the light of POLICY TM-12 (para. 10.3.50).

10.3.10 New build self-catering accommodation such as chalets and holiday flats will also be acceptable in principle in the towns and main villages. Such development has a similar impact to residential use and should be located close to services and facilities. In order to retain such accommodation for holiday use only, and sustain the likely economic benefits, proposals for this type of development will be subject to occupancy conditions within the context of POLICY TM-6 (para. 10.3.28).

10.3.11 In all cases the impact of such a proposal will have to be carefully assessed in terms of the policies relating to scale, design and effect on the setting, amenity and character of the town or village contained in the General Development Guidance and Towns and Villages sections (Section 5 and Section 7). In the case of Hayle, however, development proposals will need to be considered in the light of POLICY TM-5 (para. 10.3.23) which sets out to safeguard the fragile coastal dune system.

10.3.12 POLICY TM-3:

PROPOSALS FOR HOTELS OR OTHER NEW BUILD HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION WILL BE PERMITTED IN OR ON THE EDGE OF TOWNS. IN THE VILLAGES LISTED IN POLICY H-5, SUCH PROPOSALS WILL BE PERMITTED PROVIDED THAT IT IS FOR A SMALL SITE UP TO 0.15 HA IN SIZE, WHICH DOES NOT FORM PART OF A LARGER UNDEVELOPED AREA.

LARGE NEW HOTELS MUST BE LOCATED IN OR ADJACENT TO PENZANCE (Link to Map 1), ST. IVES (Link to Map 15 and Link to Map 16) AND HAYLE (Link to Map 17 and Link to Map 18).

THE EXTENSION OF ACCOMMODATION WILL BE PERMITTED PROVIDED THAT THE PROPOSAL WOULD NOT HAVE AN ADVERSE EFFECT ON THE SCALE, CHARACTER OR APPEARANCE OF THE ORIGINAL BUILDING, OR ITS SURROUNDINGS, OR HAVE AN INCREASED VISUAL IMPACT ON THE OPEN COUNTRYSIDE.

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Caravans and Camping

10.3.13 Caravan and camping sites can inflict serious visual harm on the landscape and in order to safeguard the character and qualities of the District new development must be strictly controlled. In assessing proposals for new or extensions to existing sites for caravans and tents the main concern, therefore, will be to assess their effect on the landscape. Any additional provision is more likely to be integrated within the setting of a town or village rather than the open countryside, an approach in line with the Structure Plan (Policy TOUR 2, 1997 & Policy 13, 2004). Where schemes are considered acceptable in principle attention will be paid to siting, layout and effective landscaping to minimise any adverse impact on the character of the landscape. In the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Heritage Coast there are likely to be few opportunities because of the sensitivity of the landscape. In the case of the Towans area of Hayle, the provision of additional units is precluded by POLICY TM-5 (para. 10.3.23) in order to help safeguard the fragile dune system.

10.3.14 In relation to touring units (touring caravans, tents and motorised units) provision in Penwith has exceeded demand since the period of growth in the later 1970s and early 1980s. Although local variations in supply and demand do occur throughout the District, with demand highest in the St. Ives area, Penwith generally has sufficient spare capacity with a choice of sites to allow reasonable freedom to explore. There is also limited scope for additional provision of touring units granted to certain exempted organisations under the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act, although these rights have been restricted by the imposition of Article 4 Directions in the west of the District because of its high quality landscape.

10.3.15 An important consideration in assessing proposals for additional touring caravans will be access and in particular the adequacy of the road network leading to the site, which must be suitable for the type of vehicles used (POLICY GD-5, para. 5.3.13).

10.3.16 Static caravans can have a marked visual impact on the landscape, particularly those sites set out in regimented patterns in open countryside and on the coastline. This impact is compounded, moreover, in that they are present on an all year round basis. As a consequence static caravans are less likely to be acceptable than touring units. Opportunities may arise providing scope for replacing static caravans with touring units which could achieve environmental gains in landscape terms.

10.3.17 Where ancillary facilities such as a toilet or shower block are proposed emphasis will be placed on utilising existing buildings of a form, bulk and general design in keeping with their surroundings. Where a new building is required it must be in or adjacent to a settlement or an existing complex of buildings in order that its visual impact in the landscape is limited. It is also important that the setting and character of towns and villages is protected in line with POLICY TV-1 (para. 7.3.5). Conditions will also be imposed on additional accommodation to ensure that occupancy will be restricted to holiday use only (POLICY TM-6, para. 10.3.28). Development should also take into account the provision of adequate sewage disposal and address, where relevant, the risk of flooding (POLICY GD-4, para. 5.3.11 and POLICY CS-4, para. 13.3.19).

10.3.18 POLICY TM-4:

ADDITIONAL PROVISION FOR CARAVANS AND TENTS, THROUGH THE DEVELOPMENT OF NEW SITES OR THE EXTENSION OR INTENSIFICATION OF EXISTING SITES, WILL BE PERMITTED IN OR ON THE EDGE OF TOWNS AND THE VILLAGES LISTED IN POLICIES H-5 AND H-6.

IN OTHER LOCATIONS PROPOSALS WILL NOT BE PERMITTED WHERE:-

(i) THERE WOULD BE HARM TO THE CHARACTER OF THE COUNTRYSIDE AND ITS NATURAL RESOURCES; AND

(ii) THE SITE IS NOT CAPABLE OF BEING EFFECTIVELY SCREENED BY LANDFORM, TREES OR PLANTING. IN ADDITION, WHERE PRACTICABLE, ANCILLARY FACILITIES MUST BE ACCOMMODATED IN EXISTING BUILDINGS WHICH ARE OF A FORM, BULK AND GENERAL DESIGN IN KEEPING WITH THEIR SURROUNDINGS AND PLANTING MUST UTILISE NATIVE SPECIES.

WHERE A NEW BUILDING IS A FUNCTIONAL REQUIREMENT OF THE PROPOSAL IT MUST BE IN OR ADJACENT TO A SETTLEMENT OR AN EXISTING COMPLEX.

THE INCREASED EFFECT OF STATIC OR OTHER YEAR ROUND STATIONED UNITS WILL BE A SIGNIFICANT FACTOR IN ASSESSING THE IMPACT ON THE CHARACTER OF THE LANDSCAPE. THE LAYOUT OF SUCH UNITS WILL BE REQUIRED TO AVOID A RIGID PATTERN WHICH IS NOT IN KEEPING WITH THEIR SURROUNDINGS.

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Towans Coastal Area

10.3.19 The coastal area between the Hayle River and the Red River consists of an extensive beach of some 5km, backed by a sand dune system of high ecological value. The environmental importance of the dunes is reflected by numerous designations including Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), County Wildlife Site (CWS), Area of Great Landscape Value (AGLV) and Area of Great Historic Value (AGHV). The dunes are also identified as a key habitat of its type in "Action for Biodiversity in the South West" produced by a partnership of nature conservation bodies, the South West Regional Planning Conference and the Environment Agency.

10.3.20 The area suffers from various problems and pressures including serious erosion caused by the combined effects of the wind, sea and human activity. The scale of human activity is reflected by the fact that the dune system contains nearly one third of Penwith's total tourist accommodation capacity of chalets, static caravans and touring units. Recreational use is further boosted by its popularity with local residents.

10.3.21 Sand dune systems are particularly vulnerable to human activity. Movement wears away the thin grass exposing loose sand which is further eroded by wind and rain. The problems associated with visitor activity and the fragility of the dune system have already resulted in some restoration and management schemes.

10.3.22 In order to help safeguard this fragile dune system it is important that the protective environmental policies of the Plan, set out in the Coast and Countryside section (Section 6), are not undermined by allowing for an increase in holiday accommodation within the Towans area. Any proposed scheme to upgrade or improve existing holiday accommodation within the Towans area will need to be sensitive and sympathetic to the surrounding environment. Policy TOUR 1 of the Structure Plan emphasises the need to improve the quality of the accommodation base, but acknowledges that changes to different types of holiday accommodation on existing sites may have an unacceptable impact on the environment.

10.3.23 POLICY TM-5:

WITHIN THE TOWANS AREA, BETWEEN HAYLE (Link to Map 17) AND GWITHIAN (Link to Map 19), THE PROVISION OF NEW, OR THE EXTENSION OR INTENSIFICATION OF EXISTING, HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION SITES WILL NOT BE PERMITTED.

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Occupation of Holiday Accommodation

10.3.24 In recent years there has been a growing demand to extend the period of occupancy for certain types of holiday accommodation, particularly chalets and holiday flats. An occupancy period of eight months each year used to be generally accepted but now there is a demand to extend this period to ten and even twelve months. PPG 21 advises that where a building is constructed to a standard and design that is physically suitable for permanent occupation its use on an all year round basis would normally be acceptable but a condition imposed restricting the accommodation solely for holiday use would be justified.

10.3.25 The importance of retaining a level and choice of holiday accommodation as part of the District's tourism resource has already been acknowledged. The loss of tourism accommodation will therefore be resisted (POLICY TM-2, para. 10.3.7). In the past seasonal occupancy conditions imposed on holiday accommodation have been lifted on appeal, resulting in permanent residential use. It is important that such a change in use is not allowed to happen not only because it can, in effect, permit housing in locations which would otherwise be unacceptable but also erode the stock of holiday accommodation.

10.3.26 In addition to restricting occupation to holiday use there are also circumstances justifying imposing a seasonal condition which would only allow occupation of a specified period during each year. Such circumstances would include where holiday units are not of a standard suitable for occupation on an all year round basis, and where a site is located within or close to a fragile ecological environment which requires a reasonable period of recovery and stabilisation during the winter months.

10.3.27 Over the years, improvements have been made to the design and standard of static and touring caravans. Such advances make it practicable to extend the length of the holiday season. In the case of touring units the seasonal use of sites tends to be self-regulatory because of climatic conditions outside the main holiday period. However, seasonal occupancy would nevertheless ensure a temporary visual gain in landscape terms.

10.3.28 POLICY TM-6:

WHERE PROPOSALS FOR HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION ARE PERMITTED CONDITIONS WILL BE IMPOSED TO ENSURE THAT OCCUPANCY WILL BE LIMITED TO HOLIDAY USE ONLY.

AN EXTENDED SEASONAL OCCUPANCY FOR EXISTING HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION OR NEW PROPOSALS WILL BE PERMITTED EXCEPT WHERE:-

(i) THE CONSTRUCTION OR DESIGN OF THE ACCOMMODATION IS UNSUITABLE FOR ALL YEAR ROUND OCCUPATION OR

(ii) PROTECTION OF AN AREA'S FRAGILE HABITAT CANNOT BE ACHIEVED THROUGH MITIGATING MEASURES AND AN ANNUAL PERIOD OF RECOVERY AND STABILISATION IS REQUIRED.

ON TOURING SITES A SEASONAL PERIOD OF USE WILL BE IMPOSED UNLESS THERE WOULD BE NO HARM TO THE CHARACTER OR AMENITY OF THE COUNTRYSIDE. WHERE THE APPROACH ROADS CANNOT ACCOMMODATE SAFELY THE FULL RANGE OF TOURING UNITS, THE TYPE OF UNIT WILL BE LIMITED.

Note: Touring units comprise touring caravans, motorised vans and tents.

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Upgrading Holiday Sites

10.3.29 Policy TOUR 1 (Policy 13, 2004) of the Structure Plan emphasises the need to improve the quality of the accommodation base, but acknowledges that changes to different types of holiday accommodation on existing sites may have an unacceptable impact on the environment. The Council also recognises the importance of having a good quality accommodation base. Improvements to the standard of accommodation and the facilities provided can help encourage off-season tourism, thereby making more effective use of existing spare capacity and spreading economic benefits over a longer period.

10.3.30 Considerable potential exists to improve sites in terms of type and quality of accommodation, facilities, layout and landscaping, but improved facilities should be related to serving the needs of the site itself. Many holiday sites are located outside the main towns and villages and the provision of facilities attracting additional visitors is likely to encourage the use of the private car. Appropriate planting schemes can help soften the environmental impact of holiday sites within the local landscape and provide more attractive features within sites themselves. In some instances the only practical way of reducing the impact of an existing site may be to increase the overall site area to achieve an improvement in the layout and more effective screening and landscaping. Any improvements to sites, however, should not have an adverse impact on the wider landscape. And its natural resources.

10.3.31 POLICY TM-7:

PROPOSALS TO IMPROVE EXISTING HOLIDAY SITES, IN TERMS OF TYPE OF ACCOMMODATION, FACILITIES, LAYOUT AND LANDSCAPING WILL BE PERMITTED PROVIDED THAT:-

(i) IMPROVED FACILITIES ARE INTENDED TO SERVE VISITORS STAYING ON THE SITE; AND

(ii) THERE WOULD BE NO HARM TO THE CHARACTER OF THE COUNTRYSIDE AND ITS NATURAL RESOURCES.

Note: Proposals for additional units of accommodation, or for facilities which are of a scale to serve a larger population than that staying on the site, will be assessed against the policies relevant to the use proposed.

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Gwithian Towans (Link to Map 19)

10.3.32 Gwithian Towans chalet site is unique within Penwith, having evolved as a traditional holiday encampment used mainly as a holiday retreat for local people. The site is still considered to be primarily a holiday site and, although a small number of units are in permanent occupation, it is not a location where further permanent residential use would be acceptable. Although the site has seen some changes over the years it still retains its distinctive character and charm. The majority of chalets are of single storey design, constructed of and faced primarily with timber and typically have pitched roofs and verandas.

10.3.33 In view of the site's special character it is considered important to retain those elements which create its distinctiveness. Any replacement chalets should avoid mass produced standardised units in favour of individually designed chalets which harmonise with the existing character in terms of materials and design. Chalets should remain single storey units with dark coloured pitched roofs and timber should continue to predominate externally. Extensions and other structures such as garages should also be of a suitable design which respects the character of the site. In cases where a condition relating to holiday occupancy can be imposed POLICY TM-6 (para. 10.3.28) will apply. The provision of additional holiday units, however, is precluded by POLICY TM-5 (para. 10.3.23).

10.3.34 POLICY TM-8:

WITHIN GWITHIAN TOWANS (Link to Map 19) PROPOSALS FOR REPLACEMENT CHALETS, EXTENSIONS OR OTHER STRUCTURES WILL BE PERMITTED WHERE THEY ARE CONSTRUCTED OF, OR FACED IN, TIMBER WITH DARK COLOURED PITCHED ROOFS. STANDARDISED UNITS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTABLE AND AN INDIVIDUALITY OF DESIGN IN KEEPING WITH THE OVERALL CHARACTER OF THE SITE WILL BE REQUIRED. UNLESS ORIGINALLY CONSTRUCTED DIFFERENTLY ALL REPLACEMENT CHALETS MUST BE OF SINGLE STOREY DESIGN.

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Riviere Towans (Link to Map 17 and Link to Map 3

10.3.35 Riviere Towans Chalet Camp bears some comparison with Gwithian Towans although it has not retained quite the same distinctive overall character. The units vary in size, appearance, and materials, ranging from small timber chalets to modern buildings. There is also a general lack of private curtilages, amenity space, ancillary domestic buildings and adequate parking facilities. Despite the erosion of character over the years it is nevertheless considered that any replacement chalets should still be in keeping with the overall character of the site, single storey and not mass produced standard units. In cases where a condition relating to holiday occupancy can be imposed POLICY TM-6 (para. 10.3.28) will apply. The provision of further holiday units, however, is precluded by POLICY TM-5 (para. 10.3.23).

10.3.36 POLICY TM-9:

WITHIN RIVIERE TOWANS CHALET SITE PROPOSALS FOR REPLACEMENT CHALETS, EXTENSIONS, OR OTHER STRUCTURES WILL BE PERMITTED WHERE THEY ARE OF A SINGLE STOREY DESIGN WHICH IS IN KEEPING WITH THE OVERALL CHARACTER OF THE SITE.

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Development of Tourism Facilities and Attractions

10.3.37 Pressures for the provision and improvement of tourism facilities are increasing to at least retain if not increase the District's share of the market. In line with the objectives of the Plan it is considered that the industry should evolve in ways that depend on, and help sustain, the character and quality of the area. Visitor facilities and attractions should therefore respect the scale and character of the place in which they are sited. This general approach is also followed in the Structure Plan with emphasis being placed on locating new attractions and facilities in or adjoining towns and villages. Accessibility by public transport will be an important factor, particularly in respect of major proposals (Policy TOUR 3, 1997 & Policy 1, 2004). In the countryside any such facility will normally only be permitted where it is based on some local heritage feature or rural activity.

10.3.38 In view of the outstanding environmental quality of Penwith a clear approach is required which sets out to ensure that proposals respect their locational context whilst not stifling suitable development. In this way the character and quality of the District can be effectively protected. Such an approach is complementary to the Council's Tourism Strategy.

10.3.39 Proposals for new visitor attractions and facilities should generally be located in or on the edge of towns and the main villages. Major attractions must be located in Penzance, St. Ives and Hayle where accessibility, particularly by public transport, between and within the urban areas is most easily achieved and the volume of traffic and visitor numbers can be more successfully accommodated within the local context. This locational distribution is also reflected in POLICY TV-16 (para. 7.3.47) relating to major commercial developments. Within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the Heritage Coast, areas which reflect most strongly the identity of Penwith, it is considered essential that the development of further facilities is limited to those of a small scale which interpret the area's heritage in ways that draw upon the beauty, culture, history and wildlife of the area.

10.3.40 The following policy, together with POLICY TM-12 (para. 10.3.50) (conversions), provide a structural context for the development of visitor attractions that accepts the principal of purpose built attractions in or on the edge of towns and the main villages (POLICY TM-10) and the conversion of existing buildings both within the towns and villages and outside settlements subject to safeguards (POLICY TM-12, para 10.3.50). Within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Heritage Coast new build attractions are acceptable in or on the edge of towns and main villages and through conversions within or outside villages subject, in all cases, to the attraction being related to the interpretation of the heritage of the area. The provisions of POLICY E-6 (para. 9.3.32) will also be relevant in considering proposals for farm diversification projects.

10.3.41 POLICY TM-10:

PROPOSALS FOR VISITOR ATTRACTIONS WILL BE PERMITTED IN OR ON THE EDGE OF TOWNS AND THE VILLAGES LISTED IN POLICY H-5. MAJOR ATTRACTIONS MUST BE LOCATED IN PENZANCE (Link to Map 1), ST. IVES (Link to Map 15 and Link to Map 16) AND HAYLE (Link to Map 17 and Link to Map 18). SUCH DEVELOPMENT MUST NOT HAVE AN ADVERSE IMPACT ON THE CHARACTER OF THE SURROUNDING AREA IN TERMS OF THE VOLUME OF TRAFFIC AND VISITORS LIKELY TO BE GENERATED.

WHERE SUCH SETTLEMENTS FALL WITHIN THE AREA OF OUTSTANDING NATURAL BEAUTY AND HERITAGE COAST ONLY ATTRACTIONS WHICH PROVIDE FOR THE INTERPRETATION OF THE AREA'S HERITAGE WILL BE PERMITTED.

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Geevor Mine (Link to Map 6)

10.3.42 The closure of Geevor Tin Mine, and its subsequent purchase by the County Council, provided an outstanding opportunity to develop a mining heritage centre. The site contains a significant number of visible and concealed structures, many of which are of historical value and central to an understanding of the mine's evolution. Geevor lies within the AONB and Heritage Coast where the development of such a major attraction would not normally have been acceptable. However, Geevor has developed into an important attraction and interpretation centre, demonstrating the area's mining heritage and providing a 'gateway' to the proposed Cornish Mining World Heritage Site. Nevertheless the project must continue to respect its sensitive location with careful control exercised over the scale and type of activities permitted.

10.3.43 While certain ancillary activities, such as catering, may be appropriate the expansion of the site for activities unrelated to its mining heritage will not be acceptable. Any development should be accommodated in existing buildings within the main complex at Victory Shaft or, to a lesser extent, at Wethered Shaft which is the gateway to the site. External alterations should be kept to a minimum in order to retain as much of the operational 'feel' of the mine as possible. New buildings will not be acceptable, even in these locations. In addition the area around Wethered Shaft is within an Open Area Related to Settlements (POLICY TV-2, para. 7.3.10) where built development that would affect its open nature will not be acceptable. Schemes for reclamation or improvement of derelict areas, or necessary safety measures, must be undertaken sensitively in a manner that does not involve the 'sanitisation' of the site but retains an environment relevant to a working mine.

10.3.44 The policy area defined on the Proposals Map includes the site of the mine and extends westwards to encompass the predominantly traditional buildings grouped around Engine and Skip Shafts at Levant, owned by the National Trust. The proximity of Levant, with its recently restored winding engine and house, offers the opportunity to create a link with Geevor, via the coastal footpath, and to provide additional mining interest.

10.3.45 POLICY TM-11:

DEVELOPMENT OF THE VISITOR CENTRE AT GEEVOR MINE (Link to Map 6) MUST BE BASED ON ITS MINING HERITAGE.

PROPOSALS WILL BE PERMITTED PROVIDED THAT:-

(i) VISITOR FACILITIES, INCLUDING ANCILLARY DEVELOPMENTS, ARE LOCATED IN THE EXISTING BUILDINGS AT WETHERED AND VICTORY SHAFTS;

(ii) THEY ONLY INVOLVE MINIMAL EXTERNAL ALTERATIONS TO THE BUILDINGS AND OTHER STRUCTURES AND

(iii) ACTIVITIES ON THE REMAINDER OF THE SITE RESPECT ITS HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE AND ARE LIMITED TO INTERPRETATION OR ESSENTIAL WORKS RELATED TO RECLAMATION, STABILISATION AND SAFETY.

ADDITIONAL FACILITIES OR ATTRACTIONS, NOT DIRECTLY RELATED TO THE MINING HISTORY OF GEEVOR OR THE DISTRICT, WILL NOT BE PERMITTED ON ANY PART OF THE SITE.

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Resort Towns

10.3.46 Penwith contains two main resort towns, St. Ives and Penzance, where there is a wide range of accommodation and facilities for the visitor. Both towns have an attractive atmosphere, which should be maintained and improved, and offer good bases from which to venture into the adjacent hinterland of coast and countryside. The Council wishes to see these resorts maintain their importance as visitor centres and encourage improvements to meet the reasonable needs of visitors, though it remains important to achieve a balance between what is provided and the overall character of the place itself. POLICIES TM-3 and TM-10 (paras. 10.3.12 and 10.3.41) in particular provide opportunities for accommodation and visitor facilities within these resorts.

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Farm Tourism

10.3.47 The overall approach to the provision of holiday attractions is summarised in paragraph 10.3.40. Farmers are increasingly seeking to diversify their activities by creating opportunities for tourism initiatives. Such proposals are supported in principle by the Structure Plan (Policy E 8 ) subject to their environmental impact in the countryside. Although the Plan provides opportunities for suitable initiatives which contribute to the economic viability of farms (POLICIES E-6, TM-12, and TM-13, paras. 9.3.32, 10.3.50 and 10.3.54) it is important that any proposals should not have an adverse impact on the quality and character of the landscape. Such proposals will be assessed within the context of other plan policies. If the re-use of a building is associated with farm diversification, a planning obligation will be sought to tie the building to the land to discourage subsequent fragmentation of the agricultural unit.

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Conversions

10.3.48 The conversion and re-use of existing buildings can help meet the needs of tourism in terms of both accommodation and visitor attractions and is supported by Policies TOUR 1 and ENV 11 of the Structure Plan (Policy 3 & 13, 2004) . PPG7 advises that whilst residential conversions have a minimal impact on the rural economy, conversions for holiday use can contribute more and may reduce the pressure to use other houses in the area for holiday use. Within towns and villages such conversions will generally be acceptable provided that the proposal does not have an adverse impact on the character of the building or its surroundings. In the countryside the building must be in keeping with its surroundings and, in this respect, the reference in PPG7 to form, bulk and general design is considered to be the most relevant criterion in determining the suitability of buildings for re-use. In practice this means taking account of the size and overall character of the building, and its relationship with the surrounding landscape. In addition there should be no adverse environmental impact in terms of trips generated or reliance on the use of the private car. In all cases proposals must satisfy the requirements of POLICY GD-7 (para. 5.3.20). The conversion of a building to a camping barn is specifically addressed by POLICY TM-13 (para. 10.3.54). Conversions to residential or other employment uses are covered by POLICIES H-11 (para. 8.3.66) and E-4 (para. 9.3.25).

10.3.49 Within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Heritage Coast only attractions which reflect the area's heritage will be acceptable in order to maintain the special character and quality of these areas.

10.3.50 POLICY TM-12:

THE CONVERSION OF EXISTING BUILDINGS TO VISITOR ATTRACTIONS OR HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION WILL BE PERMITTED WITHIN TOWNS AND THE VILLAGES LISTED IN POLICIES H-5, H-6 AND H-7 PROVIDED THAT THE PROPOSAL DOES NOT HAVE AN ADVERSE IMPACT ON THE CHARACTER OF THE BUILDING OR ITS SURROUNDINGS.

OUTSIDE TOWNS AND THE VILLAGES REFERRED TO ABOVE SUCH DEVELOPMENT WILL BE PERMITTED PROVIDED THAT:-

(i) THE BUILDING IS OF A FORM, BULK AND GENERAL DESIGN WHICH IS IN KEEPING WITH ITS
SURROUNDINGS AND

(ii) THERE WOULD BE NO ADVERSE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT IN TERMS OF THE NUMBER OF TRIPS GENERATED OR RELIANCE ON USE OF THE PRIVATE CAR.

IN ALL CASES SUCH DEVELOPMENT MUST NOT HAVE AN ADVERSE IMPACT ON THE CHARACTER OF THE SURROUNDING AREA IN TERMS OF THE VOLUME OF TRAFFIC AND VISITORS LIKELY TO BE GENERATED.

WITHIN THE AREA OF OUTSTANDING NATURAL BEAUTY AND THE HERITAGE COAST ONLY ATTRACTIONS WHICH PROVIDE FOR THE INTERPRETATION OF THE AREA'S HERITAGE WILL BE PERMITTED.

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Bunkhouse and Camping Barns

10.3.51 The provision of bunkhouse and camping barns providing a network of basic, inexpensive overnight accommodation for walkers, cyclists and others enjoying the coast and countryside is becoming more widespread. The use of buildings for this purpose can give farmers an opportunity to supplement their income in return for relatively low investment, and is in line with Structure Plan Policies TOUR 1 and ENV 11(Policy 3 & 13, 2004) .

10.3.52 The main distinction between bunkhouse and camping barns is the level of facilities offered. A typical bunkhouse would contain basic sleeping, eating, washing and toilet facilities. The level of facilities provided, including access and parking provision, is likely to create an impact similar to other conversions to self-catering holiday accommodation and proposals will accordingly be considered under POLICIES TM-12 and GD-7 (paras. 10.3.50 and 5.3.20). This type of conversion is not considered suitable for buildings in more isolated locations, where their use as a camping barn may be more appropriate.

10.3.53 Camping barns offer more spartan accommodation, providing basic overnight shelter. Sympathetic conversions and their relatively low level of use can mean they are more likely to be acceptable in areas where other types of holiday accommodation would not be permitted. It is essential, however, that any such conversion is well located in relation to the public rights of way network, particularly the South West Coast Path National Trail. Since camping barns are not intended for car borne visitors vehicular access is neither a prerequisite or even desirable. In order to reduce any potential impact on the environment to a minimum barns should be capable of conversion without external alteration or extension and any utility services should be underground and works of repair or renovation should be in keeping with the existing structure.

10.3.54 POLICY TM-13:

WHERE A PROPOSAL FOR THE CONVERSION OF AN EXISTING BUILDING DOES NOT MEET THE ACCESS REQUIREMENTS OF POLICY GD-5 ITS USE AS A CAMPING BARN, WHICH PROVIDES BASIC ACCOMMODATION RELATED TO INFORMAL RECREATIONAL USES OF THE COAST OR COUNTRYSIDE, WILL BE PERMITTED PROVIDED THAT:-

(i) ITS FORM, BULK AND GENERAL DESIGN ARE IN KEEPING WITH ITS SURROUNDINGS;

(ii) THE LOCATION IS WELL RELATED TO THE EXISTING RIGHTS OF WAY SYSTEM; AND

(iii) NO NEW VEHICULAR ACCESS OR PARKING IS CREATED.

WHERE THE PROPOSAL IS FOR AN ISOLATED BUILDING IN THE OPEN COUNTRYSIDE THERE MUST BE NO MATERIAL EXTERNAL ALTERATIONS AND ANY UTILITY SERVICES TO BE PROVIDED MUST BE UNDERGROUND.

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Summary of POLICIES and PROPOSALS

TOPIC LOCAL PLAN POLICIES/PROPOSALS STRUCTURE PLAN POLICIES 1997 (2004)
The primary environmental resource TM-1 (CC-1) (Policy 1)
Holiday accommodation   TOUR 1, TOUR 2 (Policies 11 & 13)
Protection of the resource TM-2 TOUR 4
Hotels/purpose built accommodation TM-3, TM-5, TM-6, TM-12 TOUR 2
Caravans and camping TM-4, TM-5, TM-6 (GD-5) TOUR 2
Towans coastal area TM-5  
Occupation TM-2, TM-6  
Upgrading sites TM-7 TOUR 1
Gwithian Towans TM-5, TM-6, TM-8  
Riviere Towans TM-5, TM-6, TM-9  
Tourism facilities and attractions TM-10, (TV-16) TOUR 3 (Policy 13)
Geevor Mine TM-11, (TV-2) TOUR 4
Resort towns TM-3, TM-10 TOUR 4 (Policy 13)
Farm tourism TM-12, TM-13, (E-6) E 8
Conversions    
Accommodation/attractions TM-12 (GD-7) TOUR 1, ENV 11
Bunkhouse and camping barns TM-13 (GD-7) TOUR 1, ENV 11 (Policy 13)
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