The Temperance Hall was packed tonight as the Penryn Community came together to ask Penryn Town Council to revoke their decision to endorse the prioritisation of College valley for development by Cornwall Council.
After hearing nine powerful, heart felt and well informed arguments against the decision and one statement in favour by the developer, the Council, minus six absent members, voted to defer their decision and will now hold a public meeting. They will confirm the meeting date in due course. We are extremely happy with this outcome and very pleased that they have taken the time to hear the voices of their community. We also handed on the petition of 2,326 signatures along with the supporting comments.
We are now looking forward to the pre-planning presentation by Walker Developments on February 16th at the Temperance Hall, 7pm. We would urge everyone to attend again as this is the chance to get a clear understanding and full picture of the planned development.
There will be a meeting on the following evening of the 17th at The Space Penryn at 7.30pm when we will have the opportunity to discuss the response to the pre-planning presentation and how we, as a community, intend to move forward.
There will also be an informal meeting hosted at HOWL Coffee Shop this Thursday, (5th Feb), for people wishing to discuss the two vacancies currently open at Penryn Town Council. If you are interested in hearing more than pop along. All information on the vacancies can be found on the Council website <<HERE>>
please take a look.
Meanwhile we are collecting the statements made this evening and will add them here for you to read if you missed them or because one or two were cut short.GGSRP Statement
This statement is being read on behalf of the Glasney Greenspace Regeneration Project and in support of the 2,326 signatures on the petition we have presented to you. We would like to make it clear that we are NOT against housing but we are against the wrong housing in the wrong place. We have heard the term Affordable housing being used for many years as a poor attempt to justify the erection of ‘anywhere’ houses, that lead to the loss of uniqueness, diminished communities who’s sense of place are rooted in the heritage sites we are losing in favour of overdeveloped cash cows for developers. There are many lists of families looking for, ‘Affordable’, housing this we cannot argue but when housing is being sold at 80% of the current market value, where is the real evidence that these houses, built in their name, are now their homes?
We believe and have evidence to show that ANY development on the adjacent and above College Hill/Valley will have a substantial and ongoing negative effect on the lower valley corridor that is both valued and heavily used by the local and visiting community.
The valley IS a floodplain and IS a HIGH RISK for flooding from the above water course and the addition of surface area run off from any development, will effect the grass areas, woodland and lower housing estates. ‘Prevention is always better than cure. The local planning system is a tool that can help reduce buildings being built or developed within a flood plain’ [Quote State of the Environment 2010]
The same report we hold identifies toxic minerals within the soil. A development of ANY size coupled with the 40 houses already in development will destroy the lower valley beyond regeneration and cease to be an area accessible to all and no longer one of the Town’s greatest heritage assets.
There is also the long term and on-going issue of the inadequate sewerage system that runs through the valley. Particularly at times of heavy rain fall and flooding sewerage runs freely from a sewage drain in the valley with sewerage being expelled across a public footpath and into the river. Another sewerage drain linked to the same system does the same on Bohill.
A wildlife report on the entire valley corridor produced by the Wildlife Trust records a number of protected species along with two RED and 1 of AMBER status. And we must consider the fragility of our ancient woodland the biodiversity and ecosystem, though well established could not withstand the effects of manmade materials and pollutions a development of any size would create. ‘Woodlands of the Southwest play a crucial role in the provision of the region’s ecosystem services, such as bio-diversity of structure. This is through their longevity, diversity of structure, species mix and the mosaic of other habitat types they contain....Ancient woodland and semi-natural woods are the most valuable for wildlife, as they include natural features and locally native and rare species’ [Quote: State of the Environment 2010]
These ancient woodlands are not only part of Penryn’s heritage and vital in sustaining these important species but they provide a natural health service, improve our air quality, overall well-being and quality of life.
A development ANYWHERE in College Valley will force the concentration of wildlife into the valley below this is not the natural structure and will destroy established ecosystems and ultimately the overall health of the valley. For this there is no solution and mitigation other than prevention. The NPPF states ‘The planning system should contribute to and enhance the natural and local environment by: protecting and enhancing valued landscapes, geological conservation interests and soils; recognising the wider benefits of ecosystem services; minimising impacts on biodiversity’….and ‘In preparing plans to meet development needs, the aim should be to minimise pollution and other adverse effects on the local and natural environment. Plans should allocate land with the least environmental or amenity value’
Several groups and many individuals young and old frequently use the Glasney Valley not only for recreation but for health and well-being, cultural and educational activities. Nature workshops, community well-being groups, students, play groups, artists and of our course the Towns May Day celebrations are but a few activities the community rely on the Valley for. In this way the Valley, as is, facilitates the connectivity of our community and in many cases the inclusion of those people who would often find themselves on the periphery. Again a development in the above College Valley will diminish this valuable asset and resource the lower Glasney Valley provides for the community.
The landscape and ancient woodland are equal to or perhaps more valuable to the heritage of our Town as the man made timeline of architecture that makes up the majority conservation area of Penryn. It is what makes us as a Town and community unique, a place we are proud of and a place that has a legacy, something that has already been lost in many Cornish Towns. Once part of the Glasney College estate this is extremely important to our cultural foundation that must not be overlooked or forgotten.
The NPPF states - ‘Significance can be harmed or lost through alteration or destruction of the heritage asset or development within its setting. As heritage assets are irreplaceable, any harm or loss should require clear and convincing justification.’
The importance and value of this site is echoed throughout the petition we have presented to you today.
As outlined by the Strategic Land Availability Assessment, Falmouth & Penryn are required to meet a target of 2,600 houses between 2010 & 2030. Of this target 480 have completed with 749 Commitments and 1,367 remaining sites to be found by 2030 we ask that you use those 15 years to investigate more appropriate sites. We therefore ask you our Council to revoke your decision to support the prioritisation of this most valuable site. Listen to what your community are saying and asking and act in accordance with their wishes and not those of developers.