Real heart of Bickland factory application is bid to break development boundary (From Falmouth Packet)
Real heart of Bickland factory application is bid to break development boundary
9:50am Thursday 31st May 2012 in Letters
Dear Sir – I read with interest the comments in last week’s Packet by ‘Skipper’ Why the different positions, out of sight out of mind?
When the Skipper says that “the heart of the application is Rowe’s” he has clearly accepted the developer’s Trojan Horse. The real heart of this application and the reason why the developer is pursuing expensive appeals and resubmission of plans, is that should this application be granted then it would open a gateway to allow the development of the entire green belt along Bickland Water Road to Golden Bank and beyond. Indeed within the planning application in question (PA11/09595) is a Phase 2 for some 140 houses on the fields adjacent to the proposed industrial site.
So why would this be a bad move? Cornwall currently imports 90% of its food, this is not sustainable and therefore it is important that we preserve the ‘field at the bottom of the garden’ and make full use of our grade 2 agricultural land, in order to make our future food production sustainable. Only 2% of Cornwall’s agricultural land is classified as Grade 2 a proportion of this is on the Falmouth/ Budock interface. So, we have a choice, short term financial gain for a few or long term food sustainability for future generations.
Returning to the assumptions made by Skipper about the future of W C Rowe. I would like to make the following points to perhaps clarify the situation. In January of this year W C Rowe were granted planning permission to put a considerable extension on their site at Bickland Water Industrial Estate (PA11/09221). Work on this has yet to commence.
An application by BLS/Midas for 13 units at Bickland Water; including one unit to be occupied by W C Rowe was rejected for the second time in February this year (PA11/09595). The reasons for rejection were very valid and not only reflected the need to preserve top quality agricultural land for the future, but also took into account the many existing vacant sites within the Falmouth and Penryn area. The speculative nature of the other 12 units again raises the question of proven need at this time of recession.
Even if this latter application had been passed then there would have been perhaps a two or three year gap until the units became available. To say that the redundancies were linked to W C Rowe not getting planning is totally unfounded. It is also worth remembering that they have not yet moved forward on the planning they have obtained.
Why W C Rowe has lost the contract that resulted in redundancies has not been disclosed, so any attempt to ‘hang a reason’ for its loss onto anything would be mere speculation.
Within a few hundred yards of WC Rowe’s Kernick site is a large area needing redevelopment (the old Century Litho site), ideal to suit the claimed needs of W C Rowe without destroying an important green field site. The argument that some existing units are old and unsuitable is not valid, they should be demolished and the sites regenerated. Development cannot be allowed to spread outwards leaving an ever larger core of obsolete, empty buildings.
John Bastin Budock