Developers are “destroying our county” and soon “we will have nothing left,” a Mabe public meeting was warned last week.
The meeting, called last Tuesday to discuss a planning application for 90 new homes on land between Treliever Road and the A39, saw Mabe WI Hall packed to the rafters with concerned residents keen to raise their concerns.
Justin Dodge, from CSA Architects, presented the application and said it had been downsized from the original proposal of 98 "units" with “more family-type housing rather than apartments.”
The scheme still includes a three-storey block of 12 flats that will be “affordable for rent,” he said, alongside 78 two, three and four bedroom houses.
Social housing will account for 36 of the “units” with 27 for rent and nine for shared ownership.
“We believe we have produced a very high quality design of scheme that’s also delivering substantial affordable housing for the village in accordance with Cornwall Council figures,” Mr Dodge said.
Concerns were raised by residents over the potential for flooding on the site, the inability of the existing road network to cope with extra traffic and the lack of truly affordable housing being proposed.
As the village currently has approximately 580 houses, the development would increase its size by almost a sixth, it was noted.
David Matthews, from house builder Taylor Wimpey, said reports from the Environment Agency over flooding, the highways department over the roads and Cornwall Council’s own guidelines on affordable housing had all come back supporting the proposal. And nothing could be done about worries that the open market homes would be sold to students’ parents or incomers, he added.
“Inevitably there will be people that come from outside the county,” he said.
“But the new people that come in will spend money in the village, they will spend money in the local pub, they will spend money in the local shop, they will spend money on services.
“The development will generate a fairly major boost to the local economy.”
Landowner, farmer and Mabe resident Paul Dunstan was not convinced, however.
“It’s of great concern to me and I think everyone here that you are trying to build over all of Cornwall,” he said.
“You are not developing it, you are destroying it. You are destroying our county. You are destroying our balance.”
He then turned to the audience and said to a round of applause: “Don’t let them build down there, because believe you me, you won’t have anything left.”
Mr Matthews said if planning consent was granted in January, work could start by April or May and would last two-and-half to three years.