More decking plan for Swanpool Beach refused
4:00pm Monday 28th January 2013 in News
PLANS to cover more of Swanpool Beach in Falmouth with decking have been refused by Cornwall Council planners who claim it would detract from the “principally natural environment.”
Concerns that the beach is gradually being taken over by decking and tables were also voiced by town councillors ahead of the decision being made last week. Peter Lochrie, who owns the leasehold of the beach facilities, applied for consent to create an additional area of decking with two shelters in front of the cafe along with two more shelters on the existing decking.
The application stated that the proposed new decking would replace loose picnic tables already outside the cafe and be similar in design to the existing area of decking. New, smaller picnic tables would have then be introduced along with glazed sections which will act as wind-breaks.
The design statement says: “The site specific nature of the beach and cafe means its ancillary outdoor eating spaces have to be sited on the beach and great care has been taken to ensure the proposed area of decking is situated in a location that is both sensitive and sympathetic to the existing buildings and also above predicted flood levels.”
Members of Falmouth’s planning committee were concerned over the proposals’ impact on the beach. Councillor Maureen Davies said: “I am aware than Mr Lochrie owns the lease to the beach, but my question is can he keep using that beach for his private use when it’s still a public beach? Why should he keep expanding his cafe premises and therefore taking some of the beach away from local residents and visitors?”
Chairman Diana Merrett added: “We cannot lose any more of this beach for commercial use. He is using more and more for his own purposes rather than public purposes.”
The committee recommended refusal of the application which was subsequently rejected by Cornwall Council. Case officer, John Salmon, said: “The existing arrangement of a modest area of decking seen against the more prominent cafe building and the informal seating provided on the beach to the side of this, does not appear prominent or dominate views across the beach.
“However, it is considered that the proposed new decking, detached from the existing, with its increased projection and subsequent platform appearance over the sloping beach, together with the glazed means of enclosure and unduly tall and detached shelters on the ends of the decking, would result in an unduly prominent and incongruous feature that would detract from the enjoyment of the beach as a principally natural environment.
“I see no justification for the significant projection down the beach slope of the proposed shelters and it is considered that any economic benefit that would be gained for the cafe does not outweigh the harm identified.”