Helston's businesses have come out fighting against plans for a pasty drive-through on the outskirts, claiming the town “cannot survive any more hardship.”
The scheme was given its first public airing in the town last Thursday, when the council's planning committee discussed Helston Pasty Company's application to turn the former Hilltop Garage on Sithney Common Hill into a pasty takeaway and shop for Cornish produce.
Members unanimously recommended that permission be refused, with concerns over an “unacceptable” increase in traffic, threat to highway safety and “significant” loss of amenities to neighbours, owing to fumes and odours, being among the reasons.
They also believed it would have a detrimental impact on the viability of the town centre.
It was a view that had already been championed by Horse and Jockey Bakery owner Brian Shore and his wife Juliet earlier in the meeting.
Mrs Shore, who set up the business with her husband 27 years ago and employs 22 people, said: “I'm here to speak for these people. They are worried about their jobs. Can anyone here tell me that another retail outlet selling food is going to do Helston town any good at all?
“Take into consideration the damage it's doing to the businesses in town who cannot survive any more hardship. When these people move on there will be nothing left in Helston.”
Her husband added it would “devastate” Helston and Porthleven.
Speaking on behalf of Helston Business Improvement Partnership was town centre manager Jonathan Birkett, who said: “We feel it could have a significant impact on growth and economic wellbeing.”
He added that members had “serious concerns” but if the application was passed by Cornwall Council the partnership would support any new business and look to work with it.
Mr Birkett asked that any money coming from the development, to offset its effect on the local economy - such as from Tesco and Sainsbury's - go to Helston as “that's where we feel the impact will be seen.”
Councillors also heard from Mr and Mrs Benson, who live adjacent to the site.
Their bungalow is 11 foot from the boundary of the proposed business and they were concerned about noise, the proximity of the cooking area, light and the amount of traffic that would build up while waiting for their pasties.
Although absent from the meeting, due to a holiday clash, town councillor Keith Reynolds wrote to say the application should be “refused without hesitation.”
He added: “An isolated rural area next to a dwelling should not be the location for any form of industrial manufacturing process, whether pasties or a glue factory.”
Mr Reynolds also pointed out that the businesses would only be accessible by vehicle as there were no cycle tracks of footpaths, making it an “extremely non-environmentally friendly form of retailing.”
There are 11 objections on Cornwall Council's website and one neutral comment, with none in support.
No representative of Helston Pasty Company was at the meeting, but on supporting documents with the planning application its agents Laurence Associates state: “Given the extent of the existing building and a prominent nature of the site, the applicants have aspirations that the site should become a showcase for the display and sale of Cornish produce. In this regard the applications believe that the site could become a tourist attraction in its own right.
“In this regard, there is a large open grassed area to the rear of the site, which is intended to be utilised as a family amenity for visitors to the site.”
They claimed that since the proposal first became public it had received “significant local support.”
It is stressed that this application was to establish the principle of such a development.
The document concedes that the visibility to the left, when existing the access onto the B3302, was “not considered to be particularly good,” so it was proposed to restrict this access to a one way “in only” access.
Addressing concerns over odours, Laurence Osborne, manager director of Laurence Associates, states that only pasties to be sold from the drive-through would be baked on site, with the rest just manufactured there and sent uncooked to shops.
“Nevertheless my clients are fully aware that appropriate odour control measures will need to be incorporated into the development,” he adds.