Affordable homes row: Save Porthleven land before it is 'destroyed forever' say objectors (From Falmouth Packet)
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Affordable homes row: Save Porthleven land before it is 'destroyed forever' say objectors
10:00am Thursday 8th August 2013 in News
A packed Porthleven Public Hall heard claims that a beauty spot would be “destroyed forever” last Thursday, amid pleas for homes for future generations.
More than 100 people attended a public meeting on the Rowe family’s plans to build 60 homes on a five-acre field off Shrubberies Hill, which is part of an area of outstanding natural beauty that covers much of Porthleven.
Of the homes, 24 would be sold on the open market and 36 classed as affordable homes: 18 to be “affordable rent”, nine sold through shared ownership and nine as a “discounted sale”.
These would be set at 50 per cent of the market value, currently making a two-bedroom house £81,500, a three-bedroom house £97,500 and a four-bedroom house £146,500.
Each home, apart from the flats in one apartment block, would have two parking spaces.
Roughly two thirds of the people who spoke objected to the scheme, while the remaining third were in support.
At first it appeared the scheme would attract almost universal objection, with Bill Russell, a developer for over 30 years, saying he found it “hard to believe” the site was being considered for a housing development, as it was “totally inappropriate”.
He cited “very dangerous access” – a point raised a number of times, particularly in relation to children walking to and from school – adding: “Cyclists, visitors and locals enjoy this special area. It would be totally destroyed forever.”
Porthleven businessman David Page believed one could “not underestimate the significance” of that amenity to the success of the village, in terms of tourism. Affordable housing in the correction location had his “full support” and he said: “If you choose the right location I think you’ll find the whole village will be behind you.”
Alan Foster feared it would set a precedent for other fields in that area, while Bill Tierney said: “We are custodians of Porthleven for future generations. When we are gone we should leave a legacy and not leave a beautiful Cornish village with an unnecessary development.”
Flooding, drainage and sufficient control over the affordable homes, to ensure Porthleven families were given them, were also raised as concerns.
Kevin Brown, head of housing services at Coastline, which will partner the scheme should it go ahead, said the rented homes and shared ownership houses would “have to go to local families,” with a “rigid” section 106 agreement put in place.
He also referred to the importance of there being a mix of open market and affordable homes, claiming: “If you have concentrated affordable rented homes you get ghettos; lower income families who live in one area.”
Over the course of the meeting a number of people also spoke out in support of the scheme, including Layla Edwards who said: “A lot of people in my age group are looking to move out and buy houses.
“At the moment the cheapest I can find is £160,000, which is unaffordable on our wages. How are people to move on with their lives?”
Steve Branning agreed: “It doesn’t matter where you put it, people will always complain. My boy has six or seven generations of his family in Porthleven. Why should he have to move out his village?”
It was claimed that any “near misses” on that road involved tourists who did not know the area and this would be true regardless of whether the homes were built.
The Cornwall Council planning committee is due to meet to make a decision on Tuesday, August 27 at 2pm in Penzance.
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