Truro City Council slammed for launching legal challenge over Langarth Farm development (From Falmouth Packet)
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Truro City Council slammed for launching legal challenge over Langarth Farm development
10:36am Monday 7th October 2013 in News
Truro City Council has been blasted for “wasting taxpayer money” and potentially “jeopardising” a £400 million development scheme.
The council has applied to the High Court for a judicial review against the Langarth Farm scheme and is now waiting to hear whether the challenge can go forward being making a final decision on whether to follow it through.
Earlier this year developers were given outline permission to build 1,500 new homes – just over a third of which would be affordable – plus a primary school, hotel, ‘care village’, community centre and 600-space extension to the Threemilestone Park and Ride.
Rob Saltmarsh, managing director of the Inox Group, the company behind the development, has said he is now “bewildered” over why the city council was pursuing a review, particularly as it lost a similar legal challenge against the Truro Eastern District Centre proposal in August.
Mr Saltmarsh said: “We are bewildered that Truro City Council is seeking to jeopardise an investment of £400 million in the city and put further taxpayers’ money at risk.
“Inox is exceptionally confident that this judicial review application will ultimately fail, but the city council is dumping another bill on taxpayers by trying to overturn the consent for our scheme, and in whose name? Where is their mandate, especially given we had just 12 written objections to our application out of a population of 20,000?
“It frankly beggars belief that the elected body that claims to represent the city's interests should seek to use the courts to stifle a £400 million private investment that will deliver 1,000 jobs and 525 affordable homes at a time when there are almost 2,000 people waiting for an affordable home in the area.”
The scheme is also set create some of the shared infrastructure for the Stadium for Cornwall, which was granted planning permission in April this year.
This has led to the council also coming in for criticism from the Stadium 4 Cornwall (S4C) Group, which said it was “disappointed” with the “persistence of Truro City Council in still employing delaying tactics” over the stadium.
A spokesman said: “In addition, the level of public support for the stadium and the hopes and aspirations it will bring to young people in sport generally in Cornwall seems to have been totally disregarded by Truro City Council. This current action by Truro City Council has already made it virtually impossible, to date, to raise funding for the stadium.”
He described the council as being on a “path of self-destruction” and added: “If Truro City Council wants to see Truro as the administrative centre of Cornwall and the hub of Cornish business and enterprise, it has to look to the future and accept that major developments such as those being proposed have to be carried out – or does it just want to see Truro as an old market town, with no investment, dying on its feet?”
Roger Gazzard, clerk to the city council, stressed that councillors were not opposed to development, explaining: “What we are saying is that we are opposed to development on that site, because we believe there are better sites.”
He added that in a public questionnaire carried out jointly by Truro City Council and Kenwyn Parish Council, as part of its town plan, Langarth Farm was not mentioned as a site for development over the next 20 years.
Members were also concerned over the infrastructure required, particularly with roads, sewerage and the effect to the already “very, very busy” A390 Chiverton Cross to Truro route.
They believed the percentage of affordable homes should be greater and had concerns over the environmental side, as the situation over sewerage had changed since permission was given.
Mr Gazzard confirmed that the council was waiting to hear whether a judicial review would be permitted before weighing up the cost against the benefit to the community.
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