Plans have divided Port
8:20am Friday 28th September 2012 in News
A development proposal to build between 58 and 101 homes on the edge of Porthleven has divided the village.
Rowe Farming Ltd want to develop the houses – 60 per cent of them affordable – on land next to Shrubberies Hill.
Rebecca Wilkins and her partner Wayne Ward have given their backing to the plans, knowing firsthand the trials of trying to get on the property ladder.
The young couple, both born and bred in the port, have been paying out hundreds of pounds of rent every month to provide a home to their 22-month-old son Oliver and are unable to break the cycle.
Rebecca, who runs Harlequin Hair with her gran Rosemary Douglas, told the Packet: “We have got family ties going back generations and I think it would be a nice chance to better our futures. The only way we can get on the property ladder is with one of those.
“We pay ridiculous rent and we have got nothing spare at the end of the month. The house we have has got no heating and we pay all that money every month, and it’s dead money.”
The 24-year-old said she could understand people’s concerns, including the road being too narrow and the effect on neighbours’ views, but added: “What is that when you have got people that need help? People that work their backsides off to get somewhere. Families need homes and they’re willing to work for them.”
Her partner Wayne, who works for Porthleven Harbour and Dock Company, stressed the importance of affordable homes going to local people, adding: “It would be nice to see the locals getting a look in rather than outsiders.”
Despite their strong Porthleven connections they had already been overlooked in past bids for an affordable home and Rebecca said: “We feel like our lives are on hold until we can get something like this.”
However Vince Curnow, a former Porthleven councillor, said a group of concerned residents were meeting this Monday (October 1) to look at the proposals in more detail and consider the way forward, which could include holding a public meeting.
He told the Packet: “There will be opposition to this proposal. It’s not just people living in the Shrubberies Hill area, but Breageside and further. Despite what is said, there are several other sites that could be looked at and be more suitably developed for affordable housing.
“The main thrust is this is an area of outstanding natural beauty; it’s bordered with National Trust land. We want to keep it as open to people as possible. We’re not against development in the right place.”
Almost 250 people heard about the plan during a drop-in meeting at Porthleven Public Hall last Friday.
They were shown three suggested options of development, comprising 58, 77 or 101 homes. The aim was to gauge reaction on the three different scales, rather than these being set figures.
By far the most popular option was the 58 homes, with Peter McInally from Cliff Road saying he liked the mix of affordable and open market houses as it “created a natural community.”
However, he described the 77 homes idea as “totally out of keeping” and compared the 101 homes to “a ghetto.”
The exhibition was held by Rowe Farming, with the support of Mansell Partnership Housing which is working with the Rowe family on their application and hopes to win the building contract.
Michael Griffin, business development director at Mansell, said reaction to the ideas had been “mixed,” with the most concerned people tending to be those that lived next door to the proposed development site – although not every neighbour objected.
He said: “The need for housing and affordable housing is understood. There are concerns over traffic and what that does to the local streets, which we have got to look at.
“What we have stressed is we’re endeavouring to assign 60 per cent of the scheme at least to local people.”
Mr Griffin predicted that if the 58-home development went ahead then each home would have two car parking spaces allocated, with the need for parking “a must” for the residents spoken to.
Visitors were also asked which designs and materials they preferred.
Of the homes built, 60 per cent would be affordable – part rental, part shared equity and part low cost sales.
Mr Griffin said: “It’s really important it goes to local people. It’s something we have picked up on to look at, to make sure that is the case.”
He added that the affordable housing would be funded by the sales of the open market houses.
Using the information gathered last week a planning application will be put together, which the companies plan to present for feedback at the end of October before submitting it to Cornwall Council .