Generations clash over Mylor homes
UPDATE Monday, February 11 - Since this story was written, the development plan for land off of Bells Hill at Mylor has been given approval by Cornwall Council's Central Sub-Area Planning Committee.
Battle lines were drawn as the generations clashed at a Mylor housing meeting recently.
Called to argue the pros and cons of a controversial new 30 home development on the outskirts of the village, it saw emotions run high in a room divided.
On one side were the development's opponents, who counted boatyard owners, biologists and landscape architects amongst their number.
Those in favour, on the other hand, were mostly younger parents - and they had the backing of the majority of the parish council.
The atmosphere in the Tremayne Hall was tense. Cornwall councillor Steve Eva, who chaired the meeting, had to intervene several times to put a stop to spontaneous rounds of applause or unwelcome interjections.
As the application for 20 affordable and ten open market homes focuses on an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which is on land outside the village’s building line accessed only from the notorious Bells Hill, it was always going to be controversial.
But as parish council chairman John Symons pointed out at the meeting on Wednesday, January 23, with “100 or so people on the waiting list” for social housing some would prefer that the homes were built whatever the cost.
Hilary Parkinson, for instance, was born in Mylor and her family “have lived in the village for three of four generations.”
“If we don’t act now we are going to miss the window to build housing,” she said.
Chris Martin echoed her sentiments. “Now is the chance to supply houses for the future generation of people growing up in the parish,” he said.
Opponents called into question the safety of Bells Hill, with Tony Deacon of the adjoining Olivey Place saying he experiences “considerable fright” walking from his home to the village.
“I can’t disagree with the obvious need for affordable housing, but my main objection is that this site is totally unsuitable,” he said. “Bells Hill is nothing more than a lane. It’s not wide enough to warrant a white line down it in legal terms.” Katie Zabell made a passionate appeal for the road to be made safe first before “adding more traffic and children.”
She said: “My son has nearly died on this stretch of road and many others have had close calls.”
And for biologist Dorit Smith it was an example of “big business riding roughshod” over the wishes of locals and the environment.
“If we had, all of us here, wanted to live in a town we would have gone to one,” she said.
In the end there was no consensus. More than 50 residents signed up to speak, including Karen Smith of boatbuilders’ Cockwells who were concerned of the potential “serious impact” on their business by the proposed narrowing of the road.
The opponents claimed to have a petition with more than 250 signatures and 100 letter of objection, whereas fifth generation Mylor man Chris Finnegan said he had a signed petition in favour of the development “with over 400 names on it”.