Anger over Lowertown homes plan
7:10am Tuesday 20th March 2012 in Helston
Furious homeowners are gearing up to fight a proposed housing development that they claim would irrevocably link Lowertown with the rest of Helston forever.
They say they have been told the development is to consist of eight homes and an access road.
It is planned for a field just below the railway bridge on the lane down into Lowertown from the Helston-Redruth road.
It falls between the Water-Ma-Trout industrial estate, the Gwarth An Drea housing estate and Lowertown.
The field itself lies within the boundary of Helston, but the border runs on behind the first few houses in Lowertown and along the edge of the Gwarth An Drea estate.
Mike Hales, chairman of the Lowertown Community Group, said both Lowertown residents and some Gwarth An Drea residents were fighting the plan, which was explained to them at a meeting of the community group.
It is understood that the plans are due to come before Helston Town Council at its April 5 planning meeting.
Mr Hales said the extent of opposition was “quite overwhelming.”
“There is a natural barrier between Lowertown in the Cober Valley and Helston on the plateau above, protected by public open spaces and tree-screening around the Gwarth An Drea estate, which was a condition of the permission to build that estate 20 years ago.
“Successive planning policies and planning application rejections have reinforced this strip of land as an ‘open area of landscape significance.’ “This proposed development will make the town of Helston leap-frog the barrier and swamp our village, bringing street lighting to the area for the first time – a move vehemently rejected by Lowertown residents,” he added.
Mr Hales said street lights would be “like a funfair at the top of the village,” adding the fear was that any development would “open the door to Helston overwhelming our quiet rural community.”
He also warned that the planned access road was yards below the railway bridge, where traffic came round a “blind S-bend in the narrowest part of the lane, with no speed restrictions.”
“Vehicles will arrive at the proposed junction at speeds up to 40mph without being seen. It is an accident black-spot waiting to be created,” he said.
“Helston is a perfectly nice town, but Lowertown is a rural village in a valley with its own ambience and wildlife, including bats near this site. To allow Helston to creep over the area of landscape significance into our back gardens would be intolerable and is opposed by the majority of Lowertown residents, and many on the Gwarth An Drea estate in Helston.”
Steve King, who lives opposite the site, agreed: “The field is seven feet above the road into Lowertown, so the houses will tower over neighbouring properties and dominate the entrance to Lowertown.”
Speaking on behalf of the landowner Stephen Bott, designer and architect for the project, said: “At the moment we have got no comment.”