Cornwall Council has been accused of "doing deals behind the taxpayers’ back" after an "extraordinary" letter revealed it was looking into building up to 70 new houses in the Mylor parish.

It is after a letter from the local authority ended up on display in one of Mylor's shops.

Written by a member of the housing and local development team, it reveals the council is looking at sites in Saltbox Close in Mylor Bridge and Tregew Meadow in Flushing, on which to build new homes.

The letter states that there has been "board approval" to progress with 13 units at Tregew, which is described as having "the capacity to deliver over and above the registered housing need" when combined with the Saltbox site.

The letter goes on to add that it would therefore be most appropriate to develop the Saltbox site in two phases, with between 25 and 30 units on the north of the area first and then adding the second half when the need was there.

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It is pointed out that signs of development often encouraged households to register interest, which might create the need for a second phase, and there would be "the normal churn of registrations that over a year or so will replenish the housing register."

The Conservative group at Cornwall Council said it had since been contacted by some residents with complaints about the plan.

Cornwall councillor for Newquay Olly Monk, who is shadow housing member on the local authority, said: "This communication from Cornwall Council is utterly extraordinary.

“The language in the letter is very telling, it shows that affordable housing for them is just a numbers game.

"They do not care where the homes go, whether they are appropriately located or not, by demonstrating a clear desire to build more affordable houses than there are families in need in the parish - ‘replenish the housing register’.

“If the site is right it should appear in these new planning proposals in due course.

“But what is not right is Cornwall Council seeming to jump the gun on both the white paper proposals and particularly the parish’s neighbourhood development plan."

The council said in a statement it was "committed to providing good quality homes" to improve choice for local residents, adding: "There are 42 households with a local connection to Mylor parish that have registered for affordable housing as of the end of September.

"In Mylor parish, we have been working proactively with the local member and the parish council to look at how we can work together to address the local need for affordable homes to rent and buy, with two potential sites identified.

"However, neither site has been acquired by the council, nor secured by way of an ‘option’.

"Any move to progress potential sites will be subject to consultation with local stakeholders and the wider local community - as is the case for every affordable housing scheme we deliver."

A public pre-application enquiry has been submitted to planning for the Tregew Meadow site to see if the principle of development would be supported. Search PA20/02276/PREAPP on the Cornwall Council website.

"We have also, at the request of Mylor Parish Council, been asked to consider a second affordable housing scheme on land off Saltbox Close. The appraisal of this site is at an early stage and no decisions have been made to progress with any scheme or the appropriate size to correspond to local need," added the Cornwall Council spokesperson, who stressed: "Any planning application by the council will be subject to full consultation and be determined in accordance with the Cornwall Local Plan and Neighbourhood Development Plan."