An appeal against Cornwall Council's decision to refuse planning permission for a retail park on the outskirts of Camborne has been dismissed.

The application was submitted by Quora, a Newark and Nottingham based company that specialises in commercial and mixed-use property development.

BID Camborne has been campaigning against Quora's plans to build out-of-town retail units at Polstrong, on land north of Roseworthy Hill, since 2017 and news of the final outcome has been greeted with jubilation by local businesses.

"This is a true example of people power," said BID Camborne chair and delicatessen owner Sharron Lipsombe-Manley, who described the application as "playing poker with local livelihoods."

"It's never been more important to support our high street and I'm over the moon that this proposal is now completely dead.

"We'd be very happy if any of the businesses considering moving into the retail park wanted to take over one of Camborne's vacant sites. Anything that contributes to consumer choice within our town centre will always be welcomed."

Two applications had been refused by the council, for a mixed-use development of three retail (food and non-food) units – including Lidl and Home Bargains – and petrol filling station with Applegreen, and for a linked coffee shop with drive thru.

Planning inspector John Braithwaite dismissed both appeals after considering three main issues: the effect of the proposed development on the viability and vitality of Camborne town centre, the effect on the character and appearance of the landscape, and whether they conflicted with strategic planning policy.

The proposed site layout. Picture: Quora/The Harris Partnership/Cornwall Council

The proposed site layout. Picture: Quora/The Harris Partnership/Cornwall Council

The decision notice states that the existing Aldi store would suffer a 24% loss of trade if the Lidl store was built, but as it was "currently overtrading" it would not be significantly affected, and around 4.9% on the remaining town centre.

However, the amount of empty town centre shops was 18.3%, above the 12.1% national average, with the report adding: "This and other factors have led the council’s consultants to describe the health of Camborne town centre as ‘fragile’."

The owners of the appeal site had entered into a planning obligation requiring them to pay four financial contributions. Three of these would be a marketing contribution of £96,250 towards the marketing of Camborne town centre, a shop front improvements contribution of £135,000 towards a fund for shop front improvements in the town centre, and a town centre regeneration contribution of £70,000 towards a town centre regeneration manager.

The inspector said: "The contributions could, potentially, lead to an upturn in trade in the town centre and would mitigate the economic impact of the proposed development. A town centre with a robust economy could bear a nearly 5% impact on its trade whilst the mitigation measures redress the impact.

"However, the predicted loss of nearly 5% of retail income for a town centre in a fragile state could be so damaging that the mitigation measures could fail to redress the impact."

He went on to rule: "The proposed development would have an adverse impact on the viability and vitality of Camborne town centre.

"The substantial harm that would be caused by the proposed development to the character and appearance of the landscape is not outweighed, as a matter of planning judgement, by the planning benefits."

A CGI of the proposed retail park for Roseworthy Hill. Picture: Quora/Cornwall Council

A CGI of the proposed retail park for Roseworthy Hill. Picture: Quora/Cornwall Council

The news comes as Camborne waits to hear from the Government about its own plan to revitalise the community through the Town Deal initiative. Nine projects have been shortlisted in the town's application for £25million of government funding.

BID Camborne manager and Camborne Town Deal chair Anna Pascoe said: "Polstrong would have ripped the heart out of Camborne and I'm so delighted and relieved that Quora's appeal has been turned down.

"This issue has been ongoing for four years and I'd like to thank everyone involved, including the former BID manager and directors, for their perseverance in getting this scheme rejected."

Quora's claim for costs was also refused.

A decision on the Camborne Town Deal investment plan is expected in May.