PEOPLE in Falmouth are being urged to vote in the forthcoming referendum on the town's Neighbourhood Development Plan to prevent unwanted development.

Over the past four years, the community has been designing and developing the Neighbourhood Development Plan for Falmouth. A dedicated set of volunteers and community groups, supported by a consultant employed by Falmouth Town Council have been canvassing opinions and creating the plan which encapsulates the values and views of the local citizens.

The plan will make sure that recent planning battles where decisions made by the county council with community support are not reversed by an inspector in Bristol on appeal by the developer.

In their decision to allow an appeal on building new homes at Swanpool, which had been refused by the county council, the inspector actually said if the town's neighbourhood plan had been completed he would have been more likely to refuse the appeal.


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In recent years Falmouth has grown steadily, both in physical size, and in population, and it has developed into an exciting and diverse place that is frequently gaining attention and renown.

In addition, tourism has grown, as have Falmouth Docks, alongside a proliferation of maritime activities and businesses. And in recent years, courses and opportunities at Falmouth and Exeter Universities have seen the student population rise.

A spokesperson for the group behind the plan said all of this growth has created huge opportunities for Falmouth

"However, corresponding challenges have arisen," they said. "And those challenges can create divisions and issues if not effectively handled and planned for by an expressed, collective opinion.

"That’s why it is so vital that Falmouth residents of all ages realise that they have an opportunity to ensure that Falmouth’s future growth and development is planned in a sustainable and agreed way.

"Thursday, August 19 is a big day in the calendar for the ‘port with a purpose’ as that is the day that all Falmouth resident electors have the option to vote on the new Falmouth Neighbourhood Plan.

"Through this process, everyone who is a registered resident in Falmouth can make their mark on influencing decisions that will affect the future development of the thriving port.

They say that with recent growth, have come a number of planning ‘battles’ and discontent from some people about how decisions have been judged and made.

"If the vote is in the favour of the new Neighbourhood Plan, this will be ‘made’ in law and can’t be ignored when future planning applications are decided by Cornwall Council, planning inspectors, or the Government," they said. "If accepted, the plan will control the way that local land is used for housing, business, shops and leisure, and revive its town centre. It will also protect green spaces and influence the design of buildings, tackle difficult issues and support the things that make Falmouth an exceptional place to live, work and visit.

Finian McCormick, 26, from the University of Exeter on the Falmouth campus said, “I absolutely love living here in Falmouth. The town just keeps getting more interesting with so many great things happening and brilliant places opening, even with the pandemic.

"But we are all aware that there’s been a lot of very prominent new buildings that have gone ahead despite lots of local opposition and effort. It makes sense to me to all work together here in the town to make sure that any future growth is handled sensitively, and that our local community have a direct say, and influence, on what goes ahead, and what doesn’t.”

Professor Mike Jenks, Chair of Falmouth Civic Society, said, “Without a Falmouth Neighbourhood Development Plan, all the important planning decisions made by Cornwall Council will be based only on the National Planning Guidance and the county-wide plan. These are not tailored to understand our local setting, and our local community needs.

"At the moment, local factors can easily be ignored and crucial decisions are being made by people who don’t always know and understand Falmouth’s needs. If voted in, our new Falmouth Neighbourhood Development Plan process, with all its local knowledge, creativity, energy and diversity, will help to shape a positive future for Falmouth, and have a real impact.”

For more details of the proposed Falmouth Neighbourhood Plan please look here:

To vote on Thursday, August 19, Falmouth residents will need to take their voting cards to one of the polling stations (polling stations are the same as those for a general election.) It is now too late to get added to the electoral register or to apply for a postal vote for the referendum. It is however still possible to appoint a proxy to vote on your behalf, up to 5pm on August 11.