A full planning application has now been submitted for a new retail park in Helston to include a McDonald's, Aldi, The Range and Costa.

It has been long-awaited, after it was sent to Cornwall Council back on July 16, but due to "minor administrative matters" it did not go live to the public until today.

A public consultation has now begun, with people able to view the plans on the council's website, under the plans PA21/07481.

The 2.7 hectare greenfield site is at Hospital Cross, between the Sainsbury’s supermarket and Flambards Theme Park, and RNAS Culdrose.

A planning statement by the Pegasus Group, on behalf of Parsonage Developments Ltd describes the site as currently being in use “for pastoral farming”, with none of the trees subject to a tree preservation order, although there are category ‘B’ trees, largely at the site boundaries.

The application states: “The ambition of the proposals is to deliver a high quality retail park with four occupants that, aside from Costa, are not currently represented in Helston.”

It is proposed to have 156 car parking spaces, 15 accessible spaces, 12 parent and child spaces and six EV charging bays, with one waiting bay, among a total of 192 car spaces, plus six spaces for motorbikes and 22 for bicycles.


The proposed layout for the site

The proposed layout for the site


It says Aldi would be open 8am to 10pm Monday to Saturday, and 10am to 6pm Sundays and bank holidays; The Range 8am to 9pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 6pm Sunday and bank holidays; McDonald’s drive-thru restaurant 24 hours a day; Costa Coffee Shop with drive-thru 24 hours a day.

It also promises approximately 8,600 square metres of “ecological enhancements,” with a third of the land within the south of the site to be retained for this.

The proposals involve the widening of Helston Downs to ten metres into the western boundary, as well as two new access points off this road for separate customer and delivery access.

It would also involve widening the arms off the Cottage Hospital Roundabout and the Sainsbury’s roundabout, with the developer looking to add a left turning lane into the south-eastern arm of the Hospital Cross roundabout, plus a new Toucan Crossing between the two roundabouts. This would lead to a new footpath and cycle path.


How the development at Hospital Cross in Helston could look Picture: Pegasus/Cornwall Counci

How the development at Hospital Cross in Helston could look Picture: Pegasus/Cornwall Council


This, the application says, was due to concern raised during the publication consultation that the roads could not accommodate the amount of traffic generated.

Cornwall Council had said in its pre-application advice that using 2013 survey data to assess the effect of traffic on the junction was “inaccurate” and that a traffic survey would need to be conducted in a neutral month, outside of lockdown, to understand the true traffic levels. It was agreed this should be between 2pm and 8pm on a Friday and 11am and 3pm on a Saturday, to confirm staff peak travel from RNAS Culdrose and account for the Saturday peak.

The plans state there would be soakaway crates under the car park, garden centre service yard, to catch surface-water run off.

A new electricity substation would serve the development, including the EV charging points.

The illustrations include fascias for signage including totem signs, but these would be part of a separate advertisement consent application.

It lists details from the community involvement earlier in the year, via a dedicated website, stating there were 242 counts of support to 131 objections. Benefits were seen to be improvements to Helston’s economy (124 counts), job creation (111 counts) and the type of retailers (80 counts).


How the development at Hospital Cross in Helston could look Picture: Pegasus/Cornwall Counci

How the development at Hospital Cross in Helston could look Picture: Pegasus/Cornwall Council


Pre-application advice from Cornwall Council was that updated householder survey data was needed, as the last was in November 2014, to look at Helston’s performance as a retail centre and where trade comes from.

A new householder survey was carried out in March 2021 to understand local shopping habits, frequency of shopping visits and money spent, but figures from 2015 have been used to consider visits from people outside of the area, including tourists.

Pegasus says it found that the majority of people who responded only went to one store for their main food shop, or ‘top up’ trips, and with three existing supermarkets it said it “can be assumed that the convenience expenditure from Helston residents is directed towards these.”

A ‘health check of Helston town centre’ found that its vacancy rate in 2020 was below the national average at 13.42% and it “remains vital and viable serving an important role.”


It goes on to say: “The drive-thru units will predominantly serve passing vehicles.

“The retail assessment identifies that the majority of the proposal’s turnover will be from out-of-town retail, with a small amount of trade diversion from Helston town centre.

“As such, it will have a limited impact on the vitality and viability of the town centre.”

It also believes the development will “claw back” spending currently lost to outside of Helston.

The application says that the south of the site would not be accessible by the public, which “mitigates against fly-tipping and other anti-social behaviour in this area.”

It says concerns were raised by both the public and the MoD about the litter that could be generated. It adds that both McDonald's and Costa had policies to ensure litter was collected around their units and were members of Keep Britain Tidy’s anti-littering campaign. It goes on to add that a litter management plan could be made a planning condition.

With regards to the former proposals for Budgens, it states: “The applicant originally sought to incorporate the reuse of the former Budgens within Helston Town Centre, which is within its ownership, as noted within the public consultation scheme, to help offset any harmful impact up the vitality and viability of the town centre.


“However, the former Budgens cannot accommodate the proposals and its reuse is unnecessary since the application passes the ‘impact assessment’.

In its pre-application advice, Cornwall Council had said: "Former Budgens could be a material consideration if it could be somehow tied in with the Section 106 or there was a concurrent application to change its use.”