Coyte Farm: retail park planning application refused
The planning application for a retail park on the west side of St Austell was considered by the Strategic Planning Committee on 16 January.
The application had provoked controversy with strongly held views both for and against it. Supporters felt that the proposal would bring much needed jobs and an economic boost to St Austell and would enable St Austell residents to benefit from good retail outlets without having to drive to Truro. Opponents said that the proposal would significantly harm the viability of St Austell town centre and that it was inappropriate to build such a large scheme on green fields.
The debate continued for most of the day and it was past 3 p.m. before the vote was taken on the scheme. The vote was tied at 10 votes for and 10 against and, on the chairman's casting vote, the application was refused.
It is possible that the developer will take the application to appeal to be heard by a government planning inspector. If this happens, it is likely that the final decision on the scheme could take up to another year.
I spoke at the meeting against the proposal because I felt that such a large out-of-town retail scheme was not appropriate at a time when all high street retail outlets are struggling and that this proposal would just make things even more difficult for all existing shops and would not bring a net benefit to Cornwall.