Chairman's Response to Planning Officers
July 22 2015
Ian Connell Cornish Pirates Chairman - Response to Planning Officers Report On the Stadium For Cornwall
Cornish Pirates are disappointed to read the planning officers report on the S4C and his recommendation to refuse the application. We find the report to be muddled, repetitive and confusing
Cornish Pirates long term survival as a major force at the elite end of English rugby is inextricably linked to the S4C development located close to the heart of the Duchy population.
The Stadium saga has been going on for 7 long years and it appears to have come to this, surely after 7 years it must have been possible to reach a united position with all stakeholders.
This is a sad and poor reflection of the process and this must be examined.
Cornwall Council determined 3 years ago that the Stadium at Langarth Farm was the most appropriate location across Cornwall but that there needed to be a private sector lead solution to the funding.
This has been meticulously developed to the stage of a legally binding S106 agreement now in place
Cornish Pirates have always believed and have repeatedly stated that the whole S4C infrastructure project would rival Eden Project and the Maritime Museum as a major new revenue generator.
S4C is a true community facility for sport (including Truro City football club, Cornish Rebels rugby league, Cornish Sharks American football), for business (including conferencing, education, apprenticeships) and entertainment (including hospitality, concerts).
We now have a new Government in place that appears to be operating in overdrive whilst the various opposition parties take time to reflect on their election defeat.
Talk of a Northern powerhouse and devolved powers to major cities has a particular resonance with Cornwall.
An approved S4C delivering all the community benefits that appear to be acknowledged within the officers report can link with the proposed devolved powers to Cornwall along with the various new infrastructure projects agreed or under consideration in creating a Cornwall Powerhouse.
What a prospect but for that to happen a determination to implement a clear vision has to be paramount and the Officers report miserably fails to recognise this opportunity
It is now down to the members of the Strategic Planning committee on 30 July to demonstrate a political will and to support a vision that can significantly contribute towards a regenerated Cornwall
This opportunity will die unless we grasp it with both hands and which much of Cornwall wishes to see delivered
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"We are disappointed that having addressed the four issues that Councillors asked us to address when they deferred our application in March, officers are still recommending refusal despite recognising the significant potential benefits of our enabling scheme.
Retail impact was something that was debated at length in March and members decided this was not an issue that needed to be brought back to committee.
Our scheme was also the only retail proposal supported by Truro Chamber of Commerce because of the additional spend the Stadium would generate in the city centre.
The choice before Councillors is a clear one.
We are confident our scheme can deliver the Stadium for Cornwall and the benefits that would flow from it for local sport, business, education and leisure across Cornwall".
It would be a tragedy to dash this once in a lifetime opportunity.
I may have been born a Londoner, and it may have taken me thirty six years to discover my destiny, but one thing is certain - I was born to be a Pirate!
Stricky (Waterloo Pirate)
Planning is controlled by the county wide master plan which took years to complete and covers every aspect of matters to be considered. The latest plan has been delayed for over a year so the one the planning officer is working to is well out of date but he is obliged to make his recommendation based on it. It’s a fair bet that when the plan was written it did not anticipate including a stadium.
It is the planning officer to put the application together as a package with recommendation based on the county plan efficiently ( which he appears incapable of) and the planners to decide in the public interest whether to accept the recommendation in a transparent way ( !!!!!!!)
From the little I know the problems appear due incompetence right across the system rather than the planning department having a secret , or some would say not so secret agenda.
I drove through earlier and cant remember seeing so many tourists wandering around, imagine if the powers that be made some good calls 3-4 years ago, Pz could be a very different place.
All this nostalgia has to stop, as a county, country or even planet we cannot save everything, there has to be change. St Johns hall fiasco is the latest, what is so special about a few granite steps? Answers on postcard.
What have the cornish MP's had to say about this? If Cameron says that the stadium needs to happen, surely his back benchers should be following it up?
It (perhaps) took some prodding - but Truro MP, Sarah Newton - has spoken out about seeing this through to a positive conclusion.
Someone else can provide a link.
There is still need of caution but...fundamentally this should raise hopes.
Stadium for Cornwall Website: [stadium4cornwall.co.uk]
Pirates on Facebook: [www.facebook.com]
Pirates on Twitter: [twitter.com]
Pirates Official Website: [cornish-pirates.com]
Cornish Pirates Supporters Club:-
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2015:07:26:22:01:34 by 1spy.
I am all up for a bit of prodding, if it will help!
The S4C group lobbying goes on by the day but its really down to the decision on the SPC meeting on Thursday.
The decision will be decided by the democratically elected Councillors on the committee or the unelected Planning officers in the "Kremlim" sorry County Hall.Will our representatives support what the people in Cornwall wish or will vested interests prevail?
Sad but i will be surprised if Cornish Democracy prevails .Expect more undemocratic decisions controlling our lives with the so called Cornwall Devolution in the future.
To be fair to many councillors they are simply unaware of the actions of many officers and senior managers within the council as they are too removed from the day to day workings, which is a failing of the system. We should have a quarter of the number and pay them a decent amount, then you will have quality and interest.
At such an important time the Chief Executive departs and is temporarily being replaced by a current Director (in a different guise), who retired down to Cornwall to take up a short term post and then was convinced to stay on to see through the amalgamation with the health service. Now he has the top spot for a time, but if you look back at history you will see others who have done the same to boost the pension and then retire. What's the betting that this one departs as soon as his finances tie up. Just when the council needs strong leadership. Bring back Kevin Lavery who tried and would have succeeded with proper councillor support.
Like all of us on this forum the idea of a stadium for Cornwall seems to make common sense, but common sense isn't very common these days.
Roll on Thursday, the wait is painful and god knows how those who have put so much effort in over the years must be feeling.
I will keep the faith and will book my season ticket in the stadium before too long.
Letter to the Strategic Planning Committee
From PLC Planning Ltd
SPC MEETING 30/07/2015 – STADIUM FOR CORNWALL ENABLING APPLICATION (PA14/08092) – AGENDA ITEM 5.1
I would be grateful if you would read this short letter which outlines key issues relevant to making a decision on the Stadium for Cornwall enabling application on 30/07/15.
At the Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) meeting on 12/03/2015 the committee resolved that:
“Consideration of Application No. PA14/08092 be deferred for a period of 3 months pending the receipt of the following:-
Details of the ecology impact and the carrying out of surveys.
Information to enable Highways modelling to take place.
Finalisation of a S106 Agreement to secure necessary contributions
and deliverability of the Stadium.
The carrying out of an archaeological survey”
We have responded to all of these points well within the defined three month period and understand that all of these points are now agreed as acceptable by your officers.
As the minutes of the 12th March meeting record (and the attached transcript shows), [stadium4cornwall.blogspot.co.uk] the committee was satisfied with the retail impact of our proposal.
Following a debate by members, consideration (or re-consideration) of retail impact was specifically excluded from the resolution. This is what one of your officers said when asked to confirm the reasons for deferral by SPC chairman Cllr Rob Nolan on 12th March:
“For the ecology, for the archaeological, highway modelling reports to be submitted and the Section 106 agreement to be discussed, negotiated and finalised and brought back following that completion, but not any report on the retail impact.”
Our proposal has not altered since that meeting, nor therefore has our retail impact, nor our scheme viability.
We are mystified therefore why officers appear determined to re-open these matters in relation to our proposal. To do so ignores the expressed wishes of the committee. We would also remind members that our proposal has the support of the Truro Chamber of Commerce, the only application before the committee that has support from the body that represents city centre retailers.
In relation to the second reason for refusal there is simply no evidence to support your officers’ assertions.
It is poor planning practice to interpret strictly some elements the Threemilestone Brief (which is guidance, not policy), but in the same breath throw away a key objective of that brief, namely the consented Stadium for Cornwall.
Your officers’ concerns are misguided, unjustified and would not stand up to third party scrutiny.
Having said that, our clients will not appeal a refusal, so the Stadium for Cornwall lies at your mercy on 30/07/2015.
I hope that as a member of the Strategic Planning Committee you will agree that a strategic decision is required which recognises the positive impact of the Stadium project for the whole of Cornwall, rather than see it fall victim to localised concerns.
Please remember that there are no substantive alternatives for a ‘Stadium for Cornwall’ and despite talk of Indian Queens this is of no interest to either the Cornish Pirates or Truro & Penwith College, and nor is Silverbow.
Without these key anchor tenants a stadium is not viable in the short term and not sustainable in the long term.
I would also add that the Stadium partners have extended a formal invitation to Truro City Football Club (see enclosed) and have met with Helical Bar. It is disappointing that they have chosen to pursue their own scheme. We would reiterate that the door is always open to TCFC to become a partner in our project.
I hope that you will recognise that our clients have done all they can in response to the concerns that you have raised. But as the record so clearly shows, your officers have simply shifted the goalposts (again) in order to stoutly defend those elements of the Threemilestone brief that they deem important.
It is quite apparent that whatever our clients do it will never be enough to satisfy your officers.
You can clearly contrast the contradictory positions taken by your officers in relation to the Silverbow/Helical Retail proposals, which have plainly not been subjected to anything like the same level of scrutiny as our clients’ proposals, nor treated in a similar manner.
For example, we are required to have a S106 and bond in place whereas their proposals are treated in a different, much less stringent way.
Why is that?
It is a shame for all aspiring sportspeople across Cornwall, not to mention the education, business, community and leisure interests throughout the county that would benefit from a Stadium at Threemilestone, that your officers have not respected the clearly stated views of the committee, nor embraced the Council’s adopted (and consented) vision of the Stadium for Cornwall.
I would stress that the enabling application allows for replacement pitches of the 'blue land', an upgrade in the form of a 3G pitch (in addition to the stadium artificial pitch), new community hub building and crucially a Stadium to be built on the 'blue land' site.
Please don’t let this opportunity pass Cornwall by. Please don’t be influenced by the incorrect concerns that have been raised about retail delivery without a stadium (the S106 and bond ensure that cannot happen), nor the deliverability of the proposal (our clients remain confident about this).
Only one thing is certain – if our clients never have a permission to put to the market we will never actually know whether any of the viability/deliverability concerns raised by your officers are real or not (and we strongly refute them).
You have everything to gain and nothing to lose by granting permission.
If the scheme is not viable then nothing will happen. If it is viable then retail development cannot be occupied until a 6,000 capacity Stadium is built. There is no risk.
Please give the Stadium for Cornwall your support.
Thank you for considering our concerns.
David Seaton, BA (Hons) MRTPI
For PCL Planning Ltd
I am all up for a bit of prodding, if it will help!
As I have said before, go for it. I have copied the letter through to
Michelle.Peart@communities.gsi.gov.uk I have send numerous items through to her and they seem to go through to the PM Office and to the Culture Secretary.
#Even if there is no response before Thursday it will be "on file"
Thanks for your continued support for the stadium project and the input you have had on the subject. I can assure you that both the PM and the Culture Secretary are being kept well informed by the 6 Cornish Conservative MP's.The support from Downing street has been clear and may prove to be our only point of salvation after Thursday. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the County's planning officers and majority of Councillors. This is very worrying from a council who want to have more power and financial control over the County through devolution but fail to recognise the benefits of the stadium.
Instead the inhabitants of that great listed building at Truro remain silent.
Are they too afraid to speak up?