Approval recommended for 94 homes off Bickland Water Road, Falmouth

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A proposal to build nearly one hundred homes off Bickland Water Road, Falmouth, has been recommended for approval by Cornwall Council’s planning officer.

The developer, Midas Commercial Development Ltd, have proposed the construction of 94 homes, including 33 affordable homes, off of Bickland Water Road. This is the second attempt that they have made to build the development.

The first application, which would have seen nearly 150 homes built, was rejected by Cornwall Council last year.

Since that rejection the developer has reduced the scale of the development and attempted to amend the plans in order to maintain views of a nearby historic church.

When the proposals were put before Falmouth Town Council earlier this year councillors were unhappy with the plans to build nearly a hundred homes in the green belt between Falmouth and Budock Water.

Speaking after the meeting of the Falmouth planning committee in October, planning committee chairman, Councillor Grenville Chappel, said: “We want to keep the greenbelt. This application has left a bit more of a greenbelt than the last one, but the council still feels that it isn’t enough.

“Once we’ve given permission to start building there, there’ll be houses all the way from Maenporth into Budock.”

The decision on the Bickland Water Road development is due to take place at the meeting of the West Sub-Area Planning Committee on Monday, January 11 at 2pm.

The planning officer, Peter Bainbridge, has recommended that councillors approve the proposals. The report states that the proposal has changed significantly since it was rejected last year.

One of the major concerns around the scheme was the impact it would have on St Budock Church, a Grade II listed building. However council officials believe that the plans will reduce the harm on the scheme.

The report says: “This revised application is a significant reduction in the scale of development from that dismissed on appeal.

“Also the proposed layout clearly protests the historic approach to the church.

“The scheme is not considered to result in ‘substantial harm’ but ‘less than substantial harm’.”

Approval is recommended on multiple conditions including that the developer provides a financial contribution towards transport infrastructure improvements, that it would deliver affordable housing in an appropriate mix and a transfer of land to Falmouth Town Council for use of a cemetery.

Steve Russell, director of Midas Developments, said: “We’ve worked hard to take on board the Inspector’s concerns and have come up with a scheme which we hope councillors will feel able to support.

“We have significantly reduced the number and density of homes to create more open space, and are maintaining the historic footpath to the church. Crucially, we are proposing to gift two fields next to the church to the town council which has been identified by them for use as a cemetery. This would be legally binding on us as part of any planning permission and would not only protect the rural setting of the church, but also maintain separation between Falmouth and Budock.

“We believe this scheme would make a valuable contribution to Falmouth’s future housing needs including 35% affordable homes, for which there is acute demand in the area.”

The decision will be made at a meeting in Penzance on January 11, 2016.

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