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Town council opposes new plan for more private flats

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: November 22, 2012

The Old School Room, Bedford Road.  www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/buyaphoto

The Old School Room, Bedford Road. www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/buyaphoto

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CONTROVERSIAL plans to turn a former Sunday school in St Ives into nine flats have been strongly opposed by the town council's planning committee.

This is the second application to convert the building on Bedford Road; a previous application for 13 flats was refused by Cornwall Council in the summer, after the town council again objected.

Many in the town have come out against the proposals, which opponents describe as symptomatic of the overdevelopment destroying the town's character.

However, planning committee vice-chairman Terry Tonkin said if the application had been for affordable homes it might have been viewed differently by the council.

"It's a private development when there's a great need for affordable homes," he said.

"If there had been the option of nine flats that were made affordable, that might have been totally different. This is just for sheer profit. The demand for affordable housing is overwhelming."

Cornwall Council's Homechoice register currently includes 622 households assessed as having a local connection to St Ives.

In The Cornishman in June, residents attacked developers, saying a wave of applications risked turning the town into "one big building site".

Previous proposals, including one for 16 flats at the Porthminster Hotel, for 12 flats at Belyars Croft Hotel and for 14 holiday apartments at The Woodside, have all attracted criticism. The Bedford Road scheme has come in for similar treatment, with three objectors labelling it "unneighbourly", and one saying it threatened the future of the neighbouring Bedford Road Chapel.

On Cornwall Council's planning website Ms C Uren said: "We already have overdevelopment within our beautiful town and we do not need any more flats, especially any more holiday ones, so if the developer thinks that offering to use them for holidays will appease the people of St Ives they are sadly mistaken."

Eric Kemp, who also objected to the previous plan, said: "This is unneighbourly in the extreme and represents a great threat to the Church to carry out its mission.

"The chapel building is a part of St Ives' history and much admired.

"I am sure councilors and very many others would be very sorry to see it close over this matter."

David Smithies, a director of the developer, Abbeyman Estates Limited, said the company, working with a planning officer, had developed a proposal which seemed to meet the objections raised following the first refusal, against which it was appealing.

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  • Big_Ger  |  November 23 2012, 8:14PM
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  • josdave  |  November 23 2012, 3:12PM

    I agree with the first comment. Surely it's better for the building to be occupied rather than just lie empty and a target for rodents and squatters. The same people who object to this object to building on green field sites yet here is a brown field site crying out to be used.

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  • Doitdreckley  |  November 23 2012, 3:01PM

    What is 'affordable' in St.Ives is only an issue because homes are taken out of what is available by second home owners or larger holiday home operations. The second is not a problem as long as they are employing genuinely local people (and there may also be a similar point about the 600 or so on the waiting list). What St.Ives also needs is places for people to work other than tourism, art or food. Local councillors should be doing more to attract investment linked to different types of jobs which this building could be used for - or even a mix of jobs and homes. 'Flats' are code for more people consuming fewer resouces.

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  • Big_Ger  |  November 23 2012, 8:39AM

    "If there had been the option of nine flats that were made affordable, that might have been totally different. This is just for sheer profit. " Yes, and? Terry Tonkin seems an odd choice for a planning officer if he thinks that decrepit empty buildings will be snapped up and sold on for no profit. Madness.

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  • H_Trevorrow  |  November 22 2012, 12:03PM

    The character of St Ives is changing for the better due to investment into conversions/developments for private accomodation. A decade or so ago the whole place used to shut shop for 6 months a year. Now it has a vibrant retail sector and business community with only short spells of slack trade. Employment must be the key to any future. Those on waiting lists do not want to be shoehorned into the middle of a tourist centre. It is practically creul to house those most vulnerable in the centre of a tourism enviroment.

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  • barrtribe  |  November 22 2012, 9:30AM

    whats the point in having an empty building doing nothing.

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