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Warning over flats scheme

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: September 27, 2012

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PLANS to convert a derelict hotel into holiday apartments threaten the future of St Ives, says a town councillor.

Terry Tonkin told a meeting of Cornwall Council's west sub-area planning committee the proposals for the Woodside Hotel would add to the town's already serious problems.

Those opposed to the proposed development of the hotel, on Belyars Lane, say it will worsen the overdevelopment of the town, increase traffic problems and be out of character with the rest of the area.

St Ives Town Council had lodged the "strongest possible objection" against the proposals to convert the building to 12 holiday apartments.

Although planning officers recommended that the scheme be approved, the volume of criticism persuaded committee members they should visit the site themselves to get a proper insight into the contentious proposal.

Mr Tonkin, who also spoke at the meeting, told the committee that approving the plans would cause serious harm to St Ives.

"I fear for the future of this town if we carry on in this matter," he said.

"We're inundated with second homes, weekenders and flat lets.

"Our resident population is disappearing. St Ives is gridlocked. Car ownership has escalated; now everyone jumps in a car given any opportunity. This would exacerbate things."

A previous application to redevelop the former hotel had been redrafted in the face of earlier objections.

Documents submitted in support of the revised application showed the bulk of the new building would be approximately 20cm lower in height than the existing Woodside Hotel.

External terraces which had been proposed on the south-west side were scrapped to appease concerns about overlooking of nearby homes.

A number of residents formally objected to the development, saying it would result in the loss of a historic local building and cause more parking problems in the area.

As part of the plans, put forward by London-based AB St Ives Ltd, £150,000 would be donated towards the cost of affordable housing, but this money could be used anywhere in Cornwall, not just St Ives.

"That offer's an absolute laugh," said Mr Tonkin.

"We've got 541 on the housing list and we've got minuscule apartments being built that are sold off at extortionate prices."

Planners will now visit the site on October 4 to inspect the existing building and assess the concerns raised about it.

Mr Tonkin said the public were invited to attend and he expected many nearby residents would be present to make their views known.

"There'll be a vociferous campaign from the neighbouring properties and other stalwarts will be there," he said.

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