PENZANCE and the surrounding area could be home to an extra 1,350 houses over the next 17 years, if new proposals are agreed.
In February this year, Cornwall Council agreed that the West Penwith Community Network Area (CNA) – covering Penzance and the area from Marazion west to St Just but not including St Ives and Hayle – should see 2,500 new homes built in the period up to 2030.
However, at a recent informal meeting of the council's environment, heritage and planning portfolio advisory committee, Cornelius Olivier, ward member for Penzance Central, suggested the area could accommodate an extra 1,350 new homes.
Mr Olivier said that his suggestion was made following advice from planning officers that the council's current overall target for 42,500 new homes across Cornwall was not acceptable to the Government.
"We were told that the Government would not approve the local plan unless there was an agreement to build around 47,500 new homes," he said.
Mr Olivier says his figure of 3,850 new homes was based on the West Penwith CNA having 8 per cent of the population of Cornwall, so it should take responsibility for 8 per cent of the housing.
But he also believes that there is a desperate need for new housing in the area while emphasising that such a decision would only be taken after further consultation.
"There is universal acceptance among local housing professionals that Penzance has the worst housing problems in Cornwall," he added.
"This (extra 1,350 new homes) would only result in around 50 extra new homes a year being built in the area over the course of the plan."
However Jane Howells, chairman of St Hilary Parish Council, says that the original figure of 2,500 homes is adequate for the area's needs and could result in up to 600 new affordable homes being built.
"I believe Councillor Olivier is the only member from the Penwith CNA on this committee and this is much too important an issue for people not to be able to have their input," she said.
"I do not believe that the 47,500 figure is set in stone and any change in the housing figures would have to be approved by the Cabinet and full council. I would urge all parishes to send a representative along to the next meeting of the Penwith CNA on October 10 so that they can state their position.
"This is a massive extra amount of houses being planned for Penwith."