2015 update 5
Warmest thanks to all of you who were able to come to our AGM and Open Meeting on 19th November. We were delighted with the turnout, especially since planning issues are not the most thrilling topic of conversation for most people.
John Adams' presentation outlined what's in the Roseland Plan and Jon Smith talked about the various activities resulting from it. He told us that a number of groups have been established. The Planning Advisory Group (PAG) advises parish councils and planning officers on whether individual planning applications and pre-apps on the Roseland conform with the Plan. Conservation Area Management Plans (CAMPS) are starting with a pilot study in Veryan and the St Just in Roseland Community Land Trust (CLT) will spearhead the building of affordable homes for local people on the Roseland. It's intended that special provision will be made to ensure that these homes will stay affordable and in local hands even if sold.
There's also a lot of enthusiasm for the Wild Roseland Project, promoting wild flower meadows, involving school kids in building barn owl boxes, investigating hedgerow habitats and a community photography project helping to build up a detailed description of the natural world on the Roseland.
If anyone is interested in getting involved in any of these initiatives please contact Jon Smith or John Adams via the Roseland plan website: www.roselandplan.org. They'd be thrilled to hear from you. As always it's enthusiastic volunteers that make these things happen.
I asked Rob Lacey to set the Roseland Plan in a wider context. His presentation perhaps raised more questions than it answered, particularly on the effects of other planning considerations on individual planning applications. This will be especially relevant if and when the Nare Hotel and the Pink Hotel applications are back on the table. Clearly the planners accept that the Neighbourhood Plan is an integral part of the planning decision making process, even more so as it will finally be adopted this week, but there could still be other factors which come into play.
The Q&A session which followed the three presentations underlined the complexity of planning decision making. What was the meaning of "affordable"? How was it possible to define "vernacular" in the variety of Roseland architecture? How would beautiful contemporary "grand designs" fit into the new planning arrangements?
Edwina Hannaford described a number of different definitions of 'affordable'. Although homes technically considered affordable might be out of the reach of many people, she felt the problem of affordability could only be solved by improving job opportunities and pay levels in the area.
As so often at meetings like this, questions give rise to further questions rather than solutions. If our audience and indeed anyone else reading this were hoping for results they may have been disappointed. Others may feel, as I do, that it was good to have a dialogue between the Roseland plan team, Cornwall Council planning officers and other specialists, Cornwall Councillors, the Friends of Pendower Beach and members of the public. I think we should be encouraged by the presence of a team of people willing to work together to provide advice and achieve results. We hope the dialogue will continue.
In this spirit, I was delighted to welcome Johnny Goldsmith, owner of the Pink Hotel, to our meeting. Had he not have been there we might have focused more on the nitty gritty of planning policy. As it was the meeting was enlivened by some good-natured banter, a serious exchange of views on the value of the habitats along the Melinsey Valley and the welcome opportunity to begin a process of dialogue.
We were particularly glad to meet Johnny Goldsmith's architect, Gary Wyatt. We appreciated his open minded attitude and his keenness to understand the sensitivities of the site. Above all, the discussions seemed to indicate agreement that the Pink Hotel cannot remain as an eyesore indefinitely. We all want constructive discussions to move things forward.
I know there are a number of people who didn't want to come to the meeting because they feel the Friends of Pendower Beach have a set of rigidly held principles and are not interested in achieving a resolution. I hope we will be able to show them they are wrong. Our aim is to produce a result for the benefit of the whole community. So wait and see...
Follow that star...
The Friends of Pendower Beach will be decorating a Christmas tree for the Christmas tree festival at Gerrans Church. There'll be a tree lighting ceremony and carol concert at 7pm on Wednesday 16th December.
The theme of our tree is, naturally, Pendower, so we need a starfish to decorate the top of the tree. If there happen to be any beachcombers among you who might have picked one up from the beach and put it on your window sill, could we borrow it? We'd also be glad to have any attractive shells, pebbles, small flat stones or anything else from the beach that would make a suitable decoration. If you drop me an email I'll arrange collection.
With good wishes to you all