Pink Hotel latest. Site visit 3rd July.
You might have guessed that when everything goes quiet on the Pink Hotel front, something is brewing beneath the radar.
Firstly the recent story so far. A few weeks ago I received a copy of the following invitation from Gary Wyatt, the architect for the Pink Hotel development:
We have finally organised a date for the Public Consultation Event at Pendower Beach. The date will be Wednesday 3rd July starting at 11am on site running through to 8pm. Shallikabooky café will be open to help host and provide refreshments.
We will forward more details in due course."
I've had a few conversations with Gary since I got his email to try and find out a bit more about what's planned. He's told me the general idea is for a 14 bedroom hotel in the original farmhouse building, a shop, a restaurant/cafe with 100 covers and 25 mostly two bedroom apartments. There would not be any three storey or town house style buildings. The apartments would be in groups of four around a courtyard. There are no recent drawings to see as yet as he says he wants a dialogue with the public before drawing up formal plans.
I can well imagine that the developers are reluctant to have another pre-application community engagement (PACE) meeting like the one that took place in January last year, which many of you attended. if you were there you’ll remember how the idea of a town-house development was torn to shreds, as was the developers’ insistence that a hotel wasn’t viable.
The latest ideas seem to me to express a hope of reducing public resistance by offering a hotel as well as apartments. Gary also told me he’s been working with Jenny Stuart, the 'Building with Nature’ assessor at Cornwall Wildlife Trust, whom he met at our Open Meeting last November. I imagine the aim of this partnership is to produce a development which is more acceptable in design terms. Certainly, if the final design is one that blends harmoniously with the landscape, it will be a definite improvement on previous proposals. Certainly too, we’ll be delighted to have a small hotel re-instated and rebuilt on the original site.
However there remains a very large elephant in the room, or rather a proposed housing estate on Pendower Beach. As you will know, the site is part of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with SSSI and SAC status; therefore, as specified in planning policies at national, county, and local levels, it deserves every possible protection.
In the light of these protections, you might think that Cornwall Council’s planning department would have made it abundantly plain that such a scheme was a non-starter. However my recent conversation with Mark Ball, the Pink Hotel site planning officer, did not reassure me this was the reality. He talked of the conflict between environmental considerations and financial viability, factoring in the benefits of regeneration and employment that the proposed development could bring.
So where do we go from here? What, if anything, will come out of the consultation event on 3rd July? I hope it may be a genuine opportunity for your views to contribute to the planning process. The risk, as ever in planning matters, is that it might be a tick-box requirement before a pre-determined application is submitted. How can we do our best to make sure this doesn’t happen?
This is where we need your help. Please visit the site on 3rd July and ask the developers to be specific about their plans. How far do they intend to extend the original footprint? Given the planning policy restrictions, what is their justification for building residential accommodation in this landscape? How do they propose to deal with the access issues, particularly given the instability of the cliff? Are they planning access by another route? Has any proposed access by bridge from the National Trust car park been agreed with the Trust? How will they handle sewage and car parking? What data do they have on the impact on wild life? How will they mitigate all the adverse consequences of the development?
These are just some of the questions you and others put to the developers at the PACE meeting. They need to be asked again.
After the site visit please write to me with your thoughts and reactions, both for and against. We can then draw these views together and present them to the developers and Cornwall Council Planning Department as significant conclusions arising from their consultation process.
Meanwhile I believe we should continue to resist any planning application which risks harming the rare beauty of this protected site.
With all good wishes