Plans to develop fields on the outskirts of Falmouth, covering them with up to 300 houses were described as “medieval pillaging” at a meeting last week when the outline scheme was approved.
Cornwall Council’s strategic planning committee debated the plans for more than an hour when local town and county councillors spoke against the scheme, but were over-ruled when it came to the vote.
Persimmon Homes (SW) Ltd and Taylor Wimpey UK Ltd’s outline planning application for the land at Lower Kergilliack Farm, off Bickland Water Road, was approved subject to conditions and a section 106 obligation by 14 votes to six, with one abstention.
At the meeting, Cornwall Councillor Neil Hatton, who represents the parish of Budock, within which lies 95 per cent of the application site, said: “This to me is an example of medieval pillaging.
“This is land grab on a bad and awful scale and it will set a precedent where a town with constraints on where it can build - what else can it do but push out into neighbouring parishes and neighbouring parishes are very sensitive to their own identities. Falmouth is not suitable to have any more expansion of houses, certainly within its parish but at no cost should it be allowed to land grab across its borders.
“We are trying to conserve the identity of rural villages and this is one way certainly it will be destroyed.
“We are facing a situation where parishes are under threat of losing their identities, for what purpose? It’s not for the benefit of the parish.”
John Bastin, chairman of Budock Parish Council, said: “This land is a vital green field buffer of high amenity value between the communities of Budock and Falmouth. The retention of this buffer acts as a block to further prevent urban sprawl from Falmouth.
“The residents within this new development would have no natural allegiance to Budock parish but will consider themselves part of Falmouth.”
Cornwall Councillor Mark Kaczmarek, though, said: “Falmouth cannot go in any other direction than outwards and Falmouth is one of the largest towns in Cornwall. If we don’t build, all that does is force up house prices.
“We need to do this. There is pressure from people who want to stay in the community they were born in and brought up in.”
Cornwall Councillor Mary May added: “I do have feelings for Budock, but Falmouth is an up and coming town and Penryn has a uni town on its doorstep. This Budock site sits well with Mabe, it sits well with Truro and also sits well for Falmouth.
“I think it’s a difficult decision for councillors here today, but when you go knocking on people’s doors they are asking for affordable housing for their families.”
Of the 300 houses, around 105 will be affordable and the development will also include amenity space and a local centre, with shop. It is anticipated the development will take three years to complete.