3. Truro storms into growth table top three

The Truro and district Community Network Area (CNA) has greatly improved its position in Cornwall’s current growth league when compared with 1990-2010. It’s risen from 9th then to number 3 now. Of the CNA’s new housing target of 5,400 (up from 3,900 last year) four out of five will end up being built in and around Truro itself. The majority of these will nestle by the A390 coming into Truro from the west.

As I pointed out last year (in more detail) this is part of a brand-new planning idea called ribbon development. Stupidly abandoned in places like Slough at the end of the 1930s this is being re-tried in Truro.

Not that ribbon development towards Chiverton Cross and Redruth is the explicitly admitted plan of the planners. Far from it. They’ve come up with the rather amusing argument that building lots of houses on the roads into Truro will reduce traffic congestion. Apparently, those commuters currently forced against their will to live in primitive conditions in rural and coastal locations will rush to snap up the new houses near to their places of work. And then catch the bus. In Bert Biscoe’s dreams perhaps, but less likely in the real world.

Since I wrote last year, the shell-shocked populace of Truro has seen a positive deluge of planning permissions cascading around them. Most of the citizenry is blithely unaware of the consequences of the planned 37% rise in the housing stock of Truro and its dormitory villages of Threemilestone and Shortlanesend. That’s 37% in just 20 years. Factor in the population growth being planned for the nearby towns and we’re looking at anything up to a 50% growth in traffic by the 2030s. Thankfully, there are no plans for a 50% increase in road space. Yet that creates a small mathematical mismatch. You would never think that the world was burning as a result of our reckless use of fossil fuels, a message has yet to penetrate Lys Kernow [sic].

Truro ringed by new housing - major schemes granted since 2010

Truro ringed by new housing – major schemes granted since 2010

Because over the past year we’ve seen permissions given for major housing schemes totalling 1,400 houses around Truro. That’s on top of the permission given for over 1,800 houses in 2012-14. Add in the smaller building projects and Truro and vicinity is already nearing the new 4,200 target for the town. But don’t despair. The target is a minimum, not a maximum. So I’m sure they’ll be able to find some more land to build on. Especially with the help of those nice government planning inspectors.

Back in March, at a particularly lengthy and shambolic Strategic Planning Committee meeting, councillors were unable to find a strategy. Instead, they ended up losing the will to live, in a fit of absent-mindedness giving permission to two mega-schemes in the process. These are at Maiden Green and Willow Green (for more details of these see last year’s blog) and involve over 900 houses. Not content with joining the current built-up area to the planned 1,500 houses at Langarth, a few months later they threw in another 130 houses at West Langarth. By doing this, the Council will succeed in urbanising the entire northern side of the A390 for three kilometres west of Truro.

Add to that the 155 houses at Higher Newham (agreed 16 votes to 3), 114 houses at Shortlanesend (13-5) and a few score at Greenbottom. Meanwhile, there’s another 275 houses waiting in the wings at Dudman Farm, down Newbridge Lane. This is the brainchild of Sunningdale Developments of Great Yarmouth. Councillors have been hesitating a bit about this one as almost 100 people have objected to this particular wanton destruction of the countryside. It was on the agenda of the Strategic Planning Committee a week before Christmas but I can find no news of any decision, if there was a decision. Any info gratefully received.

Update: It was approved. Why did I expect any different?

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