Campaigners protest against future housing numbers and renewable energy plans
CAMPAIGNERS gathered outside County Hall this morning to protest against plans for future development in Cornwall.
Two different campaign groups wielded placards and chanted outside the Truro council offices ahead of this morning's meeting of Cornwall Council's planning policy advisory panel.
Our Cornwall were protesting against plans to build thousands more homes across Cornwall by 2030 while Cornwall Protects was campaigning against the proliferation of wind and solar farms across the landscape.
Inside the council chamber the panel agreed a recommendation that the number of homes to be built over a 20 year period covered by the Cornwall Local Plan should be 38,000.
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The figure was put forward instead of a recommendation from planning officers that it should be 48,500. The recommendation will now go before the council's Cabinet which will make a final decision before the Local Plan is sent out for public consultation.
Our Cornwall had been calling for the number of homes to be reduced further to 29,000 – an amendment on that basis was put before the panel but was not supported.
Stephen Henry from Our Cornwall said ahead of the meeting: "Our message is that the number (of homes) that they are debating and looking at accepting for the local plan for the next 20 years is unnecessarily large.
"We have produced an alternative with data and evidence that has been provided from proper sources including the Office for National Statistics.
"This has been gathered together by professionals who have carried out a full assessment and concluded that 29,000 would be adequate to meet demand and need. These aren't figures plucked from the sky but have been calculated using actual data and evidence."
Mr Henry argued that should the figure prove to be too low the council would be able to review it during the period covered.
He said: "By setting such a high figure now it will open the floodgates to developers to build right across Cornwall because they will be able to point to the local plan and say that the council allocated that number of homes to be built.
"There are already homes which have been built over the last five years which are standing empty so I don't believe there is a need for all these new homes."
Danny Mageean from Cornwall Protects said that the group was "extremely worried" about the number of solar panels and wind turbines being given planning permission.
He said: "Communities, parish councils and individuals feel excluded from the decision making process.
"These developments seem to be rushed through by Cornwall Council with inadequate process.
"They are only now looking at agreeing a policy for renewable energy developments but in our view they are 10 years too late."