Councillor changes his mind over controversial planning decision
A TRURO councillor has been accused of "stupidity" and electioneering after carrying out a U-turn on a massively controversial planning application.
Councillor Mike Eathorne-Gibbons consistently supported plans for housing, a Waitrose and a new park and ride at the top of Union Hill that angered many local residents.
The plans for the Truro Eastern District Centre (TEDC) were approved in March but now Mr Eathorne-Gibbons, a Conservative who represents Ladock, St Clement and St Erme, and lives in Truro, has changed his mind.
In a newsletter to residents he wrote: "Personally, with hindsight, I should have given more weight to the loss of green fields. I'm sorry the decision went against many residents."
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Later he states "the traffic risk remains my main concern" and acknowledges the impact the new Waitrose would have on traders in the city centre.
Councillor Rob Nolan, former mayor of Truro who fought the plans, said: "Cornwall Council consulted with Mike Eathorne-Gibbons throughout. He has had a major impact on the whole thing and now he has carried out this volte-face.
"He has either got elections at the back of his mind or he was genuinely stupid and did not express the concerns expressed by us all. It's very strange that he should suddenly wake up to it."
Dennis Keam, a Probus resident opposed to the development, said: "As far as I'm concerned he has lost all credibility – it's ridiculous. He wants to get re-elected."
Mr Eathorne-Gibbons said: "I have always said the decision on TEDC was one of balance – the benefits and opportunities against costs and risks and the relative weight to be given to each.
"A key issue has always been traffic. I'm happy to repeat that personally I should have given more weight to the loss of green fields and, of course, I'm sorry that many residents are disappointed that the decision went against their views. Others are not.
"The election is some time away and what I wanted to do now is inform residents on what was happening."