Developers bewildered by threat of challenge
A council in Cornwall has been lambasted by developers behind a £400 million housing scheme for pursuing a planning legal challenge.
The Inox Group, which is based in Exeter, was granted planning permission for the development at Langarth Farm, on the edge of Truro, earlier this year.
The scheme, which includes 1,500 new homes – of which 525 would be affordable – a primary school, care village, community centre and hotel, would also create some of the shared infrastructure for the planned Stadium for Cornwall.
But Inox managing director Rob Saltmarsh said he was "bewildered" at why Truro City Council was considering a judicial review when just 12 people had registered an objection.
Buy one get one free on main course and specials excludes fillet steaks and beef Wellington
Must book to qualify 01209 860332 and present voucher on arrival
Mon- Thur 6-9pm
Contact: 01209 700617
Valid until: Saturday, December 21 2013
Mr Saltmarsh said: "We are bewildered that Truro City Council is seeking to jeopardise an investment of £400 million in the city and put further taxpayers' money at risk.
"They have already lost a judicial review into Cornwall Council's consent for the Truro Eastern District Centre which cost them around £20,000 in legal fees, and had further costs awarded against them. Inox is exceptionally confident that this judicial review application will ultimately fail, but the city council is dumping another bill on taxpayers by trying to overturn the consent for our scheme, and in whose name? Where is their mandate, especially given we had just 12 written objections to our application out of a population of 20,000?
"If you asked the hard working people of Truro whether they'd prefer tens of thousands of pounds of their money to be frittered away through pointless legal actions, or invested in something like a Christmas lights display or better public conveniences, you can guess the answer."
Mr Saltmarsh said the scheme would deliver much-needed affordable homes and the infrastructure "critical" to the delivery of the stadium.
He added: "Everyone is fully aware how damaging political intervention and infighting has been towards the stadium becoming a reality, and it has been impossible to raise private funding to date in this environment.
"We currently wait to hear whether the court will grant leave for a judicial review.
"In the meantime I hope people will ask tough questions of Truro City Council, especially how it can justify spending taxpayers' money to derail investment in the city's future, given that so many local people are working hard towards securing a higher wage economy and more opportunities for all."
Truro City Council has confirmed that it has applied to the High Court for a judicial review and was awaiting a judgment on whether the action could go forward.
Deputy Mayor Loic Rich said the city council had not yet reached a "final decision on whether to take action".
He said action would only be taken "after weighing up all the pros and cons" including "whether the use of taxpayers' money can be justified".
He added: "This is about the long term success and prosperity of Truro. We are fighting for investment, jobs, and affordable housing.
"The city council has a responsibility to support the people who live and work here, as well as our diverse range of businesses and industries.
"We are considering our options regarding a major application that could have a range of implications on services, including extreme traffic congestion, sewage and other services.
"This is about ensuring the social and economic vitality of our local area."
The campaign group Stadium4Cornwall said it was “disappointed with the persistence of Truro City Council in still employing delaying tactics affecting the provision of the stadium”.
It said: In addition, the level of public support for the stadium and the hopes and aspirations it will bring to young people in sport generally in Cornwall seems to have been totally disregarded by Truro City Council.
“This current action by Truro City Council has already made it virtually impossible, to date, to raise funding for the stadium.
“Compare this attitude to that of Exeter City Council, who not only had the vision to realise from the start what an asset the Sandy Park Stadium would be – and which it has proven to be – but has subsequently given its full support to an extension to same, benefiting not only followers of sport, but the economy of the city itself.
“This support from Exeter City Council is also shown by its sponsorship of some of the Exeter Chiefs’ off-field activities. That must say something.
“If the city council wants to see Truro as the administrative centre of Cornwall and the hub of Cornish business and enterprise, it has to look to the future and accept that major developments such as those being proposed have to be carried out, or does it just want to see Truro as an old market town, with no investment, dying on its feet?
“Developments such as those currently proposed at Langarth will bring in an estimated 1,000 jobs and an investment of £400 million in much-needed revenue to the city, of which the stadium will be playing its part. Doesn’t Truro City Council want this? It doesn’t appear so.
“Truro City Council would seem to prefer to spend money on trying not to get it.
“It has already lost a judicial review into Cornwall Council's consent for the Truro Eastern District Centre which cost around £20,000 in legal fees, with still further costs being awarded against them.
“And it’s the Truro ratepayers who will in the end be paying this bill – and more, if the city council continues on its path of self-destruction by continually taking out expensive and lost-cause judicial reviews such as this.”