Final piece in the jigsaw for controversial Truro development
Councillors expressed their "sadness" yesterday as proposals were passed for a park- and-ride scheme to link a controversial mixed development in a valley on the outskirts of Truro.
A storm of protest was whipped-up amongst Cornwall councillors and protesters when an application was made to build the £40 million scheme, including a Waitrose supermarket, houses, a recycling centre and a Cornish food hall on Duchy of Cornwall-owned land east of the city.
After much bitter wrangling the council granted planning permission in March last year, for the development on Tregolls Road. Now, proposals to build the accompanying 1,350-space park-and-ride scheme are in full swing.
Recommendations passed yesterday by cabinet meeting at County Hall, Truro, included noting a report on the scheme's progress and which council departments would negotiate and complete leasehold agreements to make way for the park-and-ride and recycling centre, on land adjacent to Union Cross.
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Also included in the recommendations was the issue of European funding being sought for the park and ride.
While presenting the proposals to cabinet, Bert Biscoe, Independent councillor for Truro and portfolio holder for transportation, highways and environment, abstained from voting.
When plans for the development were first mooted, Mr Biscoe was strongly opposed to them and was not a member of the cabinet. At the time, he said he was disappointed with the decision, and that shops in the city centre would suffer.
Yesterday, he stuck to his guns and said: "I'm not a great fan of this scheme.
"But we want an efficient outcome for the council."
Doris Ansari, Lib Dem councillor for Truro, told the meeting that although the battle was lost she was still deeply saddened.
Mrs Ansari said: "It's no secret I am definitely not a fan of this development.
"But I am a fan of park-and- ride schemes.
"I am sad we are losing one of our most beautiful valleys at the entrance to our city.
"It's hurt me more than any other planning application over 42 years as a local government representative.
"It's a sad, sad day for Truro because there was a possibility Waitrose might move into the city centre but they preferred a greenfield site."
Mrs Ansari said the location was at odds with Waitrose's image as a "sustainable and green" company.
However the scheme, which includes 97 homes with the promise of some 200 new jobs, won backing from other councillors.
Bob Egerton, Independent for Probus and member champion for information management and transparency, said he was pleased the Waitrose application had succeeded.
He said: "I have always been a fan of this scheme.
"I know it's been controversial – but a lot of residents in my division will use this scheme and all the facilities there. I'm happy the cabinet will press ahead with this."