Town council opposes new plan for more private flats
CONTROVERSIAL plans to turn a former Sunday school in St Ives into nine flats have been strongly opposed by the town council's planning committee.
This is the second application to convert the building on Bedford Road; a previous application for 13 flats was refused by Cornwall Council in the summer, after the town council again objected.
Many in the town have come out against the proposals, which opponents describe as symptomatic of the overdevelopment destroying the town's character.
However, planning committee vice-chairman Terry Tonkin said if the application had been for affordable homes it might have been viewed differently by the council.
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"It's a private development when there's a great need for affordable homes," he said.
"If there had been the option of nine flats that were made affordable, that might have been totally different. This is just for sheer profit. The demand for affordable housing is overwhelming."
Cornwall Council's Homechoice register currently includes 622 households assessed as having a local connection to St Ives.
In The Cornishman in June, residents attacked developers, saying a wave of applications risked turning the town into "one big building site".
Previous proposals, including one for 16 flats at the Porthminster Hotel, for 12 flats at Belyars Croft Hotel and for 14 holiday apartments at The Woodside, have all attracted criticism. The Bedford Road scheme has come in for similar treatment, with three objectors labelling it "unneighbourly", and one saying it threatened the future of the neighbouring Bedford Road Chapel.
On Cornwall Council's planning website Ms C Uren said: "We already have overdevelopment within our beautiful town and we do not need any more flats, especially any more holiday ones, so if the developer thinks that offering to use them for holidays will appease the people of St Ives they are sadly mistaken."
Eric Kemp, who also objected to the previous plan, said: "This is unneighbourly in the extreme and represents a great threat to the Church to carry out its mission.
"The chapel building is a part of St Ives' history and much admired.
"I am sure councilors and very many others would be very sorry to see it close over this matter."
David Smithies, a director of the developer, Abbeyman Estates Limited, said the company, working with a planning officer, had developed a proposal which seemed to meet the objections raised following the first refusal, against which it was appealing.