Town hopes Localism Act will save it from county's 'crafty move'
Councillors are preparing to fight a move to sell two town car parks for a supermarket.
The plan by Cornwall Council in Launceston has been described by Mayor Rob Tremain as a "crafty move" made without consultation with local people.
Town councillors are likely to seek what is known as community asset protection for the Race Hill car parks after learning Cornwall Council had advertised them for sale.
They will also ask officers to their meeting on February 19 to discuss the proposed sale and explain why they were not consulted.
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The county authority is looking for bidders for the pay-and-display sites, which are stepped and total 1.51 hectares (3.74 acres).
"The site is considered suitable for an imaginative foodstore-led scheme, subject to planning and the provision of on-site public car parking," the advertising material says.
"There is currently active interest in the town from a number of foodstore operators and developers, and the site at Race Hill, with its proximity and links to the town centre, is considered the sequentially preferable site for such a development."
Alex Folkes, a Cornwall councillor for the town, raised the subject at Tuesday's town council meeting, saying it should seek to have these and all other Cornwall Council car parks in the town listed as assets of community value under the Localism Act.
The Act gives communities more say about what should be built and where, he said. "In this case it allows town and parish councils and community groups to have buildings and land which play a key role in the local community listed as assets of community value. Should the owner of the site want to sell then the local council or community group can have the sale put on hold while they put together a bid ... raise the funding and write a decent business plan.
"It also means Cornwall Council can't asset-strip a local area in record time and behind closed doors."
He had asked the unitary authority to put the whole idea on hold until it had formally consulted local residents and organisations and held a public meeting in the town.
Mr Tremain said his councillors hadn't had time to study the documents: "I believe Cornwall Council has been approached by a developer. We already have another large store plan for the town, Morrisons on the Link Road, which has been passed.
"I don't think Launceston needs another on top of that, as we have three already.
"I hope officers from the county will come to our meeting and tell us what they're up to. It just seems like a crafty move to make money to me."