Cornwall planning: New houses will 'destroy our wellbeing and breach our human rights' say villagers

The view of neighbouring properties from the development site in Hatt
The view of neighbouring properties from the development site in Hatt -Credit:Cornwall Council

Elderly, disabled and vulnerable residents of a row of Cornwall Council houses say a new nearby development will destroy their wellbeing and would be in breach of their rights. The comments were made during a planning meeting to decide the fate of an application to build four homes on land at Orchard Meadow in Hatt, near Saltash.

The proposal by Mr C Speed, on behalf of Acorn Land and New Homes Ltd with Ellenden Ltd, had previously been approved but the time limit for building to start had run out. A fresh application was brought before the council's east sub-area planning committee today (Monday, May 13) by local councillor Martin Worth - meaning it would be considered by elected councillors instead of letting it be decided by planning officers - due to "significant unanimous objections from the parish council and local residents over many years". Officers had recommended councillors approve it.

Ann Williams represented residents of neighbouring Carlton Villas - eight houses run by Cornwall Housing, the council's accommodation arm. She said: "Allowing the development would seriously impact the residents' quality of life and the expectations for their wellbeing, safety and security. It would be contrary to the Disability Discrimination Act and the Human Rights Act of 1998. The eight households affected include four registered disabled, of which two are over 80. This includes a polio victim and another with a serious heart condition."

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She added: "There are others Cornwall Housing has classed as being vulnerable. Obviously, this is why it placed them in Carlton Villas in the first place as it is currently a haven of calm and tranquility, which aids their feelings of security and safety, knowing that they're sheltered from the stresses and strains of many of the aspects of everyday life. If this is denied, Cornwall Council will find itself in breach of Article 14 of the Human Rights Act which guarantees the right for the peaceful enjoyment of your household.

"The added disturbance of noise, traffic and constant to-ing and fro-ing of vehicles during the construction phase and beyond would destroy all our wellbeing."

She said if the committee approved the application, residents would take it to the Local Government Ombudsman "in order for some common sense to prevail".

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Malcolm Fletcher, of Botus Fleming Parish Council, said its main concern was access issues for those living at Carlton Villas, which is a private road. He told the committee: "The lane is completely unsuitable to feed the development and will create a new risk for vulnerable residents, with serious access issues for emergency and delivery vehicles." Cllr Fletcher added that the fire service had difficulty getting its vehicles into the road to deal with a series of fires over the past two or three years.

"Affordable housing is indeed one of Cornwall Council's highest priorities but none of the proposed houses could be considered as affordable. The nearby Treledan development [1,000 houses near Saltash] which will locally supply many hundreds of homes, including those considered affordable, completely negates the necessity for this controversial development," he said.

Local member Cllr Worth argued that a recent Cornwall Council survey showed there was a need for such housing in the area. "Responses came back showing clearly there was requirement for affordable, but I have to say as part of that survey seven respondents from Botus Fleming also required open market housing," he said.

"I am fearful when I hear we can send people to Treledan - if we do that we lose the quality of our small parish and rural communities." He added that local schools rely on properties where there are children.

Cllr Barry Jordan said there had been a site meeting in 2019, followed by a committee meeting where the proposal was approved. He said nothing he'd heard at today's meeting deterred him for allowing the updated plan for planning reasons. The application was approved with seven votes in favour and two against.