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Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Why can't we try a different plan for once?

Today Cllr Jude Robinson has gushed blogged about the plan for Camborne, Pool, Illogan and Redruth that will provide

"... better transport, more paths and cycleways, better town centres and shops, access to the countryside, parks and coast and better housing, more people enjoying life here and more prosperity"

While Cllr Robinson admits she has no magic wand, the only things that seem to be missing from this wish list are world peace and an end to hunger.

Although I am a member of Illogan Parish Council's Planning Committee, I have not as yet seen the plan and so will reserve judgement until I have been able to look at it. My worry is that a plan, completed by Cornwall Council planners and supported by a Labour councillor who believed that building 68,000 houses in Cornwall was a good idea, is likely to disregard actual local need in favour of more CV building and allowing the vociferous supporters of mass house building to claim that 'they are getting things done'.

In Illogan we have an actual need to house around 18 people and yet the Cornwall Local Plan (Core Strategy) tells us that we will have well over 300 houses foisted upon us.

The last time I looked Illogan was still a village and yet we are included in a 'Town Plan' covering the most highly populated area of Cornwall. Just as Westminster looks to Cornwall to provide second homes and holiday lets for their hard pressed workers, it seems that our green fields are required for an expansion of the urban conurbation and further blurring of the individual communities that make up the 'CPIR' mass. What price local democracy? What price Localism?

Cllr Robinson draws on the example of 'Heartlands' as a prime example of what can be achieved and seeks to give the impression that local people are very happy, content and excited about this development (or at least the reasonable and rational ones are). I have visited Heartlands several times and I can't help thinking that £35 million is a lot to pay for a vast expanse of paving.

Much is made of the employment that Heartlands provides and lots of figures are bandied around, which seem to increase with the re-telling. Yet when I have vitied there is very limited evidence of the claims that are made. If you ask in the retail units you will find that the businesses have simply relocated - no new jobs there then.

Cllr Robinson claims that Heartlands shows off our history and culture, yet Cornish flags are not allowed as they would be a 'political symbol'. It seems to me that the culture that is being encouraged by providing an area of Cornwall, with a rich history of its own, with a solid English name like 'Heartlands' is not Cornish culture but a sanitised imposition of English culture over a fairy tale theme park.

Heartlands is a prime example of:

"the ultimate in place shaping, a new landscape containing mine relics disconnected from their past.  An urban playground for a community without roots, a tourist attraction.  Fundamentally it is designed to be the centrepiece for new housing which will surround the site.  A landscape fit for some of the new population expected and encouraged to move to Cornwall."   CoSERG

For an alternative try HERE

There are many better ways to plan for Cornwall's future than mass house building, place shaping and creating urban playgrounds. Why can't we try some of them out for change?

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