Variation to the Wain Homes’ development at Dudman Farm off the Highertown area of the city now sees a reduction in the number of affordable homes and public space.
However, it’s the access through a neighbouring housing estate – which wasn’t occupied and was only partially built when outline permission was granted by Cornwall Council in 2015 – that is particularly worrying for a local councillor.
Wain Homes plans to build 75 houses at Dudman West with the bulk of the development, 200 properties, at Dudman East.
The building was originally due to take place in five phases but the new revised plan asks for it to be done in two stages.
The site is just a couple of miles from the planned Langarth Garden Village and its 3,550 homes.
What Wain Homes has said
The original approval granted 40 per cent of the Dudman development as affordable housing – the requirement is 35 per cent. However, the applicant now states that a viability assessment demonstrates that only 25 per cent affordable housing is “viable”.
A statement by planning consultants CarneySweeney, on behalf of Wain Homes, says: “However, applicant is willing to still provide 30 per cent affordable housing, recognising local comments on this matter and the importance of providing affordable housing in Cornwall.”
That means the housing estate will now provide 82 affordable homes against an original policy agreement of 96 properties.
Rob Nolan, Liberal Democrat councillor for Truro Boscawen and Redannick division, said: “What they’re proposing for the affordables is 30 per cent but our policy is 35 per cent – it is the difference between 96, which is what we’re expecting, and 82, which is what they’re offering; 67 of them would be affordable rentals which is good because it means people have got the chance of getting them.”
He said the “big issue” for him was that access to the eastern side of Dudman, where the majority of the houses will be built, would be through Penn an Dre, the estate which was built on the former site of Richard Lander school.
“When this was given outline permission in 2015 those houses weren’t there,” said Cllr Nolan. “Work had started on it but people weren’t living there so they didn’t get a chance to object. Suddenly they’re going to have all these cars going up and down on a road that just isn’t really suitable. The estate road goes right past the children’s play area. There’s already bad parking there and it’s dangerous for the kids.
“Buses are going to go in and out of Dudman via Valley View Road off Newbridge Lane. It’s a proper road not an estate road. Why not send the bulk of traffic through there as well? I haven’t had an answer to that yet. ”
He added: “There’s no play area on the east side [of the Dudman Farm development] which is where the bulk of the houses are. What they’re saying is that children living there can use the play area at Penn and Dre. The people on Penn and Dre pay for the management of it and suddenly all these other people are going to come and use it. It’s adding insult to injury.”
Cllr Nolan said there were also local concerns about flood water run-off on the steep site, which could flow to the nearby hamlet of Calenick.
“There are things that we really didn’t think of as recently as 2015 when permission was granted – we didn’t think about the people living at Penn and Dre and we didn’t think about biodiversity. Nowadays we want a 10 per cent biodiversity gain but apparently we’re accepting we’re not going to get it, we’re just hoping for no loss at all. Probably they can achieve that as there’s quite a bit of open space; it’s not going to be better than what’s there now but there will be some space,” he added.
The plan to build the 275 new homes has previously been dubbed “utter madness” and “monstrous”. An online petition opposing the development has over 1,000 signatures, and there is growing opposition to the revised proposals on Cornwall Council’s online planning portal.
Michael Hicks wrote: “Having lived here for over 25 years I have seen how recent development has affected the residents of this area. It is obvious that the current roads will not cope with an increase in traffic. It is difficult exiting on to Tresawls Road at the moment, what will it be like with potentially another 500+ vehicles?
“We need to retain as much of the green space as we can. This is a benefit to the wildlife in the area and residents alike. Given the massive development at Langarth, do we really need more houses being built less than a mile away? It is clear from the comments that the public are overwhelmingly against this development.”
Naomi Barnes added: “I don’t understand how this is even a possibility? The site has bats and owls. The roads are narrow, winding and dangerous. The locality is known for being marshy. And what’s the reason?
“Langarth is just up the road and surely that’ll provide homes for the local population. What about the congestion, hospital, lack of schools and low reservoirs? Our GPs are barely coping as it is. To build a site on land where there is an abundance of wildlife is crazy and very ill thought. Have a walk down near the viaduct and you’ll see so many bats and you’ll hear so many owls.”
Rebecca Andrews commented: “I understand the need to build more affordable homes to address the shortage and that we will have to give up some of our green spaces to achieve this. Now that Wain Homes are seeking approval to reduce the number of affordable homes on the Dudman Farm development to a level which does not meet the minimum quota, there seems to be very little benefit for the local community, but an awful lot to be lost.
“Much has changed since planning permission was originally granted for this development. Access to green space is now absolutely vital given that we are experiencing a mental health crisis.”
Modification to the Dudman Farm plans are awaiting a decision.