House of Commons: Written Statement (HCWS42) Department for Communities and Local Government
Written Statement made by: Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Greg Clark) on 18 Jun 2015.
I am today setting out new considerations to be applied to proposed wind energy development so that local people have the final say on wind farm applications, fulfilling the commitment made in the Conservative election manifesto. Subject to the transitional provision set out below, these considerations will take effect from 18 June and should be taken into account in planning decisions. I am also making a limited number of consequential changes to planning guidance.
When determining planning applications for wind energy development involving one or more wind turbines, local planning authorities should only grant planning permission if: the development site is in an area identified as suitable for wind energy development in a Local or Neighbourhood Plan; and following consultation, it can be demonstrated that the planning impacts identified by affected l ocal communities have been fully addressed and therefore the proposal has their backing. In applying these new considerations, suitable areas for wind energy development will need to
have been allocated clearly in a Local or Neighbourhood Plan. Maps showing the wind resource as favourable to wind turbines, or similar, will not be sufficient. Whether a proposal has the backing of the affected local community is a planning judgement for the local planning authority.
Where a valid planning application for a wind energy development has already been submitted to a local planning authority and the development plan does not identify suitable sites, the following transitional provision applies. In such instances, local planning authorities can find the proposal acceptable if, following consultation, they are satisfied it has addressed the planning impacts i dentified by affected local communities and therefore has their backing.
“An ancient clapper bridge on Bodmin Moor which was in danger of being replaced by a modern wooden structure looks set to be fully restored after local campaigners and contractors reached a compromise.
As reported in the Western Morning News last month, Lantewey Bridge’s granite slabs that spanned the River Dewey between the parishes of St Neot and Warleggan for centuries, were swept away in last winter’s storms. Fearing a similar scenario in the future, Cornwall Council and its contractors Cormac decided, after surveying the site, that a replacement bridge would be a better option. However, the plan outraged local people, who launched a campaign to overturn the decision. Once a vital link for local families, farm workers, miners, quarrymen, pack horses and travellers, the old clapper bridge is today a popular designated footpath for local people and long-distance walkers. Believed to date from the 1300s, the threat to its future led to a flurry of online interest and protest across the world.
Lifelong resident John Keast said: “Following the excellent article in the Western Morning News, we have been inundated with worldwide support to restore the bridge.” David Coppin, of Utah in the USA, wrote in an email: “Although I live in the USA, my ancestors are from this location and my visits to Cornwall have focused on the history of my family who have lived and continue to live there. Things that happen there are of great interest and concern to me and it would be a tragedy if short-sighted ‘solutions’ to problems were to destroy the heritage shared by many. “Such actions would drive a trend that would ultimately result in a situation where there would be nothing to which sons of Cornwall could return. I hope that I and my descendants never have to face a time when we would have to say that our heritage is gone and Cornwall no longer exists except as a minor mention in the history books.”
Responding to public concern, Cormac held a series of discussions with local people earlier this month, resulting in a plan to restore Lantewey Bridge’s granite clappers, albeit with a hidden steel supporting framework to enable the span to be increased and allow an increased flow under it. Cormac will also be using a number of additional large granites to rebuild an abutment. They are being provided free by a local farmer in the parish, with Camel Valley & Bodmin Moor Protection Society offering to meet the costs of transporting the stones to the site. Warleggan Young Farmers’ Club have offered to help with the reconstruction. Cormac countryside officer, Dave Wood, who has been leading the negotiations, said: “We have met with St Neot Parish Council and local residents and discussed a few options which we are looking at through to a design stage. Everyone is really passionate about our local environment and coming together so that the footbridge will be a sustainable and resilient solution which also conserves the character of the local landscape.”
Mr Keast added: “Our forefathers raised this bridge hundreds of years ago and through their skill it has lasted until nowWe would like their legacy to last for hundreds more years. “As a small parish up on the Bodmin Moor, Warleggan has been overwhelmed by the support we have received from all directions since the report in the Western Morning News. “We are now looking forward to the reinstatement works starting next spring after the winter fish migration is over”.
Members might be interested to look out for this at the weekend - Bernard Deacon's blog (as well as obtaining The Great Sale of Cornwall - a worthwhile read for anyone concerned about the quantity of housing being forced upon our communities).
Incidentally, Cllr John Pollard gave a ‘robust’ response to criticism from Chacewater Parish Council about the lack of note taken of locals in regard to planning matters. Circulated to every parish council in Cornwall to seek support (See Council branded a dictatorship – he states that only 5% of decisions went against the local parishes wishes. Useful things statistics, when just one decision can allow 600 houses where they’re not wanted, one decision can permit a solar farm of several hectares, and one decision can permit a wind farm of 100 turbines ... or one decision can allow a bathroom extension or a tree lopping.
CBG concerned over amount of listed buildings currently in the care of Cornwall Council which may be considered for sale. CBG chairman has sought guidance from Cornwall Council. We will keep you posted.
Report on historic envirnonment now avaialable from Cornwall Council Historic Cornwall Advisory Group Report
A new book has been published on the history of Trewinnard near St Erth. Trewinnard is renowned for its association with the Mohun and Hawkins families and is today cared for by Sir John and Lady Nott. The book is introduced by Sir John Nott and is published by Pasticcio Books. More
Very useful guidance 'Understanding Place: character and context in local planning' can be downloaded from More
Two hundred years since the death of John Knill - a monument In St Ives celebrated. More
'Invitation to View' a brand new intitiative that allows group access to some of the south-west's finest country houses. Cornish tresaures include Boconnoc, Bosvathick, Caerhays castle, Pentille castle, Port Eliot, Scorrier house and Trereife house. More
A history of Trevithick Barton More
The Cornish Buildings Group occupies a unique place in the county. Despite our members having a great diversity of backgrounds, we all share a common interest in the built environment, both modern and historical. As a council we recognise the need for engagement hence over the past year we have been developing the Cornish Buildings Group website.
The aim of the website is to reach out to our existing membership and encourage new recruits through better promotion of our activities in particular events, creating an interest in specific fields of architecture, raising the profile of the award scheme and making available our printed material.
The website provides an opportunity for your involvement in the group’s activities. Writing a report on one of the group visits, is just one way of getting involved. Perhaps, a review on a new, or old, book on Cornish buildings, recommend sites for group visits or suggest a new building, a worthy restoration or development for our annual award scheme. Why not send in a research paper on an aspect of Cornish architectural history or encourage a friend to look at the website, who knows they too may like to join in. Perhaps you may just like to use the website to keep up with the group’s news and events.
The site can be found at https://sites.google.com/site/cornishbuildingsgroup/ and it can develop in any way we choose. So please don’t be backwards in coming forward ─ suggest what you would like to see on the site, after all it is yours and we would welcome any suggestions. See the contacts page on the website for where to send your contributions. We look forward to hearing from you.
Paul Holden (Chairman)
Our concerns expressed in a letter to Cllr John Pollard, Leader of Cornwall Council
Dear Cllr Pollard
You might recall that our Group have, on several occasions, contacted you with reference to the plight of St Columb Rectory. In light of our actions we have raised the profile of this important Grade 2* listed building and as a consequence it has received national media coverage with the Victorian Society, Private Eye and national and local newspapers. It is with regret that we have cause to contact you again not only about the rectory but also to champion the cause of neglected Cornish heritage in general.
Our ongoing casework makes for a sorry read and suggests that Cornwall could not manage devolved powers as set out in the Case of Cornwall because it has neither inclination nor resources. The level of our local authority neglect of heritage assets has prompted the Cornish Buildings Group to set up a risk register which is now online. This has been recognised by Heritage England and has been used to inform the SAVE risk register. In the pursuance of our casework, often in conjunction with other statutory and voluntary bodies, we are appalled at the smoke screens that have been thrown up by your staff and at times the lack of courtesy shown in dealing with our enquiries.
The case of St Columb Rectory is a particularly shameful, the history is long and complex and has been drawn to your attention several times over the last five years. Despite assurances to the contrary, updates have not been forthcoming unless chased and any responses we have received lack clarity. On 6 November 2015 Mr Cooper-Young wrote 'I was on site in October. At that time work was progressing to the building to make it weatherproof. The property is secure. The invasive vegetation has been dealt with and repairs to slates were ongoing. A temporary solution for the hole in the roof was being looked into'. In January we were informed that the property had been visited but no-one was not at home while recently on 1 February we were told that 'The Building is secure and there was no evidence of any work being carried out on site'. We will continue to push Historic England and the Victorian Society on this issue in the hope that efforts to enforce action will be taken seriously. We recently raised the profile of the former River Brasserie in River Parade, Lostwithiel, which is unsafe with alarming holes in the roof. Neither Enforcement or Building Control view the state of the building as a concern. Despite community representation to Cornwall Council the historic building remains in a shocking condition in the heart of the conservation area.
We have long championed the cases of Charlestown Chapel and Marlborough House in Falmouth. We will continue to work with the Council for British Archaeology (who have a particular interest in chapels at risk) and Historic England to ensure these two cherished designated buildings have a future. On the former building we, along with the local community, will continue to chase for enforcement action at the very least to make the structure watertight, your team's last communication informed us about a Building Control visit. We are still chasing confirmation of this. Regards Marlborough House we have written to the Senior Development Officer in December 2015 and again in January 2016 in the hope that we might get assurances on its future care. Despite a reply informing us that some negotiations are in hand we still seek clarity that Cornwall Council is committed to this building. We, along with Historic England and the Georgian Group, recognise that Cornwall Council have failed this wonderful building.
Our Group also has several concerns about the wider historic environment. One is the lack of resources available to you to make informed decisions. Based on Freedom of Information obtained we can see that planning applications are not getting due care and attention and that mistakes are being made in the management of our historic assets. We also fear that Cornwall Council are not applying their statutory duty towards long abandoned buildings such as Loggans Mill, Saltash Station, the Old Fire Station in Redruth, all of which have been in a state of decay for a decade or so.
A prompt response to the points raised would be very welcome.
Paul Holden, FSA
Chairman, Cornish Buildings Group
Cllr Pollard's response
Dear Mr Holden
Thank you for your e-mail of the 16 February 2016 and I am sorry to hear of your continuing concerns. I would like to assure you that the stewardship of our environmental assets, including the historic built environment, remains at the heart of the Council’s strategy for a sustainable Cornwall and that we would wish to work together with you to achieve this ambition.
I share your dismay at the state of all the significant buildings you note. I very much welcome the Cornwall Buildings Group’s heritage at risk register, which complements the work being undertaken by the Historic Environment Record (HER) team to ensure that assets at risk are identified to Council Officers. Monitoring the risks to historic buildings is of course essential in prioritising our response.
The use of the statutory powers that the Council holds plays an important part in this work and the Council are continuing to look at these powers on a case by case basis. In the first instance the Council will generally look to work with building owners on a voluntarily basis whilst working together across the Council to identify partnership solutions. We consider this to be a proportionate response in most cases. As you rightly say, the Council has finite resources and formal statutory action can be a complicated and intensive route. It is normally right that enforcement action should be a last resort and to recognise that it provides only temporary solutions unless more sustainable capital investment can be encouraged.
Cornwall Council is extremely active in providing resources to identify such investment, which typically delivers multiple environmental, social and economic benefits for Cornwall. A selection of recent and ongoing projects in which Cornwall Council staff and resources have played central roles in delivering very tangible outcomes for heritage assets at risk is presented below, alongside updates on those difficult ongoing cases raised in your letter. In all cases we stand ready to use available resources to work with owners and other partners to find solutions.
I appreciate your concerns expressed in regards of our own resources and can confirm that we have recently put increased staffing resources in place. These recently enhanced resources include a dedicated advisor within the World Heritage Management team, full time equivalent secondments of Conservation Officer and Archaeological Planning Advisor posts, and the recruitment of two new graduate planning officers within the Historic Environment Planning advice team. Further to these resources we are shortly to commence recruitment of a Historic Environment Record Assistant, which will increase our own ability to monitor heritage at risk, and have secured Government support from Historic England for a study of the local distinctiveness of the Cornish historic environment. This latter study forms part of our commitments with Government coming from the Cornwall Deal.
Delivery of the historic environment elements of the ‘Deal’ is to be steered by a new ‘Historic Cornwall Executive Board’. This Board, external to, but supported by Cornwall Council and Government will develop a future partnership vision for the management of the historic environment of Cornwall. The Board currently includes representatives of the Gorsedh Kernow, Royal Institution of Cornwall, Archaeological Society, English Heritage, and Historic England and will initially steer the ‘distinctiveness study’ before commissioning and leading, later in the year, a Heritage Strategy for Cornwall.
I trust you will find this response helpful and should you wish to discuss this matter further, please contact Daniel Ratcliffe, Historic Environment Lead via email email@example.com.
John Pollard, Leader of the Council
Cornwall Councillor for the Hayle North Division
Current and recent projects we have supported addressing heritage assets at risk.
The Camborne, Roskear and Tuckingmill Townscape Heritage Initiative Project (nearing completion). Managed by Cornwall Council’s Strategic Historic Environment Team and funded by private owners, the HLF, Cornwall Council and Camborne Town Council this project has drawn down over £4m of investment – including securing the future of 22 buildings at risk.
The St Austell Townscape Heritage project is just getting underway. The project funded by Cornwall Council, St Austell Town Council and the HLF and managed by the Strategic Historic Environment Team has drawn down a HLF contribution of £1m which will be more than matched by private contributions.
The ‘Luxulyan Valley’ Project (£3.5m) received a Stage 1 pass from the HLF this year. This bid, developed by staff in the World Heritage Site and Strategic Environment teams at Cornwall Council will address the condition of the historic leat system and the Scheduled Carmears Viaduct.
The King Edward Mine project (£1.1m) funding for refurbishment and conservation. Partnership application with King Edward Mine Ltd.
Multiple projects identified and developed by our Countryside Archaeology Programme led by the Strategic Historic Environment Team and largely funded by Natural England’s Higher Level Stewardship scheme, include Wheal Busy [conversion to workspace] (c.£280K), Wheal Maid [consolidation] (£300K), Wheal Tye [consolidation](£40K), Trevelgue Head [repairs following storm erosion] (£200K), Mt Edgecombe follys and deerhouses [conservation] (£400K), Kennel Vale leats [repairs] (£100K), and china stone mills in the Tregargus Valley [consolidation] (£200K).
Update on progress on the cases raised by the Cornwall Buildings Group.
St Columb Rectory – the enforcement team have been working with the owner of the building since 2014 to seek improvements to the building. The owner has undertaken considerable works to make the building secure and watertight. The enforcement team are continuing to work with the owner and his representatives to work on the long term future of the building.
River Brassiere, Lostwithiel – The Council served Notice under Section 78 of the Building Act in 2015 as the building was considered to be dangerous. The Council are happy to keep this building under review if it deteriorates in the future and it is being assessed for addition to the Council’s own Heritage at Risk register.
Charlestown Chapel – The enforcement team have been working with the owners and have obtained an undertaking for work to commence on the building in March 2016 in respect of the permissions issued, the site is also be monitored by the Council’s Building Control Service in respect of whether it is dangerous or not. Again if the works do not commence by the end of March 2016 the Council will keep the matter under review.
Saltash Station – The enforcement team are currently trying to agree a schedule of works and a timetable to improve the buildings appearance.
Marlborough House – The Council is still in communications with the landowner about works at this property. The new owner is engaging in discussions with our Conservation Officer and applications are in process to address some of the works. This matter is therefore ongoing.
Loggans Mill & Old Fire Station - We do not have any reported matters in respect of these sites. If you would like the planning enforcement department to investigate these matters please use our online reporting form which can be found at https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/environment-and-planning/planning/enforcement/report-a-breach-of-planning-control/. In respect of Loggans Mill officers are currently actively investigating a grant application which may secure a sustainable solution for this building.
A Case for Cornwall, our concerns and Cornwall Council response.
Dear Cllr Pollard
The Cornish Buildings Group is encouraged to learn from the Case for Cornwall Summary that the Council proposes 'more local control in protecting historic buildings'.
However, within the Case for Cornwall we see a contradiction to this. In seeking to transfer Historic England (English Heritage) powers and resources to provide greater local control over heritage assets CC wants to explore opportunities to increase local powers and resources to address anomalies in defining heritage significance, streamlining planning processes and maximise opportunities to integrate heritage into social and economic regeneration.
The Council’s Duty under the Act is to have special regard to the desirability of preserving listed buildings, their settings and any features of special architectural or historic interest which it possesses and to pay special attention to the desirability of preserving or enhancing the character and appearance of Conservation Areas.
In a recent Freedom of Information request Cornwall Council confirmed an 80% reduction in obtaining professional conservation advice from its own Historic Environment Section since its 2012 Historic Environment White Paper. In many cases the conservation expertise on development proposals in the county relies solely on Historic England comment.
The Group shares with Historic England concerns over the severely diminished conservation resources at Cornwall Council as well as the number of consultations on development proposals in Cornwall which fails to obtain conservation professional involvement.
Cornwall has the largest number of statutorily protected Heritage Assets of any Unitary Council area. Heritage is one of the South West’s Major economic assets. Historic England provides the national overview. It promotes a positive well-informed approach to conservation by helping people understand their historic environment and using that understanding to manage change. They support innovative schemes that protect and enhance the significance of buildings and historic places and work collaboratively with owners, architects and developers to help them develop proposals for creative uses of historic places.
The Group strongly supports more protection of Cornwall’s historic environment with responsible management of change, good stewardship and encouragement of, and support for, sustainable heritage-led urban and rural regeneration, based on high quality design that reinforces local character.
We would ask therefore of the Case for Cornwall what benefit Cornwall Council considers there would be to dispose of Historic England, the organisation dedicated to championing heritage in the County?
Sincerely, Paul Holden, FSA, Chairman
Dear Mr Holden
Thank you for your email. Please accept my sincere apologies for the delay in responding [6 weeks].
The ‘Case for Cornwall’ includes the Council’s long term ambitions for our stewardship of historic assets. Our ambition is to increase powers and resources available locally to “invest in and protect Cornwall’s heritage and promote cultural devolution”. To do this the Case (published in full athttp://www.cornwall.gov.uk/media/13331534/c4c-full-document.pdf ) states that the council wishes to “explore devolution options” including devolution from the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England (more commonly known as Historic England and English Heritage) to “an independent heritage body for Cornwall”. The Case document proposed two models to government. These included the devolution of all powers to a new ‘Historic Cornwall’ body, and a less radical model where by a localised branch of Historic England – Historic England (Cornwall) was set up to ensure more local input into the operation of Historic England roles. We do not seek to ‘dispose of Historic England’, an organisation which has funded a very great deal of investment into Cornwall’s historic environment and plays an invaluable role in designating and managing our historic assets, but instead want to devolve its skills, resources and functions so that they can take account more appropriately of the significance of heritage assets at a local, rather than national ‘English’ level. Central to our ‘Case’ are that current safeguards for designated historic assets must not be reduced; indeed we think that through consolidating skills and resources within one independent and localised organisations that these safeguards could become more effective directed from an organisation whose primary focus (unlike both Cornwall Council or Historic England) would be to champion the cultural distinctiveness of Cornwall.
The ‘Deal’ document is seen by the Council as a first step in our long journey towards greater devolution for Cornwall. The Government has formally recognised our “rich and unique heritage” and that “cultural distinctiveness is an important factor in Cornwall’s local economy”. The deal strengthens a longstanding and very close working relationship between the Council and Historic England which continues to strengthen and develop. I very much value this partnership and all it brings to the Council and the celebration, protection and enhancement of Cornwall’s historic assets. As a result of the Deal agreement we will be working together on the establishment of a “Cornwall Historic Environment Forum” which will “develop [the vision of local heritage partners] for heritage at a more local level” and both Cornwall Council and Historic England will “jointly produce a study of the cultural distinctiveness of the Cornish historic environment”. Our officers are currently developing an action plan to progress these objectives and the wider aspirations of the Case for Cornwall and I shall ask our Historic Environment Lead to report on this to the Heritage Kernow stakeholder group at its next meeting in September.
Oll an gwella, Yours sincerely, John Pollard, Leader of the Council
PA15/06567 Proposed Development on the waterfront at Falmouth
We strongly object to the above proposed development. There are so many reasons why this is an inappropriate site for any building proposal. However, the CBG has a particular remit to protect historic buildings and their setting and the arguments for recommending refusal must concentrate on its particular area of interest and expertise.
The Listing process is designed to preserve buildings which are of historic or architectural value and scarcity and any replacements within their area must be of an equal quality. The present attempt – with lift towers (looking like a standard design for suburban commuter 'platforms' ) is not suitable for this site. The two towers, nearly 35' high, with a squashed pyramid hat and plastic weatherboarding, are not an acceptable solution here.
The problem remains that the site is not suitable as a major Traffic Interchange and blame for this must rest with decisions by the late lamented District Council. Once it became known that Network Rail would not permit a heliport alongside a main railway, only moving St Ives Park-and-Ride to the site would justify continuation of the whole Traffic Interchange concept. The opportunity for Cornwall Council to reassess the suitability of the site was lost. Time and money have now gone on two aborted schemes essentially to provide more car parking, despite the problem of site levels and disabled access remaining to be resolved.
Network Rail can't make up their minds – and certainly have not fully explored alternative solutions; in 2013 it was not possible to provide lifts so we had the 'endless ramp' scheme, yet a year later lifts have been put forward as THE solution! The time has come to decide: either look for a suitable site elsewhere or find an acceptable solution for good 'new-build' to set amongst the Listed buildings on the site.
Is the narrow bridge under the line sufficient for summer traffic to the park and ride – with additional pedestrians on the narrow pavement- although apparently a widened bridge is not possible (this year, at any rate).
Network Rail claim with the existing bridge train clearance are insufficient for electrification – although we await the date for this to be announced. Surely it is unusual to start 'preliminary work', on a major project before funding, a programme or even any commitment has been announced, especially when destroying a Listed structure. When will rebuilding start on all the other road bridges in Devon and Cornwall?
Submitted drawing 000034 however states, in relation to possible glazing-in of the bridge, “should future electrification occur”.
All these problems could be avoided following installation of the new signalling system (which is now funded and approved) by taking all trains onto the up line platform as is done, for instance, in Switzerland. With the present car park to be extended, provision of reserved disabled spaces would then provide direct level access for all trains both on the mainline and on the St Ives branch.
If lift towers are required why not reduce their height by using hydraulic lifts or underground plant rooms?
There seems to be a general inability by Network Rail's consultants to look at non-standard solutions, but this is the only way an acceptable solution can be found for a unique Listed site; we have seen two unacceptable attempts that have delayed the project and increased costs, not least the professional fees for abortive work that never justified more than a first sketch, let alone their development to a full planning application.
Should all alternatives be ruled out for JUSTIFIED reasons (not simply for the convenience of Network Rail) the existing scheme needs a totally different approach. Any new structure, if required, should be considered worthy of Listing Building status in its own right at some point in the future. A light totally glazed bridge and towers is one alternative some would favour, being a complete contrast to the 19th century buildings which would intrude less than solid towers and would avoid being mistaken for an integral part of the original station. A poor pastiche solution, slightly-vernacular, slightly-Cornish, as is now being considered by the Council is not acceptable; an interesting new approach with some excitement and not just the standard – with a bit of granite to appease any Cornish opposition.
The Cornish Building Group objects to the application and would urge Cornwall Council to refuse this latest attempt and urge Network Rail to appoint a new team experienced in working on Listed Buildings AND able to look at radically different approaches as well as providing good modern architecture should a 'new-build' solution be unavoidable.
John Stengelhofen, AADipl.
Vice-Chairman, Cornish Buildings Group
'St Erth Station . . . constitutes a rare survival of a complete station'. Beacham & Pevsner: The Buildings of England: Cornwall (Yale University Press, 2014) p.538
'Today it is one of the last country junction stations, typical of what was once commonplace...the station has remained unchanged, retaining all its period charm'. Gordon Biddle: Britain's Historic Railway Buildings (Oxford University Press, 2003) p.140
Much of our casework has been archived. Please press link to access more detail.
Campaign to save Jubilee Pool, Penzance. link to Cornishman
St Erth Railway Station Read More
Foster Complex, Bodmin
Our fight to save the Foster Complex Read about our campaign
The last days of the Foster Complex View picture gallery
BBC News Website Read news
Foster Complex mentioned in the House of Lords Read more
Examining Mental Illness in Bodmin Read blog
Foster Hall Revival Trust Read brochure
Buildings at Risk
We aim to champion the plight of Cornish buildings at risk. Some cases
St Columb Rectory
Cornish Rectory on Top Ten Endangered Buildings List From Western Morning News
Other cases and casework archive