No Solar, No Access

Yesterday saw the first regular Parish Council meeting since 9th July.  Although meetings happen on a monthly basis, August is the annual exception and no public meeting takes place.  In the intervening period, the council have clearly been anything but idle.

First of all, we got the excellent news that the planning application for the Solar Farm at Dunstan Lodge had been refused. There were a small number of parishioners in favour of it but the overwhelming majority, including all those living nearby, were strongly opposed. I think the objectors owe a huge thanks to Christine and members of the Parish Council who worked hard to achieve a unanimous planning refusal: Something almost unheard of for a Solar application in sunny Cornwall!

The other major talking point was the recent agreement from Devon and Cornwall Police to actively monitor a “No Access” traffic order on Church Lane. I believe this took both Cormac and the Parish Council by surprise as previous communications had suggested that a No Access ruling would be difficult, if not impossible to enforce. Inevitably this wasn’t a welcome announcement for all parties present. Despite it potentially delivering the best possible solution for Church Lane residents, it negates the need to reopen the old St Mellion International Resort entrance. There was a lot of discussion on this point as the Parish Council had previously voted to pursue its reopening; a very favourable option with St Mellion Park residents as it provides a faster (all be it only seconds faster) means of access to their residencies from the A388. In the end, Christine succinctly explained the situation.

  • St Mellion International submitted planning application E2/06/01399/OUT
  • Cornwall Council approved the application with conditions. One condition being that a new entrance must be implemented from the A388. Another, that money be provided for traffic measures in Church Lane to address the inevitable traffic increase due to rat-running as a result of closing the old entrance.
  • St Mellion International accepted the conditions and constructed a new entrance, at significant cost and provided money for (amongst other things) Church Lane traffic improvements.
  • Arguing that the money provided by St Mellion International be used to reopen the entrance is cyclic; the money having been granted as a condition of the old entrance closure. This could lead to potential litigation from St Mellion International, especially as the money was granted for specific, documented purposes; reopening the old entrance, not being one of them.

Despite the lucidity of Christine’s explanation, I get the sense that this issue has not been laid to rest. The residents of St Mellion Park were very hopeful that the money would be spent in a manner that would benefit them by way of quicker access to their properties.  Their representative at the meeting argued long and and hard that they comprise a significant percentage of the Parish population and should benefit from the Section 106 agreement.  Personally I don’t live on Church Lane or on St Mellion Park and don’t stand to benefit from either solution.  The Access Only restriction though appears to be the perfect solution to traffic volume in Church Lane and at a fraction of the cost of reopening the old entrance.  This leaves some money in the pot for the other items stipulated on the 106.

Last but not least, Geoffrey Postles!  The man continues to hugely impress me.  He seems genuinely concerned with delivering benefits to the Parish and works really hard to achieve them.  I’m not aware of his background but he appears to have more than just a working knowledge of how councils operate and how to interact with them to achieve his goals.  Crack on Geoffrey and the very best of luck to you.  A couple more like you and the Parish Council would be truly formidable!

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