Plans for a skatepark in Perranporth are on hold after councillors asked for more information about noise concerns before making a decision.
The proposed skate park on land in Ponsmere Valley had been backed by Perranzabuloe Parish Council and a large number of people in the local community.
However several nearby residents objected to the plans and said they considered that the noise it would cause would be unacceptable.
Cornwall Council’s central sub-area planning committee considered the application when it met this week and after a long debate agreed to defer it to allow more information to be gathered.
One of the areas of contention was the noise issue – two separate noise analysis reports had been provided for councillors, one from the applicants and another from the objecting residents.
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While both reports said there would be some noise impact the one from the skatepark company said it would be moderate while the other said that it would be significant.
The applicants argued that the nearest homes to the park were 52 metres away and that there were hedgerows and the main road to Perranporth between them.
They also pointed out that there are several other skateparks in Cornwall where homes are much closer than the one planned in Perranporth and yet those had been granted planning permission.
It was highlighted that the skatepark in Truro has homes just 20m away and that there had not been any noise complaints from residents.
However the concerns raised in the objectors’ noise report convinced planning officers to recommend that the plans be refused due to possible noise nuisance.
On the council’s planning website there had been 118 comments received about the application – of those 94 were in favour and just 19 were against.
Kevin Havill, one of the objectors, said he and his fellow objectors were not against a skatepark in Perranporth but did not want it in the location proposed.
He said that residents had “many justifiable concerns most significantly about noise impact”.
Mr Havill said that the noise from the skatepark could cause local residents to suffer physical and mental health problems even claiming that a World Health Organisation (WHO) report suggested it could cause a number of illnesses including cardiovascular disease.
He claimed that the parish council had “declined to have any worthwhile communication with us at all” on the issue.
However Ben Byfield, from Perranzabuloe Parish Council, said the plans had “unanimous support from all our elected members”. And he said the parish council had held meetings with Mr Havill and other residents to try to find ways in which they could alleviate their concerns.
He also said the noise report which had been submitted by the residents had been based on a much larger skatepark in Southsea, Portsmouth, which is constructed from concrete, wood and metal.
Cllr Byfield said the plans in Perranporth were on a much smaller scale and would only use concrete which would not create the same noise as the one used in the noise report.
He said that the local community in Perranporth had campaigned for a skatepark and it was hoped it would help the area by keeping children off the streets and car parks which had been used for skateboarding. And he said the proposed site was covered by CCTV and within view of the parish council and police offices and so could be monitored if there were any problems.
Paul Bateman, agent for the applicants, said his company had delivered more than 100 skate parks across the UK, including the recent St Ives skate park. Read more about that here.
He also highlighted that the nearest homes to the Perranporth site are 52m away and that this was much farther than many others he had worked on, including those in Cornwall.
Steve Arthur, Cornwall councillor for Perranporth, said that “99.9% of people in our ward want this facility”.
He claimed that the recommendation for refusal had been based on “flawed data” which had been provided in the objectors’ noise report.
Cllr Arthur pleaded with the committee “please don’t let our kids down” and said: “The whole village wants a skate park apart from about five residents.”
Committee member Rob Nolan said he was concerned that officers were saying that there could be adverse impact from the skatepark. He said that while he did not want to stand in the way of those who had campaigned and raised money for the skatepark he did not want to leave local residents with negative impact from the skatepark.
Richard Whitehouse is the Local Democracy Reporter covering Cornwall Council and other public organisations across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
The Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) is a public service news agency: funded by the BBC, provided by the local news sector, in this instance Reach PLC brand Cornwall Live, and used by qualifying partners.
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Councillor John Fitter said he was also concerned that if the council approved the park it could then have to take enforcement action if there was a significant noise impact.
Councillor Michael Bunney said that he wanted to be able to support the local community in its plans saying: “I am really impressed that the parish council, with young people and the divisional member are passionate about delivering a skate park for Perranporth. But I am concerned about the noise report as well.”
He proposed that the application be deferred so that an independent noise report could be carried out to give another opinion on the issue and for that to also consider whether there were any mitigating measures which could be put in place to help the situation.
The committee agreed unanimously to defer the application.