Villagers have set up a group to protest a 30-house development that they say would ‘destroy the spirit of Cornwall’

Residents of the quiet Perranwell Station village have rallied together and set up a group protesting a proposed development that would see 30 new homes built on fields in a “beautiful valley”.

The Perranwell Station Development Objections Group said that, if granted planning permission, the new builds would ruin the “green heart of the village” and “destroy the spirit of Cornwall”.

The application proposes a total of 30 one to four-bedroom properties to be built on farmland behind the Old Post Office off Station Road, with 15 of them being ‘affordable’.

But while the group says it “doesn’t have anything against affordable homes”, it feels the development is not in keeping with the village, could put strain on village services and already busy roads and that the need simply isn’t there.

Speaking to Cornwall Live, a spokesperson for the group said: “We need to preserve this beautiful valley.

“We don’t have anything against affordable homes and there is plenty of scope for the village to naturally evolve, but it needs to be done sensitively, for the needs of local people.

“As well as that it’s the services in the village and the roads, it will be very dangerous.

“When you look at Truro and Falmouth and see what is being forced on people. It is questionable whether the county can take it at all – and now developments like this are spreading tentacles out to all the villages and destroying the spirit of Cornwall.

“The land that they want to build on is the green heart of the village.”

Concerns were also raised by the group that there was no “local need” for the development to go ahead.

Helen Pettet, a member of the group, said: “I am part of a group of residents who are devastated by the prospect of a 30-house housing estate in these beautiful fields behind us. Agricultural fields of grade two land.

“It’s a cross subsidy where there are going to be 15 affordable homes, which is a good thing. Accept that in order for building to go on to agricultural land under section three of the local plan there has to be a proven local need and we do not believe there is that proven local need.”

Helen Pettett and other residents of Perranwell Station are angry at a proposed development on a site which is currently a ‘beautiful valley’

As well as a number of residents, the parish council has also objected to plans.

It raised concerns over the size of the development.

Commenting on the Cornwall Council website, Perranworthal Parish Council, said: “This application is not a rounding-off or development of previously developed land. This proposed development is not of an appropriate size.

“It is not an infill scheme to fill a small gap and would actually extend into the open countryside. It would take away valuable agricultural land, which has been used recently for crop growing.”

It added that the development could put strain on the infrastructure of the village including its road and sewage system.

The council said: “Even if this application were to be approved, there remain concerns about the ability of the infrastructure, including the lack of pavements, the ability of the sewage system to cope with additional housing and the effect that such an increase in traffic would have on the already congested roads.

“The main route through Perranarworthal Parish is used as a diversionary route when there is an accident or flooding down on the A39. The village is already gridlocked when these events occur without the addition of another potential 60 cars using the area.

“There is also concern about the access on to a very narrow road which is already subject to accidents. These have been observed and reported despite Cornwall Council’s Highways department saying otherwise.”

A total of 56 comments have been lodged on the site, with 48 objecting to the plans, six supporting and two neutral.

Helen Pettett, far right, and other residents of Perranwell Station are angry at the proposed development

One of the supporters of the development said that it would bring an opportunity to the village that “shouldn’t just be cast aside”.

Writing on the Cornwall Council website, the resident wrote: “We have lived in Perranwell Station for 40 years. There is very little opportunity for young people raised in Perranwell and the surrounding area to buy or rent property at a reasonable rate.

“The chance to have 15 affordable houses shouldn’t just be cast aside.

“We have all chosen to live in a village mostly without street lights and pavements, yet these were the very arguments used at the parish council meeting to try and block the build.

“I’m sure that should these houses be built many local families would jump at the chance to buy an affordable and reasonably priced home.”

Another resident supporting the scheme said: “The local amenities will benefit greatly from the extra income generated. A lot of these establishments struggle to survive in a village scenario having to compete with the corporate world of business etc.

“Consequently, these facilities are fast being lost forever – a very bad thing.

“Progress needs to occur and this development is a very small price to pay to maintain the village life style and ethos.”

They added that other positives of the proposed development included the affordable homes.

If the application is approved the development would include a new footpath linking the estate with the rest of the village and designated “open space” areas for residents.

Developers also suggested in the planning application that the space could later be converted into a day care centre.

Current views over the fields and valley at Perranwell Station

In the planning statement applicants Business Location Services Ltd, a property development company based in Truro, said: “In addition to any off site contributions the scheme will provide approximately 0.26 hectares of formal Public Open Space that will become an asset to the parish and could offer a suitable alternative location for a potential future day care centre.”

The application was submitted in January 2017 and a decision was due to be made by April but, ten months later, the application still hangs in the air.