This morning I went to a meeting with the developers of the Old Vospers Garage (Coinagehall Street) site in Penzance, the meeting had been scheduled for sometime, and was a follow up to the public consultation held some 8 months ago. The main part of the site is publicly owned and has been a key site for development for a long time.
The development is being undertaken by a private company with private money, with the developer being the preferred bidder when Cornwall Council looked for interest in the site.
There have been some major changes in the plan since the public consultation, with the developers taking onboard many of the comments made at that consultation. The development will incorporate a 70 bedroom hotel, 50 flats and 7 retail/restaurant outlets, around a central open space. There will be parking for 94 cars under the building.
Whilst I will wait for a full planning application before passing my own comments on the plans, they appear to be going in the right direction, on this very important site for redevelopment within Penzance.
Or I should say were, for the development to go ahead in its current form the developers would have to purchase 3 sites in private hands to bring the full development in. As is often the case the owners of these sites are keen to get the best price they can, pushing the developer to a price that cannot be justified, in these cases, a Compulsory Purchase Order can be made, and that looks to be the situation here.
To that end a recommendation was put to the informal meeting of Cornwall Cabinet members yesterday morning, with officers recommending approval, at this point the cabinet turned down the development, not just the application for a CPO, citing the change to the streetscape of Coinagehall Street as the reason. I’m lead to believe that the cabinet was unanimous in this decision. That is it the end of this development.
Now I’ve been around politics long enough to know this seems very strange, for a start ‘unanimous’ against officers recommendation, if all ten were there, I would have expected 1 or 2 in favour at the very least.
Now I’ve only heard one side of a story and will try to find out the other. However, if what I’ve heard is a true reflection of the situation, then someone has been very busy briefing the Cabinet, against this major Penzance development, at County Hall.