ST Minver Parishes Neighbourhood Development Plan
Issue 2a dated 23/04/2014
The St Minver Parishes Neighbourhood Development Plan (The Plan) covers the two parishes of St Minver Highlands and St Minver Lowlands (The Parishes).
The Parishes are bordered to the north by rugged coastline, to the west by the sandy bays and dunes of the Camel Estuary and to the east and south by open farm land. Most of the land bordering the coastline is designated AONB or SSSI.
Development in the Parishes consists predominantly of the villages of New Polzeath, Polzeath, Trebetherick, Rock, Pityme and Tredrizzick which essentially border the protected coastal areas, and the village of St Minver which is central to the Parishes and surrounded by farmland. There are some 1640 residences across the Parishes of which Cornwall Council state 54% are second or holiday homes but local research suggests the figure is nearer 60%.
To the west the Parishes comprise a number of arable, dairy and sheep farms with moderate sized fields enclosed by Cornish hedges or mixed shrub hedges. To date these have avoided the attention of wind farms and solar farms that are becoming prolific in other parts of the Cornish landscape. With the exception of the relatively small area of Shilla Wood to the east of Polzeath there are no significant wooded areas and relatively few mature trees except in Rock where a significant number of Macrocarpa trees were planted some 100 years ago and in many cases have now outgrown their surroundings needing attention to prevent danger to people and property due to falling branches.
Access to the Parishes is almost entirely by the B3314 which runs from Wadebridge in the south through to Delabole in the north east. The approach from Wadebridge is via Trewornan bridge - a Grade 2 listed, single lane, stone bridge over the River Amble built in 1791. Delabole village has developed along both sides of the B3314 leaving a narrow road where parking at all times of the day and night severely restricts the flow of traffic. From the B3314 there are two roads into St Minver village, one road into Pityme, Tredrizzick and Rock and one road which forks to New Polzeath and Polzeath. The Polzeath road continues through Trebetherick to Rock. All of these roads have twisty and narrow places where two vehicles cannot pass. The roads are heavily congested, particularly at peak holiday times of Christmas, Easter and the summer period mid July to mid September when the second and holiday homes plus many camping and caravan parks are filled with visitors. Over recent years the traffic problem has been exacerbated by the increasing size of farm machinery and heavy lorries associated with building works, shop deliveries and local businesses - in particular the boat yards and the brewery.
The Parishes currently support an amazing array of shops including two mini-markets, baker, butcher, fish monger, delicatessen, newsagent, three post offices, two garages, electrical goods, hardware, two hairdressers, nine clothes shops and three estate agents. These shops and most of the other 170 identified businesses based in the Parishes rely on the summer trade from second home owners and holidaymakers to remain in business.
The Parishes are sustainable because of the beauty of the area and the coastal pursuits that it offers which make it a mecca for retired people and holidaymakers. The residences in full time occupation do sustain a community spirit and a wide range of activities throughout the year. The maintenance and support of the leisure industry provide substantial levels of employment for local residents. This is supplemented by a number of industries, generally based at a business area that has been developed adjacent to Pityme, and traditional farming.
Despite the very high prices commanded by properties close to the sea there appears to be sufficient social and affordable housing to meet most of the existing requirements.
Thus, over the past 50 years, the Parishes have evolved as a village community that remains sustainable. Environmental controls and structured development have protected and in some cases enhanced the natural and historic environment. In turn, this has stimulated tourism generating employment and revenues from holidaymakers. Development has provided accommodation, services and facilities for both the holidaymakers and the local residents who service the tourism. In parallel the development of businessl sites, particularly at Pityme, has provided further employment opportunities. There is a demonstrable, but potentially fragile, balance between development, social needs and environment and it is considered crucial to maintain this balancefor the future of the Parishes.
2. The Vision
The vision for the St Minver Parishes is summarised as careful evolution, not revolution. Retaining and where possible enhancing the environment, landscape character and coastal amenities will be essential to maintaining the attraction for both residents and tourism which will remain the basis of a viable and sustainable community.
Development will be required to improve residences that are old and of poor quality compared to present day standards. Some additional residences, particularly in the price range £200,000 to £350,000 at 2014 prices, will be required to provide the steps on the housing ladder to meet the growing needs of skilled and professional people who are being attracted to work in the area and will very much wish to become full time residents. Further development of good quality office space and light industrial facilities serviced by “State of the Art” communications will provide for a growing population of skilled, high tech and professional workers who will revitalise the presently aged local community. Existing static and mobile caravan and camping sites will meet the needs for this type of visitor accommodation in the area. The overall tourist and holidaymaker accommodation will be enhanced to meet the increasing expectations of the market, in particular a growing need for high quality Bed and Breakfast establishments and self catering apartments that provide for mini-breaks throughout the year as well as the traditional longer holiday stays.All of this development will be in harmony with existing developments and landscape character, with careful attention to its position, mass, style and where appropriate suitable screening to maintain the natural beauty and character of the area. The development will also be consistent with the limitations enforced by the infrastructure, in particular the roads, where there will not be the finance or the desire of the residents to make significant changes to the access to the Parishes.
In greater detail the vision is described under a number of inter-related areas as follows:
2.2.1 Environment and Landscape
The sustainability of the Parishes will remain critically dependent on the protection of the environment and landscape which together attract permanent residents and tourists to the area.
The coastal regions will continue to be protected with all but essential development prohibited in the formally protected areas – AONB, SSSI, National Trust, Marine Conservation, Common Land and covenanted sites. Where practical and the opportunity arise, these protected areas will be extended. Access to these areas for residents and visitors to enjoy the views and facilities will be maintained and improved, but with full respect for the need for temporary restrictions to enable vital areas such as the dunes and cliff paths to be maintained or reinstated.
Inland the field structures will be maintained, and conventional mixed farming continued. Trees, hedgerows and Cornish hedges will be protected to maintain the landscape and provide the habitat and connection routes for wild creatures.
Recognising that the Parishes are not well endowed with mature trees, and that many of the existing trees will be lost as they reach the end of their lives, an aggressive tree planting programme will have maintained or increased the tree coverage, in particular where this helps to soften or screen developed areas.The necessary development will take place in areas and styles that fit with the landscape character and maintain the essential beauty of this unique area.
Access to the Parishes will continue to be virtually entirely dependent on the existing road network which struggles to meet the existing size and volume of traffic. Whilst limited improvement to pinch points may be practical and affordable, and will be encouraged, there will not be the finance for the major works that would be necessary to accommodate a significant increase in traffic volume, particularly of large vehicles. There is also considerable resident support for retaining the access in its existing form as it is considered to be an important characteristic of the area. As a result the vision is to manage future development of the area in terms of residences and business to be consistent with the present accessibility coupled with the progressive implementation of an Integrated Transport Plan. This plan, covering roads, footpaths, separate cycle ways providing a circular route linking all of the residential areas, parking (cars and bicycles) and public transport, will provide residents and visitors with a wide choice of methods to access business, social and leisure facilities whilst avoiding excessive road congestion and parking problems. A particular issue will be the road junction between Trewiston Lane and Rock Road which is narrow, has no footway and poor sightlines for emerging traffic from the Polzeath direction. A new road from Coppers Corner to Trewiston Lane passing to the north of Cantillion Close will enable this unsatisfactory junction to be closed, and extension of this road across Trewiston Lane running to the north of Rock Road will enable progressive development of this area for moderately priced housing and local amenities.
The St Minver parishes are served by an excellent Primary School situated in St Minver Lowlands and an excellent Secondary School (Academy) in Wadebridge supplemented at the senior level by the Truro and Penwith College. It is envisaged that these establishments will continue to satisfactorily serve the needs of the Parishes for local education. The expected new developments in the area will generate a small increase in the primary school age population. However, the local school presently accommodates a significant number of pupils from other primary school catchment areas and it is expected that any increase in the number of local children will be accommodated without the need for significant increase in the facilities of the St Minver Primary School. This school does have attached land and any proposed use of this land for providing additional facilities for the school will be supported.
Mobile phone coverage across the Parishes is patchy. Internet access has also been poor but with the roll out of fibre-optic broadband is now rapidly improving. The vision is to establish and maintain communications across the St Minver Parishes at the forefront of technology to attract high tech business to the area and encourage more people to become full time residents working from home.
The Parishes have several amenities including public toilets, play areas, football pitch, cricket pitch, Scout HQ, Guide HQ, Rock and Perceval Institutes and an excellent medical practice. These are used by residents and visitors and will continue to be valued and used by the community. The public toilets are particularly important and the vision is that these will be maintained, enhanced and kept open throughout the year to meet the needs of residents and visitors.
The development of a financially sustainable community centre including provision for a function hall, meeting rooms, sports facilities, medical centre, transport links and parking along the lines of the plans put forward for Trewint Playing Fields will become a great asset to the community.Local area maps and tasteful signage will provide visitors with directions to the amenities, historic sites and leisure facilities available.
2.2.3 Development Boundaries
Further development of the area for both residential and business purposes will be appropriately controlled to ensure that it meets the needs of the Parishes and minimises the impact on the environment and landscape character and is supportable by the available infrastructure. Detailed Development Boundaries and Special Development Areas will be established that identify more than sufficient space for the development required in areas that are appropriate in terms of access, proximity to amenities and services and that can support the need for housing that is affordable (up to £350,000) for local residents. These Development Areas will be vigorously defended to prevent more ribbon development from further blurring the distinction between the areas with separate identities and ad hoc encroachment onto farmland with consequent damage to the landscape character. The only exception sites will be the development of existing farm complexes to accommodate local housing for farm workers or business premises for SMEs, and the necessary extension of existing business developments to meet local needs and business sustainability. In all cases such development will meet the conditions of being in harmony with the surroundings and consistent with the infrastructure constraints.
There will be development of at least 100 new residences to align with the requirements of the Cornwall Plan. However , it is more likely that a somewhat larger, but sensibly limited, number (in the region of 150) of new residences spread over the 20 years of the plan and in small groups of no more than 10 residences in a single development will be built to meet the needs of the Parishes. Refurbishment and replacement of existing residences will be required as older properties, particularly those built to very much lower standards than those of today, cease to be fit for purpose. This effective use of “brown field” sites will be encouraged. However, all additional, refurbished, extended or rebuilt residences will be in harmony with their surroundings, will be of appropriate mass and style and have adequate vehicle parking in relation to the size of the property and hence the potential number of residents. Existing trees, hedges and Cornish hedges will be preserved and where the developments would otherwise impact the landscape character, appropriate screening will be introduced.Affordable and self build developments along the lines of the Dingles Way project will be encouraged for the accommodation of local people with the Parishes managing the allocation of both new and existing affordable and social housing.
An increase in the resident population of the Parishes is envisaged enabled by the building of some 100 - 150 additional residences and the proportion of second and holiday homes reducing as the owners are encouraged by the improvement of local facilities and infrastructure to move their place of work and principle residence to the Parishes. This coupled with an increase in the education levels and expectations of the next generation will generate a demand for the quantity and variety of employment opportunities available. This will increase the general wealth and welfare of the area of the Parishes and will help young people, who do not wish to leave the Parishes, to obtain good jobs in the local area. The new employment opportunities will be generated by existing micro or solo businesses in the Parishes that see the opportunity to expand and by new businesses attracted to the Parishes by the availability of a capable workforce and good facilities and appropriate infrastructure. These facilities will predominantly be provided by controlled expansion of the existing Pityme business site and a new business site established in close proximity to the B3314 road to provide good vehicle access from the Parishes and out to the wider County and National transport networks.
Businesses including tourism, farming and small to medium size enterprises will prosper aided by appropriate development in controlled areas.
The infrastructure will not be able to support a large increase in the number of visitors. However, the facilities available to the tourists will be improved and extended such that the income generated per visitor does increase. The existing number and size of camping and caravan sites with upgraded facilities and appropriate screening will fulfil the need for this type of accommodation. Good quality B&B establishments and self catering apartments with adequate parking will appeal to the increasing expectations of holidaymakers. These will be particularly encouraged in areas that are close to the beaches, leisure facilities and amenities such that holidaymakers can enjoy these without adding to road congestion and parking issues by continual resort to the use of cars.
Skilled, high tech and professional business will expand aided by the development and perhaps some expansion of existing industrial and office sites and the availability of “state of the Art” communications. The vision is that existing and new small to medium sized enterprises that employ local people will predominate. Where these businesses outgrow the infrastructure and the ability to recruit local staff, they will be encouraged and assisted to relocate to areas that more appropriately meet their increasing needs and the space vacated made available for further, smaller enterprises.
Farming will continue to be a very significant feature of the Parishes, with existing farm complexes supporting traditional mixed farming but also diversifying to provide space for small to medium sized businesses and appropriate leisure attractions. This will enable sustainable management of the open areas of the Parishes without resort to industrial scale wind or solar power farming which will continue to be entirely inappropriate to the sustainable future of this area.