Written by Thomas Gregory
On Tuesday morning, Falmouth locals gathered at the National Maritime Museum, to protest the development of the eight tower blocks on Pendennis Point. In a three-day public inquiry held by the Planning Inspectorate, they will discuss the proposed plans for luxury apartments at Pendennis Point.
The development of these flats, which was previously blocked by Cornwall Council, is being appealed by Middlepoint Development Ltd who hope to have their plans approved by the planning inspector.
Currently, the proposed planned development site houses oil tanks dating back from World War Two, which up until 2015 were in use; previously, these oil tanks had leaked damaging the local ecological environment. Yet, Middlepoint Development Ltd has recently made it implicitly clear, that the remedial work needed to clean the area will only go ahead if planning permission is correspondingly granted.
Some of the protesters whom we interviewed, agreed when questioned, that they felt the company was holding the environmental health of the area ransom in exchange for planning permission. One attendee described this as “almost blackmail, to say, we can’t clean up unless you let us make millions out of our mess.”
Protesters also pointed out that for the project to go ahead there would need to be substantial excavation of an ancient archaeological site, a defensive ditch which may date back to the Stone Age, arguing that there would be damage to English heritage.
Among other objections, fears were raised that these new apartments would set a precedent that could lead to more unwanted residential expansion in this scenic area.
At the time of writing, a petition on Change.org entitled “URGENT: SAVE FALMOUTH’S BEAUTIFUL PENDENNIS HEADLAND FROM LUXURY FLATS” had gained the endorsement of just under their 5,000-signature goal. The petition reads, in part:
“The proposed development would result in substantial harm to the settings and therefore the significance of the Grade I listed buildings of Pendennis Castle and St Mawes Castle, which are also Scheduled Ancient Monuments, due to the introduction of housing into the historic setting of these heritage assets which are of national importance.”
“We also feel that the landscape will be unacceptably altered…The developers having bought out the clause to provide affordable housing on site, these houses that will be build [sic] on a headland that means a lot to local people, will be unaffordable for them.”
“We are a group of local citizens that are concerned that should this appeal succeed, it will set a precedent for other luxury, gated, residential developments across our beautiful headland.”
Local students, such as Nadja Redman of Falmouth University, were also present, objecting to the ‘bad standard’ they believed this development would set. Glynn Roberts, a Falmouth local agreed, “It’s a beautiful area, generations to come aren’t going to thank us if they go for a nice walk around Pendennis Point and see a concrete jungle like that out there.”
The inquiry is expected to last three days, with a public decision foreseen to take place not for another month.