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Three steps forward, three steps back

Posted by on February 9, 2014 in News - 1 Comment

Coyte Farm

The big drama of recent weeks has been the refusal by the Strategic Planning Committee of Coyte Farm. This major retail development outside St Austell would have drawn significant trade from a number of town centres. There is some confusion whether officers intended to recommend approval or refusal. The vote was lost on the casting vote of the Chairman, Cllr Rob Nolan. It is likely that the developer will go to appeal.


Trafalgar Roundabout

As well as the threat of trade loss to Coyte Farm we have seen the completion of physical works at Trafalgar Roundabout. This has not, however, reduced the traffic congestion. The lengthy phase of the project to evolve the correct alignment of lights to enable the optimum operation of the junction is now under way. Of course, until the park and ride and bus lanes are in operation the roundabout will not be required to accommodate the ‘geometry’ it is designed for. Therefore, we are likely to see further congested frustration. Newspaper headlines graphically illustrating logjam and nurturing disapproval do not help the trading situation of Truro – not least for the newspapers themselves!!


Town Centre Works

The congestion, disruption and disorientation of the town centre is compounded by the diversions and blockages in the town centre caused by the works of both South West Water (sewerage) and Wales and West (gas). These are both substantial projects which will last some time yet. The blocks and diversions are not only affecting trade in the town but also distorting the traffic flows on the by-pass, A390 and Shortlanesend road, and this, in turn makes the calculations of engineers trying to tune the Trafalgar lights impossible. So, Truro seems to need to grin and bear, to bite its lip in stoical frustration, and to proclaim as best it can, that despite trials and tribulatory recession, the town is open for business –


The perfect storm

During the past month, after much thought and with the voices, often conflicting, echoing in my ears, of shop-workers and single-mums, of executives and pensioners, I broke cover to launch what I hope will be a public debate about the contradictions of parking policies and their effect on those essential relationships which make our community work. I’ve tried to characterise the problem as one in which essential values of tolerance and respect are being eroded, at the expense of both quiet enjoyment of homes and the vitality of the economy, because policies and interventions are not embracing key priorities – that we:


  • take a ‘whole-town approach’
  • promote positive values and relationships,
  • encourage an environment in the town centre conducive to the successful conduct of trade.


To have excavations and complications along approach roads and in the centre itself, and a deterioration in behaviour and attitude over parking, and a recession which shows little sign of lifting without a transformation in approach – and all this contributing to a rapidly deteriorating set of perceptions about Truro amongst customers, clients, visitors and residents – and all at the same time – this is a perfect storm.


Tregurra park and ride

Work is now due to start as soon as weather permits at the head of Tregurra Valley on the park and ride and the Waitrose out-of-town supermarket. It seems that the consent for this development,  and the firing of the starting pistol for the ‘St Austell Supermarket Steeplechase Herd’, has launched a second Klondike of options and proposals – at the last count Truro and Threemilestone is being targeted for three, or perhaps four, supermarkets – all out-of-town, some linked to newtown-sized housing developments, others threatening the loss of a good quality, minor league football ground, and rumours of aloof landowners evolving master-plans between Tresillian and St Clement along the banks of the Fal.

The Tregurra park and ride, and the major reorganisation to WorkHouse Cross which that entails, will undoubtedly provide yet another obstruction and a dampening impact on perceptions about Truro.

Perhaps the saddest, most lamentable piece of news to emanate from this farrago came just before Christmas when the prime milking herd of Tresemple Farm came under the auctioneer’s hammer. That same month the Duke of Cornwall, in whose estate Tresemple has sat since Moresk Manor was included in the original 17 assession manors by Edward III in the Duchy Charters of 1337, guest-edited Country Life.


Lambessow Posts

One of the two granite posts which have stood guard at the entrance to Lambessow for as long anybody alive can remember was suddenly broken in two after a collision with a vehicle. Thanks to Loic Rich, and with a bit of detective work by Cornwall Council officials, the perpetrator was identified and repairs have been made – a small reclamation of something immaterially meaningful in an age of carelessness!


Goodbye Woodleigh Grange; Hello Penn an Dre

And, in the pouring rain, I drank a glass of apple juice to celebrate the haapy eradication of the linguistically challenging, homogenising and painful ‘Woodleigh Grange’, and its happy replacement with ‘Penn an Dre’. This translates as ‘Top of the Town’ and echoes the nearby Pendrea Farm. The experience of explaining to Messrs Taylor and Wimpey why their first choice was inept and challenging proved to be a happy one in which the company openly and immediately expressed a desire to empathise and to fit-in. The Cornish Language Partnership ‘Place Names’ Panel offered advice and options and views were sought – as they say in the skateboard world: ‘Result!’


Bert Biscoe

Chairman Truro Civic Society

February 2014


1 Comment

  1. Jessica
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 6:55 am

    But the repair has not been done. Will the gate post ever be restored? I wouldn’t bet on it.

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