Our objections to Tolgarrick Farm

Chief Planning Officer

Cornwall Council

Fordh Treyew

Truro TR1 3AY


7th October 2012


Tolgarrick Farm, Truro – PA12/07283


Dear Sir,


I am writing on behalf of Truro Civic Society to object to the proposed development at Tolgarrick Farm, Truro.

The Society exists to encourage appropriate development, working on the principle that Truro is a compact city contained within the bowl formed by hills and moorland around the estuary, and is strongly characterised by its rural setting and its role in the rural life and economy of its catchment area. It is a city which provides a diverse range of employments, from administration to retailing, marine cargo handling to food processing, the professions and trades and the visitor trade. This development is neither necessary, nor does it form part of the emerging Truro Neighbourhood Plan, nor does it contain itself within the Truro bowl.

The Society also promotes the practise of good design. We find that the standardised templates employed by volume developers, which impose (mainly reconstituted) materials alien to the locality, on sensitive land- and town-scapes, entirely unacceptable. We strongly believe that Cornwall Planning Authority does not possess the skills within its establishment to appraise design values for the developments it processes. It should therefore seek external support to ensure that it achieves enhancements, innovations and very high standards of design, both technically and visibly. The current spate of ‘manufactured’ housing is unquestionably mundane and detrimental to the values and future wellbeing of Truro and Cornwall.

The Society also extols the merits of intelligent planting and landscaping, believing that nature is the best landscape architect and plant selector. We do not condone the tendency in modern development for massive re-contouring by earthwork – indeed, we wonder if it is the availability of big machines, rather than the needs of the landscape, which dictate such massive works as we see today. Losing the linkage between natural contour and the positioning of development is to fundamentally disfigure Cornwall. Allowing earthworks to create sites for development which natural contours would otherwise prevent, is in the Society’s view, bad pracrise, and unsustainable. We strongly encourage the Planning Authority to actively deter development which requires (or proposes) major earthworks – work with the grain of Cornwall, as have all previous generations – what makes us so different (except the machines)?

Again partly because we appreciate good design, we are very concerned that the effect a housing development will have upon the elegant and functional Arch Hill Junction. The entire civil engineering project which created Arch Hill, the junction, the Truro by-pass sweeping down to Boscawen Bridge and the egress towards Work House Cross, remains one of the unrecognised but distinguished achievements of 20th century civil design in the UK. The current works occasioned by the lamentable Waitrose Supermarket on an out-of-town, agricultural site, risks serious damage to this infrastructure for the sake of a park and ride scheme which, whilst commuter-led, ignores the intensely productive employment centre of Newham. The Arch Hill reconfiguration will further disfigure and disrupt this important and excellent road.

As a Society we are consultees to the Truro Neighbourhood Plan. In this regard we are very sceptical about the weight given to the Housing Register, which does not seem to us to be an accurate indicator of net critical housing need. It inflates the numbers required and thereby is contributing to the Klondike mentality which Truro feels itself subject to as developers bring forward large schemes, demanding consents, putting little or nothing back into the community, expecting in a naïve manner that the economy will somehow throw up jobs to employ all the people, destroying the rural setting and intrinsic relationship between the rural economy and the service providing nature of the town centre. We are concerned that insufficient weight is being attached to the Neighbourhood Plan and note that this site is not one included in the draft proposals for meeting the Core Strategy housing ‘target’ for Truro.

Lastly, the Society is extremely concerned about the impact of this development upon Calenick. Flood, traffic, noise, public safety and eventual absorption – all these seem potential outcomes of allowing Tolgarrick to sneak over Truro’s rim. Calenick is a beautiful, accessible and historically resonant village that has a right to exist in peace, safety and quiet. It is a defining characteristic of Truro – a small rural farming community nestling in the lee of the containing hills of a maritime, retail, religious and civil town – the integrity of each is essential to the other, and to the character of Cornwall – an increasingly vital component of our future world.

If you allow 320 ugly, boring mass-produced houses in a Lego layout on Tolgarrick Farm then you will be held responsible, in this and other decisions, to destroying what is held by people, companies and institutions all over the World, to be of intrinsic value – Cornwall.


Yours sincerely

Bert Biscoe

Chairman, Truro Civic Society




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1 Response

  1. A.W.Bishop-Stephens says:

    RE. TOLGARRICK fARM Please will you tell me why the Cornwall Council decision was overturned ? Thanks.

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