Cornwall Council’s strategic planning committee last month approved detailed plans for the proposed Camel Creek Resort in a valley south of Padstow, Cornwall. It would include 236 units of holiday accommodation together with associated leisure facilities including a tropical pool, spa, activities centre, restaurants, retail units and a conference facility. Paul Banks is principal development officer in Cornwall Council’s strategic development management team.
Q. How did this application land on your desk?
A. As a large authority, we have a strategic development team to deal with large applications. The team is split into east and west areas and this application fell into the area I cover. It got allocated to me when I first joined the team because I have dealt with other large residential and holiday proposals.
Q. When were you first approached by the developer?
A. The developer’s planning consultants came to us early last year with the proposal saying they were looking to submit quickly due to timescale pressures from the applicant. However, it was a while before it came in.
Q. What work did you have to do when the application was submitted?
A. The applicants accepted they were going to need an Environmental Impact Assessment and that came in with the documents. There was some outstanding information that we needed before we validated the application. They needed to redo and update a number of technical assessments on things like ecology, drainage, highways and archaeology.
Q. Did the planning status of the land make things complicated?
A. The site wasn’t allocated for development in our local plan. The site is in agricultural use but neighbours an existing tourist site also owned by the applicant. The application argued that it was an enhancement and improvement of the existing site.
It is a greenfield site and there was lots of opposition from those adjoining the site. There was more support from the wider community. We had to balance the economic benefits of the site – significant investment and job creation – against the environmental impact. We negotiated a number of conditions including monitoring of landscape mitigation and ecology work.
Q. Hasn’t Cornwall got enough holiday parks already?
A. This was one of the key issues at committee. Some councillors were initially reluctant to approve another holiday resort. My role involved explaining that the application was to meet a demand for high-end accommodation. They saw that in the end and voted heavily in favour of approval.