Work on St Austell’s 1,500-home ‘garden village’ could start by new year

The development of a garden village with 1,500 homes on the outskirts of St Austell is moving forward with hopes that work can start by the new year.

Originally part of plans for an eco-community across a number of former Imerys china clay sites in and around St Austell and Par, the development is now a garden village at West Carclaze to the north of the town.

A briefing was given to councillors at County Hall on Wednesday (April 11) on how the plans are progressing and more details of the development.

The proposals already have outline permission but it was revealed that public consultation will start next month on the first phase of the major development.

Included in the first phase will be 350 homes, a school, community centre, leisure and retail facilities and public open space.

Following the consultation developer Eco Bos is looking to submit a detailed planning application for the first phase in June with an aim to have work start on the site by early next year.

ACE Academy Trust has secured the deal to provide the 420-place primary school on the site and is aiming to open to its first form entry in September 2020.

John Hodkin from Eco Bos told councillors that the site covers 500 acres and that 30% of the homes on the site would be affordable with another 5% being made available for people who would like to self-build.

He said: "It is a village not a housing estate."

In the first phase there will be 105 affordable homes with another 18 for self-build.

Mr Hodkin said that Eco Bos had been looking at demographics and housing need to decide the mix of housing which would be provided. The first phase will include 36 flats, 54 terraced homes, 80 semi-detached properties, 42 detaches, 36 bungalows, 98 townhouses and four coach houses/apartments.

Councillor John Wood said that he had already heard from people who would like to build a home on the site and asked whether there would be any restrictions.

Mr Hodkin said that all those who build homes on the development would have to follow a design guide which was part of the planning approval and had been drawn up by Eco Bos with the council with an aim to have all the homes of high quality.

He said: "We have said that it will be five per cent. If a lot of people come through saying they want to build we will, of course, find a way to accommodate it."

"We want to make it easy for people to build, we don’t want to put obstacles in people’s way or make it cost prohibitive. We are absolutely committed to it and want to see it happen."

Mr Hodkin said that Eco Bos wanted to really bring together the garden elements of the development and said that would mean linking everything from window boxes and private gardens to the parks and open spaces which would be available as part of the development.

He also said that the development would have "green roads" which would move away from black Tarmac and white lines and said that Cornish hedges would be used alongside roadways in the development.

Mr Hodkin also highlighted plans to use renewable energy with a solar farm on site already and space for another.

Phil Mason, the council’s chief planning officer, told councillors that while there was usually public criticism for the lack of infrastructure for developments the garden village was doing things differently.

He highlighted that the council had already provided a road which would link to the scheme and that the school planned would be built before many of the homes.

Mr Mason also highlighted the innovation centre which is almost complete on the site and that there would be a community centre and health facilities in the first phase.

He said: "We are often accused of building the houses and not the infrastructure. Here we have been putting the infrastructure in."

Mr Mason said that the council had been working "hand in hand" with the private sector to ensure that the development does deliver on its ambitions.

He said: "We believe that the council needs to work in partnership wth the developer over the longer term. It is another 15 years at least to build this village."

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