EcoBos/FoPB Meeting 5th June 2010
Some of FoPB committee met with EcoBos at their offices armed with a long list of questions gathered from both the committee and FoPB members. Below is a summary of the answers to those questions. We came away feeling very positive about how EcoBos are approaching the Par Docks site and they have assured us that we will remain firmly in the loop.
Some of the questions are duplicated but every one was gone through so I've left them in...
The existing drawings, whether of site layout, house design etc are all just impressions, all up for major change, ideas and common sense input.
Planners wish for people to come forward and tell them where one of their ideas would never work. Therefore local people with lots of old and modern local knowledge are crucial to their consultation and design period. We could help bring these people forward.
1) Possible bridge across river linking eco-town with the beach?
Eco bos are up for the bridge, it has been mentioned by several sources they are key to sw coats path, marketing, landscape improvement etc. We asked them to take into consideration possible need for boats with masts to be able to get from the slipway to the sea without the mast being hooked up on a bridge, Not keelboats but maybe smaller dinghies etc could be affected. We would not expect keelboats to be anywhere near the beach slipway but be launched from harbour.
2) Could we have an assurance that proposed buildings will be no higher than the current warehouses etc.?
3) What sort of building density will there be?
House designs partly gone to competition, styles will be varied, density lower than shown. Reverse design in that houses will be lower near the harbour and higher further away instead of it normally being then other way round.
Orascom has rejected the density of the previous ‘ideas plan’, it will be a lot less than the initial artist impression drawings. The drawings started off like that because they were thinking of fishing villages such as Polperro – which have very narrow streets. Heights expected to peak at 3 stories. Flats likely to be golf course end.
4) How are the buildings going to look? We would hope for something not too modern but more in keeping with the location.
Orascom has also rejected designs of a very modern style. They will longlist entries – perhaps to 20 designs and then everyone will be asked to have their say. Reiterated again that they want locals to be happy with it.
5) An assurance that the house styles chosen for Carclaze/Baal don’t automatically get used for the Docks buildings. Will locals get a say in the design?
Carclaze/Baal designs won’t be automatically used for the docks. They are aware of the different site requirements. See no.4 EcoBos and Orascom are 100% for public input.
6) Could there be more green areas included?
Yes, remember the 1st drawings were a shot in the dark. Mentioned dog walking area.
linear park along culvert which may be opened up to a bigger stream all being considered.
7) Push bike and motorcycle secure parking?
Bicycle spaces and small gardens are on their list.Bicycle space in every accommodation is now a planning condition of some kind so this will happen. They have taken on board motorbike parking and the suggestion that properties need balconies if not gardens.
8) Appropriate public access and parking for Spit Beach?
FoPB stated we would not like to see a gated community anywhere.
Access to spit beach- planned to have some kind of parking to replace lay-by if necessary but Lay-by is outside development area at present. We said that one concern of ecotown could be massive increased use of spit beach, especially with dogs due to ecological value for birds therefore maybe should look at keeping easy public car parking away from this location not encourage it however it was reiterated to Eco-Bos that public access to Spit Beach was important to the locals and should be maintained and not restricted in any way.
9) The possible biomass energy plant – what would be the scale and how much and what waste would be brought in?
It was just a passing idea and likely not suitable for the site anyway. There would not be a point that any large plant with trucks bringing stuff in. Biomass would be fuelled by woodchip not waste.
10) Road re-direction by the entrance to the docks – would it be possible for a 3D model of the proposals. How long will this take, and what level of upheaval would this cause to local traffic?
3D models are expensive so this wouldn’t be until much further down the line. Full public consultation will be made.
Maintaining traffic flow and minimizing disruption is of priority.
Vehicle access probably OVER skew bridge but need another fire access somewhere.
Eco-Bos said the technicians were gunning for OVER access as it’s simpler, the designers were wanting UNDER access for aesthetic reasons, so it is all on the table for discussion.
11) How adequate are the utilities provision being planned? Broadband, sewerage etc.
Ecobos are already in talks with BT and Cisco for access to high speed broadband. The development needs to be future proof and businesses are likely to increasingly rely on video conferencing etc.
Sewerage is absolutely top priority, they are fully aware of the current problems and are already investigating different ideas. They’ve said that as they are building a good place to live – it won’t be good if nobody wants to live there because of the smell. Par Beach is considered to be an asset so they will want to protect this too.We mentioned flooding in Par from new developments (Manor View etc) and Ecobos also consider flooding a high priority, both on and off the site. Improving drainage to help prevent flooding off site, improving culverts etc onsite, drainage from storm waves, and providing emergency evacuation routes!
12) Has soil analysis started? If land is proved toxic from years of industrial use, what is planned if the proposed complex can’t go ahead for this reason?
Orascom will clear the site and build the complex. They are aware that clean up may be horrendously expensive but are fully committed to see it through. No other land use is being considered. (see no.13)
13) Any plans for an incinerator?
No plans for incineration facility , they were emphatic on this.
No matter how polluted the land is found to be they are committed to clearing it up and using it for the eco-town. Orascom especially are very keen on the Par Docks site for a community.
14) Will the residential units be full time occupancy or holiday occupancy?
No plans for second home owners, plans to see whether it was possible to restrict or to keep them out.
Eco-Bos is adamant that this will be a local, working community and they are considering how to prevent 2nd home syndrome via wording in leases etc.
15) If there is a marina built, will local people be able to use it or will it just be for residents of the complex?
It is to be a proper working community, no gated development, no restricted access. The marina is envisaged to have a mixture of craft – fishing vessels, cruisers, dinghies, rowing boats etc. Full access along sea wall, the aim is for this to become part of SW Coast Path.
There will be 2 slipways at least, one public one for boat club. Jan pointed out that boat club site poor access for vehicles with trailers through residential area, needs a rethink. Possible public slipway nearer main entrance with less difficulty for manoeuvres is under consideration.
Boat access - Ecobos take on board a future use as a working port and intend to allow for ferry as well as inner and outer harbours to allow local working fishing boats to get in at different states of the tide. Similar idea to Charlestown. We suggested they consult Fowey Harbour masters and they were keen to do so.
16) Are there any plans for leisure activities – clubs, pubs, restaurants, cinema, sports facilities etc. If so, will locals be able to make use of them?
Definite water side footpath no development blocking access, possible waterside shops, small marine businesses – a boat builder has registered interest already, eating houses, crafts (studios with outlets) and local services such as mini supermarket etc.
Possible small fish market on harbour edge.
They are aiming for small local businesses and keen for ideas to allow provision for these. Again, they repeated that they are building a community and are not property developers.
17) How is the eco-town to be funded? What is the division between private and public funding?
Funding split not clear but they are hoping for some European/public, other private and grant funding as well as their own sources.
Funding didn’t appear to be a concern and we were given the impression that Orascom has deep pockets.
18) Is there room for a 106 Agreement? (“For example, if a developer were to build 100 new houses, there would be effects on local schools, roads etc., which the Local Authority would have to deal with. In that situation there might be a Section 106 agreement as part of the granting of planning permission. The developer might agree to make a contribution towards the provision of new schools.” see last page of this doc for more info)
Section 106 agreements will emerge if this is appropriate as the whole site is to be a new community.
Ecobos are already in talks with BT and Cisco for example for access to high speed broadband. The development needs to be future safe and business will increasingly rely on video conferencing etc.
19) Is Ecobos interested in being involved in activities outside the boundary of their development?
Hugely, and now. Orascom had asked John Hodkin for ideas a fortnight before our meeting with them that they want a local project or two to demonstrate their commitment to Par.
They are VERY interested in being able to help out with a café proposal if they have the wiggle room to do so.
John H thought the café plan would be just what Orascom was after and has a meeting with them on 21st June, JohnH doesn’t anticipate any problems so there’s big hope there. We went to the meeting with a letter already typed up presenting with some basic café building ideas so we were able to leave it with them to look at.
We also mentioned beach all ability access (east end route) and beach wheelchairs as per previous committee discussions/beach audit.
20) How long is this all going to take?
They don't know yet.
21) Finally, would Ecobos arrange a tour round the docks (sometime in June?) for members of FoPB?
John H to ask Chris V to follow this up asap. They’ve already identified a lot of industrial archeology and are happy to share.
22) From this early stage I would hope we could secure an assurance that Friends of Par beach would be included on any list of consultees ie be formally invited to comment on plans - this would ensure they let us know about things rather than us having to try to find out the info. It also means FoPB would be in a better position to comment if we had any objections.
Ecobos would like us to be a ‘critical friend ‘ of their plans , they would like us to rope in as much local knowledge as we can.
They are extremely keen for us to be involved and confirmed that they would keep us in the loop.
They reiterated their commitment to asking for public opinion and ideas all the way along.
23) I would like to ask what type of businesses they will be attracting in the business unit area (I understand there are to be workshops units near the marina section). I'm thinking of this from an environmental viewpoint so we can comment on eg the possibility of chemicals/waste oil in the vicinity of watercourses, and ensure that any such units have appropriate drains and traps etc. This is the EA's jurisdiction but it always helps to have others on side!
They are aware of drains/traps needs.
Boatbuilders, chandlers, craft units, small shops, cafes, offices…..
24) The waste contamination issue is a very valid point and I agree with raising that. If the soil is contaminated it would raise the building costs and make it much less likely for affordable/local housing there (think of Caffa Mill in Fowey if any of you know that).
They don’t have the numbers for affordable housing percentages yet. It’s too early on in the process.
25) I personally would stress that any marina would need public access with at least a public pontoon/landing facility so that visitors can be accommodated. Also let's think green and ask for a boat sewage pump-out facility leading straight in to the sewage system (all newly built yachts since 2006 have to have the capacity for sewage storage tanks).
They noted pump out facility request, they are speaking to marina/port experts and will also speak with Fowey Harbour. For ideas and plans. See no.15.
26) I also feel very strongly that Ports (even small tidal ones) are a vital part of our transport network, and that they will become more necessary in the not so distant future - a bit like the u-turn in the need for small branch lines closed in the 70's - I would like to ask if there will be any dock facilities retained.
They are planning on maintaining dock facilities with this view in mind,
27) where will the sewage be going? The sewage system along Par Moor road is already stinking and close to capacity and people would be living rather close to it. An assurance of sewage overflow and storm water recycling would be great - anything to reduce runoff and overflow into St Austell Bay.
See no. 11.
28) A final thought - how about integrated recycling facilities such as they have in Europe - chutes direct to underground containers that the lorries just come and pick up out of the ground (under the pavements!) AND a decent waste collection system that doesn't allow urbanised animals to take advantage of bin bags and scatter rubbish everywhere.
Waste disposal options /detailed design, low carbon features of buildings all at a very early stage. Jan suggested looking at in basement sewage plants similar to those in Monaco.
They took note of all our ideas and comments to investigate further. They said that shutes direct to underground facilities for recycling are usually only for high density housing.
Ecologists are already carrying out studies, Ecobos were not aware of the high ecological interest of Par Beach (they are a little more now!), or of the café and other issues. They do see the beach as a major asset and want to help.
Cars – parking not really that clear yet, location of hotel is unlikely to go ahead, parking would be a problem. Ecobos looking into electric car points.
Overall impressions is that eco bos wish to work with all relevant community groups wherever they are and have a successful new group ruinning up in ibex(?) of the clay villages.
Reproduced from From Wikipedia – Section 106 agreements
Section 106 of the Act, in conjunction with DoE Circular 5/05, allows for Local Planning Authorities and persons interested in land to agree contributions, arrangements and restrictions as Planning Agreements or Planning Obligations. Applicants can offer such agreements unilaterally or negotiate and agree them as support for their application to make it accord with local planning requirements, but without some of the rigorous controls of Planning Conditions under s 70(1).
It relates to monies paid by developers to Local Planning Authorities in order to offset the costs of the external effects of development. For example, if a developer were to build 100 new houses, there would be effects on local schools, roads etc., which the Local Authority would have to deal with. In that situation there might be a Section 106 agreement as part of the granting of planning permission. The developer might agree to make a contribution towards the provision of new schools.
Section 106 arrangements are currently being reviewed by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Has the effect that any modification or discharge of a s 106 Agreement must be agreed by deed between the parties and in accordance with s 106B. It creates the right to apply in a prescribed form to modify a s 106 agreement once five years has passed since the agreement, or such shorter period as secondary legislation may prescribe. It prevents one applicant applying for a modification which may become enforceable against others who have not applied.
It clarifies that s 84 of the Law of Property Act 1925 (power to discharge or modify restrictive covenants affecting land) does not apply to a planning obligation.
Right of the applicant to appeal against the decision or non-determination of a Local Planning Authority under s 106A to the Secretary of State. Section 106B states "before determining the appeal the Secretary of State shall, if either the applicant or the authority so wish, give each of them an opportunity of appearing before and being heard by a person appointed by the Secretary of State for the purpose". It states "the determination of an appeal by the Secretary of State under this section shall be final". Schedule 6 applies to determine how the appeal is heard and by whom.