July 1 2010
Architects 'shocked' that their quay plans are rejected
ARCHITECTS who drew up plans to build new shops on Lemon Quay are "disappointed and shocked" their scheme was refused permission by Cornwall Council.
Developer Porthia hoped to build units around the quayside next to the Compton Castle paddle steamer, which is being renovated.
Bosses withdrew the first application for five outlets in March after the plans sparked controversy with Truro City Council and drew up a new scheme for two shops, which could be divided in to four units.
Although planning officers recommended approval, the plans were turned down at the Cornwall Council planning meeting last Wednesday.
Architect Robert Burrows, from Robert Burrows Associates, said the shops needed to be built to make the project viable.
"We're disappointed and shocked. We withdrew the first application to find out what the city council wanted but it seems that they just don't want anything.
"They suggested we were given temporary permission so it doesn't prejudice any long-term plans for the whole quay, but that then means we're not going to attract long-term tenants. The criticism was then that the buildings were temporary looking, which they are going to be if they are temporary."
He said councillors' bids for an open space for the general public are misguided.
"I think there is a misconception. The city council view the quayside as a public space, which it isn't.
"There is a 20-year lease and the resident could put a chain across and stop entry, but we want the public to be able to access it."
He said he hoped to sit down with city councillors and planning officers to work out a "realistic" way forward for the site. "We need to do it to make it viable," he said. "Truro's only got a population of 20,000 and while it's busy in the summer we thought shops would help to draw people in to the space in the winter."
Chairman of Truro Civic Society Bert Biscoe, also a Truro city and Cornwall councillor, said: "We (the Civic Society) are sorry that a previous council established conditions which may have encouraged a local firm to invest, but we see no future or desirability in commercial exploitation."