Before you provide comments on the indicative Land at Hospital Cross development proposals, we ask that you review the questions below and the Development Team’s responses which we have prepared for your consideration. These might address some or all of your queries.
Why are you proposing a retail park in this location?
The site is very well connected as it is situated on a major ‘A’ road (A394) and will form a natural extension to the built-up area of Helston.
In accordance with the national planning policy, the Development Team has undertaken the ‘sequential test’ to identify if there are any sequentially preferable sites that are within or on the edge of Helston Town Centre. Whilst the development of a greenfield site is unpreferable, the Development Team, in accordance with the ‘sequential test’ has explored redeveloping a brownfield site, however, there are none of such size that can accommodate the amount of retail floorspace, major access arrangements, parking and are as well connected as the site.
Why are you not seeking to revitalise the former Budgens for the proposed retail development?
The former Budgens site cannot accommodate the type and scale of retail development and unfortunately there is no interest from the identified retailers to occupy and operate units within Helston Town Centre because it is not well connected to the strategic highway network.
The change of the former Budgens to a community use (Class F.1 / F.2) will benefit local residents and will ensure the Land at Hospital Cross development will not compete with it. This change of use has been discussed with Cornwall Council and Helston Town Council during pre-application discussions, and both are keen to see the repurpose of the former Budgens for use by the local community.
Is it necessary to amend the highway network and how will it be impacted during construction?
Improvements to the A394 and possibly Helston Downs will be necessary to ensure the highway network can accommodate the projected amount of traffic and articulated HGVs (which are required to service the retail park) without the risk of traffic congesting and an unsafe highway. We also need to ensure the traffic associated with and access to the existing surrounding land uses (such as RNAS Culdrose, Sainsburys, Flambards and surrounding farms) is unimpaired.
Whilst we understand the construction process will cause disruption to the local highway network, this impact is temporary and expected with development. In addition, the Development Team will prepare a ‘Traffic Management Plan’ following any grant of planning permission to help mitigate the impact upon the highway network as a result of the construction. This will be prepared in consultation with local residents and Helston Town Council.
We are undertaking detailed traffic modelling and consulting with the local highway authority (being Cornwall Council) in order to progress the technical highways design for the vehicular access and highway improvements.
What will the building heights be?
The maximum building height within the indicative scheme is the McDonald’s drive thru / to restaurant at 7.8m. We believe this respects height will not significantly harm the surrounding countryside and landscape character and we are undertaking technical studies to better understand this impact.
We are also consulting with RNAS Culdrose to ensure the buildings will not impede the operations of the airfield to the south.
What local benefits will the development bring?
The Land at Hospital Cross development will deliver various construction and at least 250 long-term jobs as well as retailers which are unrepresented within Helston, providing a greater variety and choice of out-of-town shopping. The development will also result in improvements to the local highway network and the enhance the biodiversity and ecology onsite.
How will the development impact Helston Town Centre and the surrounding shopping centres?
Planning policy requires applications for retail development outside of designated shopping centres to assess the potential harm to such centres. As such, a comprehensive ‘impact assessment’ will be undertaken as part of the application in accordance with planning policy in order full explore and understand the impact upon the vitality and viability of Helston Town Centre. It is of course paramount that the development does not have a significant adverse impact upon the function and role of the town centre. Indeed, the type and function of retail proposed (i.e. drive thru / to restaurant and large scale comparison and convenience shopping) will not compete with the local and unique shopping experience within Helston Town Centre.
The change of use of the former Budgens will help mitigate the impact of the development upon Helston Town Centre and will help demonstrate the need for the proposed convenience floorspace.
Pre-application discussions with Cornwall Council indicate the retail impact of the Land at Hospital Cross development is limited to Helston. This is because the surrounding towns of Cambourne and Penzance have different population catchment sizes are the intended occupants of the development are already represented in these towns.
How will you ensure the retail park will accommodate enough car parking?
The site constraints and relevant parking standards will dictate how much parking we can accommodate onsite. Our aim is to make the development self-sufficient with legible and conveniently located onsite parking facilities for cars and bicycles.
How will you promote sustainable travel to the site?
We will improve connectivity to the site by bicycle and foot in order to reduce visits by local residents and staff travelling by private car. The indicative scheme includes northern, southern and western access for cyclists and pedestrians and the existing crossing over the A394 will be enhanced in order to ensure safe access to the site across this road.
Pedestrianised and cycle areas will be included within the car parking area to promote permeability and ensure visitors and staff can safely and legibly navigate the development.
The Development Team will prepare a ‘Sustainable Travel Plan’ as part of the application to promote sustainable modes of travel to the site.
Why are you not developing the south-eastern portion of the site?
The site constraints and planning policy dictate how we have allocated the portions of the site for development. We have a duty to deliver biodiversity net gains onsite and incorporate sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) that will effectively drain the entirety of the development without the use of the existing drains and sewers. As such, we intend to incorporate these elements within the south-eastern portion of the site by enhancing the amount of local flora and plants and incorporating a pond which would both sustain ecological assets and drain the development.
We are also have to carefully consider the impact of the impact of development upon the wider landscape and Grade II Listed Culdrose House. Therefore, leaving the southern portion of the site free from development reduces this overall impact and ensures the built-up area of Helston does not encroach upon the countryside to the south and east.
What about noise and traffic during construction?
Construction activities and their resulting impact (including effect on the amenity of residents) are factored into the planning process. The Development Team will prepare a ‘Construction Management Plan’ following any grant of planning permission in consultation with residents, Helston Town Council, as well as Cornwall Council, in order to reduce the impact construction will have upon the lives of residents. This Plan will be circulated to residents and the Town Council prior to submission to Cornwall Council.