The Planning Application
We are delighted that Higher Newham Farm and Village was given outline planning permission in February 2016. We can now begin the process of colouring in between the lines and bringing the project to life.
Before we can start building, we need to have worked up all the ideas, and have drawn out all the detail, so that we can get the necessary detailed planning approvals. That is going to take us time to get right.
Over the course of the next few months we’ll be picking up on the conversations with dozens of individuals and organisations that began back in 2014 around what Higher Newham Farm and Village might be. Many of you have already been in touch with your thoughts and ideas, but if you want to drop us a line, now is a good time.
email email@example.com with your thoughts
The Planning Application
The site proposed for Higher Newham Farm and Village is sustainably located to the south of Truro within walking distance of shops and services, road and pedestrian infrastructure, community facilities and employment opportunities.
It sits south of Morlaix Avenue (A39) and west of Newham Industrial Estate. South of the site lies an old railway line which forms part of the Cornish Way cycle-path and beyond that falls Calenick Creek.
The proposal seeks to combine an education based community farm with a place to eat, a cook school and new exemplar homes. The village would be set within a wider, enhanced landscape. This landscape forms 80% of the land at Higher Newham and it is proposed to gift it to the local community via a new charitable trust to preserve it in perpetuity.
There is currently no up-to-date Local Plan for Cornwall to manage the type and amount of development in the County's key settlements, including Truro. As such, a design process for the farm and village has been ongoing with Cornwall Council to bring forward proposals which could be supported by the Council planners.
- To recognise the values of local food production by creating opportunities to support and learn about all 3 stages of the food cycle (growing, cooking and eating) at local scale.
- To recognise the need for careers in food and farming by creating a learning environment for all ages, where agricultural, horticultural and cookery skills are core.
- To recognise that research, innovation and the sharing of ideas and information have a significant part to play in tackling the challenges facing the local farming community
- To respond to the need for good quality local housing by creating opportunities for a village to thrive
- To respond to the importance of accessible green space by creating new landscapes whose protection is enhanced for future generations
Access and Infrastructure
Morlaix Avenue Vehicle Access
Morlaix Avenue has been identified as the road from which to take a vehicle access.
The proposed access junction is a traffic signal controlled junction arrangement, approximately 135m down from the Arch Hill roundabout and includes a pedestrian crossing. It has been developed through extensive discussion with Cornwall Council and is designed to fit with the new junction set up at Arch Hill.
In addition to the access junction, our proposals also include changes to Morlaix Avenue itself. This is currently a 70mph road section laid out as a standard dual carriageway, between 30 and 40mph roads either side. Cornwall Council already had plans to reduce speeds on the road to increase safety and capacity. Our proposals include changes to the road surface, wildflower planting through the central reservation and verges, tree planting and a pedestrian walkway and cycleway alongside the westbound carriageway. The pocket park alongside the downward carriageway will be planted with wildflowers. This work will help to re-link the environment and wonderful views at Higher Newham with the city - a link that was broken 45 years ago when the dual carriageway was built. Improving Morlaix Avenue environment will help link the city and the farm much more attractively and safely than at present. Our proposed changes have the benefit of increasing capacity of the road and improving safety for car drivers, walkers and cyclists who use the route.
Speeds on the road will also be reduced to 50mph towards the bottom end of Morlaix Avenue and down to 40mph near the entrance to Higher Newham Farm and Village.
Pedestrian and cycle access, footpaths and trailways
Under our proposals a number of new footpaths and cycle trails will run through Higher Newham. The roads within the site will be useable by pedestrians and cyclists as these will be slow speed. These roads will lead down to the new junction which is located 135m down from Arch Hill roundabout.
Beyond the roads there are a number of other trailways being proposed. Due to the need to keep sheep and dogs apart and due to the steep nature of the trail down to the old railway line, trailways across the site have differing degrees of cycle or dog-walking access.
As part of a program of improvements to Morlaix Avenue, which includes extensive planting and a slowing of speeds from 70mph to 50mph, a new footpath and cycle-way will run the length of Morlaix Avenue. This will improve the connection between Higher Newham Farm and Village and the city centre.
TRAILWAYS, AS NOTED IN ABOVE IMAGE
All yellow routes = pathways suitable for pedestrian use, but with differing degrees of cycle or dog-walking access:
- Morlaix Avenue link - designated public foot/cycle path;
- Trail up from Arch Hill - permissive trail on existing track through Duchy College field for pedestrians only, signage will advise that dogs will not be permitted due to livestock;
- Trail up from Higher Newham Lane via Green Lane - permissive trail on existing track for pedestrians and cyclists but signage will advise cyclists to dismount and push;
- Trail up from the Sustrans route on former railway line - permissive fenced trail alongside Duchy College fields principally for pedestrians but could be used by cyclists, signage will advise cyclists to dismount and push and that dogs must be kept on a lead;
- Trail around southern / western side of the Village - permissive trail through Duchy College fields for pedestrians only, signage will advise that dogs will not be permitted due to livestock;
- All routes suitable for cars will be suitable for pedestrians and cyclists too.
Surface water drainage
Our proposal includes a sustainable urban drainage strategy. This will seek to ensure that surface water run-off from the site is collected, attenuated and released at a rate which is agreed with the Environment Agency. Captured water will be directed to three attenuation basins at the base of the southern slopes.
The site proposes to seek a foul sewer connection direct into Newham treatment works and discussions are underway with South West Water over technical matters to achieve this. It is proposed that the Community Hub area of the site would however use a reed-bed filtration area to treat wastewater.
We propose to restore and renovate the old farm buildings, enhancing the existing character and bringing out the best in them. We think these buildings would be the perfect home for the restaurant and cook school. We would also like to see a large community space and a number of smaller spaces for anyone from artists, to artisan producers looking for a unique location to make/sell from.
Under our proposals the environment in which the homes sit is as important as the homes themselves. Homes would be clustered around green spaces, full of character and interest, just like traditional villages.
As well as individual bespoke designs, the homes would have excellent green credentials; super-insulated, up to the minute glazing solutions, highly energy efficient.
Our proposal would see the homes at Higher Newham offered under a unique model, pioneered by Living Villages and enabling a variety of types and size as well as ownership, shared equity or lease options. At least 30% of the 155 properties would be available at below market rates, to help those who really need them.
We want to develop the open market housing with the involvement of a selection of architects. By doing this we intend for the village to grow organically. Just as villages in Cornwall always have.
The proposals include the planting of over 100 large specimen trees around the site, and a further 60 trees within public spaces in and around the village. In addition approximately 2.8 hectares of native planting will be introduced around the boundaries of the farm to provide a treed landscape structure and to help in framing and screening views into the farm and village.
In developing the layout, care has been taken to retain the existing Cornish hedges. This has been done by aligning roads and areas of shared open space alongside the hedges so they can continue to be managed in a similar manner as they have been over many centuries. In addition under our proposals approximately 650 metres of new Cornish hedges would be introduced around the boundaries of the village and, through educational programmes with the Farm, an additional 350 metres would be introduced in the surrounding farmland to reintroduce old field boundaries that have been lost/removed by more recent agricultural practices.
In consideration of the Village and the Farm’s long term future, a Landscape and Ecological Management Plan would be written which would provide a ‘Vision’ for the site, outlining the site’s history and the aspirations for its future. The Management Plan would outline how both the farmland and the residential areas should be managed in the interests of its users, its appearance, its long term ecological value and the contribution it can make to its wider setting. This would include references to access, by whom and how, and where signage and associated complementary interpretation boards might be placed to direct the residents and public through and out of the site. The attractive Green Lane leading up from the Newham Industrial Estate would be cleared and managed as a permissive footpath up into the site, linking to a network of paths around the village and down onto the disused railway line footpath and cycleway. The Management Plan would also discuss how the village and farm planting might best respond to unforeseen tree losses from such things as storms, climate change and pests or diseases. This would ensure the planting and the ecological value of the site can be maintained and respond to change in such a way that any new planting complements the original ‘vision’.
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