A: Kernick Road, Penryn, Cornwall. A brownfield site, close to Falmouth University with good transport links.
Q: What is the current use?
A: Brownfield industrial/commercial. The buildings on the site are coming to the end of their useful life.
At the moment, despite being earmarked as an industrial site, there are few employment opportunities with only two current jobs on the application site.
Q: What is the proposed future use?
A: The planning proposals would support 160 jobs and around £5.3 Million Gross Value Added to the local economy. The master plan area as proposed would support 679 jobs creating £38.9 Million Gross Value Added (GVA) to the local economy.
Q: What will happen to the existing occupiers if the application is approved?
A: There is one existing occupier and they will be relocated with the help of the developer.
Q: What will the development consist of?
A: Phase one of the planning application for the brownfield site would accommodate 264 students. In addition it could provide a new health centre with a GP surgery in the old Home Shed building. Homeshed went into administration in late 2016 with the loss of 18 jobs. The previous occupiers of the Home Shed building had also fallen into administration.
Q: Why are you seeking a change of use for the site?
A: To help solve Falmouth and Penryn’s housing issues and regenerate an unproductive employment site. In March of this year (2017) Cornwall Council voted to increase the number of students enrolled on courses from 5,000 to 7,500 in the face of public opposition. However, in reality the number of students enrolled on courses across the two campuses in 2016/17 is more than 7,000 (Penryn is around 5,400; Wood Lane is around 1,600).
It is anticipated that this growth will continue in the coming years and that student numbers will grow from 6,300 in 2015/16 to 8,100 in 2019, and continue well into the future at a similar rate. It is therefore not beyond the realms of possibility that the total number of students that would need accommodation in 2025 would be well in excess of 10,000.
The consensus is that purpose-built student accommodation is needed to ease the pressure on existing residential accommodation.
Q: Who is the developer?
A: Irregular Cornwall Ltd – a South West-based development which has been set up to deliver this scheme in Falmouth and Penryn by experts in their field.
Q: Who is the contractor?
A: Irregular Contracts Ltd – a division of Irregular Cornwall
Q: What are the benefits of the development?
A: The development will entice students out of Falmouth and Penryn by offering affordable rents in purpose-built, stylish accommodation.
Owing to the need to create bed spaces due to the student cap being lifted recently, the developer has chosen a prefabricated solution.
This is a quick and environmentally friendly approach that will significantly cut down on waste, noise, and traffic movements during the construction phase.
Q: What feasibility studies have been undertaken and what have they found?
A: All the required studies have been carried out including ecology, transport, trees, arboriculture, traffic, heritage, flood risk. The findings have shaped the application. Nothing adverse has been found.
Q: How will you ensure the economic benefits of the project actually support Penryn and Cornwall?
A: The developer wants to help the university fulfil its growth aspirations while, at the same time, helping to tackle the issue of student and multiple occupation properties in Falmouth and Penryn.
It is anticipated that 90 per cent of the construction work will be placed with firms in the SW region. In a report carried out for the developers, it is estimated that most of the students living at the site will have migrated into Cornwall to study and therefore their spending will be new to the area.
Q: What stage has the proposal reached?
A: The planning application was submitted to Cornwall Council on 14th June 2017. Whilst the application is being processed Irregular Cornwall’s design team are moving forward with the design and preparing the site for development.
Q: How will the local community be consulted?
A: Through the local media, Irregular’s website www.irregularcornwall.com and an open day.
Q: What’s the likely start on site date for Phase One?
A: If approved quickly work could start in September, with students moving in as early as September 2018.
Q: Will there be a green travel plan in place?
A: Yes there will be a student travel plan.
Q: What are you doing to ensure that the environmental impact, associated with the construction, is kept to a minimum?
A: Please see above re the units (containers). In addition to reduced environmental impact due to the units being prefabricated there will be less noise during the construction phase and fewer vehicle movements.Meanwhile the heating and hot water will be generated from Air Source Heat Pumps, with electricity from roof mounted PV’s. This alongside the highly insulated modules will make the energy costs across the scheme very economic for the occupants and environmentally friendly.
Q: Won’t this just encourage more students into the area?
A: Student growth is inevitable due to the cap on numbers being lifted. This scheme offers an affordable out-of-town option on a site that is currently under utilised. The site is sustainably located within half a mile of the Campus it would serve, less than a mile from the town centre, and, accessible to a range of transport modes including walking, running and cycling. It is well connected to public transport services and several bus stops are in close proximity.
Q: How would you respond to allegations that the shipping containers are ugly and not in keeping with the surrounding area?
A: The design team, some being graduates from Falmouth University, have visited a number of comparable schemes throughout the country and even in France. This has enabled them to put together a scheme where the overall aesthetic is slick and contemporary. We see this scheme as setting the bar for future use of containers across the UK whilst being sympathetic to the surrounding area.
Q: Using shipping containers smacks of cost cutting – is that why you want to use them?
A: The shipping containers are being used because they enable the developer to prefabricate buildings and therefore deliver the scheme more quickly which will, in turn, reduce room costs and the overall environmental impact. It is also a way to ease current pressure on local residential housing, quickly.
Q: What will you be doing to support the businesses affected if the application is approved?
A: We are helping the only business on the application site relocate.
Q: What will the legacy of the project be?
A: One of the key drivers of the project is to tackle some of the critical pressures on residential housing that Falmouth and Penryn is facing.
The project would also help to ease student debt by offering economical accommodation.
There is a desire among many in the local business and wider community to grow Cornwall’s knowledge-based economy. By providing student accommodation and, eventually, business grow on space, this development will play a major part in achieving that aspiration and will also help to promote the innovative Cornish Sustainable Agenda.
Q: Why has a brownfield site been selected?
A: It is more environmentally-friendly to develop on brownfield land. Much of the infrastructure is already in place and road links are established. On the site in question, the buildings are also coming to the end of their useful life. The site is currently of low ecological value and the proposed development would have negligible ecological impact on the existing site.
It is also in line with planning policy to regenerate brownfield over green space.
Q: Where can I obtain more information?
A: Via the Irregular Cornwall website and local media.