A golf club’s offer to build new homes which it said would help secure its future was turned down.

The Bowood Park Hotel and Golf Club had applied to Cornwall Council for planning permission to build eight houses on land next to the club near Camelford.

The application was denied today after a unanimous decision by the Council’s Eastern Sub-Region Planning Committee.

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Planning officers had recommended that it be turned down on the grounds that it was in open countryside and outside the development boundaries of the area’s local development plan; the absence of any contribution for affordable housing or local services; the lack of information showing that this would not harm the Camel River Special Area of ​​Conservation; insufficient information on flood risks; and the lack of evidence that it would boost biodiversity.

John Hughes, speaking on behalf of the claimant, told advisers that, like many golf clubs and similar leisure businesses, they had been affected by Covid-19.

He said there was a need to look “outside of day-to-day business to get income” for the club and said building houses would help do that.

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Mr Hughes said Bowood Park wanted to be a year-round venue and said if approved the new homes would help protect full-time and part-time jobs at the site.

He also said the homes on offer would be single-story bungalows that could be purchased by older people looking to downsize, potentially freeing up local family homes for sale.

Councilor Andrew Long asked if this would help the area, as the development application did not state that the houses would be reserved for sale to locals.

Mr Hughes claimed they could restrict who could buy the houses, but admitted there was nothing in place to ensure this.

Claire Hewlett, a Camelford councilor who opposed the request, addressed the committee as a local resident.

Aerial view of the site next to Bowood Golf Club where an application to build houses was refused planning permission (Image: Google)

She said the claim was that the site was “well outside” the development boundaries that had been included in the Camelford Neighborhood Development Plan, which is soon to be put to a referendum.

The councilor also said there were no affordable homes to include on the site while there are 315 people on the waiting list for housing in the area. She also pointed out that the site is in the middle of the countryside and that it is good quality agricultural land.

Mike Coombes, speaking on behalf of Camelford City Council, said he supported the bid. He said the site was ‘not real farmland’ and was used for grazing and the new homes would have ‘reasonably sized gardens’ which would enhance the wildlife in the area.

Cllr Coombes said the City Council supports plans to help the business be a 12-month operation and employ staff.

Cornwall local councilor Barry Jordan also backed the plans and said it was not in the middle of the countryside.

He dismissed concerns about the lack of affordable housing, saying, “What is affordable housing? They are simply scavenged by out-of-county landowners and rented out at exorbitant prices. We are mistaken in thinking that affordable housing helps local people.

The Conservative councilor said he believed the eight free market houses would help people in the area.

Committee members said Cllr Jordan’s comments were not appropriate for a planning committee meeting and should be discussed by an oversight and review committee.

Councilor Adrian Parsons said: “When we are in desperate need of housing for the people of this county, I think it would be very irresponsible of us to support a request like this, presented as is without a contribution to affordable housing. .”

Cllr Long said the request ‘raised alarm bells’ and wondered why it had even been brought before the committee as she had so many reasons to refuse it.

He said: ‘I don’t see the political justification that has been made by Camelford City Council (to support it). I don’t see the political justification made by Divisional Member (Cllr Jordan). I don’t see any reason why he came here (to the committee).

Cllr Long added: ‘The claimant was saying they would have a measure to limit who they would sell them to, that’s wonderful, but there’s no policy to support that and nothing in the claim suggests that.’

The committee voted unanimously in favor of denying planning permission.