Some big decisions are to be expected in 2018 which could transform Cornwall’s future for years to come.
From job creation to the way the county will look or how it will stand in the world, how its sporting scene will change and how the education landscape could be transformed, 2018 will see some big ticket projects coming through for approval.
For others this year could be the year the diggers finally move in.
Fortnightly bin collections
Biffa binmen Dean Hill and Waldo Simms in action in Penryn. Cornwall Council is set to decide whether it moves towards fortnightly refuse collections and weekly recycling collections. (Image: Sally Adams)
Decision-makers will meet in February to decide if Cornwall moves ahead with fortnightly black bin bag collections.
Instead of picking up landfill rubbish each week, Cornwall Council is proposing only to collect it every two weeks.
However, food waste would be collected every week – cutting the amount of rotting waste in the black bags.
The council hopes the move will drastically reduce the amount of black bin bags going to landfill and boost Cornwall’s poor recycling rate.
Recycling would also be collected weekly under the proposals.
The current waste and recycling contract for Cornwall comes to an end in 2020 and the council is looking at what Cornwall’s waste and recycling collections should be when the new contract begins in April 2020.
A helicopter operated by BIH touches down at Penzance heliport before the service to the Isles of Scilly closed in 2012. A decision to re-open the heliport is expected this year
Penzance lost its heliport, which had served the town since 1964, in 2012. There are current plans on the table for a new helicopter service from Penzance to the Isles of Scilly to be revived from a site not too far away from where it use to operate.
Further information to support the Penzance Heliport planning application was been submitted to Cornwall Council on Friday.
It follows a legal challenge against the original planning consent by the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group.
The amended application, from Tresco owner Robert Dorrien-Smith, who is also the director of Penzance Heliport Ltd, says the project will unlock £31 million of investment in the islands and provide a £9m boost to West Cornwall. The updated plans also include more information on proposed environmental and heritage benefits.
Planners from Cornwall Council are expected to look again at the planning application before making a final decision in the next few months.
Penvose Student Village
An artist’s impression of what the proposed Penvose Student Village could look like on the edge of Penryn (Image: CAD Architects)
A decision on whether to allow a 2,000-bed student village to be built on a greenfield site half a mile from Falmouth University’s Penryn Campus is expected to be taken in February after it was originally deferred by planners at the tail end of last year.
The project, which received support from Falmouth Town Council as a “good project with a lot of merit”, had originally been recommended for refusal by Cornwall Council’s planning officers.
Members of the council’s strategic planning committee decided to put more flesh on the bones of the project, talk to its developer, Ocean Reach (Penryn) Ltd, further about a Section 106 agreement regarding contribution to local infrastructure, and iron out issues linked to highway and ecology matters.
Members of the committee said they are to hear the views of Falmouth University on its student accommodation needs at a time when it was granted permission to expand and take in more students. The university shares the Penryn campus with the University of Exeter.
Councillor Julian Rand, who sits on the committee, said at the time: “It is nonsense that the university want more students but don’t provide the accommodation for them.”
A decision will be taken at the February strategic planning committee on February 15.
Cornwall’s spaceport plans could be given the green light by Government by the end of the financial year in March 2018
Plans for Britain’s first ever spaceport to be built in Cornwall could receive the green light from central Government by the end of the financial year in March.
The team behind the project at Cornwall Newquay Airport believes Cornwall offers the best possible location for a horizontal launch spaceport especially when the airport has one of the longest runways in the UK and a growing list of regional connections and estinations.
Backers believe the upcoming spaceport could generate £180m and 500 jobs to Newquay if approved by central government.
Already Cornwall has Goonhilly Earth Station offering a range of satellite services to worldwide companies acting as a catalyst for multi-sector growth through space-derived data and digital applications.
The Aerohub Enterprise Zone is working as an incubating centre for space start-ups and SMEs while the South West Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications is a working partnership between the space industry and higher education institutions.
Cornwall’s MPs gave a spirited case for why the UK’s first spaceport should be based in Cornwall – and not in Scotland.
Newquay and St Austell MP Steve Double and South East Cornwall MP Sheryll Murray both spoke in support of the spaceport being located at Cornwall Airport Newquay when the Space Industry Bill went before the House of Commons for its second reading.
They came up against MPs from Scotland who were pitching their own cases for why the spaceport should be in their constituencies.
A decision on whether Cornwall hosts the UK’s first spaceport will be made by April.
West Carclaze eco-town
2018 could be the year the diggers move in to start work on the West Carclaze eco-town
2018 could be the year when diggers move in to start work on the new 1,500-home eco-town at West Carclaze near St Austell.
The project was signed off last year. Government funding was also confirmed for the ‘garden village’, one of 14 to be built around the UK.
The West Carclaze eco community will receive £275,000 to assist preparatory work for the new school and essential infrastructure.
Across England the Government is currently supporting 24 locally-led garden cities, towns and villages, which have the potential to deliver around 220,000 homes.
The national project, which is backed by £16 million funding, was allocated a further £3m for the 14 garden villages in the programme to fund dedicated staff and studies and assessments that are vital to the delivery.
Developers Eco-Bos said the project could take 17 years to complete.
An artist’s impression elevations for the proposed development of South Quay in Hayle harbour
Plans are in hand to turn 40 years of neglect on Hayle Harbour and turn the town’s fortunes around after a proposal for apartments and shop were approved with the final 27 additional homes expected to be approved this year.
When complete the scheme will see a new two-storey building built on a brownfield site at South Quay behind where the new Asda store now stands. A new footbridge would also be included in the scheme.
The development, which has received the overall backing of the community as a great way to enhance the harbour area for future enjoyment, hit a snag from conservationists at Unesco over what they see as the potential risk of losing World Heritage Site (WHS) status.
While unanimously approving the construction of the Gatehouse’s three apartments and retail unit, last December’s strategic planning committee deferred a decision to see 27 flats and houses erected on the rest of the site at South Quay, which has listed walls that were built on in 1819 for the Harvey and company.
Members of the committee decided to was prudent to iron out the last issues with Unesco so as not to endanger Cornwall’s WHS status.
Stadium for Cornwall
The proposed Stadium for Cornwall may not happen if the council does not help get developments going in the area
An application for the erection of a 10,000-seat stadium at Threemilestone, on the outskirts of Truro has been in place since 2013. However the final decision is dependent on houses being built around the site at Langarth Farm
Cornwall Council vowed to spend £7.3 million to try to kickstart the major housing development on the outskirts of Truro which in turn will kick start the planned Stadium for Cornwall.
The council’s ruling Cabinet agreed at the end of last year to spend the money on land at Langarth where it will build homes with the aim of getting a raft of other developments in the area under way.
The council agreed to step in to try to get building under way around Threemilestone after several development proposals in the area stalled.
Developments include West Langarth Farm, where thousands of homes are planned along with a retail park, an extension of the existing park-and-ride and the Stadium for Cornwall. Others include Willow Green and Maiden Green – all the sites are along the A390 corridor near Truro.
The plan has yet to be approved by the full council. It is scheduled for review in February or March this year.
Swansea Tidal Lagoon
What the Swansea Tidal Lagoon could look like if approved. Granite from Cornwall could be used to build the banks of the lagoon (Image: PA)
What has that got to do with Cornwall, you may ask?
The UK government is expected to make a final decision on the £1.3bn project to build a tidal power lagoon in Swansea Bay this year.
At present the scheme is on hold until it is either mothballed or greenlighted by Whitehall.
Pressure is growing on the UK Government to back the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon ahead of the one-year anniversary next week of the publication of the landmark review which recommended it for approval.
Former Energy Minister Charles Hendry told WalesOnline the Government should show leadership and make the project a reality
Mr Hendry said that just as Government support for the offshore wind industry led to a “dramatic” fall in costs, now ministers have the chance to put the UK on the path to become a world leader in lagoon technology.
He hopes the Government will “really go at this with enthusiasm”.
Champions of tidal energy hope that the success of a “pathfinder” project in Swansea would lead to more lagoons at sites including Cardiff, Newport and Colwyn Bay.
But fears for the future of the project were hiked when there was no mention of it in the Autumn Budget and the Financial Times reported ministers had “gone cold” on the £1.3bn bid to harness the power of the tides.
So what has this project got to do with Cornwall? If approved, Shire Oak Quarries which is looking to re-open Dean Quarry near St Keverne, hopes to supply rock to the UK’s emerging tidal lagoon industry, as well as other potential markets.
However, on its website the firm said it would not be shipping rock to the world’s first tidal lagoon power plant at Swansea Bay unless it is contracted to do so by the marine works contractor selected by Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay Plc to build the lagoon wall.
That decision will come when the project is approved.
South Crofty Mine near Camborne – Strongbow Exploration president and chief executive officer Richard Williams
Could 2018 be the year South Crofty in Pool comes back online and Cornwall’s traditional tin mining industry is revived?
The South Crofty tin mine took a giant leap towards finally reopening after it was granted the final permit required to render the project ready for action in November 2017.
Canadian company Strongbow Exploration Inc owns the South Crofty Tin Project and associated mineral rights after acquiring it from administration and have now announced that it has received a permit from the Environment Agency allowing the discharge of up to 25,000 cubic metres of treated water.
Strongbow’s new permit means that the company can now construct the mine water treatment facility, resulting in a higher quality of water discharged.
The project can now progress to its next phase and Strongbow CEO Richard Williams believes the company is making strong progress towards its goal of re-opening South Crofty, creating scores of jobs in the process.
Lithium drilling at Tregothnan
Lithium test drilling under one of Cornwall’s ancient aristocratic estates could start towards the end of the year.
Experts believe the precious metal, which is used in batteries, could replace fossil fuels in cars.
Private company Cornish Lithium, founded by Camborne School of Mines graduate Jeremy Wrathall, announced earlier this year it was to begin prospecting for the rare metal.
Lithium has been found in the ground of the ancient Tregothnan Estate, better known these days for growing the only truly English tea in Britain.
Mr Wrathall said lithium was nothing new as it was first discovered in Cornwall in the late 19th century, but its commercial value is such nowadays, with the increased demand for electric cars batteries, that is commercial viable to exploit.
He told Cornwall Live at the end of 2017 that ‘if all goes well we could have our first test drilling at Tregothnanat the end of 2018 and again if all goes well, exploitation in the next five years’.
An artist’s impression of how a new skate park at Newquay could look
In 2018 Newquay is set to get a world-class skate park facility.
The existing Wooden Waves park at Trenance Park is due to be torn down and replaced with a new concrete park which Newquay Town Council claims will be one of the best skate parks in Europe.
The town council secured the freehold of the land from Cornwall Council in 2015 and was subsequently given planning permission for the project.
The project is set to cost more than £500,000. In October the town council released £200,000 from its reserves funds to match the £300,000 it had already secured through various grants.
The skate park will be designed with four main areas – a street run, bowl, retro-style pool, and stair set.
Work on the park is due to begin in January, as the cash from both grants has to be used within a certain timeframe.
Maverick Industries said the facility will be “the best in Britain”, while organisers of the resort’s Boardmasters festival have shown an interest in staging a skateboard competition there.
Plans by Geothermal Energy Limited to drill deep under Jubilee Pool to heat the pool all year round with hot rocks (Image: BingMaps Image)
Exploratory drilling will start this year at United Downs near Redruth as part of a £10.6m project by Geothermal Engineering Ltd (GEL) to pump geothermal heat and electricity into the National Grid.
The company is also expected to start drilling a geothermal heat well under Jubilee Pool in Penzance to see if the open air lido can be heated all year round.
Peter Ledingham, project manager with the company, said Cornwall could become Britain’s leader in the production of geothermal energy as it is rich in granite which is essential for geothermal energy.
The United Downs Deep Geothermal Power project, the first of its kind in Britain, will explore the geothermal resources at depth and hopes to use the energy to drive a demonstration power plant supplying electricity to the local grid.
If positive the drill tests could pave the way for a full-sized power plant by 2020.
Final deal on Brexit
Brexit will again occupy the Government’s mind this year if it wants to achieve its aim of seeing the UK leave the EU by March 2019 (Image: altamira83)
The government insists that the UK will leave the EU on March 29, 2019, but to achieve such an aim, it will mean that negotiations will have to pick up pace if a final agreement has to be agreed by both the UK parliament and ratified by the other 27 member states.
At the end of January formal negotiations are expected to begin in earnest on a transition period after Brexit.
The EU’s position is that the transition has to take place under all existing rules and regulations (including budget payments, the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice and the free movement of people), and that it should come to an end on December 31, 2020.
No-one in the UK seems entirely happy about the transition proposals. Many businesses say it won’t be long enough for them to be ready for a new world after the UK leaves.
On the other hand, many supporters of Brexit say the transition will leave the UK as a “vassal state” – following rules without any say in making them.
According to the European Council president Donald Tusk 2018 will be a “furious race against time”.
The EU wants to have the withdrawal agreement (including transition arrangements), and a broad political declaration about the future relationship (NOT a full trade deal), finalised by October.
That will give time for the withdrawal agreement to be ratified in full before the UK leaves in March 2019. It needs the approval of a qualified majority of the remaining 27 EU member states, as well as simple majorities in the UK and European parliaments.
Until those votes are cast, no-one can say for sure that the withdrawal agreement will be successfully concluded.
The amount of uncertainty Brexit will generate is the only thing we can be sure about.
The three projects below are also expected to be completed this year
KFC, Starbucks and Marston’s pub and Hotel
They will all be part of a major new retail park which will reshape Newquay’s shopping scheme set to open next year.
A proposal put forward by Cheshire-based developer Consolidated Property Group (CPG), to build nine retail units, a food store, a pub and two drive-through fast-food restaurants at Trevithick Manor Farm opposite Morrisons was given the go ahead in 2016.
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The retail complex is understood to have already attracted the attention of big-name retailers including Pets at Home, Sports Direct, B&M, Poundworld and Iceland, which have all shown an interest in the finished development.
Marston’s is set to take on the pub restaurant and hotel, while KFC will open a fast-food outlet and Starbucks a coffee shop.
Marks and Spencer and TK Maxx
The building of Marks and Spencer on the former Kingsley Village site marks the end of a ten-year search for a site suitable for a larger store.
The Kingsley Village buildings have been flattened to the ground ready to make way for a new Marks & Spencer store that could create a total of 350 jobs with a further 150 during construction.
Demolition work on the site started in July and now the former food and shopping centre at what’s known as Hamburger Hill is nothing but a pile of rubble.
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The owners are also in discussion with H&M, Fat Face, Topshop, Outfit, Boots, Mothercare, White Stuff and Schuh, about the other units, but none have confirmed.
CPG, which owns the Trevithick Manor Farm site in Newquay and is also looking to develop the Eastern Green site in Penzance, announced news of an investment of more than £100 million and creation of 1,000 jobs at sites across the county.
Eden Project Hotel
How the new Eden Project Hotel will look (Image: Eden Project)
The Eden Project was granted planning permission for a new 109-bedroom on-site hotel in February.
The £8.5 million hotel is due to open in April 2018. It is estimated that 35 to 40 jobs will be created for the hotel located near Eden’s Plum car park.
David Harland, Eden Project executive director, said: “The hotel will be a positive addition to the already excellent accommodation available in our local area and will help bolster our reputation as an attractive venue for events, conferences and weddings.
“We feel the design is eye-catching but in keeping with its surroundings and we’re proud to say that it will be built to the highest environmental standards.”
Eden said the hotel was designed to support existing projects and partners and future developments at Eden, as well as provide accommodation for visitors to big events, such as the Eden Sessions series of summer concerts.
It will have classrooms in it to support Eden’s educational programmes, including its apprenticeship scheme and degree-level courses.
The accommodation will be split into two blocks to reduce its visual impact. Local stone cladding will be used at the lower level of the buildings and locally-sourced timber poles are designed to set the main accommodation blocks into the surrounding landscape.
Source: Cornwall Live