In 2020 Cornwall watched in disbelief at the open defiance of the planning system by the Carbis Bay Hotel, in carving out a swathe of the Carbis Bay backdrop for an unlawful and yet more commercial development. This is a site that was turned down in 2018 on environmental, visual and planning grounds and this latest gung-ho development has now been exposed as an entirely false ploy use the G7 as an excuse. Whilst Cornwall Council seemed paralysed, there were many who deeply resented the audacity of this swipe at the iconic beauty of Cornwall.
Cornwall CPRE submitted a formal objection to a planning application by Carbis Bay Hotel for retrospective permission to complete three single-storey buildings currently under construction in defiance of a previous planning refusal.
Hundreds of local people protested over the unauthorised construction. The Cabinet Office at Westminster issued a statement denying that these so-called meeting rooms had anything to do with G7 requirements. Furthermore, the local MP and Cornwall’s then councillor for Carbis Bay (now Council Leader) issued a joint statement:
“Derek Thomas and Cllr Taylor recognise the genuine concern regarding the groundworks and any proposed development in this beautiful bay and are adamant that any work that needs to take place to accommodate the summit must be able to be removed and the area returned to its former state, including nature recovery.”
“This hotel has, in defiance of a previous planning refusal, sought to clear a natural area including many established trees, falsely using the G7 as justification. Powerful business interests should not be allowed to trample the planning regulations underfoot. The rules are there to protect the exceptional character and beauty of Cornwall”. He added, “We will be doing our very best to ensure the current planning application is refused and, should it become necessary, that Cornwall Council issues an enforcement order for these buildings to be demolished and removed.” – Richards Stubbs, then Chair of CPRE Cornwall
In September 2021 the hotel withdrew the retrospective planning application and Cornwall Council issued an enforcement notice ordering the hotel to remove the buildings erected without planning permission and to return the site to its original state within 6 months. The hotel lodged an appeal against the enforcement notice and in February 2022 the planning inspector, Mr Jarratt announced the decision to uphold the enforcement notice and to dismiss the appeal.
“I have found very significant harm to the character and appearance of the landscape which is contrary to national and local policies. Whilst issues relating to ecology and biodiversity, and to drainage, coastal and land stability could be mitigated through the imposition of appropriately worded conditions these would not overcome the level of harm I have found.” – Mr Jarratt
The applicant has now removed the pods and is trying to return the hillside to its former well wooded state but some of the damage to the environment is irreversible.