1. Introduction

The Role of the Friends of Restronguet Point

There have been many changes in the character of Restronguet Point and Harcourt over the past sixty years and the changes have probably accelerated in the last twenty years.   But what changes are likely in the future?   Our concerns are focused mainly on the natural and developed environment of Restronguet Point, Porthwgidden and Harcourt.   Social issues such as amenities and schooling are not addressed here.

Here, after a description of the area, we set out some general considerations that might influence future development and identify some specific issues.   The issues discussed may be a matter of respecting local character: others arise from highways requirements or the provision of utilities.   Legislation affects many of these, such as land usage, tree preservation and development and these will be addressed by local authorities.   However we believe that the community will continue to influence the authorities if its concerns are represented in well researched and constructive dialogue.   As a basis for this in 2005 we developed Guidelines for Property Development as a Village Design Statement.

Indeed it should be recorded that the motivation for the formation of the Friends of Restronguet Point was the concern that inappropriate development proposals were being approved leading to a decline in the visual quality of development in the Restronguet Point area which is in a Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The following Friends committee members, during our early years, contributed to the

Guidelines viz; Rosemary Bassett; James Beeching: John Brock: John Crowther: Heather Ferris: John Hendra; Rex Hudson: Michael Kemp: Wendy Letcher: Tom Rouncefield and Derek Reed. The web site on which the Guidelines were frequently viewed was managed and generously financed by John Crowther

Village Design Statements.

Village Design Guides (VDSs) had been adopted as supplementary planning guidance in over 400 areas of the UK by the year 2002.   At that time we envisaged that our document could be similarly adopted by our local authorities.   However towards the end of 2005, Feock Parish Council began preparing a Parish Plan for its three communities - Carnon Downs, Devoran and Penpol and Feock village.   The Parish Plan is clearly much broader than the Friends' Guidelines - addressing a wide range of social issues not included in our Guidelines.However many issues we have raised resonate in the Parish Plan

The Feock Parish Plan is similar to a Village Design Statement.   VDSs were started in l993 and were launched in 1996 as part of the Countryside Agency's Design in the Countryside Project.   The project focused on regional diversity, local distinctiveness and harmony between buildings, settlements and landscapes in order to encourage new development to respect the character of its location.   They are produced by local communities giving them an opportunity to influence local development.   The ODPM’s guidance, The countryside; Environment Quality and Economic and Social Development, recognised VDSs as a useful tool to promote good design of new development in rural areas.

By 2002 of the approximately 400 VDS's, 100 had been adopted as official Supplementary Planning Guidance.   At that time research showed that VDS's had successfully influenced development in villages.  They have had a positive benefit on community life in that they have been used effectively to:

1.Influence the content and quality of planning proposals

2.Assist in and speed the negotiation process to improve layout and design

3.Influence the quality of the resulting development

4.Increase the understanding of local design issues

5.Focus comments by Parish councils and other interested parties

6.Develop other community projects.

Countryside Agency Research Note 53 (2002) states:

A VDS is unlike any other planning document.It provides planning advice directly applicable to the statutory planning system and is entirely community based.   It can be openly critical of existing planning control systems and can suggest specific weaknesses in them that need to be addressed.