Why was Tremorvah House Demolished?

Our Historic Environment Strategy Lead Officer, Dan Ratcliffe, tells the Cornish Buildings Group why.

‘In line with our statutory duties set out in the Planning Act 1990 (s 69, s 71) the boundary and the special interest of the Truro Conservation Area was appraised and reviewed and a management plan developed between 2005-2010, initially by the Conservation Section of Carrick District Council and latterly by the Historic Environment Service. The initial detailed appraisal work was undertaken on Carrick DC’s behalf by the then CCC Historic Environment Service (HES) in 2005, with a Management Plan subsequently developed in 2010 by Alan Baxter Associates (ABA). This process reviewed and amended the boundary of the Conservation Area, the management plan and revised boundary being adopted in March 2010. When a Council considers the designation of Conservation Areas it is of course careful only to include those areas that can clearly demonstrate the required special interest so as not to dilute the overall value of such designations.

The area referred to (between the Catholic church and Parklands) includes 4 of 16 character areas that were identified by the HES appraisal as potential extensions to the Conservation Area, and these were later formally assessed for their suitability by the ABA work. Agar Road, which also lies within this area, was already a part of the Conservation Area. Of these 4 areas, only the area lying between St Austell Road, Mitchell Road, Agar Road and Tregolls Road (containing the Catholic church) was felt to demonstrate sufficient special interest, and being already surrounded on three sides by the Conservation Area this was felt to be a logical extension. Demolition of buildings within this area now require planning permission and as part of the Conservation Area the area is subject to the policies for ‘designated heritage assets’ within the NPPF.

The remaining three areas considered consist of the informal grounds of the demolished Tregolls House [8], the housing (and the now demolished Brooklands Hotel) along the south east side of Tregolls Road [9], and the land represented by the historic curtilages of Alverton and Tremorvah [10]. These areas were not recommended by ABA for designation. The ABA Management Plan gives the following reasons for non-designation of these three areas. In general the conclusion seems to have been that the enlargement of Tregolls Road and the infill development around Alverton and Tremorvah had already unfortunately eroded and disrupted the overall coherence of the area.

“[8] Because of the dual carriageway in Tregolls Road this proposed extension would not form a coherent part of the Conservation Area. Any proposed development in this area would be assessed for its impact on the setting of the Conservation Area.
[9] Some historically interesting individual houses, but like [8] too cut off from the Conservation Area.
[10] The two houses are interesting but the adjoining development in the area, and the frontage to Tregolls Road, means that this area has little consistent overall character.”

The decision by the council not to designate these areas means of course that (with the exception of Alverton and its curtilage structures which are Listed GII*) LPA consent is not required for demolition of buildings within it, although notably the Management Plan did identify some interest in all of these areas which means they can be treated as ‘non-designated heritage assets’ as defined by the NPPF.

In general terms in the event that demolition of non-designated heritage assets in the area formed part of an application for planning permission then the approach set out in the NPPF (Chapter 12) would apply. The significance of those assets and the degree of harm would be material considerations in coming to a balanced judgement regarding the determination of those applications. P128 of the Framework would indicate that such applications should be informed by proportionate assessments of the significance of assets affected, and demonstrate consultation of the Historic Environment Record (HER). Documents within the HER making reference to the character and significance of features within this area include the Conservation Area Appraisal, the Management Plan and the Urban Survey for Truro.

We are of course statutorily required to have ‘special regard’ to the setting of the GII* Alverton’.

Should anyone require any further information or clarification, Mr. Ratcliffe can be contacted via email at dratcliffe@cornwall.gov.uk

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