Middle Point at Breaking Point?
Truro based development company Westcountry Land is in preliminary discussions with the planning authority about remediating a contaminated brownfield site at Middle Point in Falmouth.
Middle Point is currently operating as a major oil tank storage facility, which it has done since the 1940s. However, the facility is nearing the end of its commercial use, and the tanks are failing. Their continuing operation has led to major contamination of the site and immediate environs.
Westcountry Land’s proposal would see 14 bespoke family homes built on the site, the development of which would pay the high cost of remediation.
Today there is wide-spread, extensive and aggressive contamination which is leaching into the watercourse and River Fal. Sensitive controlled waters and the adjacent special area of marine conservation are being polluted. The extent of contamination will continue to leach into the river after the facility closes in 2014, unless the site is fully remediated.
The cost of remediation has been estimated to be in the region of £2.5 – £3.8m. Therefore, an alternative site use is essential to achieve a suitable land value to achieve remediation.
Industrial and commercial marine uses for the site have been explored but these would not create enough revenue to pay for full scale remediation. There are significant site constraints which limit the potential alternative uses to generate a value high enough to implement the remediation works and provide a permanent solution.
The development of 14 high quality family homes on the site will complement the existing, adjacent residential houses. Using local architects, tradespeople and materials Westcountry Land would build two storey homes that would be visible only from the Carrick Roads and the Roseland Peninsula.
Westcountry Land director Justin Dodge is extremely concerned about the leaching oil tanks.
“We don’t think people realise the serious underlying issues relating to this site. As a local person, I use the Carrick Roads regularly with my family and I was appalled to learn of the pollution of the water related to this facility. I am even more concerned that the pollution will continue after the closure of the facility, next year.
Therefore I feel privileged to be able to put forward a long term solution for this land which, in our opinion, will significantly improve the quality of the existing site and vitally, will provide full remediation.
We believe that there is a strong justification for the redevelopment of this contaminated brownfield site and that this is the best solution for the long term future of the site. A small scale scheme of only 14 distinctive, bespoke family homes offers the most appropriate form of re-development to pro-actively address the site issues and constraints, to deliver a scheme of lasting quality.”
Justin emphasises that these are early days.
“It is important to state that we have not submitted any planning application, these are only preliminary proposals. We will conduct a formal public consultation and engage stakeholders before we submit any planning application.”
Westcountry Land is a specialist land development and land promotion company with offices in Truro and Tavistock. It has entered into a contractual agreement with Azure Oil Services, the landowner, to promote the Middle Point site for a suitable redevelopment to enable full scale remediation and a permanent solution following the closure of the facility in 2014.
For further information please visit www.westcountryland.com