THE National Trust’s application to increase parking at Trelissick, near Feock, was refused after what Cornwall Council’s planning committee chairman Cllr Alan Jewell called “the most talked-about application” since he took his post.

After a two-hour debate, nine councillors voted to refuse, with one vote against and one abstention. 

In a bid to meet growing visitor demand and stop queuing cars on the B3289, the National Trust wanted to increase parking by 104 spaces overall to 524, by altering the current car park to include 299 spaces and create an additional 225-space car park on woodland and orchard space on Dicky Lane on the opposite side of the road.

The work would also include a pedestrian crossing leading from the new car park to the house, gardens and riverside parkland.

It was the crossing which particularly vexed a meeting of the council’s central sub-area planning committee last Tuesday. The road leads to the King Harry Ferry crossing over the River Fal to the Roseland Peninsula, and many councillors were concerned it would lead to tailbacks and delays, passengers and emergency vehicles missing ferry crossings, and even road rage from angry drivers desperate to get to the ferry on time.

Garrick Royle, managing director of the King Harry Ferry Co, said traffic flow monitoring undertaken by the Trust was unrealistic and didn’t consider the number of vehicles leaving the ferry to drive past Trelissick.

He said: “Our principal concern is the road narrowing with an uncontrolled pedestrian crossing which will cause massive delays and disruption to traffic accessing the Roseland Peninsula.

“We also believe the crossing will be dangerous for pedestrians. Why should everyone passing the Trelissick site be inconvenienced by a dangerous crossing that the National Trust have pushed on with, despite massive public opposition?”

He asked for a bridge option to be considered or relocation of additional parking so a crossing wasn’t required.

A number of councillors, including Feock parish councillor Rick Bowers, suggested the plan for more parking didn’t adhere to the National Trust’s own green credentials. They argued that drivers should be encouraged to use park and ride facilities in Truro, with the Trust organising shuttle transport. A park and float system using the ferry was also suggested by Cllr Steve Arthur.

A planning agent for the Trust stressed the plans were submitted after working with council officers, with the local authority’s highways wing Cormac concluding the scheme was feasible and safe. The proposal was also supported by Historic England, and deemed preferable to 10 other options.

Cllr John Fitter spoke in favour of the plans, saying they would improve the visitor experience. “It is not our job to say to our visitors that when you come to Cornwall by car, you’re not allowed to use it once you get here,” he added.