A developer has failed to prove its controversial clifftop luxury housing development at Whipsiderry is safe to build.

Cornwall Council has refused Living Quarter Properties (Porth) Limited’s application to discharge condition two of its planning permission to build seven luxury villas on the site of the former Paradise Cove Hotel.

The developer commissioned AGS Ground Solutions to undertake a ground stability appraisal as part of the application, which concluded landslips have “provided benefits to the cliff’s stability” and that rock bolting and meshing with a “regular maintenance and renewal regime” would provide sufficient stabilisation to reduce erosion to an acceptable level to provide protection to the proposed development for at least 125 years. 

But Cornwall Council, which has been criticised for not putting a stop to the development, disagreed the developer had managed to prove that the development would be protected from cliff erosion for its lifespan and refused to discharge the planning condition.

Campaigners opposing the scheme including Save Whipsiderry Action group, are hoping the developer will have to submit a new planning application, which they believe will be more difficult to obtain planning approval following the three major landslips close to the site.

Cornwall councillor John Fitter said: “I certainly welcome the news of this refusal, at long last Cornwall Council are listening to the concerns of Newquay Town Council and the Save the Whipsiderry Action Group in whether this latest  application to undertake the required stabilization work on the cliff fronting the Whipsiderry site was fit for purpose.

“Many in the community have been very concerned over the lack of active intervention by the authority over the cliff falls that have taken place at the cove over  the last 12 months.

“This flawed application to discharge  a condition that was in place when the original planning application was approved back in 2007, means that the applicant has failed on this occasion to persuade the authority that prior to any commencement of work on the site they must submit a detailed schedule of cliff defence work that will protect the site for the next 125 years.

“Given that a sizeable portion of the original site with in the red line of the submitted application has fallen into the sea, many residents along with myself have been pressing the authority to reconsider whether that 2007 application is still deliverable.

“At some time hopefully in the near future our council must start to talk with the community, developer and myself on how they now view this site in light of the cliff falls and the decrease in the red line site area, and of course if required, any new application would be subjected to the constraints placed on development at this location by the Newquay Neighbourhood plan and the  Cornwall Local Plan which would make any new application difficult for the planning service to approve.”

Newquay Town Council’s planning committee discussed at its meeting on Wednesday, April 24 Cornwall Council’s decision to reject Living Quarter Properties (Porth) Limited’s application to discharge condition two of its planning approval.

Chairman Joanna Kenny said: “Good news was noting that Cornwall Council had rejected the “re-discharge” of the cliff stabilisation condition at the Whipsiderry cliffs, pretty much saying exactly what we had submitted.  

“But still not grasping the nettle that this unstable area is totally unsuitable for any development and certainly not for a planning permission, granted in 2007, which has thus avoided all the latest cliff protection policies and which takes no account of the appalling series of continuing falls since the works on the cliffs were attempted in Spring last year.   

“It is no comfort that the policies in the Newquay Neighbourhood Plan, that made our cliffs a coastal change management area and forbade interference with the cliffs at Whipsiderry, have been proved spectacularly right.”