Fears have been raised controversial major plans to redevelop the Narrowcliff are being approved behind closed doors despite a barrage of objections to the scheme.

Newquay Town Council states it has been informed a proposal to build 143 new dwellings in three separate buildings over five storeys on the site of the Hotel Bristol, Narrowcliff Hotel and Narrowcliff Surgery is being given the green light by Cornwall Council under delegated authority.

But the unitary authority says the plans are “currently pending consideration.”

Newquay Town Council had made a formal request to have the planning application called in to be considered by the Cornwall Council’s Central Sub Area Planning Committee for a final decision. 

Cornwall Council's chief planning officer Louise Woods and Newquay central Cornwall councillor Louis Gardner have decided to move forward with the decision despite the strong objections raised by the town council and the local community.

More than 700 people have opposed the plans as they fear the scheme will dwarf the surrounding area including Tolcarne Beach, the Barrowfields and nearby residential properties.

Residents, Newquay Town Council and The Cornish Buildings Group at Risk Project are also opposed to the Hotel Bristol being knocked down to make way for the scheme.

They argue that although the Edwardian era hotel is not Grade II listed it should be preserved due to its local importance of being one of only five historic hotels still standing in Newquay.

Councillors and residents have stated the façade of the hotel should at least be saved and incorporated within the new plans for the Narrowcliff due to its architectural significance.

Newquay Town Council’s Planning Committee has voiced its vehement opposition to Cornwall Council's decision to “grant full planning permission.”

A spokesperson said: “Regrettably, this approach prevents Newquay Town Council from engaging in a meaningful dialogue with Cornwall Council's Planning Service to address the myriad of concerns raised by Newquay residents before the development is given the green light.

“Throughout the entire planning process, Newquay Town Council remained actively involved in discussions with the planning service, its dedicated officers, and the project developer. 

“While they acknowledged and commended some positive aspects of the proposed development, they steadfastly maintained their objection to certain elements that they believe would negatively impact Newquay.”

Newquay Town Councillor and chair of the Planning Committee, Joanna Kenny, argues the scheme goes against the Newquay Neighbourhood Plan, which was drawn up to help protect the community.

Cllr Kenny said: “This is a clear breach of the proper process applied to contentious applications. 

“The Cornwall Council sub-committee may have been persuaded to support the application, but the issues would have at least been fully explored. 

“After years of working positively with Cornwall Council on planning issues, it is disappointing to say the least to see the planning process broken and the working relationship between the town council and Cornwall Council Planning just casually thrown away.

“The inevitable result is to devalue the policies of the Newquay Neighbourhood Plan on which we worked for years to protect our town.

"The planning people in Cornwall Council have to know that they are setting a precedent that the policies of the Newquay Neighbourhood Plan can be ignored, and that they are opening the floodgates to a host of applications that will take the height and bulk of this huge build as their base line. 

“Their own people have identified that ‘Newquay is experiencing development pressures for tall buildings being proposed in multiple locations across the town.’

“Sadly, this action from Cornwall Council means that the views across our coastline and our wonderful roofscape, so important to the identity of our town, will inevitably be destroyed.

”This would not have happened with any other councillors that I can think of.  

"Whatever the rights and wrongs of the application, any development that causes this much concern with residents and relevant authorities, with over 700 comments on the planning portal in objection, if not automatically called to committee by the Planning Authority, certainly should be by the local member, meant to be representing the wishes of local people and to care about the town.   

"This proposed rubber stamping makes a nonsense of public consultation and the years spent developing the Newquay Neighbourhood Plan.”

Mayor Margaret North added: “Newquay Town Council is extremely disappointed that Cornwall council officers did not allow Newquay Town Council planning representative to get around the table to verbalise their residents objections. 

“The new plans bear no resemblance to the initial plan with shops, hotel it appears to be another apartment block.

“Newquay Town councillors work extremely hard to articulate the concerns of residents but this time they were not afforded the opportunity as the divisional councillor and Cornwall Council officer are dealing with it.”

Newquay Town Council has expressed “deep concern” regarding the broader implications of the decision for future planning applications. 

A spokesperson said: “Several policies outlined in the Newquay Neighbourhood Plan are now seemingly being disregarded, raising questions about the consistency and adherence to established planning guidelines and policies in the town.”

Cllr Gardner refutes the scheme does not adhere to the “Newquay Neighbourhood Plan.

He argues the scheme meets all the criteria including the designated height for the Narrowcliff as the building would be four storeys plus one.

Cllr Gardner also states the development would offer the required affordable housing.

But he says that “most importantly,” the new scheme will facilitate and also help to pay for the brand-new doctor’s surgery.

Cllr Gardner argues the Newquay Neighbourhood Plan is “no longer fit for purpose” and says it needs updating.

He has also accused Cllr Kenny, the chair of Newquay town council’s planning committee, who is also a prospective parliamentary candidate for St Austell and Newquay of playing “political games.”

Cllr Kenny said: “I am disappointed that former councillors have chosen to play political games with the future of Newquay in a bid to promote their own parliamentary ambitions for the next general election. “When this application was first submitted it was clearly unacceptable. 

“At 14 stories high it was overwhelming, much too big for the local area, was vastly out of place and exceeded the Newquay Neighbourhood plan in a number of places, something that I could not support. 

“Public opinion was clearly against it and like council colleagues and numerous members of the public I objected, supporting the hundreds of local people who made their voices known on the planning portal. 

“Those councillors and residents should be applauded, the developer went back to the drawing board to rethink their plans for the site. 

“Sadly, even the second incarnation was grossly oversized at 10 storeys and inappropriate for the site. The town council reiterated their call for a height in line with the Neighbourhood Plan requirements of four plus one storeys and quite rightly pressed home the demand for high quality affordable housing as part of the scheme. 

“People power again won and out and the developer again rethought their plans, something I have rarely seen in Newquay.

 “We now have a new plan on the table which is much much smaller. 

“Do I like the design aesthetics of the new plan? No. “But I don’t like the design of any of the buildings on Narrowcliff but my personal opinion is not of importance, the only thing that matters is the legal position. 

“Does it meet the current, albeit out of touch Neighburhood Plan? Yes it does. The plan asks for four plus one storeys, the proposed building is four plus one storeys. 

“The plan asks for an affordable housing element and the proposed building will provide 49 new apartments for the over-55s, something Newquay really badly needs. There are over 250 over-55s on the housing list in Newquay and this provides over 20 per cent of that in one fell swoop in a separate building, something especially important for privacy, the sheltered element of the scheme and other needs.

“The town council planning committee seem to have no love of affordable housing schemes, refusing every single one that has been put before them over the last 12 months, a shocking statistic and something I cannot understand. 

“They do not like the pointed roof on the building, something very strange for a place with so much rain.

“However, what was very apparent from reading the town council comments was that some of the members of the planning committee had not read all of the necessary papers, asking for documents which had been provided and they simply hadn’t read, totally unacceptable.

 “I must make this clear, the new proposal has exactly the same number of storeys as every building on either side of it. 

“The new building, an aparthotel will also continue to provide jobs for all of the previous staff from the Hotel Bristol and will be able to house even more paying guests than the Hotel Bristol could and operate all year round something which is incredibly important to the economy of Newquay when so many of our old hotels close or scale back in the winter months.

 “Most importantly, the new scheme will facilitate and also help to pay for the brand new doctors surgery. With the two surgeries now at capacity (32,000 in total) we have to do something and fast, new people coming to Newquay have no access to healthcare and this is simply something I cannot live with. 

“The new surgery will provide services to almost 50,000 people and new services such as minor surgery, dialysis and cancer treatment, things which Newquay residents currently travel to Truro for. 

“The new surgery has space for dental facilities, something which Newquay badly needs, I can’t think of anything more pressing than new dentists and doctors in Newquay. 

“Every single resident asks for more infrastructure for our residents and this development provides so much that is very badly needed. 

“I was elected to make things better for the people of Newquay and that is what I will do. 

“There is still something in Newquay which should be a warning to us all and that is the old Fistral Bay hotel. For 10 years my predecessor as Cornwall councillor, procrastinated and hampered this development and as a result the people of Newquay had to look at an eyesore for years and years. 

“We only managed to get some sort of movement on that site after I came into office. 

“This is not something we can allow to happen again and certainly not on the major gateway into town, this must be resolved. 

“Decisions on call in must be based on legal facts, not to generate a headline in a Lib Dem election leaflet by someone who wants to be an MP.

 “Throughout this application, my task has been made more difficult for two reasons. Firstly, the Hotel Bristol is not named in the Newquay Neighbourhood Plan, unlike other hotels. 

“The Atlantic Hotel, Headland Hotel and even the Hotel Victoria are named and protected in the plan but no Hotel Bristol, something that councillor Kenny as the architect of the plan would know, it is an oversight I cannot understand and one which I have pointed out many times. 

“Secondly, the Neighbourhood Plan is sadly out of touch with current housing issues, and I believe no longer fit for purpose. 

“When I pointed this out to Newquay Town Council two years ago, those councillors present unanimously agreed and voted to update the plan. 

“Two years later this has not happened, despite recent calls from myself and other Cornwall councillors. 

“Our hands have been tied throughout this process. The town council and the planning committee especially need to get this moving, I just cannot understand the delay.

 “Since the new plans were submitted there have been exactly 50 comments on the planning portal, 27 against and 23 in support. 

“This is extremely important as all previous comments were on different plans and no longer relevant. It is completely normal practice for the very vast majority of applications in this situation to be decided by those highly trained professionals on the planning team to make a decision, they have years of experience and training, things that most councillors do not have. 

“The planning committee could have written to me and asked me to look at this, they did not and still have not. “In fact, no member of the town council planning committee has attempted at any time to write to request a call in.

 “The people of Newquay have won, I salute every effort that everyone has made, it’s been brilliant to see, common sense has prevailed, and the planning officers are now able to make a decision on a development which is smaller than Rocklands and smaller than Lusty Glaze one, both within a few yards of the site. 

“I simply cannot understand why a prospective parliamentary candidate continues to play games with the health and wellbeing of so many local residents who need a doctor’s surgery. 

“My message is simple, get on with rewriting the Neighbourhood Plan and give us the tools we all need to do our job.”