A COUNCILLOR has said “we can’t have a building site in the middle of Truro for the next ten years” as Cornwall Council’s cabinet meets today to consider approving an urgent £10-million cash injection for the stalled £160-million development to regenerate the Pydar area of the city.

The development – one of the most high profile in Cornwall right now – would see 300 new homes, space for 400 students, cafés, restaurants, nature trails, a hotel and other leisure, hospitality and cultural facilities built on the site of the former Carrick District Council offices. There are also plans to create a hub for creative industries with Falmouth University, bringing more young businesses and students into the heart of the city following the recent demolition of the offices and the multi-storey Viaduct Car Park.

Outline planning permission for the scheme was approved by Cornwall Council’s strategic planning committee and demolition works have been partially completed. However, Cornwall Council’s Cabinet is being asked to provide capital funding totalling £10-million to cover the project costs over the next two years to allow for further design and re-phasing work before a full business case back is brought back to Cabinet members.

A report to Cabinet, to be discussed today, states that since July 2022, the project has suffered from significant construction inflation which has stalled the ability to sign a private finance funding deal. The Pydar scheme is currently being overseen by Treveth, the development company owned by Cornwall Council.

Changes to the Building Safety Act last year placed additional requirements on residential buildings above 18 metres, a sudden change from the previous 30 metres guidance, which means parts of the Pydar scheme will need “an element of redesign”.

A council report to the Conservative cabinet states: “Whilst the project remains viable over the long term, the project requires an underwriting through a loan guarantee and an injection of grant funding by the council to allow progress to the next stage. The investment of c.£6m in the project to date has made the project shovel ready and this could easily become abortive if the project does not progress.”

An artist's impression of Pydar Square at the new Truro development
An artist's impression of Pydar Square at the new Truro development ( )

Residents of Truro have been commenting for quite some time about the lack of work going on at the site. We have been asking Cornwall Council since last Friday if something has gone “very wrong” with the project as some people in the city have been suggesting, or if it’s still on course to be completed. As of Tuesday night, we had still not received a response.

Cllr Chris Wells (Conservative, Truro Moresk and Trehaverne), whose division covers the Pydar area, said: “I am pleased that there is a positive recommendation to this week’s Cabinet meeting that will ensure work will not have to be paused on the Pydar Regeneration project. Even though no obvious on-site work has been apparent for some time, much work has been going on in the background to ensure the proposed development brings a vital boost to Truro and the wider economy of Cornwall. I look forward to hearing the debate and I am sure the Cabinet will make the right decision.

“There is much support for this project in the local community and residents have really been engaged in the public consultations. Most people I speak to are keen to see the construction start as soon as possible.”

Cllr Rob Nolan (Liberal Democrat, Truro Boscawen and Redannick) added: “Costs are escalating on everything, so the same as people struggling to pay bills, they’ll have to find the money for this. We can’t have a building site in the middle of Truro for the next ten years, and our economy needs the students and other people living on Pydar and spending money in town. This project must be completed.”