OPPONENTS of controversial plans by Eden Project co-founder Sir Tim Smit and his son Alex to develop a golf course will hold a protest outside New County Hall / Lys Kernow in Truro when councillors meet to seal the fate of the Gillyflower proposals.

A group called ‘STOP The Gillyflower Farm Development’ will hold a “show of community strength” outside Cornwall Council’s headquarters on March 21, when an extraordinary meeting of the local authority’s strategic planning committee will discuss the contentious plans, which are recommended for approval.

Sir Tim had his initial development scheme refused by council planners in April 2022. The original application included holiday lodges, a café and education centre on the Gillyflower golf course in Lostwithiel. The rejection came after a huge backlash from the local community, which submitted 300 objections and organised demonstrations.

New plans were submitted last year under Sir Tim’s son Alex’s name, which still include 19 holiday lodges as well as a clubhouse, reception and classroom. More than 500 comments were left on Cornwall Council’s planning portal.

The matter has become so contentious in the Lostwithiel area – and online – that all of the comments were removed from the council’s website last year.

Lostwithiel Town Council opposes the planning application for a number of reasons including its visual impact on the surrounding countryside and the setting of Restormel Castle, as well as its potential to have a “negative impact on Lostwithiel town centre”.

A planning report for the committee states: “The proposal would result in a benefit to the tourism and leisure industries by providing a clubhouse for an existing golf course alongside new high quality holiday accommodation. The economic benefits stemming from this include inward investment for the area, employment opportunities (at construction and operation phases) and associated economic growth.

“Social benefits would arise from the new golf course facility and holiday accommodation providing a better experience for people on the golf course or simply an experience to stay in this location. These benefits are supported by the development plan and weigh in favour of approving the application.”

The planning officer notes that the proposal “by reasons of introducing the built form and uses onto an undeveloped site in the countryside, will harm the distinctive and natural character of an area within an Area of Great Landscape Value”.

The protest group said: “It is important that as many people as possible come along to show the Cornwall councillors how we feel about our town and the unwanted proposal to build 20 holiday lets and a massive golf clubhouse on this prominent site outside the development boundary in full view of the town and the castle. Bring your placards, banners, drums and guitars for a rousing but peaceful community demonstration.”