PLANS to construct a dedicated pre-school in Lanivet, near Bodmin, has led to controversy within the village, despite overwhelming support from parents who use or have used the facility.  

Lanivet Parish Council has applied to Cornwall Council to erect a purpose-built nursery pre-school building for the under-fives on land at Carter’s Parc in the village for the use by the charitable Lanivet Under Fives group. 

It seeks to provide a permanent replacement to the current accommodation for the group, which currently leases space within the church hall at Lanivet Church, accommodation which it is said to have no insulation, considerable air leakage and extremely poor energy inefficiency meaning it is expensive to run.  

Despite multiple comments of support from the local community, a few nearby residents have objected to the plans, with a strong objection from Sports England who have threatened to call in the decision to the Secretary of State if it is approved in its current form.  

The government body has objected to the plans on the grounds that, in its view it would result to the loss of or prejudice the use of ‘all or any part of a playing field, land which has been used as a playing field remaining undeveloped and land allocated for use as a playing field’.  

While not objecting to the construction of the proposed pre-school, Sports England’s objection argues that the proposed location would impact the use of the existing playing pitches and general use of the usable sporting playing field land.  

It has suggested a different location on the site which could be used for the erection of a pre-school which would alleviate its objections, saying: “Sport England objects to the application because it is not considered to accord with any of the exceptions to Sport England’s Playing Fields Policy or with Paragraph 99 of the NPPF. 

“Should the applicant reconsider moving the proposal to a part of the site that does not affect the playing fields in an adverse way for sport, then Sport England would re-consider our position.” 

However, it has also warned Cornwall Council that if it was to grant planning permission to the current application in contrary to their objection then the application should be referred to the Secretary of State.  

They warned: “Should the local planning authority be minded granting planning permission for the proposal, contrary to Sport England’s objection then in accordance with The Town and Country Planning (Consultation) (England) Direction 2021, the application should be referred to the Secretary of State, via the Planning Casework Unit. 

“If this application is to be presented to a Planning Committee, we would like to be notified in advance of the publication of any committee agendas, report(s) and committee date(s). We would be grateful if you would advise us of the outcome of the application by sending us a copy of the decision notice.” 

The vast majority of responses to the consultation on the Cornwall Council website were supportive in favour of the plans.  

One, Mr Michael Hancock wrote: “I fully support this planning application. As a parent living in the village with a child that hasn’t long left pre-school and with another child hoping to join in about a year, I am well aware of the current pre-school. It runs from an old church hall that wasn’t designed to host the pre-school. It has always been a temporary home following the closure of the old parish hall. The pre-school desperately needs a new setting and to build one fit for purpose on the grounds of the new parish hall and sports pitches is perfect. The centre has a car park which makes for safer drop off and pick up. 

“There’s more scope for outdoor activities. The new building being designed with the under 5s at heart, will allow the children to thrive in a better educational environment. 

“To address some of the comments already made. There seem to be several comments made against the running of the community centre. That’s got nothing to do with this application as the new building will be run as a totally separate enterprise. 

“The pre-school will open and close in normal school time hours therefore no light pollution. Yes, a green piece of the centre grounds will be taken away but it is private land anyway. The Lanivet United Charities and Lanivet Parish Sports and Recreational Trust (of which I am a trustee) own and likewise manage the existing site. They can deny general public access whenever they wish. So less outdoor space to enjoy is an irrelevant point. 

“The granting of this planning application for a desperately needed facility would only go to improve the lives for the families of the parish and surrounding areas.” 

Mr Matthew Old was also in support, writing: “I am in full support of this application. 

“It is very difficult to understand why any individual or family would oppose this application as enhancing the facilities of the village can only improve upon what is an amazing community. 

“Creating this new pre school building will provide an amazing new facility to start the education for the future generations of this community. 

“The existing pre school unfortunately has seen better days, it is not possible to expand the property allowing for future growth. By creating a new building on the new proposed site the safety for the children & families will be enhanced by having access to the existing off road parking which is not currently available directly attached to the existing property. 

“Enhanced local facilities also have a positive impact on the valuation of existing properties in the community. Having read objections to this application I am unable to comprehend how a pre school which will operate during the day will increase light pollution. 

“My one suggestion in order to provide additional safety would be to implement traffic calming, potentially in the form of a sleeping policeman to be sited at just before the second entrance to woodland view. This would reduce the speed of vehicles just before the corner where visibility can be an issue in addition to those passing the recently developed properties on Rectory Road. I wish Lanivet Pre School the best of luck with their application.” 

Miss Aleesha Darville objected to the plans, however, saying it would further encroach on residents quieter times, writing: “I object to this planning application as a resident of Rectory Road. It’s nice to have the green space around the pitches to be able to walk. It’s nice to see kids over there playing whilst parents use the pitches. Having this building near any of the pitches would encroach on that. 

“Living on the road I know exactly how dangerous the narrow single track is and coming out of the entrances onto rectory road can be treacherous. There is already enough noise coming from the pitches when in use during football matches, netball tournaments etc. This will encroach on residents’ quieter times during the day. Overall I think if it’s diminishing residents enjoyment of their homes surely they could find somewhere more appropriate for it to do.” 

The plans can be viewed on the Cornwall Council planning portal under PA23/03026