THE developer behind a controversial 540-home planning application at Halgavor Moor in Bodmin has been criticised after withdrawing from a meeting they ‘chose the date for’.

Wainhomes had been invited to discuss their proposals for the site by Bodmin Town Council’s planning committee, which like all town council meetings, are held in public.

It was reported by the town council at a spirited and constructive meeting where approximately 100 residents attended to air their concerns over the development, that the choice of date for the meeting was selected by the developer from a list of available dates.

This is despite a spokesperson for Wainhomes issuing a statement to The Cornish Times stating that it could not attend the meeting due to ‘short notice’ of it taking place.

A spokesperson for Wainhomes said: “Unfortunately, due to the relatively short notice period of this meeting and existing commitments, it would not be possible in this instance for a representative of Wain Homes to be present.”

However, The Cornish Times has seen an email between the developer and the town council, where it stated it would cancel its appearance at the meeting of the planning committee due to it being held in public, asking if it could be held in a neutral venue, behind closed doors.

The email said that it did not want to meet in the presence of the media or the public, as it would be ‘used as a platform for objectors to direct their anger’.

Councillor Liz Ahearn, the vice-chair of the Bodmin Town Council planning committee, confirmed to those in attendance that Wainhomes had withdrawn from a meeting they chosen the date for, adding that the presence of the public was a reason for their withdrawal.

She told those in attendance: “We invited Wainhomes to come to a committee meeting and we sent them a number of dates to choose from, and tonight (February 7) was the date that they chose.

“However, upon realising that the public would be in attendance (at the meeting), they decided they did not wish to meet in a public session. Bodmin Town Council operates under a legislative town council process, and our meetings are open to the public, the press, and other media.

“We do not decide planning applications. We are a statutory consultee body, holding the right to be informed and comment on planning decisions, and our powers don’t extend beyond that role.

“All of our meetings are open to the public to come along, observe, and contribute if they wish during the public representation session. We do not conduct closed door meetings. We will not meet any developer behind closed doors”.

Cllr Ahearn’s comments were met with applause from those in attendance. Bodmin Town Council’s planning committee will meet again next Wednesday, February 14 to decide its response to the planning application, as they wish to gather more information on the plans before making a considered response.

For a full report on the Halgavor Moor planning meeting, be sure to pick up a copy of next week’s Cornish Times