Encouraging news has arrived from the UK. The proposed development that threatened to destroy Virginia Woolf’s view of Godrevy Lighthouse from Talland House, has stalled.
The move comes after Woolf scholars and common readers from around the globe raised an outcry using email, social media and the Web. Their efforts generated media coverage that included the BBC and resulted in the Cornwall Council Planning Committee postponing its decision on the project.
Now a helpful source from Cornwall Council emailed this news to Woolf scholar Maggie Humm: “The application has been affected by the affordable housing changes…at this stage the application is not likely to go to the planning committee.”
Here’s what this means. In November 2014, the Conservative (Tory) Party ruled that developments of 10 or less could avoid paying an affordable-housing levy or offering any such housing in their development. Humm said this provision offered licence for any developer.
In early August, the High Court threw out this legislation, so the developer of the St. Ives project, which included a six-story block of six flats and a car park to be constructed in front of Talland House, must rethink the economic viability of the project and resubmit it.
In addition, a local resident forwarded Blogging Woolf an email from English Heritage saying legislation includes a provision to “avoid harm to the setting of a listed building if it contributes to the significance of the building.” Talland House is considered Grade II, which means it is “nationally important and of special interest. The St. Ives resident cited National Planning Framework Section 12 paras. 128,9,132 and noted that he would add this information to the planning comments page for the project, PA15/04337.
Woolf and her family summered at Talland House for the first 12 years of her life. The lighthouse she could see from her summer home plays an integral role in her famous novel To the Lighthouse (1927).
Plus here is more good news that indicates the St. Ives Town Council may be taking the preservation of local history more seriously: The Council recently voted down a different application to build on an ancient site.