PA23/04033: Planning permission has been granted for the proposed replacement of public conveniences in Bodmin. 

Bodmin Town Council applied to the local authority for permission to demolish and replace its dilapidated toilet block at Fair Park, Corporation Road, Bodmin. 

It seeks to replace it with a modular building which will improve accessibility for users and provide a more modern toilet environment compared to the current conveniences which have suffered from vandalism and wear-and-tear.

Cornwall Council granted permission for the works, subject to conditions. 

These are: “The development hereby permitted shall be begun before the expiration of three years from the date of this permission.

“Reason: In accordance with the requirements of Section 91 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended by Section 51 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004). 

“The development hereby permitted shall be carried out in accordance with the plans listed below under the heading “Plans Referred to in Consideration of this Application”. Reason: For the avoidance of doubt and in the interests of proper planning. 

“The development hereby approved shall be carried out in accordance with the recommendations within Chapter 5 of the submitted ecological survey ‘Western Ecology - Bat emergence survey dated August 2023.’ 

“Reason: To protect against and enhance protected species and in accordance with policy 23 of the Cornwall Local Plan 2010-2030 and section 15 of the National Planning Policy Framework 2023.”


PA23/06408: A late 19th century building in Bodmin, formerly used as barracks for the military is set to receive a new roof after it was noted the original roof was failing. 

Mrs E Simpson applied to the local authority to undertake the works at Royffe Way, Bodmin. The building was, prior to conversion, a dormitory block known as Hartnell’s North West Barrack Block. 

The applicant told Cornwall Council that she wished to replace the roof as the previous roof had failed due to poor workmanship when the building was initially redeveloped by a private developer. 

In an accompanying report explaining the work needed, it was cited by SSQ that: “Hartnell’s South East and North West Barrack Blocks and Former Bodmin Depot were listed Grade 2 in July 1998. Barrack block. 

“The Blocks were constructed in 1881 and designed at the War Office by Major HC Seddon RE. The buildings have squared rubble with dressings, rubble end gables, ridge and rear lateral stacks with shouldered sides, and a natural slate roof. 

“The original building has single-depth dormitories either side of central stairs and ablutions. The exterior is a two story Building with 8:3:8-window range. Symmetrical front with cill and lintel bands, coped gables to ends and set forward at Centre; central first-floor tripartite window with plate tracery and flanking paired lights, with central doorway, and some 6/6-pane sashes. 

“Rear has matching windows with two square ablution bays to the central section. Latterly the building has been re purposed for residential Housing. The justification of the re-roofing works is justified by poor quality workmanship carried by a private developer causing water ingress to the building and damaging the building structure and the wellbeing of its residence. The proposed specification is designed to protect this historically important house well into the next century.”

They further observed: “The current slates fixed to the Southwest Facing roof are 600 x 450 Delabole Slate. The Northwest Facing roof slope is fixed using slate, fixed with bright spikes. The slate is believed to be 600 x 300 mm Natural slate of unknown origin. 

“There was evidence of nail fatigue, broken slate and poor-quality workmanship on all roof slopes. Slates have become dislodged by a combination of nail failure and general slate failure, including broken or loose slates as well as fixing details that have allowed water ingress to the structures below. 

“As slate ages its water absorption increases.

“As a result, a circa 1890 slate will have a water absorption of 1% when a new Riverstone Slate would have a water absorption of sub .2%. It is anticipated that reclaimed slate in any format have an estimated life cycle of no more than ten years. It is recommended that any re-roofing should include new slate as well as an element of reclaimed slate if required by the planning authority. It is important to note that the slate on the Southwest Roof slope cannot be fixed using the same coursing as the Northwest Slope as the gage and holing position would not be correct.”

The recommendations were as thus: “SSQ suggest the strip and re-roof of all roofs. The Southwest roof slope would have to be stripped and replaced in a single phase. The Northwest Roof Slope can be stripped and replaced in sections if required using single size slate of a similar gage. The fixing of reclaimed slate with require further inspection as the quality of the nail hole and slate cannot be inspected adequately. The Riverstone Slate would be fixed with copper nails and included; modern air permeable membranes protect the sub structure of the building. Additional ventilation can be introduced in an unobtrusive manner if required. Some of the existing slate could be re used on roof slope where there would be a reduced risk to the public of slates being dislodged and falling from hight. The works would be planning compliant (subject to Listed Planning) and guaranteed for up to 100 years.”

The Riverstone slate recommended is mined from a quarry in Argentina. 

 Bodmin Town Council, in its response to the application, stated that it would like the development to use local Delabole quarry slate. The planning committee in the consultation said: “Bodmin Town Council discussed this application at its Planning Committee on 13 September 2023.

“The committee discussed the importance of keeping the principle of a listed building and using like for like materials. It was proposed to request that Delabole slate be used to protect the fabric of a historically important building. We would be grateful if you could relay this information.”

Historic Environment Planning noted some concerns it had with the plans, stating: “Section 16(2) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 sets out the Council’s duty to ‘have special regard to the desirability of preserving the building or its setting or any features of special architectural or historical interest which it possesses’ when considering applications that affect listed buildings.

“When assessing proposed changes to heritage assets the NPPF part 16 requires that ‘great weight’ should be given to the objective of conserving designated heritage assets and they should be conserved in a manner appropriate to their significance. 

“The more important the asset, the greater the weight should be. Significance can be harmed or lost through alteration or destruction of the heritage asset or development within its setting. As heritage assets are irreplaceable, any harm or loss should require clear and convincing justification.

“Whilst the submitted condition report is useful, we would usually expect a report from an independent surveyor detailing the condition of the roof to provide the necessary evidence to justify the proposed works. The survey report submitted around eight years ago so is somewhat dated in its assessment of the current condition of the roof.

“In spite of the above and given our previous discussions, the use of the SSQ Riverstone on the SW roof slope is supported, but as per the pre-application advice provided, the NW roof slope sections are covered with the salvaged Cornish slate from both roof slopes. This is because the traditional Cornish slate roof covering is an important part of the special character of this building and contributes to its historic significance.

“A large-scale plan showing a sample section of the coursing of both roofs lopes and ridge treatment will be required to fully understand the impact of taw coursing being different on each roof. Also, there is resistance to the introduction of the new bonding gutter/ lead roll mop as it doesn’t appear to be necessary or justified given that the entire roof will be covered in the same material.”

After receiving additional information aimed at allaying their concerns, the historic environment planning team later added: “There is still resistance to the use of bonding gutters as the replacement roof covering is all the same material and can be phased without creating these new joints into the roof slopes.

 “They are not always entirely invisible and on the large expanse of roof slope to be re-covered, it is likely to have an impact on the visual appearance and the traditional style of covering of the roof slopes, which did not traditionally have sections.

“It is recommended that this detail is omitted from the scheme and the slates are joined in. There are no further comments to make in respect of the proposals.”

The request from Bodmin Town Council for the use of local Delabole quarry slates was rejected by the planning officer, who wrote in an accompanying report: “Bodmin Town Council requested that Delabole slate be used to protect the historic fabric of the building. “However, as the Historic Environment Team support the proposed replacement slates, it was not considered necessary to request Delabole slates be used.”

Cornwall Council granted the application, with one additional condition stipulated, namely: “The proposed works shall be carried out in strict accordance with Section 4 (Bat impact statement) and Section 5 (Bat mitigation statement) of the submitted Bat and Nesting Bird Survey and Bat Mitigation Report carrued out by Bright Environment dated 17th June 2023. 

‘Reason: In order to mitigate the impacts on bats, nesting birds and other species in accordance with Policy 23 of the Cornwall Local Plan Strategic Policies 2010- 2030 (Adopted November 22, 2016).”