Coyte Farm £100m shopping development refused

Protesters against Coyte Farm development
Image caption Protesters against the Coyte Farm development said the plans would damage St Austell

Plans for a multimillion-pound out of town shopping centre on the edge of St Austell have been refused by councillors in Cornwall.

Mercian Developments Ltd wanted to redevelop a 100-acre site at Coyte Farm, near St Austell.

Protesters against and supporters of the proposals gathered ahead of the meeting discussing it.

Critics say it will damage town centre businesses while supporters say it will boost the economy.

The development had been recommended for approval.

The final vote stood at 10 for and 10 against, with the final casting vote going to the chairman of the Strategic Planning Committee, Cllr Rob Nolan.

Steve Double, the mayor of St Austell said: "I think there will be a huge number of very disappointed people in St Austell.

"I feel this is a huge opportunity for our town. So close."

Mr Nolan said: "I think the high street is having a hard enough time and we need to do what we can to support it.

"This development was going to compete directly with the town centre."

'Too much a gamble'

Mercian Developments had Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury's and Next lined up as potential tenants, along with a petrol station and golf academy.

The company also previously promised to support the town centre with subsidised parking.

The proposals had been narrowly turned down by St Austell town councillors in December.

Earlier Steve Hurst, a member of the St Austell Chamber of Commerce, said that, if approved, it was "going to be Coyte Farm or St Austell. They're not compatible."

Image caption Supporters for the Coyte Farm development were also at County Hall

St Mewan school said it had written to Cornwall Council, complaining it was not consulted about the plan.

Simon Hoare, from Mercian Developments and Metric Properties described the decision as "very sad".

He said: "I think we go into a situation where we had a very close vote.

"We've spent a lot of time and money. I think the idea we just walk away from Coyte Farm would be an eccentric one."

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