"I am pleased to tell you that the National Trust submitted their planning application for the proposed Cycle Hub at Lanhydrock on Wednesday 15th August. The list of questions and answers (below) provides details of the proposals and addresses some of the frequently asked questions.
Although we have a lot of support for the project, it is unfortunate that there is also some local opposition. However, the National Trust feels very strongly that we have produced a proposal that will not only benefit tourist visitors to the region but one that will also provide a year round recreation facility for local people and groups. The plans are sympathetic to natural and archaeological features and will help to address the current traffic congestion on roads around Lanhydrock during peak periods.
We are holding a public information event on Thursday 6th September, 3pm - 6pm in the Lanhydrock learning room (next to the shop). I have attached a poster and would appreciate it if you could display this or forward it on to anyone who may be interested in coming along to the event. The proposals for Lanhydrock involve changes to the current car park and surrounding area, and increased public use of neighbouring woodlands. We would therefore encourage you to come along to the information event to view the full plans, talk to members of the project team and find out for yourself what is being proposed.
Although the planning application has been submitted, it will take 10 - 12 working days from submission for the documents to be validated and made available on the Cornwall Council Online Planning Register. From then you will have 21 days to submit your comments to Cornwall Council.
We value public support of this project and any positive comments received by Cornwall Council will help the Council get a balanced view of public opinion. If you are minded to write in support of this project, and can forward this information to anyone else who you feel is interested, then we would appreciate it. If you or anyone you know would like to come along to our information event to learn more about the proposals we will be very pleased to talk through the details.
We believe it will take around 13 weeks for a decision to be made by Cornwall Council so we hope to be able to move forward with the proposals towards the end of November.
Should you have any specific queries regarding the project please let me know and we look forward to seeing many of you at our information event."
National Trust Lanhydrock Cycle Hub & Visitor Facilities Planning Application Questions and Answers - July 2012
The following list of questions and answers has been provided to help you understand the rationale behind the National Trust planning application for Lanhydrock and the detail within the application, which is due to be submitted to Cornwall Council shortly.
Details of the Cornwall Council planning portal, the planning reference number and an information event, in which plans can be viewed and members of the project team will be available to answer questions, will be provided in due course.
1. What is the planning application for?
The construction of approximately 10km of off-road cycle trails aimed at novice and intermediate cyclists, as well as families, within woodlands on the National Trust site.
Construction of a cycle skills area and cycle play area close to Lanhydrock car park to provide a fun experience before and after cycling on the woodland trails.
Construction of a secondary catering outlet (outside of the pay to enter zone) and bike hire facility within the Lanhydrock car park.
Co-location of the play area, toilets and plant sales area with the proposed new development.
Restoration of the original 18th century carriage drive to Lanhydrock, through the Double Lodges on Respryn Road.
Development of a new coach park and car park to the west of the site (outside the registered park boundary) with coach access onto Turfdown Road.
2. Why does the National Trust want to provide off-road cycling trails at Lanhydrock?
It is often felt that outdoor spaces have been the National Trust's best kept secret. The Trust wants to play its part in helping to reconnect the nation with outdoor spaces and is developing initiatives that encourage people to enjoy the unique delights of spending time outdoors in remarkable landscapes. This is a fundamental part of the Trust's core strategy to improve access to its many outdoor locations.
The provision of well-managed off-road cycling facilities at strategic locations play a part in achieving this goal and at Lanhydrock will complement the existing offer. The proposals will enhance visitor enjoyment by improving facilities for all users, will widen the range of interest to make the property relevant to more diverse groups and will make better provision for local users throughout the year.
Similar projects to that proposed at Lanhydrock have already been undertaken by the National Trust at Leigh Woods, North Somerset and Castle Ward, Northern Ireland.
3. Why does the Trust need to carry out the car park development works?
The proposed car park development is primarily being led by the introduction of cycle trails, however, the Lanhydrock property currently fails to meet visitor expectations and demands in a number of key areas, in particular:
Inadequate catering provision for house and garden visitors at busy times, and for countryside users at all times.
Insufficient car parking capacity at peak times leading to the use of the Grade II* registered parkland as an overflow.
A traffic flow that does not cope well at peak times, particularly on the narrow approach road and when coaches are accessing the site.
4. How will visitors to Lanhydrock benefit from the proposed developments?
The Trust's aim is not to increase the number of visitors to Lanhydrock house and formal gardens but to provide the cycle trails as an alternative offer. All visitors to Lanhydrock will benefit from:
An improved arrival experience through Double Lodges.
Parking at no charge.
Improved car park layout and flow of traffic into and around the site.
Free access to the cycle trail network.
More provision for catering, meaning little or no waiting time as is sometimes the case now.
5. How will local people benefit from the proposed developments?
Free access to the trails and new adventure playground throughout the year.
A catering outlet outside the pay-zone area accessible all year round.
Improved traffic flow on local roads, in particular the narrow approach road.
Landscape improvements to the area following the restoration of the carriage-drive.
Additional employment opportunities.
Potential positive impact on local accommodation providers and businesses due to the additional cycle visitors attracted to the area throughout the year.
6. Who is involved and where is the funding coming from?
The National Trust is a delivery partner in the 1 South West Regional Cycling Project to encourage health, well-being and economic prosperity, through cycling, in the south west.
Some investment is provided through the Rural Development Programme for England, with the remainder of funding at Lanhydrock coming from the National Trust.
7. Why does 1 South West believe Lanhydrock is a good Hub location?
These proposals are part of the wider 1 South West project, which is developing off-road cycling hubs across the region. Cornwall already has a good cycling offer for certain audiences, with the Camel Trail, Clay Trails and Mineral Tramways offering predominantly traffic free wide open routes. What Cornwall does not have at present are the formal oneway single-track cycling trails twisting through woodlands that have proven to be popular and attractive throughout the year to a wide audience elsewhere. 1 South West is investing in these sorts of trails in Cornwall at Lanhydrock and Cardinham. The gentle topography and proximity to Lanhydrock house make Lanhydrock ideally suited for trails aimed at absolute beginners to woodland cycling and families. Cardinham has much steeper topography and the trails there will suit more confident and fitter people with their own cycles.
The combination of the Lanhydrock and Cardinham sites suit this objective due to the excellent road (A30/A38) and railway links and because Lanhydrock is a destination for visitors already. 1 South West is also keen to spread the investment across the south west and this would be the furthest west of the project's cycling hubs, delivering opportunities to visitors and residents in this part of Cornwall.
8. Isn't this going to greatly increase the amount of traffic to the area?
It is predicted that the cycle trails will attract up to approximately 55,000 additional visitors to Lanhydrock each year. This represents a 14% increase on current numbers. However, unlike the house itself, the cycle trails will be open all year round, so this increase in visitors will be spread over a 12 month period. Lanhydrock house has its busiest days when the weather is bad. In contrast, the cycle trails are likely to be busiest when the weather is good. Therefore, it is expected that a natural balance of visitors to the site will occur,
reducing the peak impact of traffic to the site.
Cornwall Council will need to decide through the planning process whether the proposals at Lanhydrock will cause undue pressure on the highways in this area. A company specialising in highways has been employed to look at the existing and forecast pressure on roads around Lanhydrock. This report will be included with the planning application submission. At present congestion around Lanhydrock car park can be a real problem and the Trust are trying to alleviate this in their plans through improving flow through their car park.
9. What exactly are the benefits in terms of increased car parking and improvements to traffic management that the National Trust have referred to?
The National Trust are planning an increase of around 14% in terms of total car parking capacity. The number of coach parking spaces will not be increased.
Currently Lanhydrock has capacity for 300 cars and 8 coaches in designated parking areas. At busy times parking spills out into the park and gives an overall capacity of 500 spaces. After this, cars are turned away as the house and gardens cannot accommodate more without detriment to the visitors' experience. By expanding our existing car park the new scheme will allow us to accommodate current peak visitor requirements into one area and make additional provision for the cycle trail users. The total number of spaces is approximately 570 which equates to a 14% increase in existing peak capacity. As our parking bays are not marked out the definitive number of vehicles we can accommodate varies slightly from day to day, due to the variations in the sizes of vehicles that arrive and
the space they take up when they park.
The new entrance to the property for cars will be through Double Lodges to the North of the current entrance and down the 18th century carriage drive. This provides a more fitting sense of arrival for the visitors as well as resolving traffic flow issues on the current narrow
A separate coach park is proposed with its own access point on the Turfdown Road, relieving congestion on the narrow approach road and keeping coaches out of the registered landscape.
The car park has been carefully designed to enhance the landscape by the restoration of the carriage drive and careful landscaping to ensure the rural feel of the area is retained.
10. Will trees have to be removed for the development?
No mature or veteran trees will be removed for the purposes of building the cycle trails or the cycle play areas. Ground vegetation will be cleared along the line of the trails where necessary and it is possible that some small trees may be removed, but this will be kept to a minimum. Any trees or limbs failing tree safety inspections will be made safe.
40 individual trees will need to be removed in order to construct the proposed development in the car park. None of these are veteran trees. Three small areas of young woodland would be removed to accommodate the new coach and car park areas.
The scheme involves planting 83 new trees in locations where they would be expected to develop into mature trees with full crowns. Of particular significance is the re-planting of the original 18th century carriage drive. Young trees will be planted to ensure that they become well established and are sustainable into the long term.
11. Will the development require the removal of Cornish hedges?
The development proposals have minimised the removal of Cornish hedges. Where hedges are impacted this has been mitigated by lowering, or setting back rather than removing. For example, in order to ensure the proposed coach park access on Turfdown Road is safe it will be necessary to increase the visibility splay by pushing back and rebuilding some of the Cornish hedge along this stretch. In addition the cycle trails will require a couple of new openings to be made in existing Cornish hedges in order to meet visibility requirements and get safe passage through the woodlands. These will be narrow and finished in the correct local style, re-using existing turf to preserve seed banks where possible.
12. Will Lanhydrock house be able to cope with more visitors?
The capacity of Lanhydrock house and gardens on peak days is 1800 - 2000 visitors, any more than this detracts from the visitor experience. There are no plans to increase the numbers admitted to the house and gardens at peak times. The cycle trails and the café in the main car park will provide an alternative offer for visitors when the house is busy.
13. Visitors with disabilities and coach parties are currently able to park or be dropped off near the house. What provision will there be for less able visitors?
A fully accessible vehicle will be provided to transport those who are unable to walk from reception to the house. The approach to the house itself will be greatly enhanced for visitors, by the sense of progression the new access routes will create and the new pedestrian route along the carriage drive from the new facilities.
14. Are the National Trust going to charge for car parking?
Following consultation, the decision has been made not to charge for parking at this time. This is primarily due to the potential knock-on impact to the surrounding road network that might be caused by visitors wishing to avoid the charge.
15. Will there be an impact on the car park at Respryn?
Offering alternative family/recreational facilities away from the Respryn honey-pot site will alleviate rather than compound over-crowding at this site. Limited expansion of this car park to cope with existing demand may be considered at a later stage if necessary.
16. Will there be an impact on the Cemetery?
Following consultation with Church representatives effective screening of hazel, holly and hawthorn between the overflow car park and the cemetery will ensure privacy for visitors to the cemetery.
17. Won't the introduction of cycle trails and additional car parking damage the estate?
Although considerable work will be required to implement these proposals they have been planned with full consideration of and sensitivity to ecological and archaeological features. A full conservation assessment has been undertaken to identify key features and ensure they remain protected, and to make recommendations for minimising and mitigating any impacts on wildlife so that they can be incorporated into future management plans wherever possible. Removal of trees will only be done where there is no viable alternative and will be mitigated with the planting of new trees.
18. Won't the cycle trails be damaging to the ecology / wildlife of the estate?
The National Trust believes that well designed and managed cycle trails will not be damaging to the ecology of the estate. It is a body with conservation at its core and has worked hard to conserve the wildlife value of Lanhydrock for many years. It will continue to manage Lanhydrock with this at the forefront and would like to increase the opportunities for members of the public to enjoy and appreciate the surrounding countryside. The National Trust will always adhere to recognised best practice in wildlife conservation.
The trails have been designed to avoid the most ecologically sensitive and valuable parts of the estate. The trails do not require the removal of veteran trees and where Cornish hedge is re-built much of the existing turf can be re-used, retaining the existing seed bank and vegetation. It is considered very unlikely that there will be significant impact on the use of the site by bats.
The scheme offers many wildlife benefits with the opening up of glades and rides, increasing wildlife diversity and the removal of rhododendron will encourage native species re-growth.
19. What will the cycle trails look like?
The trails will vary in width, with easy graded and multi use trails being approximately 2.5m wide and moderate graded trails being approximately 1.2m wide. Trails will be constructed out of local crushed stone, not tarmac and once landscaped and bedded in will be discrete and have a similar surface to existing paths on the site.
For the purposes of planning consent a 'corridor' is submitted which allows the final line of the trail to be moved slightly on the ground to accommodate for twists, turns and to get the best possible micro-fit in the landscape, taking into consideration ecological and archaeological features and minimising the need for any tree removal.
The proposed cycle trails are single-direction and narrow and do not require the removal of mature trees. Experience from other sites is that natural re-vegetation at the side of the trails occurs rapidly following construction. The corridor through which the trail runs is extremely narrow and an ongoing annual task of pruning at the trail sides will be required to stop vegetation encroaching across the whole trail.
20. What about the safety of other users in the woodland?
Cycle trails of this nature have been safely implemented at many sites across the United Kingdom. Each site has individual challenges but through careful planning, one-way cycling, safety signage and the use of features along the trails such as pinch-points and speed control using tights twists or gradient, the safety of both cyclists on the track and other users of the woodland is preserved.
By building bespoke cycling trails the amount of time that cyclists and walkers spend on the same pathway is limited. Bespoke cycle tracks generally use cambers that make walking on them uncomfortable, they are narrower than some footpaths and weave through the
landscape much more than footpaths do - all these aspects put walkers off from attempting to use these trails, thereby avoiding cyclists and walkers using the same route.
There are no current permitted bridle paths in the trail areas, however, where riders wish to use multi-use trails, the trail will be of sufficient width to allow multi use (at least 2.5m) and appropriate signage will be installed to inform all users of the trail usage.
The trails on the Lanhydrock estate will be graded family friendly easy and moderate, with more difficult trails, suited to those seeking a longer ride or more of a challenge, will be at nearby Cardinham Woods. A skills area and cycle play area will be introduced close to the car park to give novice riders the chance to warm up and adjust their bike before they go into the woodlands.
Regular inspection, management and maintenance of the trails will be undertaken by the National Trust.
21. Will the cycle skills and play area become a focus for anti-social behaviour?
It has been suggested that the cycle skills and play area could become a focus for antisocial behaviour. The Trust does not see any reason why anti-social behaviour would be generated by the cycle skills and play area as the location is not in a local residential area. The National Trust has staff on call who currently respond to out-of-hours issues when they arise.
22. Will the project create more jobs and bring more revenue into the area?
Increased visitors will create more jobs, both directly and indirectly at Lanhydrock and within the surrounding community throughout the year. It is expected that the café and cycle hire will create new jobs and other local attractions and accommodation providers in the region will benefit from the additional cycle visitors attracted to the area.
23. What are the timescales for the planning application?
This is a major planning application and Cornwall Council aims to determine the majority of such applications within 13 weeks.
Assuming the plans are submitted by the end of July 2012, we would anticipate a decision on the planning application in October 2012.
24. When will the proposed work begin?
If planning approval is granted work is expected to begin late in 2012 and will be undertaken in different phases to limit the impact on visitors and local residents.
Completion of the cycle trails is expected autumn 2013, with final completion of all works
expected spring 2014.