Protest at Falmouth student housing The Quarry on Coachworks site

Angry neighbours of a Falmouth building site have staged a protest claiming that their “nightmare” conditions continue despite a legal notice being put in place.

Holding placards bearing slogans such as “We cannot park in our own lane” and “Community stress and anxiety”, residents of the Penwerris area gathered outside the site of 134-bed student accommodation The Quarry in Penwerris Lane, on the former Coachworks site, which has been under construction for the last 18 months or so.

Neighbours of the site claim they are being “trapped in their homes” and are at their wits’ end due to work continuing well past permitted hours being a “nightmare”.

The situation became so bad that two weeks ago Cornwall Council stepped in to issue a breach of condition notice on the construction company and site owner, forcing them to stick to the original working hours.

They were given 28 days to comply before they risk prosecution in the Magistrates’ Court.

However, residents claim that nothing has changed in the past fortnight and that contractors URBN Construction were “completely taking no notice”, adding that it had actually even worsened as there was now a generator running “24 hours a day.”

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The Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP) states work should only take place between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday, and Saturdays 8am to 1pm.

However, when the residents staged the protest at 1.40pm on Saturday workers could be seen in the background still carrying out jobs on site.

Residents claim that over the past few months workers had been on site from 7am and had continued well into the evening on Saturdays, regularly finishing past 5pm and sometimes as late as 7pm, and had also taken place on a number of Sundays, which was not permitted under the plan at all.

And on a few occasions, they claimed, some workers had actually stayed overnight.

Sarah Cummings, whose house adjoins a property currently being used as a site office in a terrace of three, said: “Last Thursday they had four or five blocks overnight staying in the site office, making the most awful noise that came through the wall. It’s very disturbing.”

Falmouth Packet:

The protestors took placards to make their point. Picture by Colin Higgs

She claimed that her car had also been trapped on the shared driveway and “on numerous occasions” she had returned to find herself unable to park.

At one point she had to wait 15 minutes to pull onto it, only to be “gesticulated at.”

Cornwall councillor Jayne Kirkham, who has been working on behalf of the residents, said: “This was a short protest by Penwerris residents to highlight that some of the conditions on working hours and parking in the Construction Management Plan are not being complied with by the developers up at the Quarry student flats development – even after the serving of the Breach of Condition order, which takes 28 days to kick in.

“We need to be able to trust that CEMPs are entered into in good faith and will be complied with.

“The residents of Penwerris have had to cope with a lot of disruption and uncertainty that was unnecessary had the CEMP been complied with.”

The Packet contacted URBN Construction for a response via email and phone, but was told: “No comment.”

Planning permission for the building was granted by a planning inspector back in 2018, after developers took Cornwall Council’s earlier refusal to appeal.

Falmouth Packet | News