Town Centre Density and Vitality

We believe that resilient local communities are the building blocks of any response to the Climate Emergency. Therefore, broadly speaking we support the revitalisation of our town centres for all the local community benefits that brings, including the capacity of towns to strengthen the local economy. This is an important part of a Climate Emergency response, especially when compared to the provision of out-of-town retail parks, for example, which undermine the local economy and incentivise private car use.

However, in our view this section is one of the weakest areas of the scoping report, because without broader consideration of the local economic infrastructure, policies do not join up. For example, reviewing classification of town centre buildings without prohibiting out-of-town retail, or supporting town-centre markets without provision of land for Market Gardens, is insufficient.

Increasing town centre density within reason is useful in reducing transport requirements and can supports towns to become places for communities to thrive, rather than simply places people come to buy stuff. However, consideration also needs to be given to the balance with supporting village infrastructure, including rural and semi-rural transport connections. We do not support a policy of increased urbanisation for Cornwall. Hyper-local services are not only important for community life, but also help to reduce transport emissions and increase local economic resilience.


  1. The scope of Town Centre Density planning needs to be much wider to turn the climate emergency response into an opportunity to support thriving urban communities.

Specifically, it should:

  • Consider the importance of green spaces and increased biodiversity for individual and community wellbeing.
  • Consider what part tourism plays in a town’s vitality and its environmental impact.
  • Engage with how planning encourages and supports local events and how this plays into vitality.
  • Identify clear financial pathways to support the reallocation of buildings towards community objectives. Providing support for the development of social enterprises is a way to enable community groups to devise financially sustainable ways to run projects with community benefits.