Millionaire tycoon behind the Eden Project Sir Tim Smit LOSES bid to turn golf course into a cookery school and holiday park – after Cornish locals accused him of ‘greenwashing’ the development
- Sir Tim Smit had set out a vision of transforming the old course in Lostwithiel in Cornwall into Gillyflower Farm
- His plans included 20 eco lodges, a 164 seater restaurant, cider press and a home for the owner of the site
- But local residents were angry and branded Sir Tim’s plans an upmarket holiday complex with a home for him
- Some of those who objected to the plan today cheered and clapped at the meeting when it was rejected
The millionaire tycoon behind the Eden Project has lost his bid to turn a golf course into a horticultural centre complete with a cookery school and holiday park after Cornish locals accused him of ‘greenwashing’ the development.
Sir Tim Smit, who has been likened to an amalgam of Richard Branson, Sting and Gandhi, had set out a vision of transforming the old course in his home town of Lostwithiel in Cornwall into ‘Gillyflower Farm’.
His plans included 20 eco lodges, a 164 seat restaurant, a cider press and a home for the owner on the 170 acre site.
The Farm, he said, would bring the past back to life and provide a ‘centre for the teaching and learning of agronomy’ – the science and technology of producing and using plants.
But local residents were angry and accused the millionaire businessman of ‘greenwashing’ the development, which they branded an upmarket holiday complex with a large house for him.
Sir Tim Smit had set out a vision of transforming the old golf course in his home town of Lostwithiel in Cornwall into ‘Gillyflower Farm’
But local residents were angry and accused the millionaire businessman of ‘greenwashing’ the development, which they branded an upmarket holiday complex with a large house for him
Local residents held a musical protest outside New County Hall in Truro where Cornwall Council today rejected the plan
Local people marched against his ‘agronomy school’ and the town council were also against the proposal.
There were fears that the development would spoil views, affect local shopkeepers’ trade, as well as cause traffic and pollution problems.
One protestor said yesterday the scheme was ambiguous and they had not had their chance to express their ‘serious concerns’.
Sir Tim Smit, the millionaire tycoon behind the Eden Project
The man, who gave his name as Chris, said: ‘It is claimed to be an education centre but the only definite education offering that they made is that they will run gardening courses with Heligan.’
Cornwall Council rejected the plan during a meeting in New County Hall in Truro which was greeted by a musical protest outside the hall.
Some of the hundreds of people who objected to the plan attended today’s meeting and could be heard cheering and clapping when it was rejected.
A woman protesting outside the meeting this morning told ITV News: ‘As a town a lot of us don’t want this very enormous development. It’s not going to help our town, it’s going to hollow it out.
‘That’s what Cornwall needs, we need more inward investment into our community not out-of-town developments.’
Dutch-born Sir Tim, 67, originally made millions as a record producer working with stars such as Barry Manilow, Twiggy and Alvin Stardust.
But since a move to Cornwall in the 1980s, where he invested to restore the Lost Gardens of Heligan, he has reinvented himself as an eco-warrior.
In 2001, he opened the Eden Project, which attracts 850,000 visitors a year and is unofficially known as the eighth wonder of the world. He was knighted in 2011.
But his critics said that while the Eden Project has added over £1billion to the Cornish economy, the rural communities surrounding his schemes have seen little benefit while house prices have soared.
And many of those critics were found among the 3,000 residents of Lostwithiel, the ancient county capital, who were up in arms at the latest proposal.
Jane Stanley, 59, a retired business owner from the village previously told MailOnline: ‘Lostwithiel is a unique town in Cornwall, in a great way.
‘All our shops are independent, people come here for the community – we are not a tourist town and we don’t want to be like Fowey, Polperro, or Mevagissey – that’s not what we’re about.
‘In reality everyone is against this, except for a few business owners who think they will benefit from it.’
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