May 21, 2024

South West News

South West News from Gloucestershire to Cornwall

Three new Cornwall Council schemes to provide 22 new affordable homes in Penryn

Cornwall Council is delivering three high quality housing schemes in Penryn which, together, will provide 22 new affordable homes.

“We are continuing to face a serious housing crisis in Cornwall and are taking direct action to provide homes for people that need our help” said Olly Monk, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for housing and planning.

The first scheme – in New Street – is providing four new build flats. The homes, bought on the open market and enhanced by the Council, are now complete and have been handed over to Cornwall Housing Ltd, with residents due to move in shortly.

To help address some of the most critical aspects of the housing crisis in the Duchy, these homes are for households that would otherwise be at risk of homelessness.

There are currently over 700 households living in temporary or emergency accommodation across Cornwall, with more than 330 of those single people in need of help. People can find themselves homeless for many reasons, such as eviction from a privately rented home (including ‘no fault’ evictions), family or relationship breakdown, fleeing domestic violence, loss of income/employment, bereavement, significant changes to mental or physical health, or struggling to cope with life outside the armed forces.  

The flats are part of the Council’s Next Steps Accommodation Programme of 60 homes all over Cornwall, with residents receiving any healthcare, employment or tenancy management support that they might need as part of a journey towards settled housing.

So far 28 properties have been purchased as part of the programme in key areas including St Austell, Newquay, Wadebridge, Helston, Bodmin and Saltash as well as Penryn. The homes will be available for social rent, and have been delivered using a mix of Council funding and Government-provided grant subsidy.

The second project in Penryn will see Stoke House, a run-down empty building in the centre of the town, converted by the Council to provide six flats for shared accommodation. The Council acquired the building in 2021 specifically to provide new high-quality homes. It is the second ‘shared accommodation’ scheme to be provided by the Council, following the successful refurbishment of Morrab Cottages in Penzance.

Stoke House is a Grade II architecturally important example of a ‘mid-Georgian style’ Mansion House, which had lain empty for several years. The Council’s acquisition and refurbishment of the building will help preserve this important heritage asset for the town, and provide accommodation for up to 12 residents once it is completed later this year.

The final scheme will see six SoloHaus modular homes provided on part of the town’s Commercial Road car park. The scheme is part of the Council’s ground-breaking modular housing programme being delivered in partnership with The Hill Group and Cormac Ltd. It will provide high-quality, low carbon homes for single people who would otherwise be homeless.

Commercial Road is the third SoloHaus scheme to be delivered by Cornwall Council, and follows the success of the recently completed 15-home development at Old County Hall in Truro (recently featured on the BBC’s Simon Reeve’s Return to Cornwall). Work has also begun on constructing a new 18-home scheme at Tregunnel Hill in Newquay.

The Council has secured planning permission for its fourth SoloHaus scheme, at the former Newtown Depot on the outskirts of Penzance, where construction of an 18-home scheme for former rough sleepers is already underway.

The new homes at Commercial Road in Penryn will be managed by Cornwall Housing Ltd., with individual support provided to the new residents to help them secure permanent accommodation over time. Construction began in late-March, and first residents are expected to be able to move into their new homes in late Autumn 2023.

Olly Monk said:

“The combination of the impact of the Covid pandemic, the boom in house prices, the reduction in the availability of homes to rent and significant increase in rental costs, has created a ‘perfect storm’, leaving many people in Cornwall struggling to find somewhere to live.

“We are committed to helping residents who are being affected by the unprecedented pressures on housing in Cornwall and I look forward to seeing people moving into these new homes in due course”.

Tackling current housing pressures is a top priority for the Council.  As well as buying existing homes to use as social housing, the authority is also working hard to:   

  • Provide modular homes to provide temporary and emergency accommodation so local people can be housed without worrying about being asked to leave at a moment’s notice
  • Build significantly more Council homes for local people to rent or buy  
  • Support the provision of affordable homes by housing associations for local people to rent or buy      
  • Ensure sites deliver affordable housing through the planning process     
  • Unlock the potential for town centres to be regenerated to provide more housing     
  • Support community-led organisations that want to deliver their own homes     
  • Offer loans to bring empty homes back into use 
  • Enable communities to stop new builds being snapped up by would be second homeowners.