Government Rejects Social Housing Money For Islands

Recently-constructed social housing on Bryher

No money from the Government will be offered for social housing projects on our islands.

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has decided that building here doesn’t offer value for money.

28% of their funding has gone to the Greater London area according to the Council’s Housing Officer, Ian Hamilton.

He says it’s disappointing but he will continue to lobby for cash.

The decision means that two homes that were going to be created as part of the Porthcressa regeneration, along with accommodation planned behind Lemon Hall in the Well Cross area of St Marys and the conversion of property owned by the Co-op into units, won’t be funded now.

Ian says that’s a shame because the supermarket chain had agreed to part with the property at a fair price.

But Ian believes that out of the bleak situation there could be some good news.

The fact that no funding has been awarded to our islands strengthens our case because we’ve been denied support offered to local authority areas.

There is a need for housing here, with 80 applications registered with the Town Hall at the moment and Ian says there is a desperate need in particular for single-person’s accommodation.

Homes here would have been built with funding granted to the Cornwall Rural Housing association. They worked with the Duchy to develop projects on three off-islands last year.

But Ian says there may be some HCA funding for what is known as a Community Land Trust.

These are non-profit, community-based organisations that develop affordable homes and separate the value of the building from the land.

That makes the purchase cheaper and resell values can be fixed to maintain the affordability of the homes. The scheme has worked for Cornwall Rural Housing in North Cornwall and the site near McFarland’s Down could be used for such a scheme in the future.

However, there is no denying that this latest news is disappointing for our islands, coming so close to the recent decision by the HCA to turn down funding for the elder care social housing project, planned for the old secondary school site at Carn Thomas.