Ceremony Marks Completion Of Off-Island Affordable Housing

The Vice-chair of Council, Marian Bennett says new off-island affordable homes offer hope for young people who want to stay on the islands.

Marian says four years ago she feared property would be snapped up by second homeowners or people who could pay top rates, forcing out locals.

Yesterday’s ceremony at Bryher Church Quay celebrated the first step in building the seven accommodation units on Bryher, St Agnes and St Martins.

Former Duchy Land Steward, Colin Sturmer cut the ribbon following speeches by Marian and Peter Moore, Director of the Cornwall Rural Housing Association.

Marian says it’s a wonderful achievement but warned there’s still a need for more affordable housing. She knows of at least one young couple who left the islands recently because they couldn’t find suitable accommodation.

Councillor Richard McCarthy agrees that the project has allowed some people to stay on their home islands, in good accommodation, and it’s not just young families being helped.

Former Duchy Land Steward, Colin Sturmer, cuts the ribbon

A bungalow has been built on St Agnes, which has allowed an elderly disabled person to leave her current home, and the vacated property has now gone to her grandson.

Dave Hooper moved into one of the Bryher units a year ago and says the property gives his family more space and at a reasonable rent. He told us it’s made a huge difference to them, and now, he says, he has the “perfect” home and a future on the islands.

The Housing Association constructed the seven homes on Bryher, St Martin’s and St Agnes last year, with the Homes and Communities Agency funding £1.4m of the £1.9m scheme.

Peter Moore from the Association says it wasn’t an easy process. He says dealing with a national agency, they had to make the case for why everything is so much more expensive, and that meant they had to take time to get their numbers right.

From Radio Scilly

Hear the full interviews with Marian Bennett, Peter Moore, Richard McCarthy and Dave Hooper…


 

 

 

Richard agrees that it was hard work but also says there was a little bit of luck involved too – they submitted their bid for funding at the end of the financial year, knowing that if other projects had slipped, there might be money available – and they were right.

But he’s less optimistic about the future. Under the current economic climate, Richard says, it’s unlikely that the HCA will back more homes in Scilly in the immediate future.

They aren’t looking for new proposals until at least 2015.