Key Worker Homes Will Be Built At Porthcressa

Porthcressa

The Council is to borrow around £0.3m to build key worker homes at Porthcressa.

Only recently, members heard that the new business units being built on the library site would be single-storey.

Flats were meant to go on the first floor, as part of the original Porthcressa regeneration plans, but the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) wouldn’t fund more affordable homes in Scilly.

They say they can get better value for money on the mainland, where developers have allocated 30% of new housing schemes to affordable homes.

Councillors had hoped to add the accommodation at a later stage.

But Council Strategic Investment Manager, Diana Mompoloki, has told Councillors that they have been offered a special grant of £240,803 from the HCA.

They won’t pay for the home building as that could set a precedent elsewhere, so they are offering money for ‘infrastructure.’

Diana said that Scilly’s MP, Andrew George, had played a significant role in securing the cash but Richard McCarthy felt both Diana and Housing Officer, Ian Hamilton, were underplaying their contribution in securing the money.

Julia Day, who has been keenly involved in the Porthcressa plans since their original inception, told members that there was strong support within the community for homes as part of the scheme.

Overall the Porthcressa scheme, which is mainly European grant funded, will cost £4.28m with £393,895 coming from Council reserves or savings.

The Town Hall will borrow between £300,000 and £350,000 for the housing scheme, although Diana hopes they could do things cheaper and there hasn’t been a cost–saving exercise done on the homes, as they didn’t think they were going to be funded at all.

Christine Savill wanted the ensure that the best quality accommodation was built in order to attract key workers to the units.

The tenant’s rents would provide the Council with the means to repay the loan.

On today’s figures they would generate £17,440 per annum and that level of income would be able to repay a loan of £350,000 over 51 years or a £300,000 loan over a period of 31 years.

Fred Ticehurst was concerned that the units may not be occupied continually but Finance Officer, Iain McCulloch, said they had included four weeks worth of non-occupancy in the annual rental income figures.

Members read a report showing that the building would provide an asset for the Council.

The apartments were independently valued last year by Stratton Holborrow at a value of

£495,000. That sum assumed Section 106 restriction and sale on a leasehold basis.

Members also heard that the government was giving the Council a £22,920 bonus for the new affordable off-island homes.

Richard McCarthy was keen to use this money for the Porthcressa homes to reduce borrowing, as there was no opportunity for other housing projects in the future.

Richard says the Council will be given more money in the future, under the New Homes bonus, once these new Porthcressa homes are built.