Carn Thomas Housing Plans Take A Step Forward

The old school site at Carn Thomas

Plans to redevelop the former secondary school site at Carn Thomas, into elder care and social housing, have come a step closer to reality.

A report, to be discussed at next Tuesday’s Policy and Resources committee, says that Cornwall Rural Housing Association has agreed to be a delivery partner on the scheme to build twenty affordable homes.

The stumbling block for previous plans was identifying a suitable partner, who would be prepared to take on the additional costs of building on the islands.

And the recent announcement of a new £300m specialised housing fund by the government, to be delivered through the Housing and Communities Agency, appears to offer a potential source of funding.

Chair of Community Services, Richard McCarthy said the aim is still to provide around twenty affordable homes for elderly and vulnerable adults on the Carn Thomas site. The majority would have two bedrooms but there would be some one bed units too.

There will need to be some communal facilities, says Richard, but given what is already available elsewhere on St Mary’s and how expensive it is to build on Scilly, they can’t make the scheme too costly.

Cornwall Rural Housing has previous experience of building here, including recent housing schemes on St Mary’s, St Agnes, Bryher and St Martin’s.

The report had gone before last month’s Community Services committee, but was discussed behind closed doors, as legal advice was still being sought on the possibility of a challenge to the decision from other housing providers.

The Council and CRHA will need to put together a bid for the funds by 18th January 2012 and Richard says it’s by no means certain that the scheme will be funded.

“If we don’t have a scheme ready by soon after Christmas, we won’t stand a chance of getting any money,” says Richard, adding, “given the government only went public with this new fund just over a fortnight ago we are actually moving quite fast.”


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