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.”


8 Responses to Carn Thomas Housing Plans Take A Step Forward

  1. Katie F November 15, 2012 at 11:11 am

    I’m sure that that was incredibly difficult HOWEVER… I’m looking at the here and now! So, let’s not detract from the current incumbent’s success.

  2. Todd Stevens November 14, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    Very true what you say Katie F. Funnily enough my Mrs used to write bids for funding for this council – that is until she was treated abominably by an egotistical employee there!

  3. Katie F November 14, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    Yes, thanks Todd, glad you agree. But proactive employees, too… Let’s keep in mind that hard graft goes into these bids on lots of levels.

  4. Todd Stevens November 14, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    To have proactive councillors in times of great diffficulty, is highly commendable. Well done. See-Life goes on!

  5. Samual Vimes cmdr November 14, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    While I can empathise the harsh reality is that we are a small island with a population of around 2000, the money needed for such a care facility here is completely disproportionate to the number of people requiring such assistance.
    They even struggle providing such facility’s on the mainland where there is a population of 60m

    The preferred option these days is “care in the community” because its a cheaper option. However I would say that the service provided by the carers of Park House (who work in the community) is excellent with the exception that they are understaffed and also have issues with a poor management team.

    There are always empty beds at the hospital, perhaps they could provide help. In the old days care was provided by the one state, but now everything has been outsourced to the private sector in a bid to reduce costs and all agency’s operate in an administrative bubble that defines what type of care they can and can’t provide.

  6. Katie F November 14, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    This is a wonderful initiative. Presumably this particular site wouldn’t be appropriate for people with dementia needing a high level of care, but it’s great that councillors and employees are being proactive in accessing funding. Whilst Martin and Lynn are right to bring up their concerns regarding the provision for one group of islanders, surely there’s also room to show excitement for the potential improvement in living conditions for others simultaneously?! Often central government funding is ringfenced but if Scilly can access a slice of the pie to help the vulnerable, we should celebrate what is being done to make that happen rather than just complaining about a separate issue?!

  7. lynn November 14, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Martin you have said eveything I was going to.
    The further stress families endure when loved ones are dispatched to the mainland at this stage of their life is unbearable for the majority.

  8. Martin Goodey November 14, 2012 at 10:06 am

    ” to provide around twenty affordable homes for elderly and vulnerable adults ”

    Surely there is a greater need for a specialist Dementia unit with trained staff. Dose the Council have an idea of how many families are coping with this at present?

    As far as I am aware the only alternative for severe cases, is for loved ones to be transferred to the mainland and this is far from ideal .