Carn Thomas Building Could Start By Next April

School site at Carn Thomas, earmarked for housing scheme

School site at Carn Thomas, earmarked for housing scheme

Work to build new housing on the former secondary school site at Carn Thomas could start before next April.

And, for funding reasons, the 23 units, mostly 2-bedroom homes, might have to be completed by 2018.

Councillors heard the plan was exciting but also, “an ambitious target.” It won’t be known whether the Homes and Communities Agency will fund the project until May but the Council will sign away the site to the Cornwall Rural Housing Association for free on the understanding that they will develop the scheme ‘at risk,’ which housing officer Ian Hamilton explained was a similar process to a solicitor operating on a  ‘no win, no fee’ basis.

Cllr Marian Bennett said the authority had worked with the housing association on a similar basis before, with schemes that were ready to go if funding comes in. They had developed affordable homes on three of the off-islands recently.

Original extra care housing plans for the Carn Thomas site featured communal space for residents but there were concerns over maximising the number of homes created, to meet funders’ targets. The cost of building in Scilly had proved unattractive to the HCA funders previously because they can fund more homes for the same amount on the mainland.

As Carn Thomas is so close to the town centre services, this project won’t need communal areas. Ian Hamilton told members at the Community Resources committee that the project would be advised by an architect who had shaped a report on older peoples’ housing for the HCA, although there will be a separate architect employed for the design.

Consultation may continue with the elder persons’ forum who have offered previous feedback.

Ian also advised members that the responsibility of insuring and securing the unused school would soon no longer be the Council’s responsibility and that would also save the Town Hall some money.

A planning application is likely to be submitted in the next few months.