Shortage Of Worker Housing Leads Scilly Businesses To Build Their Own

hugh town from BuzzaIt’s so hard finding accommodation for workers on St Mary’s that building your own worker housing has become the preferred option for two islands’ businesses.

And now planners will be asked to approve their proposals for new accommodation on Porthmellon Industrial Estate and at Carn Friars Farm, in their meeting at the end of this month.

Ang Jenkins wants to convert a barn into a living space for a future employee. Last year she received Local Action Group support to extend her fruit farm and local produce business.

She thinks the challenge of finding somewhere for workers to live is getting more difficult.

Island Carriers currently have a full complement of staff, but Lou Knapman says it has been difficult finding new recruits on an island with no unemployment. Compared to when she and Mike took on the business, she says there seem to be fewer younger people around.

In order to attract mainlanders to any future vacancy, Lou wants permission to create a first floor, one-bedroom unit with a kitchen and bathroom above the business office.

She says if they sell the Carriers, the tied accommodation could provide a living space solution for a new owner.

Most newly-built housing on Scilly has been subject to strict Section 106 rules, restricting their occupancy for locals.

Estate Agent Tony Dingley says finding year-round lettings for locals or staff is tough although there have been two or three properties where owners have agreed a six month tenancy, recently.

Tony estimates a 3-bedroom home could bring in £800 a month as a rental, but the same property could potentially bring in more than that in a single week as a holiday rental, if planning restrictions allow its use by visitors.