Scilly ‘Will Die’ Without More Social Housing Says Lord Berkeley
The House of Lords has been warned that Scilly’s community “will die” without more social housing.
Lord Berkeley, who is a regular visitor to the islands, made the statement during a Lords debate on the Housing and Planning Bill, which is currently passing through Parliament.
He was speaking in support of an amendment he’s proposed that would exclude Scilly from the proposed right-to-buy scheme for social housing.
Lord Berkeley said the islands lie 25 miles off the coast and have “pretty awful” transport links, meaning essential workers can’t easily commute here.
He said demand for housing is high, but the provision is “virtually zero” and any new homes tend to be for holiday lets or for people with “lots of money who want to go there occasionally and leave it empty for the rest of the year.”
“If there is no essential housing for workers in islands like the Isles of Scilly then the community will die – I think it’s a very serious issue,” said Lord Berkeley.
In response, Baroness Williams from the Department for Communities and Local Government, said she had visited the Scilly and understood the concerns about the loss of social housing here.
But she said housing associations will have the discretion not to sell properties under the new proposals and that will be based on their own local knowledge.
“We want equality of opportunity for social tenants and not denying it just because they live on the Isles of Scilly,” she said.