Council To Spend More Housing Money Clearing Old School Site

old school carn thomas 2014Councillors have agreed to spend over a third of their housing reserve to demolish the former secondary school building at Carn Thomas.

A report by the Head of Economic Development, Diana Mompoloki, presented to members of the Transport, Economic Development and Infrastructure Committee, shows the cost of clearing the site has rocketed to £860,000.

If the Council can’t find money from grants, which Cllr Gordon Bilsborough said was “unlikely” then £560,000 will need to come from the housing reserve.

A further £275,000 will be used from the sale of a Council-owned property at Sallyport with the remaining £25,000 being money paid by Kier Construction for rental of the building during the recent quay extension work.

Diana said the rise in costs was due to disposal of waste, which can no longer be dealt with on the islands.

Cllr James Francis said he was “amazed at the cost of knocking this thing down.”

He said he had experience of demolishing a site bigger than the old school and that came to £75,000. James said even with the extra costs of transporting waste, he couldn’t see why this was “ten times more.”

Councillors have previously agreed to clear the site to make it easier to attract funding for social housing.

They had hoped to develop elder care or affordable local-needs homes, but Diana said that funding for these types of schemes had stopped since the last general election.

The government was now focussing on shared ownership.

Diana’s report said to make the site viable, and therefore attract grants for development, they would need to offer at least 50% of the possible 30 properties as ‘starter’ homes, which are capped at £250,000 and must be occupied by first time buyers below 40 years of age.

Another alternative, she writes, would be to offer the land to the private sector for development, with covenants on the sale “to negate movement into the second home market.”

Councillors sought assurances that any profits made from the development would be put back into the housing reserves to repay the cost of the demolition.

11 Responses to Council To Spend More Housing Money Clearing Old School Site

  1. John Allsop July 2, 2016 at 9:54 am

    I lived in a town with a population of similar size as Scillies, they wanted a building demolished and the quotes from four companies were all least ten times below the one our coucil have received. That council said we can,t afford that much, and the building is still standing. This quote will be exceeded as it seems that this coucil appear to say “if you have under quoted it dosn,t matter we will pay you more”. Can,t this building be converted into flats? If it,s said it can,t be,why? It,s about time this council started spending within it,s income.

    • Adam Morton, St.Martins July 2, 2016 at 2:19 pm

      Agree but I think the big aspect of this is freight! At £300 a ton , I can see this budget as a starting figure!Of course if the Council had concentrated its efforts in getting a freight subsidy instead of infrastructure grants, both the cost of waste disposal, this project and the future of the island’s economy would be significantly different!

  2. John Allsop July 1, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    So the coucil will over spend money it hasn,t got. So a lot of the reserve will be spent, i hope the reserve is never needed. When is common sense going to arrive. The people who pay the tax can,t afford to have these expensive schemes. If houses are built who pays for the building of them? If sold on completion local younger people probably don,t earn enough to qualify for a mortgage. As regards grants from London forget them we will get nothing.

  3. FT Wiz July 1, 2016 at 8:10 am

    Starter Houses / flats with shared ownership and probably a 106 = no mortgage. So where are first time buyers going to find the money? Unbelievable.

  4. PETERBJENKINS June 30, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    THE INSANITY just seems to keep growing more zeroes….£££££

    • Just me July 1, 2016 at 5:49 pm

      it’s Easer to just give it away have done with it then it costs nothing

  5. Berths Mason June 30, 2016 at 7:26 am


  6. Adam Morton, St.Martins June 29, 2016 at 8:48 am

    I suppose in line with council common sense, the granite wall in the picture will be sent off to the mainland or crushed here?I don’t suppose they have assessed development options involving the use of the existing foundations & concrete work? Any developer would struggle to build a property here for £250.000 let alone sell it for a profit. I can’t imagine many locals under 40 finding £250.000 either! Putting the space for 15 homes on the open market seems too higher price to pay in an area so short of space for future development. Surely there is no hurry for this since no one has any money to develop the site, keep the options open for the future?

  7. Hugh Towner June 29, 2016 at 8:06 am

    I once heard there is an ‘educational use’ covenant on the site, is that right?

  8. Ewart Less June 29, 2016 at 8:03 am

    Utter utter madness. If any of our members or our so called Chief Executive had even a semblance of business acumen this proposal would have been laughed at and discarded, there seems to be a lemming like rush to divest the council of both its credibility and reserves

  9. Enquirer June 28, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    I cannot believe what I am reading, the Head of Economic Development has just in another meeting admitted that we the Council Tax Payers will have to foot the £600,000 overspend cost on the Airport and Porthcressa developments and is now informing Councilors that she is presenting them with a further bill of some £860,000 (and with her track record this will grow massively before the project is finished). Again no Councilor subjects her to serious questioning. The original plan was for the site to be used for elder care, perfectly laudable. Now she is glibly talking about shared ownership properties or even private sector development. In that case why oh why are we the Council Tax payers being asked to fund the over inflated demolition costs?

    A further point to ponder is if a private developer is involved will the Duchy of Cornwall allow this on a site which at the end of the day is still under their control, as I believe that they still hold the final say on the use of the site and could demand it’s return to them if they could sell it to a private developer?