Cornwall Council is set to become a housing developer

Cornwall Council delivers many services that we all receive as part of our daily lives. In fact you will be surprised just how much the Council delivers. In something that may surprise people, the Council is set to add another ‘string-to-its-bow’ by becoming a house builder. Yep, the Council is set to become a housing developer.

The ambition for the Council is to deliver up to 500 homes a year through cross subsidising developments. This would mean delivering a mixture of affordable and market homes for rent, and homes for sale. The rationale behind it – according to the experts – is Cornwall needs more homes, and the market alone cannot deliver this in the coming years.

The Council is now poised to directly invest and build attractive high quality homes that people can afford, in areas of high demand. The vision is to provide attractive, high quality, energy-efficient homes. New homes through the programme will be healthy to live in and cost-effective to heat and maintain.

The Council has identified two potential pilot sites for this project. The first in Tolvaddon, the second in Bodmin.

The project is very much in the design stage. The Council wants to consult with the target market and local communities to find out what type of homes they would like built. This information will influence the designs that our architects then develop.

Therefore, the Council is hosting engagement events near both of the sites in February so that we can engage with the local community and identify potential customers.

  • On 11 Feb from 1pm to 8pm we will be at Heartlands, Pool
  • On 15 Feb from 1pm to 8pm we will be at Chy Trevail Offices in Bodmin

This is not something new, as other Councils are already doing this. Of course before a home is built you need land. Which the Council owns a large chunk of land in Cornwall. It also needs investment.  My view is tax payer’s money should not be used and therefore, I am content that this will be funded by borrowing and building efficiently without any ongoing cost to the public purse.

There also needs to have the right infrastructure in or put in place if you want to deliver 500 homes a year. There is no point in putting homes in a certain place if it will have a negative impact on areas like school places.

I would hope the affordable/open market ratio is right. I would hate to think – if this plan happens – there will be a temptation to build more open market homes due to the profitability over affordable homes.

However, if the Council was to become a housing developer, home should be built on need rather than profit which drives most, if not all, housing developers.

I am sure these plans will be met by horror by some quarters, but then again, it could be seen as the Council tackling the housing issues in Cornwall rather than waiting for developers to dictate where a housing goes on profitability over need.

 

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