Credit: Cornwall Council. Housing development in Bodmin, which was part of Cornwall Council’s 1,000 homes initiative.

In 2017, Cornwall Council made a commitment to provide 1,000 new quality homes to the residents of Cornwall.

Last week (February 22), the council delivered on this promise, with the 1,000th home being built at the former Penwith Council office site at St. Clare, Penzance.

Councillor Andrew Mitchell, portfolio holder for homes, said: “We’ve put in the hard work, planning, funding and resources to make sure we delivered and enabled quality homes – including a large amount of social and affordable housing – and have created a model to continue delivery on an even larger scale over the coming years.”

Credit: Cornwall Council. Cllr Andrew Mitchell, portfolio holder for homes

Known as the ‘Homes for Cornwall initiative’, the council partnered with Vistry Group and LiveWest to provide homes for open market rent and affordable rent, as well as shared ownership, which allows people to part-buy and part-rent a home.

Cllr Mitchell believes that the ‘need is real’ to provide solutions to local housing need.

“With over 12,000 families on the Cornwall Homechoice register looking for a home, this is just the beginning.”

“We’ve put resources in place and committed to an ambitious programme of over 1,700 new affordable homes by March 2028.”

The Homechoice register is a choice-based system for letting council and housing association homes to rent in Cornwall.

The Homes for Cornwall initiative has already made a positive difference to the residents of the county.

Cornish local Caroline moved with her husband into a new home in Poundstock, built by Cornwall Rural Housing Association, and says: “Our quality of life has improved drastically… we have peace of mind knowing that we can be here for as long as we want.”

Emma also moved into one of the council’s new social rent homes with her family, and explained: “I was bidding on Cornwall Homechoice because my rent was too high where I was privately renting.”

“This house is much nicer, and the area is nicer too.”

During the pandemic, the county has also seen the need for temporary accommodation ‘rocket’.

Deputy leader of Cornwall Council, Cllr Adam Paynter, said: “In November 2020, there were 515 households living in this type of accommodation, compared to approximately 290 households just 12 months earlier.”

Deputy Leader of Cornwall Council, Adam Paynter

“During the pandemic, we’ve worked hard to build, commission and provide additional accommodation in key locations to meet this need.”

Some locals have recognised this urgency in the need to build more affordable accommodation within the county.

There have been several comments on the council’s Twitter and Facebook pages calling for more affordable homes for key workers and to prioritise housing the residents of Cornwall, rather than allowing second homeowners to purchase holiday homes in the county.

Some residents have also expressed their concerns regarding the impact the building sites have had on the surrounding landscapes.

One resident commented on the council’s Twitter announcement, saying the building sites have been “at an inappropriate scale,” and have “ruined the character of small villages.”

While another commented: “At what cost to the Cornish communities who have experienced high volume development?”

Cllr Mitchell also said: “We’ll continue to work hard to safeguard the assets of our beautiful Duchy – the landscape, the environment, and the heritage – and balance those considerations with the need to provide new, good quality homes for our residents.”