A place to call home and being part of a community is something we all need. For many, Cornwall is that place. Yet it is becoming harder for many people who love Cornwall to stay and live in the county.Homes for Cornwall
Cornwall has a longstanding issue with the amount, cost and standard of affordable or social housing despite delivering more new homes in recent years than most places in the UK. The Council’s focus on supporting people who are homeless to find a safe place to stay and to take actions to unlock more public delivery of housing has been warmly received.
However the impact of Covid and the removal of many homes for private rent, alongside a boom in house prices, has compounded a historical weakness.
The counties post Covid recovery of core industries is being hampered by a shortage of staff, largely exasperated by issues around securing accommodation. Inward investment opportunities are being lost or deferred by the inability to house key staff.
It is for that reason that although steps to manage the spread of second homes and short term holiday lets is welcome, as is their increased taxation (ideally to fund more social housing), these steps alone will not solve the crisis.
Encouragingly, if all parishes around Cornwall would invest in a modest amount of new, affordable and social housing this crisis could be solved for the next generation. New homes could be built to a different standard, so they use less energy, help us achieve our climate targets and allow nature and communities to flourish.
Cornwall has the space to do this, with less of our land devoted to housing than elsewhere in the UK. Landowners and some key employers are now looking to invest in new homes for their employees. New innovative building techniques could speed up deployment, open up brownfield sites or dead spaces within our towns and villages. Whilst some major new villages are being built the solution is likely to be in the many small developments delivered in all parts of Cornwall. However, it is key that any homes are built to enhance and create sustainable communities, contribute to biodiversity, wellbeing and culture.
New tenancy models are likely to emerge giving more opportunity for people seeking to rent, share buy or buy their properties outright.
Solutions are being explored, which will help communities use the planning system to get the homes they want and that will allow their communities to accommodate changing needs.
We are bringing together stakeholders and leaders from across the county to begin building a shared vision for the provision of affordable housing. One that will attract the broad stakeholder support it needs.
This collection of creative and influential thinkers will spend time understanding the stark reality of the situation, examining current and planned planning policies and get to the root cause of the barriers to solving the problem. We can be inspired by examples of imaginative approaches and start creating a vision for change with accompanying pledges for action.
Representatives from, the voluntary sector, private businesses, local government and policy makers met recently at the Bedruthan Hotel, determined to understand what interventions could be made collectively to create more sustainable communities. This was just the first of many steps to change.
Cornwall is looking to central Government to devolve more decision making locally including a much closer relationship with Homes England. The aim is to speed up the local response to this crisis creating more opportunity for more people, more quickly.
Today we have too many homeless people, we have too many sofa surfers, we have families living in sheds or Hotel rooms or living in fear of losing their tenancies as the holiday season approaches. We have businesses operating at 70% of their potential, due to a lack of staff. We have care, health, cultural and many other workers needing to leave the county to find a secure roof over their heads. We have investors now looking elsewhere to place their often high tech, highly skilled and highly paid employees. All of this will blight communities, families and the prospects for our children and grandchildren, which is why Homes for Cornwall will bring all parties together to create many solutions in all places to solve this particular crisis in our lifetimes.
We would like you to join us at Homes to Cornwall to be part of a county wide conversation. It is only by people coming together from across the county, that we can have the conversations that will allow solutions to emerge.
You don’t need to have any expertise in housing – just to be a citizen who cares about Cornwall and wants to see our communities thrive.
When you sign up, we will be able to invite you to join other like-minded people in your area so you can be part of the conversation. Listening will be key to finding a way forward that commands widespread support.
Please come and join our growing movement for change and protect Cornwall’s future.