“The cost of housing – whether it is renting or buying – is becoming out of reach for a vast number of people in Cornwall – what can be done to solve this pressing problem?”
Four ways of increasing housing supply for local people:
1. Develop redundant sites such as the Old Penwith Depot in Penzance, (earmarked for affordable housing in the days of Penwith District Council) and the Stennack Garage Services site in St Ives.
2. Refurbish empty properties. Under a Freedom of Information Request to Cornwall Council I was told that there are 1,030 homes in this constituency that are unoccupied. These properties lay dormant and are slowly decaying. They are scattered across the constituency and could house local people relatively quickly.
3. Convert empty spaces above shops into homes. There are grants available to do this and it is a great way to increase footfall in our town centres.
4. Build small clusters of new homes in our villages and towns. This has been done to good effect in Breage and elsewhere and brings a fresh energy to local communities.
Good work is already being done in these areas but more can be done and it is the case that greater incentives are needed especially in regard to bringing empty homes into use.
These four solutions will provide good homes, support local tradesmen and limit our impact on the natural environment.