Search for keys to unlock home crisis
By Natasha Swift
14th July 2021
Mr Double (left) has described Cornwall’s housing market as “broken”. PICTURE: PAUL WILLIAMS
The councillor in charge of housing in Cornwall has vowed to look after Cornish people first as he draws up a plan of action to tackle the county’s current property crisis.
Stopping further migration into Cornwall, making homes truly affordable for residents and building more council houses are just some of the ways Councillor Olly Monk plans to address the issues which have been created by more and more people looking to buy properties in the Duchy.
The cost of housing has spiralled in recent months and there has been a severe lack of properties available to rent.
Cllr Monk. the new Conservative cabinet member for homes, has outlined his strategy to help people in Cornwall get their foot on the property ladder.
This includes setting affordable house prices at 50 per cent of market rates, building council houses and encouraging town centre property owners to convert the space above their shops into homes.
Cllr Monk told the Voice: “The government has launched a new mortgage product called The First Homes Scheme which will enable the council to set that rate at 50 per cent of the market rate.”
Cllr Monk said the council could also dictate how the 35 per cent quota of affordable homes in a development is made up.
“If a developer is building 100 homes and 35 of them have to be affordable, what the council can do is buy the other 65 and get a discount with them,” Cllr Monk explained.
“Also, if a developer is building 1,000 homes and 350 have to be affordable, we could decide how that 35 per cent is made up if it needs to be first time or starter homes or council housing, we can dictate that.”
“We could also build the other 650 houses. What this council is trying to do is protect and look after people who want to rent and look after the key workers in Cornwall who want to get on the housing ladder and buy their own property.”
“We can do that through increased discounts. We are also trying to encourage property owners in town centres to develop the empty space above their retail unit into residential property.”
“We will work with them to find viable solutions to be able to do that. The council is going to get involved in building these developments and working with small- to medium-size companies to be able to build the houses they want to build and build the council housing that the council wants to build as well. “
“This will provide a massive boost in the delivery of housing available in the mid to long term. All of this needs to be done to prioritise local need.”
“We need to make sure we aren’t encouraging any more migration into Cornwall and look after Cornish people first.”
This comes after the Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised young people growing up in Cornwall will have the chance of owning their own home after calls for action from St Austell’s MP, Steve Double.
At Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons, Boris Johnson told Mr Double the Government will work with him and Cornwall Council to ensure new planning reforms allow people in the Duchy to be able to get onto the property ladder.