Joyce Duffin, Lib Dem Portfolio Holder for Housing on Cornwall Council, has signed off a decision to further explore the possibility of the council becoming a major housing developer in Cornwall’s capital city.
As developers have admitted that their schemes for thousands of houses on the western approach to Truro – the bit from Chivvy roundabout to Treliske – have become financially ‘non-viable’ the council has been considering stepping in to ensure house building in Cornwall keeps up with the pace set out in the Local Plan.
The sign off today, after a meeting of the Housing PAC last week, means that council officials are now free to negotiate with the landowners and look into the details of how it could be made to work. It could mean a significant number of new ‘council houses’ could be built for the 20,000 + people waiting desperately on Cornwall’s housing register.
The decision to proceed with the purchase would then be one of the first major political set pieces of a new council after the local elections on May 4th.
The Council said in a statement today
“It is proposed that discussions take place with the owners of West Langarth, Langarth Farm and the owners of the other sites as set out in the report and that detailed due diligence work be undertaken to investigate the possibility of acquiring land to secure the delivery of a housing scheme in Truro. Subject to satisfactory progress on these discussions and due diligence work, a business case would be prepared and presented to the appropriate Overview and Scrutiny Committee at the earliest opportunity in the next Council.
Together with neighbouring sites these form part of the second largest housing growth area in Cornwall’s Local Plan and development is important to maintaining the 5-year land supply and to bringing forward mixed tenure housing to meet a range of housing need and demand.
By acquiring these sites the Council would be able to directly lead place-making for Cornwall’s only city and would unlock much needed housing and infrastructure. It would enable the council to lead the development of at least 480 homes, and this could provide a significant pipeline for the Council’s Housing Development Programme which is intended to develop 1,000 homes in total including a high proportion of high-quality market rent homes. These sites will also provide at least 35% affordable housing”