Celebrating a project boosting housing supply across Cornwall

An initiative designed to increase the housing supply across Cornwall has moved one step closer to completion.

Housing association LiveWest, regeneration specialists Vistry Partnerships and Cornwall Council joined together to hold an event to celebrate the Homes for Cornwall project.

The event took place at Porthgwari, Penzance St Clare to mark the final development of the Homes for Cornwall project – a partnership between LiveWest, Vistry Partnerships and Cornwall Council, with support from Homes England, to build 396 homes across Cornwall.

The Homes for Cornwall project is made up of eight schemes across the county, delivering homes for local people – Shortlanesend (114), Blackwater (22), Wadebridge (24), St Breward (21), Madron (24), Penzance Depot (24) Marazion (40) and Penzance St Clare (127).

The collaborative partnership approach and investment has enabled the overall proportion of affordable homes to increase from 35% to 55%, resulting in 218 of the 396 homes being built as affordable.

The developments at St Breward, Penzance Depot, Marazion and Blackwater are all 100% affordable.

Vistry Partnerships and LiveWest invested around £65m in the eight schemes, while Cornwall Council and Homes England supported with grant funding.

The foundations of the Cornwall Land Initiative stemmed from Cornwall Council adopting an innovative approach to increasing housing supply across the county by bringing forward a portfolio of sites in different value areas and across a range of complexities.

Vistry Partnerships, working in partnership with LiveWest, were selected to deliver homes across these sites, meeting a variety of housing needs in different communities across Cornwall.

Russell Baldwinson, Executive Director of Development for LiveWest, said: “The Homes for Cornwall project has played a significant role in increasing the number of new homes being built across Cornwall.

“With significant demand for housing across the region, our primary focus as an organisation is to deliver new homes, with a focus on affordable homes, and we are delighted that 218 of the 396 homes are genuinely affordable.

“It has been a fantastic partnership between LiveWest, Vistry Partnerships and Cornwall Council with support from Homes England.

“All of the developments across the Homes for Cornwall project have helped local people remain living in the area they love to live in, whether that is through securing a rental home or buying an affordable property.

“As well as delivering housing, initiatives such as this have the added benefit of creating employment opportunities for local people and bringing substantial investment into the local economy.”

Stephen Teagle, Chief Executive for Vistry Partnerships, said: “The Homes for Cornwall initiative is great example of commitment to work in partnership to unlock housing solutions and deliver much needed quality affordable homes for local people across Cornwall.

“Working with both Cornwall Council and LiveWest on this initiative has fused together teams who are passionate, experienced and knowledgeable to realise the vision for this unique scheme.

“The success of this initiative is testament to not only the hard work and dedication by our teams across the county but to the strong relationships built throughout the journey, allowing for the creation of vibrant and sustainable places for local people to live.

“On top of providing great places for local people to live, the Homes for Cornwall scheme played host to our very first Skills Academy, a model that has now been rolled out nationally.

“The Academy created employment, training, mentoring and engagement opportunities for local people as well as engaging in various communal projects, helping bring the community together.”

Porthgwari, Penzance St Clare, is the last development in the Homes for Cornwall initiative and has entered the final stages of construction.

The large brownfield site belonged to Cornwall Council and was the former home of the St Clare offices before being re-developed to provide much needed homes for local families.

The site includes a listed building known as York House and associated grounds, together with the former car park of the Penzance Hockey Club.

Originally, 38 of the 127 homes planned for the site were set to be affordable homes, however with additional grant funding from Cornwall Council and Homes England, which along with additional subsidy from LiveWest enabled an additional 15 homes to be provided as affordable homes.

The development has 28 rental and 17 shared ownership homes – with a further eight acquired by Cornwall Council as assisted living homes for adults with learning disabilities.

Work has now moved on to the final phase of the development, which includes the conversion of the former Grade 2 listed York House.

Olly Monk, Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for housing, said: “We want to provide homes of all tenures, to reflect the different needs of our communities. Our partnership with Vistry and LiveWest has seen 396 new homes for open market sale, affordable rent and shared ownership on surplus Council land throughout Cornwall.

“The Homes for Cornwall partnership has been hugely successful – 55% of all homes have been provided as affordable housing – and land receipts generated by this project are also ringfenced to enable us to provide further affordable housing in the future.

“St. Clare is the largest of the sites, with other homes having been built at Shortlanesend, Blackwater, Madron, Penzance, Wadebridge, St. Breward, and Marazion.”

Jim McKenna, Cornwall Councillor for Penzance Promenade, said: “It is great to see the whole of the site brought back into use in a way which will benefit so many residents.

“Having worked there until 2009 with the former Penwith District Council and now as the Cornwall Councillor for the area, to see the new St Clare surgery fully operational and so many desperately needed affordable homes for local people and those with learning disabilities being built there, is a fitting use for what is a fabulous location.

“Particular thanks to Cornwall Council, Vistry Partnerships and LiveWest for their perseverance and collaborative approach which has made this happen.”