Cornwall’s communities are taking a lead in efforts to combat the housing crisis. 

That was the message from a recent joint webinar-seminar organised by local housing charity Cornwall Community Land Trust (CCLT). 

CCLT’s chair Mervyn Thomas was delighted to welcome more than 70 participants both in person and online at the Penventon Park Hotel in Redruth recently. Vice chair, Dominic Fairman, led delegates through a programme of informative and entertaining national and local speakers. 

Tom Chance, CEO of the national CLT Network pointed out that whilst Cornwall represents less than one per cent of the UK’s resident population, Cornwall CLT has supported to date the development of 14 per cent of the country’s CLT programme since the Trust was founded in 2006.   

Helen Bone, the senior manager for affordable housing at Homes England, explained the current funding streams available from central government, and Adam Birchall, Cornwall Council’s head of planning and housing policy, outlined what the council was doing in partnership with registered providers to tackle the growing housing crisis across the Duchy.  

Andrew George, Cornwall CLT’s CEO, illustrated some of CCLT’s 27 completed projects, providing nearly 300 homes, including those schemes with charitable housing association partners Aster, Cornwall Rural Housing Association and Coastline.  

He went on to outline a programme of forthcoming schemes, several of which have recently received planning approval, providing a further 169 homes for locals, both for rent and intermediate sale, during the next few years. All these projects are led by local communities in Cornwall, with the professional assistance of CCLT.  

Andrew highlighted delivered projects in St Ewe, Ruan Minor, Rock, Duloe, Rame (Wendron) and Pendeen. He also celebrated community-led projects which will deliver desperately needed homes in Newlyn, Gwennap, The Lizard, St Keverne, Carleen, the Isles of Scilly and other communities around Cornwall.

The event benefited from speakers on behalf of local communities which are in the midst of realising their communities’ aspirations with inspirational and entertaining contributions from local project leaders — the innovative hard work of Three Seas to create additional rented homes out of old properties in need of refurbishment at Looe as described vividly by Simon Ryan; the role of the local community, in this case Gwennap Parish Council, to facilitate projects by identifying local housing need and initiating a call for land presented by the parish council chair Richard Williams, and Morag Robertson’s account of the challenges faced by St Ives CLT and their fight to convert a building in St Ives into six flats for rent.  Questions from the floor and from participants online revealed how stimulating these varied stories of success were to the audience. 

This was the sixth in Cornwall CLT’s series of webinar-seminars aimed at spreading good news stories and information on how community-led housing can help to tackle Cornwall’s severe housing crisis.  A recording of this event together with Pdfs of all the presentations, as also of previous seminars, can be found on CCLT’s website