Falmouth's future affordable homes plan is 'completely insufficient'

A belief that tourism in Falmouth has reached a peak and student housing is levelling out has led to the town’s councillors calling for changes to be made to plans for the future.

Members were discussing Cornwall Council’s Local Plan (Core Strategy), which sets out plans for the whole of the county for the next 20 years.

This focuses on everything from housing to roads, as well as facilities such as schools, doctor’s surgeries and parks.

A major topic of discussion was the number of houses.

Councillor David Sterratt, who was chairing the meeting of the strategic planning and regeneration committee, said that as of Monday morning 1,089 people were on the housing register with a connection to Falmouth.

The Local Plan currently states that 4,500 homes should be built in the Falmouth and Penryn over the next two decades, with 500 in the rural parishes.

Of these homes 35 per cent of which should be affordable – a total of 1,575 to cover the next 20 years.

Dr Sterratt described it as a “completely insufficient number” of affordable homes, but believed the number of new houses overall should be reduced.

He said there wasn’t the evidence to say the docks would expand and the “general consensus” was that Cornwall’s tourist industry had reached its peak.

Dr Sterratt claimed: “I think most people in the industry would say Cornwall has had its run. It’s now going to start dropping down as all tourist places do. With the collapse of the euro there are a lot of places abroad that will be very cheap.”

However, Councillor Allyson Biggins said people couldn’t afford to go abroad and Falmouth had seen an increase in footfall during the cruise ship season.

Councillor Diana Merrett claimed that student numbers in the town were falling, adding: “People are building houses for students and can’t get anyone to stay in them because there aren’t enough students now.”

Yet Councillor Keven Ayres said if the council said no to new houses being built then 1,000 people would be sent away from Falmouth.

Mrs Biggins also hand concerns that “concreting everything” left no natural soak-aways and natural green space needed to be left to prevent even bigger problems with flooding in the future, although she agreed there was a need for housing.

Dr Sterratt said 2,900 new homes would be “more acceptable.”

It was agreed the council would ask for a higher percentage of affordable housing, requesting Falmouth be treated in the same way as St Ives and that 50 per cent of the homes built be affordable. There should also be lower housing numbers overall.

The council wanted greater control over second homes, to protect area of outstanding natural beauty and use brownfield sites for building on first.

Members also included in their response the concerns over growth of tourism, recognition that student housing had “levelled out,” and that dredging was crucial.

Comments (4)

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9:26pm Mon 3 Dec 12

ucsweb says...

What makes these people think that student numbers have leveled out? According to cornwall.gov "Staff and
student numbers combined are expected to reach 7,748 by 2017."
Where are these three thousand plus extra people going to live? If there aren't enough students for you now, there will be in a couple of years!
What makes these people think that student numbers have leveled out? According to cornwall.gov "Staff and student numbers combined are expected to reach 7,748 by 2017." Where are these three thousand plus extra people going to live? If there aren't enough students for you now, there will be in a couple of years! ucsweb

11:18pm Mon 3 Dec 12

molesworth says...

I lived in London for a while. I couldn't afford to live in Chelsea or Mayfair so I lived in Shepard's Bush. If people can't afford to live in Falmouth there's always Penryn or Redruth or Longdowns. Like everywhere in the UK there will be places in Cornwall that are more expensive to live than others. I can't afford to live on the Helford but I don't think that means that there should be houses built there that I can afford. Will Falmouth really be a better place with massive estates of cheap houses? I don't think so.
I lived in London for a while. I couldn't afford to live in Chelsea or Mayfair so I lived in Shepard's Bush. If people can't afford to live in Falmouth there's always Penryn or Redruth or Longdowns. Like everywhere in the UK there will be places in Cornwall that are more expensive to live than others. I can't afford to live on the Helford but I don't think that means that there should be houses built there that I can afford. Will Falmouth really be a better place with massive estates of cheap houses? I don't think so. molesworth

10:18am Thu 6 Dec 12

ucsweb says...

A lot of people in the Falmouth / Penryn area, and in most of Cornwall, are in a "Catch 22" situation. They can't afford to stay and they can't afford to move.
If I could afford to move out of Falmouth I would because it will only get worse!
A lot of people in the Falmouth / Penryn area, and in most of Cornwall, are in a "Catch 22" situation. They can't afford to stay and they can't afford to move. If I could afford to move out of Falmouth I would because it will only get worse! ucsweb

12:59pm Thu 6 Dec 12

molesworth says...

Sorry uscweb, I'm being slow. Are you saying everywhere is more expensive than Falmouth and that's why you can't afford to move? Or if you're already living in Falmouth what's more expensive about it than other parts of Cornwall / UK? I thought I was talking about where in Cornwall to build cheap homes for young Cornish people who wanted to move out from their family home and rent or buy a place for themselves. My point was that there are cheap places and there are expensive places to live in Cornwall just like there are anywhere else in the UK. (Especially boroughs in London for instance.) The problem in Cornwall is not caused by property buyers from elsewhere, the problem is with locals selling property (once owned by a deceased parent or relative for example) for as much as they can get to who ever offers the most. I know this truth is unpalatable for a lot of locals but it's plainly true. There's nothing to stop locals selling or renting their property cheaply to 'locals only' though it does start to sound a bit like 'whites only' doesn't it? Anyway, I'm personally not keen on hundreds of cheap houses being built in Falmouth because I don't want to see Falmouth spoilt because it's nice here. But that's just me and no doubt people will vilify me for it.
Sorry uscweb, I'm being slow. Are you saying everywhere is more expensive than Falmouth and that's why you can't afford to move? Or if you're already living in Falmouth what's more expensive about it than other parts of Cornwall / UK? I thought I was talking about where in Cornwall to build cheap homes for young Cornish people who wanted to move out from their family home and rent or buy a place for themselves. My point was that there are cheap places and there are expensive places to live in Cornwall just like there are anywhere else in the UK. (Especially boroughs in London for instance.) The problem in Cornwall is not caused by property buyers from elsewhere, the problem is with locals selling property (once owned by a deceased parent or relative for example) for as much as they can get to who ever offers the most. I know this truth is unpalatable for a lot of locals but it's plainly true. There's nothing to stop locals selling or renting their property cheaply to 'locals only' though it does start to sound a bit like 'whites only' doesn't it? Anyway, I'm personally not keen on hundreds of cheap houses being built in Falmouth because I don't want to see Falmouth spoilt because it's nice here. But that's just me and no doubt people will vilify me for it. molesworth

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