Housing covenant numbers revealed
Six weeks after the debacle of Falmouth council houses being sold off for student accommodation was first exposed, Cornwall Council have finally confirmed the scale of the fiasco.
Cornwall Housing Limited, the council-owned company charged with managing and maintaining council houses, have released figures showing 39 homes were sold under restrictive covenant between 2003 and 2008.
These covenants are legally binding promises that were designed to prevent social housing stock from being used “for student or holiday letting purposes.”
Yet the council refuses to say what, if any, action it has taken to enforce the covenants – claiming it does not hold the records in answer to the Packet’s Freedom of Information request.
Town councillor David Sterratt first brought this issue to the attention of under fire Cornwall Council leader Alec Robertson in an open letter on August 15. Cornwall councillor for Trescobeas, Dave Saunby, then quizzed cabinet member Mark Kaczmarek over the covenants the week afterwards.
Neither request was met with a satisfactory answer at the time although Mr Kaczmarek, who is the portfolio holder for housing and planning, did promise Mr Saunby a “definitive response” after he had met with Cornwall Council’s housing team and the legal department.
Neither Mr Kaczmarek nor Mr Saunby was available for comment at the time of going to press.