The discourse around this issue [Living in Vans on Falmouth seafront] always seems to settle on stick and very little carrot.

Overnight camping bans are proposed, followed by loose murmurings of “giving them somewhere else to go…”.

Exactly where they should go however is never set in stone. What nobody seems to ask is whether removing parking options may make van dwellers more vulnerable.

To describe van dwellers - many of whom are local working people - as “a surge”, is pretty dehumanising at any time. But it’s especially misjudged in the middle of a cost of living crisis when increasingly people simply cannot afford to rent accommodation or pay energy bills where they live.

These are contributing members of our local community. Increasingly being squeezed out of the area by planning hostile to their living situation.

One example, the proposed development of Ships and Castles, will remove another key local space for van dwellers to stay.

In the coming year, government energy subsidies and millions of European Social Fund investment is drying up across Cornwall.

Van life could become a reality for many more people who call Falmouth and Penryn home.

We at ACORN Falmouth and Penryn would like to extend our invitation to anyone living precariously be it in a van or caravan (or boat!).

Join us and we’ll stand up together to take what’s ours, to protect and improve the rights and the voice of all our local residents (including you).

We’ve fought and won for our tenant members and we can do the same for you. One solution we are already working on is increasing affordable accommodation.

We propose that all properties should be required to register with the town council to become holiday lets or second homes. Not only could this increase the town council’s power to ensure there are enough homes available for local people, it will also improve the information we have about how bad the situation already is.

A motion calling for Falmouth councillors to support our proposal in Cornwall Council was unanimously carried in Falmouth Town Council. And just this week, after our members delivered our demands to Council offices, Olly Monk, the Cornwall Councillor who is portfolio holder for housing and planning in Cornwall, has agreed to meet with us to discuss our proposal further.

We achieved all this with a little less than 100 members, imagine what we could do with 500. Join at