AN application to build up to 20 affordable home on the site of the old Smithwick School in Falmouth has been submitted to Cornwall Council - and they want your views on them.

Community-led 'placemaking group' Ambos says the pre-app is an exciting move towards an affordable housing scheme that would fully involve the local Falmouth community in every stage of its design and life.

Ambos have submitted a pre-app to Cornwall Council for their first mixed use development. Their proposal is for 20 homes and six workspaces designed around the concept of cohousing, all affordable, all for local people, on the site of the Old Smithwick School on Gylly Street/Smithick Hill.

Falmouth Packet:

An artist's impression of what the new homes would look like

Since Ambos’s conception in 2017, the project has continued to promote community-led place-making in Falmouth and has been site searching to pilot their first project -Falmouth Cohousing No.1 (FalCoN.1)- An affordable cohousing project with workspace for local residents.

Ambos have run design workshops with community members, to explore and develop needs, wants and ideas for the site of the Old Smithick School on Gylly Street/Smithick Hill. The outputs from these workshops, as well as the many conversations the group have had with Falmouth stakeholders, have informed their plans.

The company says the genuine involvement of the local community in the place-making process is commonplace in many parts of Europe and increasingly so in the wider UK. The benefits that are felt, when current and future residents of an area are brought into the design process and have the chance to shape where they live, work and play are significant. From health and wellbeing benefits, to quality of design and build, to the size of the environmental footprint, to the sense of place and purpose it creates, to the delivery of affordable homes in perpetuity – Social Value.

Director of Ambos, Miguel Fernandez: ‘Community-led placemaking has the power to bring the control of development back to the people who it effects the most, Us! Falmouth’s local residents. Let us not continue to let high land prices, stop locals from being able to live in the place they love, let us put our land into a local land trust and deliver the future we want today, together. Others are doing it successfully in projects up and down the country, it’s time for Falmouth to join the movement!’

Ambos were invited by Cornwall Council to present their ideas to Falmouth’s Place -Shaping Board earlier this year, and then, working with Barefoot Architects Ltd, set about designing a scheme for the Smithick Hill site. By submitting a pre-app to Cornwall Council, Ambos are inviting responses to their plans from the wider Falmouth community. They will also get formal feedback from the council.

Cornwall Council’s housing partners Cornwall Housing Ltd have also submitted a pre-app for a smaller number of affordable homes on part of the same site. Ambos are asking local people to take a look at both pre-app’s and consider which they feel would bring the most for Falmouth.

Ambos member, Anna Gillett: ‘Ambos is about building a trusted network in the place we call home. Our pre-planning application is the first of its kind in Falmouth. For years now we have seen buildings put up to exploit land value and rental prices. This project offers serious social value, uncommon in planning. The ambition is to build resources in people, space and community so we can grow opportunities in a cooperative way that is democratic and transparent. We believe our contribution and ability to thrive should not be decided by financial capacity but a willingness to work and live together. I hope this proposal is received in the spirit it is intended and with a preparedness to do things differently.’

Ambos are inviting ideas from the local community around what they would like to see happen in and around a future Falmouth. Whether it is another live-work scheme, a community-leisure facility or a rewilding project, Ambos believe that community-led placemaking has the power to bring the control of development back to the people who it effects the most, Us! the local residents. Developers working within the traditional development model only inflate land prices, Ambos’ call to action is for the Falmouth community to put local land into a people’s trust and deliver the future today, together.