There is growing concern in Truro about the number of homes standing empty on a new housing estate up to three years after they were built.

Residents have been asking why the properties have not found tenants or buyers when Cornwall is in the midst of the worst housing crisis in its history.

David Stone, who lives opposite the Copperfields estate off Green Lane in the city, pointed out at least four blocks containing around 40 flats which are still empty between a year and three years after being completed.

Showing us around the site, Mr Stone said: “There are a lot of people in Cornwall who could do with a bit of help to get housing, so why have all these been left empty? This is ridiculous when people are talking about a housing crisis.”

On a Facebook page dedicated to Truro, a resident posted a photo of one of the completed buildings, saying: “These are at Copperfields and were finished being built over a year ago. They are all still empty. To my knowledge, there are two blocks and they are Cornwall Council housing stock. Does anybody know why they aren’t being occupied?”

Comments ranged from “That’s awful when there are 36,000 homeless people in Cornwall” to “They were actually finished before I moved onto the estate in 2020, but Persimmon haven’t handed them over to Aster Housing yet as there was a fault with the roof.”

They’re not actually Cornwall Council housing stock – the council has told us the development, though approved by the council, is not connected to the local authority. The properties were built by Persimmon Homes with an affordable provision on the site of 107 homes. The company has transferred all of the affordable homes – over 60 – and nine of the apartments to the Aster housing association.

There are three more blocks, containing 21 apartments, plus several flats over garages to still be transferred to Aster. Persimmon blames the delay on “unforeseen circumstances”.

David Stone surveys the empty properties on the Copperfields housing estate in Truro

David Stone surveys the empty properties on the Copperfields housing estate in Truro

A spokesperson for Persimmon Homes Cornwall and West Devon said: “We are pleased to confirm we’ve completed the transfer of the first batch of apartments to our local housing association partner. Regrettably, unforeseen challenges during the build of these complex bespoke designs have extended the completion timeline for these properties.

“We apologise for any confusion or inconvenience and assure residents of our completion strategy for the transfer of the remaining properties, which are all due to be transferred to the housing association imminently.”

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An Aster Group spokesperson added: “Our development partner Persimmon has unfortunately experienced some build challenges at Copperfields and we’re working closely with them to ensure that all of our remaining homes are delivered as quickly as possible.

“We’re committed to delivering as many high-quality affordable homes as we can, to help as many people as possible find a safe, secure and affordable place to live. Currently we plan to build 224 homes over the next 3.5 years in Cornwall and we are looking forward to welcoming more new families to the Copperfields development soon.”