Residents of properties which are part of the closed-down Heartlands site say they are paying for services they are not receiving, writes Local Democracy Reporter Lee Trewhela.

The situation is so bad that parking permits which ran out in August 2023 still haven’t been renewed.

The parts of the Pool site run by the Heartlands Trust, including a café, soft play area and conference centre, closed on January 31 after the National Lottery pulled its funding, claiming that the site was unsustainable, meaning that the trust then went into administration.

Heartlands includes a number of businesses, which are still open, as well as over 100 houses and flats, including a mix of freehold and leasehold properties.

Falmouth Packet: David Collins, who bought a property at Heartlands, says the situation is demoralising David Collins, who bought a property at Heartlands, says the situation is demoralising (Image: Lee Trewhela / LDRS)

Cllr Philip Desmonde, who represents the area, brought up the plight of tenants at a meeting of Cornwall Council this week, calling for urgent help for those living on site who have been left in the dark about utilities and services now the trust has folded.

He said: “I’ve been contacted by one of my residents, Michelle, who has a long lease apartment in Heartlands – one of many residents – and she has no idea what she should be doing now with the service charge which she has been paying to the Heartlands Trust.

“As she says in her own words, ‘we now have no idea or means of contact regarding how to pay our bills. What do we do if we have emergencies, utilities, flood, boilers, smoke alarms going off? It is completely unacceptable that we have been treated with such a lack of respect when we are paying for a service that we’re currently not receiving. Our parking permits expired in August 2023 and have not been replaced’.”

Cllr Desmonde added: “I have spoken to officers, they are trying to get in touch, but there is a wider issue here over the question of a business case which I suggested we implement to enable everybody to be aware of what  Cornwall Council’s intentions might be the moment we can get the keys off the trustees and take over as landlord.”

Falmouth Packet: A sign marking the permanent closure of Heartlands makes for sad reading A sign marking the permanent closure of Heartlands makes for sad reading (Image: Lee Trewhela / LDRS)

He said the management, care, protection, security and financial arrangements with businesses, tenants and future potential businesses on the site was essential.

Addressing the council’s portfolio holder for housing Cllr Olly Monk, Cllr Desmonde said: “My plea to you is please could you arrange for everybody to be given as soon as possible, before the end of this week, some guidance on where Cornwall Council sees their roles and responsibilities with all those who are impacted by the devastation of the trust going into administration.”


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Cllr Monk said he was not aware of the nuances of who the companies were leasing and looking after the properties on the council-owned land, and would look into the matter as soon as possible.

On Heartlands last day of full operation in January, David Collins – who has been living in his flat for 18 months – told us: “I asked the staff what the council had told them about the future of the site and the properties. Nothing. We’ve heard nothing from the council. Your guess is as good as mine. It’s disgusting.”

He added: “We pay service charges and everything to Heartlands. Who do we pay now? This is our council and their property. The least they can do is keep us in the loop.”