Cornwall nurse could end up ‘squatting’ after being evicted from home

Cornwall nurse Lesley Weeks
Lesley Weeks is a nurse at Royal Cornwall Hospital

Nurse Lesley Weeks speaks to ITV West Country journalist Ben McGrail.

A nurse handed an eviction notice could end up 'squatting' as demand for rental properties soars in Cornwall.

Lesley Weeks has lived in her house for 10 years but her landlord has been forced to evict her as subsidence at the property needs to be fixed.

The nurse, who works at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Treliske, said she can not find anywhere to move to that she can afford.

"My eviction notice is until the first of December. Once that hits, I would be technically squatting," she said.

"My current landlord has been informed of that. He's a very, very good landlord. I have no problems with him.

"He wants us out, but he's not going to throw us out just before Christmas. He's going to allow us to stay here until we can find appropriate accommodation."

Many of Lesley's colleagues are also struggling to find somewhere to live as demand for rental properties in Cornwall rockets.

Phil Norgan, property manager at Homequest Lettings and Camel Lettings, says there simply are not enough properties to go around.

The businesses have launched a campaign to find homes for NHS workers and are also prioritising them when new ones come on the market.

Royal Cornwall Hospital Credit: ITV News West Country

"We're asking not just landlords who maybe have empty properties coming out or properties becoming available in the next six to 12 months, but we're asking for second homeowners with holiday homes that they're not going to occupy this winter.

"Predominantly we want to get NHS staff into temporary, affordable accommodation for the winter so that it gives them stability to then look for something more permanent, which again, we will help them with."

The Royal Cornwall Trust has welcomed the campaign.

A spokesperson said: "We are working with our NHS partners and Cornwall Council and have given our backing to local planning applications where developers are aiming to provide key worker or affordable housing."

Council plans for new homes

The lack of homes for key workers has led Cornwall Council to search for land where they can put factory-built or modular homes.

"We've got a new level of modular accommodation that we're starting to order and import," said councillor Olly Monk.

"We've got some of them just coming into the county at the moment and we'll be able to show them pretty soon.

"The level of comfort and scope of them is something we've not seen before, so they are a lot better quality and a lot better standard than with previously installed."