Inside the 'micro homes' arriving in Cornwall in bid to tackle housing crisis

Credit: SoloHaus/ Cornwall Council

A set of 'micro homes' are set to arrive in Truro as part of plans to tackle Cornwall's housing crisis.

Cornwall Council has been given permission to deploy 15 'micro homes' built by SoloHaus on its land at Old County Hall in Truro.

The new scheme is the first of its kind in the South West and the properties will provide homes for local people who are ready to move on from emergency accommodation to the second stage of their journey out of homelessness and rough sleeping.

It is hoped the first residents will move into their new homes in early July.

'Serious and escalating housing crisis'

Cornwall Council's portfolio holder for housing and planning Olly Monk said: “We are facing a serious and escalating housing crisis in Cornwall and are taking direct action to provide homes for people that need our help."

The SoloHaus properties have been designed to be moved onto sites with all fixtures and fixtures included.

It means the micro homes can used either as permanent homes or for shorter periods.

"This means that they can be simply disconnected from services, lifted by crane and moved to another site. This is exactly what we’ll be doing at the Old County Hall site in the future as it’s scheduled for wider redevelopment in the coming years," he added.

The 15 homes at the site are expected to remain in place for around three years, before being moved to a new location when Old County Hall is regenerated.

The properties are single-storey, fully self-contained homes with a kitchen, living and dining area, bedroom and bathroom. Credit: SoloHaus/ Cornwall Council

Cllr Monk said: “The Old County Hall site will provide excellent quality “move on” housing for single people currently in temporary or emergency accommodation who would otherwise be homeless - helping these residents to stay in Cornwall and with the security of knowing the home is theirs until they find a permanent home."

The council has currently purchased 79 self-contained one bedroom houses for people with urgent housing needs in Cornwall.

While 15 of those will be placed at Old County Hall, a planning application has also been submitted for several to be placed at a site in Penryn, while further schemes are being worked up in both Penzance and Newquay.

Cornwall Council has now purchased almost 80 micro homes from SoloHaus and is applying for planning permission Credit: SoloHaus/ Cornwall Council

What are the micro home properties like?

The 'micro homes' have been designed by The Hill Group with the help of homeless charities based near Cambridge, and aim to provide a safe, secure, comfortable and independent place to stay for people who are homeless or have been homeless in the recent past.

Each home is a single-storey, fully self-contained property, complete with a kitchen, living and dining area, bedroom and bathroom. All of the houses are fully-furnished, with everything necessary for a homeless person to move into the same day, the council says.

The site will be managed by Cornwall Housing, with each tenant receiving additional support as required Credit: SoloHaus/ Cornwall Council

The homes at the site in Truro will be managed by Cornwall Housing, with each tenant receiving support to help them find a regular source of income and a more permanent job.

24/7 security will also be provided for at least the first 12 months.

What else is Cornwall Council doing to tackle the housing crisis?

The council says tackling Cornwall's housing crisis is a "top priority" and says alongside the new pods, it is working to:

  • Buy existing homes to use as social housing      

  • Build more Council houses  for local people to rent or buy  

  • Support the provision of affordable homes by housing associations for local people to rent or buy      

  • Ensure sites deliver affordable housing through the planning process    

  • Unlock the potential for town centres to be regenerated to provide more housing     

  • Support community-led organisations that want to deliver their own homes     

  • Offer loans to bring empty homes back into use 

  • Enable communities to stop new builds being snapped up by would be second homeowners.