Hospital plans to build staff accommodation on site amid housing crisis in Cornwall

Ambulances waiting outside Royal Cornwall Hospital in July 2022.
Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro

Cornwall’s main hospital trust is planning to build new accommodation for staff struggling to find somewhere affordable to live.

Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust (RCHT) has submitted a pre-application to Cornwall Council for plans to build staff accommodation at Treliske.

Early options have been presented to the council ahead of any formal planning application being made.

Documents submitted indicate that the residential accommodation would be for use by hospital staff “typically for periods of occupation of between six and twelve months”.

The development would mainly be one-bedroom self-contained units and the potential for some two-bed units.

The plans would offer accommodation as a buffer between the hospital campus and the Langarth Garden Village development Credit: PA

The site earmarked for the development is a car park next to the pharmacy technology building at the hospital which has 185 parking spaces.

Documents state that the site would act as a buffer between the hospital campus and the Langarth Garden Village development.

There are two options submitted to the council – one shows several buildings of three-storey accommodation which would have 66 units.

The second option indicates several blocks with up to four storeys and 104 units of accommodation.

Health and hospital bosses have previously revealed that the cost of housing in Cornwall is having an impact on the ability to recruit and retain staff.

They have told how some people have accepted jobs but then had to change their minds after being unable to find suitable affordable accommodation.

As a result, there has been increased work by health trusts to try and provide housing themselves which can be used by staff.

In November, Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust was granted planning permission to build six units in Redruth which would be used by staff.

And RCHT previously backed plans to build dedicated key worker accommodation on a site close to the Truro hospital.

Roberta Fuller, head of hospital reconfiguration at RCHT, wrote in support of the proposals.

In her letter, she stated: “In the post-Covid pandemic period, when our NHS staff are all extremely tired after over a year of going above and beyond to support the community in Cornwall through three waves of infection, the additional strain of seeking, securing, and retaining a place to live is certainly impacting on our local workforce.

“In addition, long-distance “weekly commuters” from Devon and beyond are starting to struggle to find short-term accommodation to continue to work at the trust without relocating fully.

“The housing problem is not only one of finding affordable housing for students and younger members of the workforce; many of our skilled and trained medical and nursing staff are in mid-life with children, pets, and extended families to consider.

"Finding affordable long-term family accommodation has become even more difficult since the Covid lockdown with the subsequent rise of house prices in Cornwall.”

And she added: “Our local NHS workers working in acute care need to live within a reasonable commute of the Royal Cornwall Hospital, as they need to attend the physical place of work to deliver clinical care.

"They are being priced out of the market by city workers now more able to work remotely.”

To view the plans search for application number PA23/00038/PREAPP.

Credit: Richard Whitehouse, Local Democracy Reporter

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