Cornwall Council sells historic £640k coastguard flats for £1

The move is to ensure affordable homes stay in the centre of Looe. Credit: Three Seas

Cornwall Council is set to sell historic flats in Looe worth £640,000 for just £1.

The authority says it is selling the Grade II listed flats to ensure affordable homes stay in the centre of Looe.

The council’s cabinet approved a recommendation to release the 11 coastguard flats in the town to a community land trust to avoid costly maintenance.

With support from Looe councillors Edwina Hannaford and Armand Toms, Three Seas Community Land Trust stepped in and said it would be able to carry out a full refurbishment of the properties at a cost of over £1 million, which it will achieve by grant funding.

Cornwall Council’s deputy leader Cllr David Harris said: "This will retain much-needed affordable housing provision in Looe.

"Coastguard Flats is a substantial Grade II listed building. It is highly likely that an open market sale would result in the loss of affordable housing provision in Looe and have a negative impact on the housing service by increasing the demand for temporary accommodation.

"A community-led redevelopment scheme would ensure the flats would still be used for affordable housing provision. Three Seas intends to carry out a full refurbishment of the properties and have said the cost of works will be in excess of £1m."

The cabinet meeting heard that the project would be hard to achieve without grant funding, which is available from Homes England, which supports the project.

Cllr Ollie Monk, portfolio holder for housing, added: "When I first got the job, this was one of the first places I visited. I came away thinking that could be a great opportunity but it became quickly apparent that it was a really tricky site for the council.

"Thanks to councillors Edwina Hannaford and Armand Toms, and Three Seas Community Land Trust, we’ve managed to get a deal together.

"It keeps affordable housing right in the heart of the Looe community. Any affordable housing is now being built three or four miles away such is the shortage of land available in the centre of Looe. I can’t wait to see the progress of the project."

Cllr Hannaford, said she is "delighted" by the move after years of campaigning.

She said:"Providing secure affordable housing is incredibly important for the people of Looe. The lack of affordable housing in Looe is a real emergency, replicated across Cornwall."

Credit: Lee Trewhela/Local Democracy Reporting Service