Campaigners raise enough money to transform Looe's historic coastguard flats into affordable housing

The former coastguard flats that will now be saved as a result of the campaigners fundraising efforts. Credit: Three Seas

Campaigners in Looe are celebrating after raising just enough money to turn a row of abandoned coastguard flats into affordable housing.

Three Seas, the not-for-profit organisation selling community shares for the 11 historic flats, had to raise £100,000 by midnight on Friday 31 May.

By Thursday morning, the group still had £30,000 to go but told ITV West Country they were "confident" they would achieve their target.

They have now confirmed they have passed their target "by just a ridiculously small margin". After counting up the card donations, cheques and bank transfers, Three Seas said they managed to raise £100,300 by midnight on Friday.

"I'm completely shocked", said Simon Ryan, the manager of the campaign.

"It's obviously a massive sense of relief for the group around the town. It couldn't be any tighter though", he added.

Members of the local community continued to donate right up until the last minute, according to Simon.

While the group shut their office at 5pm on Friday, 31 people donated a total of around £4,000 after that point.

"I knew people would pay in late, you know, nine thirty and afterwards", Simon said.

"We did it by just a ridiculously small margin - but we've made £200,000 for Looe! A massive win for the town!"

The deadline for the fundraising target was because the money raised in community shares would be matched by a grant, pound for pound, if they achieved the target by the deadline. It means there is now £200,000 available for Three Seas to refurbish the dilapidated interiors of the properties and turn them into affordable housing.

Simon added that now they have reached their target, they can begin renovations and start thinking about considering people for the properties based on a points system of how well connected they are to the local community.

Looe's housing crisis:

The desperate need for housing has already been recognised in the town.

This was made clear when Cornwall Council sold the Grade II listed flats, worth £640,000, to the Three Seas Community Land Trust for just £1.

Local people in the town have spoken to ITV West Country about the difficulties they have faced trying to find somewhere affordable to live in their home town.

Members of the team behind Three Seas worked on a similar project in Cawsand, which saved three cottages from being turned into holiday lets. They now hope that the money they have raised and the match funding will turn the 11 dilapidated cottages into a similar success story.