Cornwall faces an affordable housing crisis despite the fact 8,000 homes currently sit empty, according to the county’s leading environmental group.
The announcement came after Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) Cornwall was asked to comment on Cornwall Council’s Development Planning Document on Affordable Housing.
According to CPRE Cornwall, it could take a “couple of generations” before the problem of affordable housing is solved in the county if the new policy is adopted.
Richard Ward, planning and development manager for CPRE Cornwall and experienced town planner, said: “We’re extremely pleased that Cornwall Council has put together a planning document for affordable housing.
“It’s a very important piece of work, but we feel that they have got it wrong and missed a fantastic opportunity in the process.
“We feel that urgent action needs to be taken to rectify it, especially as this policy seems at odds with the national outlook.
“The policy also fails to address how Cornwall Council is going to bring the 8,000 empty properties into usage.
“These houses equate to five years of delivery of new affordable housing and could help young people in the county who are struggling to get on the property ladder, still living with their parents or being forced to leave Cornwall in search of somewhere to call home.”
CPRE is also calling for a temporary halt on the Right to Buy scheme, which was introduced by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Government in 1980.
Ward added: “We see very little point in the Council’s current response to this housing crisis, which involves building more affordable homes, if at the same time it is continuing to sell off its existing rented housing stock.
“A more holistic approach is needed to solve the affordable housing problem.”
CPRE also believe that affordable housing should be built in areas where they can benefit from basic services and facilities, whilst creating a sustainable community.
“National planning policies clearly state that housing developments, including affordable housing, should be delivered in sustainable locations. Cornwall Council’s draft document appears to completely ignore this fundamental planning requirement,” said Ward.
“We also feel that developments built for this purpose should be 100% affordable rather than a mix of affordable and open market.”