First Christmas for local families in new affordable homes at Ruan Minor
Actor Jenny Agutter welcomes “wonderful” homes for locals forever – with April celebration to follow. Cornwall Community Land Trust “determined to address both the housing and the climate emergencies”
Actor Jenny Agutter will lead celebrations of the completion of new affordable homes for local families at Ruan Minor. The 6 rented homes have been delivered thanks to the hard work of a group of local volunteers – the Grade Ruan Community Land Trust (GRCLT) – and delivered by Cornwall Community Land Trust (CCLT), a local charity which promotes community-led solutions to the housing needs of communities throughout Cornwall and on Scilly.
As six local families look forward to enjoying their first Christmas in their new, secure and energy efficient homes, CCLT has pledged to expand its work to make this happen for more local families in need.
The homes are built to high energy efficiency standards, each with air-source heat pumps and higher than prescribed space standards. They not only accommodate local people but will provide a safe haven for wildlife too – wildlife enhancements; hedgehog highway, bee poles, bat boxes, bird boxes and sparrow terrace. CCLT has had to put off a pre-Christmas face-to-face community celebration with Ms Agutter due to the growing concerns about Covid and will rearrange for later in the spring – mid April 2022.
Each occupant was required to prove they have very strong links to the village. The lower than market rents must never be above the housing benefit/allowance level and tenants have greater security of tenure than most in the private rented sector.
The project is the product of nearly 7 years of preparation, planning, securing finance and construction.
Both GRCLT and CCLT wish to thank the many partners without whom the project would not have been possible – Cornwall Council’s Affordable Homes Team, Homes England and Cornwall Community Foundation for their support and funding, Cathedral Builders for the quality of their work, the supportive neighbours including Ian Cox and Alan Pearce at Rozen furniture.
Jenny Agutter said, “This is welcome good news for our local community. At a time when housing problems have worsened it’s encouraging to witness the success of a community finally delivering its own homes for locals project. Cornwall Community Land Trust and partners have overcome numerous obstacles to get these homes completed. Wonderful news for the six local families who will now enjoy their first Christmas in their new, secure, affordable home. And good news for local hedgehogs, bats, birds and bees who have accommodation provided as well!“
Amie Gribble, who was born and brought up in the village, went to local schools and works as a care support worker in the NHS and had been living with her daughter in one room with relatives said, “We’re so lucky. It’s a lovely and spacious home. Having the security of a home that can’t be taken from us is such a relief. It’s so good to be able to stay in the village I was born and brought up.”
Kerry-Ann Walsh is also delighted to be back in the village where she grew up. Kerry-Ann understands local housing problems as she is herself a former housing officer. She said, “We had been struggling in a cramped, damp chalet miles away. But it’s worth the wait. It’s just fantastic. Amazing to have so much space. The children love it. It really feels like I’m back home when I can hear the Lizard foghorn! We feel lucky and very grateful.”
New tenant Bryher Trewin, who was also born and brought up in the village, said, “Settling into my new home at Plain An Gwarry has been an absolute dream. With the current housing crisis in Cornwall, I never expected to be able to live in my own home in the village I grew up in and yet here I am, ready for Christmas surrounded by my family and friends – I feel so blessed!“
Paul Collins, Chair of GRCLT said, “This has been the product of determined voluntary teamwork. It’s as well that the locals who came together at the start of the project were unaware just how much time and effort this project would take! But in truth, after seeing the outcome and the pleasure this has brought to those who now have a wonderful and secure affordable home, it’s been worth every minute. These are true community-led homes for locals forever. And we’re very grateful to Cornwall Community Land Trust for helping us every step of the way.”
Cornwall Community Land Trust supported GRCLT with professional support throughout, have taken a long lease to deliver the project and will manage the homes. Matt Ward, Chair of CCLT said, “We’re proud of the Ruan Minor project. The local CLT has overcome many hurdles to get this project to planning and we’re pleased to deliver it. This takes CCLT to nearly 270 homes for locals since we were established 14 years ago. It shows that communities can do it for themselves. And we’re keen to work with our partners to do more of this.
“Cornwall Council officers have given us excellent support throughout the predevelopment and delivery stages and contributed significant grant aid. The scheme also utilised the Council’s CLT Revolving Loan Fund – a critically important fund available to support CLTs with their construction cashflow. Former Cornwall Councillor Carolyn Rule deserves special mention for mentoring this project over many years.
“We’re also very grateful to Homes England for finance, to Cornwall Community Foundation for grant aid and our key contractors Cathedral Builders and their team of consultants, Trewin Design, solicitors Stephens Scownand our employer’s agent Ed Crossley and Associates. And we’re pleased to have commissioned South Devon Rural Housing Association to support us with their full range of tenant management services.”