Local families “so blessed” to settle into “amazing” new homes

Actor Jenny Agutter led celebrations following the completion of new affordable homes for local families at Ruan Minor.

The 6 rented homes have been provided 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.

The homes are built to excellent energy efficiency standards, each with air-source heat pumps and higher than prescribed space standards. They not only accommodate local people but provide a safe haven for wildlife too – with wildlife enhancements including hedgehog highway, bee poles, bat boxes, bird boxes and sparrow terrace. CCLT put off a pre-Christmas face-to-face community celebration with Ms Agutter due to concerns about Covid prevalence but has rearranged this for mid-April.

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.

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, Alan Pearce at Rozen furniture and to Adrian Spalding for his support with ecological advice.

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 can now enjoy their new, secure, affordable home. And good news for local hedgehogs, bats, birds and bees who have accommodation provided as well!”

Amy Gribble and child

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 and child

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 in has been an absolute dream. Considering
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, 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. 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 Scown and 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.”