18 months later, Cornwall Council’s holiday park is still empty

Posted By on 9th August 2023

By Lee Trewhela

A holiday park which was bought by Cornwall Council as emergency accommodation for homeless families affected by the housing crisis is still empty 20 months later.  The council purchased Sandbank Holidays, near Hayle, in January 2022 as part of a £15m property package to provide temporary housing.

But there was dismay when it was revealed the site at Upton Towans, which includes 16 apartments and three bungalows, was still empty. A local resident told us at the time: “They can’t just spend millions of pounds on buying the holiday park for emergency accommodation and then just leave it empty for months. I can’t believe how long they’ve stayed empty for during a housing crisis.”

Now – more than 18 months on from the purchase – the site is still empty. The council says that the first residents will move in “within the coming weeks” after work, including the removal of asbestos, took longer than expected.

Sandbank was used by the council as emergency accommodation during the early months of the Covid pandemic, as part of the government’s Everyone In call.  Following the purchase of the site, a spokesperson for the council said it was being refurbished and would be used as ‘dedicated’ temporary accommodation once complete.

A resident, who did not want to give their name, said: “I can’t believe it is still empty. There is no sign of it being ready in the next few weeks. What gets me is that the previous owners had a planning application to turn it into residential use refused by the council in 2020.”

A spokesperson for Cornwall Council said: “The purchase and refurbishment of the holiday park is intended to provide good quality temporary accommodation for 20 families. The holiday park required a significant amount of work to bring it up to a good standard and meet the need of future residents, including the removal of asbestos.

“Although these works have taken longer than originally anticipated, the final works are in the process of being completed and we are ensuring that the safety certification is in place, which we need to do before the homes can be occupied. We anticipate that all works will be complete within the coming weeks, at which point we can welcome the first residents to the properties.”

They added: “Providing housing for our residents is a top priority as Cornwall continues to experience extreme and unprecedented pressures on housing.

“The steps we have taken to improve the situation include the provision of emergency and temporary accommodation so that residents are not housed in B&Bs or hotels. But we are also working to provide housing through investment in our own stock of accommodation including the holiday park, new modular homes, buying and refurbishing disused properties and providing dedicated ‘move on’ accommodation to support former rough sleepers to help people find settled, permanent homes.”

BBC Local Democracy Service

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