Cornwall Council has bought a former holiday park near Hayle as part of efforts to increase its stock of temporary accommodation.

Work begins at the Sandbanks site

Sandbanks, on Upton Towans, will provide accommodation for around 20 households. The site comprises a mix of flats, bungalows, and a large house. These will be refurbished and repurposed and let to households in need of urgent short- to medium-term help.

The purchase is part of the council’s wide-ranging programme to tackle Cornwall’s housing crisis, from increasing the availability of emergency accommodation to increasing the delivery of new council housing for social rent and shared ownership.

Olly Monk, Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for housing and planning, said: “There are currently around 700 households in Cornwall in emergency accommodation — it’s a staggering figure and demonstrates just how fragile the private rented sector is.

“Emergency accommodation is in short supply and while we do commission hotels and guest houses, this arrangement is short term and unsustainable, which is why we continue to invest in boosting our own stock, as we have with Sandbanks.  

“We have seen a significant increase in demand for our services in recent months, driven by a ‘perfect storm’ of the staycation boom in 2021 leading to a considerable increase in house prices, coupled with the recent cost of living issues we’re all familiar with, which are putting an even greater pressure on households’ budgets. 

“Purchasing Sandbanks is one of the radical interventions we’ve made, which will, when finished, help significantly increase the amount of emergency housing we have available to help those in most need.”

Tender process

While the council completed on the purchase of Sandbanks at the end of January, it did not take possession of the site until March. Significant refurbishment will be carried out — as well as removal of asbestos in the buildings — to ensure the accommodation meets the needs of future residents.

Cllr Monk added: “There were residents living at Sandbanks when we bought the site and so we supported them to find alternative accommodation before we could then carry out the detailed surveys and establish the level of remedial work required.”

A tender process is now under way to appoint a contractor to carry out the refurbishment work and it is expected that tenants will be able to move into the accommodation in late autumn.