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One hundred tenants mark 100 years of council housing

Social housing tenants marked the centenary of the 1919 Housing Act  at a special event at Chy Trevail in Bodmin.

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Also known as the Addison Act after its author Dr Christopher Addison, the 1919 Housing Act was a highly significant step forward in providing homes built through the public purse or as Lloyd George phrased it, 'Homes fit for heroes’.

It made housing a national responsibility and local authorities were given the task of developing new housing and rented accommodation where it was needed for working people.

Cornwall Council owns 10,500 homes and recognises the importance of Council and social housing to our communities. 

The tenants from across Cornwall joined representatives from Cornwall Council, Cornwall Housing and registered providers Coastline Housing, LiveWest and Ocean Housing (who own properties from former district councils in Cornwall) to see how we work together to provide social housing in Cornwall. 

Martin Emery, tenant representative on Cornwall Housing’s board said:  “I’m proud that I live in a council house.  It’s security.  It’s not a house it’s our home. It’s affordable rent for low paid people. We have tenant involvement and so we have our say and we are listened to.

Hazel Tearne who has lived in a Council house since 2002 said: “We were in privately rented accommodation but the house was then put up for sale.  We moved again and the rent was put up by 50% after 6 months.  We were then provided with a council house and we had peace of mind.  Our home wasn’t going to be sold from under us and we had security that the rent was not going to go up by an unmanageable amount.  Council housing should be available to everybody who needs it.”

Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for homes Andrew Mitchell said:  “It’s important to celebrate this anniversary and hear from our tenants the importance to them of their council or social home and what it means to live in one of these homes.”

“It’s also an opportunity to talk about what modern, affordable, council and social housing is planned and the range of services available to tenants today.” 

“The need for affordable, high-quality homes is as real today as it was 100 years ago. The government’s Right to Buy policy led to more than 10,400 council homes being sold since 1979 (a similar number to the homes the Council owns today) which substantially reduced the pool of social homes available to meet the needs of local people.

Now, we are able to seriously plan for a resurgence in building new social housing.  We’re taking advantage of the lifting of the Housing Revenue Account borrowing cap to provide 400 new homes for social rent at a cost of £85m- with plans being worked up for many more.  We also recognise that other types of homes are required in the modern world which is why we are investing £200m in a programme to deliver 1,000 homes – some affordable homes for local residents to buy or rent, and some to buy or rent at market value.”

“We are committed to delivering good quality homes in the right places to meet local needs.”

Two pilot projects built under the Council’s Contemporary Cornish Living banner and funded through the Council’s Housing Development Programme are nearing completion in Bodmin and Tolvaddon with many of these homes earmarked for social rent or for shared ownership.

Other sites in Launceston, Newquay, Liskeard, Torpoint and Redruth are also earmarked to provide a mix of homes for social and affordable rent, shared ownership, private market rent and private market ownership.

Andrew Mitchell adds:  “Cornwall needs more homes – both to rent and to buy – and the Council is seizing the initiative to provide a range of homes to improve choice for local residents and to meet their housing needs.” 

“This need is real with more than 10,000 households registered looking for housing on Cornwall Homechoice.”

“We are working with partners and the community to build high-quality, energy efficient homes that are less expensive to run.”

“People wishing to rent or buy one of the affordable homes that are being built as part of the programme must have a connection to Cornwall and already be living here. We don’t build homes for other local authorities to house their residents.”

Much has changed in terms of council housing over the last 100 years – and the Council’s Housing Service has been counting down over the last 100 days to the 100 years of council housing celebration by describing some of the major changes that have happened.

Nick Cross, Managing Director, Cornwall Housing Ltd, said “Council Housing has helped shape the landscape and society of the UK for the last 100 years.  From Dr Addison and David Lloyd-George’s vision of ‘Homes fit for heroes’ in 1919 to modern, high quality, energy efficient homes for local people in Cornwall in 2019.”

“We were set up to help bring in more investment into Council Housing to improve the housing standards of hard-working families and individuals, and help support those who need it most from the frail and elderly in our towns and villages to those who find their homes on the street.”

“We are proud to stand alongside our tenants and colleagues to celebrate 100 years of Council Housing and are working together to bring much needed new homes to Cornwall for the next generation of tenants.”

Louise Beard, Director of Housing, Assets and Communities at Coastline Housing said: “We are delighted to be a part of this event and look forward to celebrating the anniversary alongside some of our customers. We hear on a daily basis about the vital role that social housing plays in the lives of people living in our houses today, and we also delight in hearing stories of the important role it has played in the generations before them. It’s humbling to hear the many ways in which social housing has changed the course of people’s lives, and how it plays a key part in their family histories.”

Bev Bassett from Ocean Housing Group said: “Ocean Housing Group is proud to be associated with Cornwall Council’s celebration to recognise the 100 year anniversary of the Addison Act. Ocean owns and manages over 4,700 homes in Cornwall and since its creation in February 2000 it has provided over 1,200 new affordable homes for local Cornish people and communities, in addition to achieving the decent homes standard across all of its housing stock. Ocean looks forward to remaining an important partner for the Council and will continue to put all of its efforts into being an excellent landlord and a provider of new affordable homes.”

LiveWest Resident Engagement Adviser Debbie Sims said: “LiveWest is pleased to be supporting Cornwall Housing’s celebration day in recognition of 100 years of the Addison Act, which paved the way to large scale Council housing. Residents who live in our homes in the area have been invited along and it looks to be a day full of celebrations, where we can find out more about the act, what it meant to society and how it has evolved over the years, as well as seeing some of Cornwall Council’s brand new homes’. 


 Story posted 01 August 2019