Luke House is tucked away on a bucolic lane in a quiet village near Newquay.

From the outside it doesn’t look any different from other houses in the area, but already this year one of its residents has died, another received a stab wound to his neck and there have been a number of arrests of other people who have lived there.

LRDS visited the supported living accommodation – which provides short-term accommodation for homeless people – at Parkenbutts, St Columb Minor, last week after being invited to look around the property by concerned residents. What we saw was shocking – holes in walls, loose wires, bad mould, filthy conditions; quite frankly rooms in which you wouldn’t want your worst enemy to live.

The morning after we visited, all of the residents in the 13-room property received eviction notices from Pivotal Housing, the company which runs Luke House and over 50 other supported living schemes across the South West.

A spokesperson for Pivotal said it was taking action “in response to recent anti-social behaviour and the sad death of one of our residents”.

A woman in her 40s died in one of the rooms on May 22 reportedly from a cardiac arrest. Police arrested two men in connection with the incident. In February three men were arrested, and later released, after a resident received stab wounds to his neck at Luke House.

Pivotal’s mission is to “provide sustainable homes, specialised support and compassionate care. We help vulnerable people in our community offering them the opportunity to rebuild their lives or have a better quality and independent life”. Many of the residents who were living in Luke House before the mass eviction would argue that wasn’t the case in their home.

Adam Marshall was the resident who was stabbed in February. He told me: “It costs £1,600 a month to live here – there are supposed to be staff here 24/7. We have security, which is a different company, they’re here every other night, but they’re supposed to be here every night.

“There are supposed to be two support officers to help people every day, but there’s no one.”

Adam, who first lived in the property 12 years ago and moved in again two years ago, said: “I’ve always felt unsafe here. It’s always been rundown – exactly the same appliances are here now as were here 12 years ago. We tend to see the support staff once every three or four days. It’s not good enough, especially when the government is paying £1,600-odd for each of us to live here.

“It’s absolutely chaotic. There has been a lot of violence, CCTV cameras have been spraypainted over, fire alarms have been smashed up.”

A resident, who didn’t want to be named, invited me into his bedsit, which is next door to the room in which the woman who died called home. There is bad mould on the wall next to his bed and holes in the walls, which were there when he moved in. He says there is a burning smell when a communal tumble dryer outside his room is used.

There is loose wiring elsewhere on the ground floor and a sofa in the communal living room doesn’t have the necessary fire safety label attached to it. There’s a sign saying ‘please do not remove the TV’ next to an empty space – the TV disappeared long ago according to residents.

He said: “I’ve been here about six months. I’ve seen loads of s*** here. There should be staff to support us. They said when I moved in they would do a room check to make sure it was alright. I’ve never had one of them since being here. I don’t really feel safe here as security is hardly ever here either.

“There’s no support for our mental health or for people with drug and alcohol issues. When you think there are people on drugs in here – there isn’t a defibrillator in the house.”

Another resident, Gary, has lived at Luke House for three years. What does he think of the place? “It’s s*** – that’s the only way I can say it. You very rarely get any help. All of our circumstances are different, but there’s nobody here to address them or help us at all.

“I’ve done first aid courses through the Job Centre, but they shouldn’t be relying on me or anyone else if people here need help. There should be someone here all the time and there isn’t. There is trouble here, but I keep myself to myself. I try to go out as much as possible.”

Matt Judge had lived at Luke House since November prior to last week’s eviction. His arm is in a sling after he intervened to stop another resident being attacked. He describes Luke House as “an absolute s***hole” and “full of craziness.”

“There’s been loads of violence here,” he added. “The police have been here, in and out, for ages. There’s been a stabbing, there’s been a death. It’s horrific. We end up policing it ourselves. We all moved in here knowing it was a supported house, but there’s no support.”

Matthew Hill has lived near Luke House for 11 years. “Who’s regulating this place?” he asked. “It’s Dickensian. Fire alarms unplugged, dirty carpets, rooms not fit for living in inhumane and disgusting premises. I have never been so shocked. I know some of the guys living there and we are all appalled at how badly the house is managed. There is a housing management fee of £44.85 and another management fee of £56.25. These fees, all paid for by us the taxpayer, are clearly egregious and an affront.”

He added: “After the serious assault in the house I contacted Cornwall Council with my concerns over the care of vulnerable residents due to the poor management of the property.”

Before last week’s eviction, another resident of St Columb Minor, who preferred to remain anonymous, said: “A well-run hostel is a place where the residents can thrive. Unfortunately, Luke House does not appear to be well-run, instead it seems the majority of residents in there are living in fear of violence and intimidation.”

Another local added: “As a concerned neighbour my primary concern is the safety and well-being of the Luke House residents. There is clearly a need for 24-hour staffing and support.”

I contacted both Pivotal and Cornwall Council with the concerns raised by residents of Luke House and its neighbours.

A spokesperson for the company said: “Pivotal Housing Association is taking action in response to recent anti-social behaviour and the sad death of one of our residents at Luke House. Our team has been liaising closely with the police to resolve these issues.

“We provide intensive housing management services and overnight security measures at the premises. As a result of recent activity, we have increased security at the property to provide a 24/7 presence. In addition, we have made the decision to serve notice to all residents currently living at the property. This will enable Pivotal Housing Association to review services at this scheme, end the anti-social behaviour and carefully consider future lettings and entry criteria.

“We are working with the council to relocate our residents. We are not closing the service down.”

Despite Pivotal saying it had ensured there was a 24/7 security presence, when we visited for an hour on Thursday, May 30, there were no security staff or support workers present at the premises.

A spokesperson for Cornwall Council said: “The council’s Housing Options service do not refer residents to Luke House and has no direct relationship with it. Pivotal Housing is the landlord and the property is classified by them as short-term accommodation for homeless people.

“Residents claim additional housing benefit in order to pay for the more intensive housing management provided by Pivotal Housing. As this provision is not commissioned there is no current route or powers available to the council to review and/or stipulate specific accommodation standards. This will change following the implementation of the Supported Housing Regulatory Oversight Act 2023 (SHROA) which is expected to come into force in 2026.

“This act gives local authorities statutory responsibility to monitor and licence supported housing and will be linked to housing benefit eligibility which means standards will need to be met before housing benefit can be paid.”

Concerning the neck injury incident in February, Devon and Cornwall Police say that men aged 33, 45 and 50 had been arrested at the time on suspicion of assault causing grievous bodily harm. They have all since been released with no further action to be taken.