A REPRESENTATIVE from Three Seas Cornwall has given our Cornish Times reporter, Scarlett Hills-Brooks, an exclusive tour of the Looe Coastguard flats prior to their renovation.

Three Seas manager, Simon Ryan, provided a guided tour of one of the 11 flats within the building which will offer affordable housing to local people.

Simon giving us a tour of the kitchen in flat 1A
Simon giving us a tour of the kitchen in flat 1A (Scarlett Hills-Brooks)

The Looe Coastguard flats were bought by the charity for only £1 from Cornwall Council last year with the ambition of using grant funding to renovate and offer them to local people at low rent costs.

The flats overlook the harbour and consist of two two-bedroom and 10 one-bedroom apartments.

The Looe Coastguard flats
The Looe Coastguard flats (Scarlett Hills-Brooks)

The property is currently in a state of much needed repair but with the help of funding the team hope they will soon be ready for tenants by around April of next year.

Simon explained: “One of the great things about this project is that because it’s a big block of housing all together, we've got the chance to put in new energy-efficient, green-energy heating systems.

“We think we can have solar and maybe heat pumps heating the homes so the actual costs to the tenants will be very low indeed and, perhaps more important, the cost to the planet will be low because we’re not producing carbon, we’re not producing pollution.

“We’re not pulling these down, bringing in a load of new material, we're using what’s here already.”

Three Seas Cornwall completed a similar project in Cawsand previously where they bought three nearly derelict council houses which would have gone to second home owners, according to Ryan.

Ryan continued: “We did them all up, we rented them out and there's three local families in there now – and that’s the model for this project, if we can do it once we can do it again.”

Once the flats are ready, the tenant selection process can begin – applications will have to come from people who have a genuine connection to the town.

Simon added: “We are asking local people, and anybody anywhere in the world actually, who supports Looe and supports housing for local people to buy a community share. You get to be a genuine part-owner of this property and this project.

“Those people are the guarantors to the community that they will stay local housing forever because they are owners, they have the right to be consulted and they can vote against any change – so it’s a really important thing. It's open now but it is being extended into the month of May, we're hoping people will get stuck in.”

Cllr Jim Candy and Simon from Three Seas
Cllr Jim Candy and Simon from Three Seas (Scarlett Hills-Brooks)

Newly elected Looe Cornwall councillor, Jim Candy, is in full support of the project.

He added: “This Three Seas project for the Coastguard cottages is important to me as it was to Edwina when it was started.

“Simon and his team have done a great job working on this project and they are going to have my support, as much time as they need to see it to fulfilment. Because like a lot of the costal villages that I represent, Looe is under threat from losing housing for local people.”