Homeless pods in Commercial Road car park in Penryn

A TOWN council has said they are ‘really disappointed’ after plans to install homeless pods in a car park were given the go-ahead by Cornwall Council.

Penryn Town Council has expressed its disappointment after the decision was made earlier this week to install six temporary housing pods in the Commercial Road car park in Penryn, despite concerns around access to parking and the subsequent effect this could have on businesses in the area.

Cornwall Council officers had previously highlighted the need for more modular units for homeless people to try and limit the amount of money the council was spending on temporary emergency accommodation.

It had been revealed that the council is currently spending £40,000 a day on emergency accommodation, which includes housing people in bed and breakfasts and budget hotels.

Councilor Mary May told The Packet on behalf of the Town Council: “Penryn Town Council are really disappointed by the decision taken by Cornwall Council’s central planning committee regarding the application to place six move-on accommodation units on Commercial Road car park, resulting in the loss of over half the capacity of the car park.

“However, the Council understands the need for this type of accommodation and despite Penryn Town Council working with Cornwall Council to try to find alternative sites, the sites due to various reasons were not feasible.”

Penryn Town Councilor and Cornwall Council representative, Tamsyn Widdon, said: “We have empty homes in need of repair, holiday homes empty for most of the year, student lets owned by distant landlords or locals in need of extra income and the simple demographics of an aging population staying in their homes for longer.

“Together, these factors create a shortage of homes for those who cannot afford to compete with the market.

“Cornwall Council simply can’t build enough homes quickly enough, but has a duty to provide a home so the quickest way to do that is to put these ‘cabins’ in a car park that appears to be underused.

“Frustratingly, it is only currently underused overnight because some people would rather park on double yellow lines or on pavements closer to their houses, rather than pay a small fee and walk a hundred meters.

“As needed as the pods are, we have to work together better to overcome the parking and homes issues.

“Find out about car clubs (Enterprise have one in Penryn) if your home doesn’t have parking and you need a car.

“Consider letting out your spare rooms – Homeshare or Spare Room can help with that.

“We simply can’t keep making space for more houses and more cars, when we have enough already, if only we shared more.”

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