Blog entered 28 April 2014


The 1 Bedroom Ground Floor Flat at Timber Close, St Austell, was advertised through Cornwall Homechoice between 18 to 22 January 2014. As with most properties within walking distance of town the bidding would have been high based on previous records.

The property belongs to one of Cornwall Council’s Homechoice housing partners Sanctuary Housing, also my landlord, and the picture shows the flat in question.

Although there are currently over 28,000 applicants registered with Cornwall Homechoice and only a small number of vacancies each week according to the Council, this Homechoice property has now remained empty for 100 days.

The property has not been declared on the Council’s ‘Recent Lets’ ‘Outcomes for CBL’ website information to assist Homechoice bidders and it has not been re-advertised.

According to Jon Warner, Homechoice Manager West/Central, Cornwall Housing Limited, on 18 March 2014, “we have made a nomination to Sanctuary Housing and they are considering this applicant”, unquote.

According to Helen Harding, Sanctuary Housing Operations Manager – South West, on 8 April; 2014, “With regard to the void property in Timber Close and the length of time it has remained empty ; I can assure you that we have followed the correct procedure in this case”, unquote.

The lost revenue on this property now exceeds £1,000.00 and it is not known if the Council will reimburse Sanctuary, a Charity, or if Sanctuary will simply recoup it’s losses by increasing it’s Rent or Service Charges in July 2014.

So why has this property remained empty for 100 days ?

Because this Homehoice property, like previously advertised Homechoice properties at Timber Close, was ‘ringfenced’ for certain types despite what the Council has knowingly and falsely claimed to the contrary.

That Cornwall Council has been wilfully abusing it’s procedures and deceiving Homechoice bidders, including disabled ones, for a number of years. That it’s Homechoice housing partner Sanctuary Housing wilfully colluded with the Council’s unlawful agenda in agreeing Council nominations regardless.

What made the above property different from all the other ‘ringfenced’ properties at Timber Close was that Cornwall Council was being investigated by the Local Government Ombudsman at the time. I use the term “investigated” loosely since the LGO later ruled in the Council’s favour without actually investigating any evidence of ‘ringfencing’ and deception upon Homechoice applicants/bidders.

For those of you who still believe the Local Government Ombudsman protects the public interest I can assure you it most certainly does not. Even Parliament accepts the LGO needs radical change and I am reminded of the following quotation : that the LGO “Operate the most perverse and publicly criticised system of administrative justice in the world”, unquote.

What do I personally think of the Local Government Ombudsman ? I think prostitution is a more honourable profession.

Cornwall Homechoice is broken and abused and Cornwall Council cannot be trusted with it anymore. Sanctuary Housing, and possibly other Homechoice housing partners, are colluding with the Council rather than collaborating with it.

I recall a telephone conversation I once had with Simon Clark, Managing Director, Sanctuary Housing Services, and detected his frustration with the demands made upon their properties by Cornwall Council. Demands which meant their properties would be used (ringfenced) to accommodate certain types of applicants which the Council had a legal responsibility to accommodate.

The net result being the creation of a covert and unlawful toxic waste dump.

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