Organisers behind a pioneering project to convert old church flats and school rooms in Gorran into affordable accommodation and a community space say they have received overwhelming support from local people – but they still need to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds to bring the plans to life.
Earlier this year locals rallied together to form the charity the St Goran Community Land Trust (SGCLT), which is spearheading a campaign to transform the buildings into five flats and a space for community groups to meet and hold events.
At a meeting organised by the trust on Monday December 3, around 50 people turned up to hear the about the latest developments.
“I’m very pleased with the response we got. It was a very positive meeting,” said SGCLT chairman Bob Thornton.
The trust is in the process of purchasing the three flats, which are owned by St Goran Parochial Church Council, for £110,000.
And the owners of the school rooms, the Trustees of St Gorran Church School Rooms, have agreed to donate the building to the trust.
“We like to think we are now so well advanced with the plans and the process of getting planning approval, providing there are no hitches, and we rather hope there won’t be, the only thing that is stopping us is the finances,” Mr Thornton said.
Plans to transform the buildings have been submitted to Cornwall Council but the trust still needs to raise more than £300,000 to buy the existing flats and complete the renovation works. So far £75,000 has been raised from donations and loans, which will be paid back over three or five years.
“It’s a project that’s needed in the community and I think the community were rather adverse to a commercial property developer getting their hands on the property and turning it into holiday lets or something like that which would not benefit the community as a whole,” Mr Thornton explained.
“We do have other facilities within the community but what we are looking to there is provide something in Goran itself that would meet a number of niche needs,” he added.
Locals can get involved with the project by becoming members of the St Goran Community Land Trust for a minimum of £5 per year.
If you are interested in supporting the scheme, write to the St Goran Community Land Trust, Arghantel, Gorran, PL26 6LW.