Devolution and housing in Cornwall

This page summarises the powers of Cornwall Council, particularly in relation to housing and health and social care.

Cornwall Council is the unitary authority for the county of Cornwall, formed in 2009 to replace Cornwall County Council and six district councils. In 2015 Cornwall Council and the Government signed the Cornwall Devolution Deal, the first rural devolution deal to be agreed.

Cornwall Council has been run by a Liberal Democrat – Independent coalition since 2013. The current leader is Liberal Democrat Councillor Paynter, while the housing portfolio is held by independent Councillor Andrew Mitchell.  

The Devolution Deal

Unlike other devolution deals, the original Cornwall agreement does not include any additional powers over housing or planning. Instead, it focuses on transport, skills and economic development, and the integration of health and social care services in the county. The deal gives Cornwall Council the power to:

  • franchise bus services
  • reshape local adult skills and apprenticeship provision
  • directly administer European Union structural fund programmes for the County, by being given intermediate body status.

In addition, the Council was invited to work with local health organisations and the Government to create a business plan for the integration of health and social care services.

The work to develop health and social care integration, Shaping our Future is led by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Health and Social Care Partnership. They have set up a Transformation Board comprising all the leaders of the region’s health and care organisations. They have agreed to work towards an Integrated Care System (ICS) for the county, with an integrated commissioner and network of providers for health and social care. They have a strong focus on prevention and early intervention.

Meanwhile a cross-sector Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Leadership Board has been brought together, comprising the councils, NHS, Police and Crime Commissioner, Local Enterprise Partnership, Health and Wellbeing Board, and Chamber of Commerce. In March 2018 they published a proposal for a second devolution deal with the Government, badged ‘New Frontiers’.

The asks are wide-ranging and include:

  • control over substantial devolved economic development funding, including replacement for European structural funding
  • greater fiscal freedom including over business rates and road tax
  • funding and support to make Cornwall the centre of the UK’s space industry, including setting up Spaceport Cornwall.

On housing, New Frontiers calls specifically for:

  • £60m funding to invest in infrastructure and unlocking stalled sites to support new housing supply, delivering an additional 9,400 homes on top of the promised 12,000 up until 2021
  • the power to identify new sites for garden villages and buy land at near-agricultural prices.

Housing associations in Cornwall

Housing associations house an estimated 9% of all households in Cornwall and in the next three years are planning to spend more than £556m on development projects, building 3,772 new homes in the process. This could add an estimated £178m to the local economy, supporting more than 3,700 jobs.

Housing associations in the Cornwall are collaborating with Cornwall Council to support and help deliver on their ambitions for Housing Delivery Deal. 

To discuss devolution and housing in Cornwall, please email Nikki Knowles, External Affairs Manager for the South West of England.

Back to the devolution hub.


This page was last updated April 2018.