TWENTY-NINE homes, most in Penzance and previously used by recovering alcoholics and drug users, are to be brought back into public ownership.
Cornwall Council will take over the empty properties, which were managed by Providers of Accommodation and Support (PAS), from Charles Terrence Estates following agreement being reached after the conclusion of court proceedings towards the end of last year.
Last night residents, mainly from Penzance's east ward, went to a meeting at Penzance 360, organised by local Cornwall councillor Tim Dwelly and attended by Cornwall housing managers and Cabinet member Geoff Brown, to discuss how the properties can be brought back into use as housing.
Councillor Dwelly said: "These PAS houses were a terrible waste of money and they achieved very little so I'm delighted that, after extensive lobbying, Cornwall Council has grasped the nettle. It is an expensive operation but will save the council money in the long run rather than continuing with arrangements which simply were not working.
"I am working with residents to arrange that, in the worst affected streets, the empty properties should be repaired and sold to families with covenants to prevent them ever becoming bedsits in the future. This announcement by Cornwall Council is great news at the beginning of that process."
As the new owners of the properties, the council says it will consider all options for use with a view to providing a range of homes to meet demand for housing locally, including affordable housing. The Cabinet was considering the issues at its meeting yesterday.
Geoff Brown, Cabinet member for homes and communities, said: "I am delighted that, after a great deal of work by officers of the council, these properties will now be brought back into meaningful use."