Looe Coastguard Flats


The flats are 11 small one-bed and two-bed flats, in a Grade II listed building. Many have been empty for some time. Their surface condition is often poor, with damp, wood rot, general decay and electrics/plumbing that is outdated and may be dangerous. The flats are noisy and hard to heat; some have poor layouts that waste space and are uncomfortable. However, the basic structure is sound and can be refurbished to a high standard.

Click here to help and Invest

Importance to the town

The flats are part of a beautiful, striking terrace which occupies a prominent position overlooking Looe harbour. The external appearance is not much altered since they were built in 1892, and we are determined to accept the responsibility of retaining and safeguarding the fine historic fabric.

It is hard to overstate the importance of new rental homes to Looe residents, and to local businesses that need staff. The national housing crisis is made worse in Looe by the number of second homes and holiday lets; 11 new homes at low rents will really help.

The flats

We started in November 2022 with a first visit to the flats by our team of experts: an architect with extensive experience in renovations to heritage property, and a specialist builder with 20 years’ work on refurbs to older houses. They reported that the surface conditions are mostly poor, with damp, wood rot, electrics and plumbing that are outdated and may be dangerous. The flats are noisy and hard to heat, and many have poor layouts that waste space and are uncomfortable.

However, the experts also advised that the basic structures are sound: good roofs and walls, with clear options for soundproofing and layout improvements and high potential for energy-saving.

The refurbishment costs will be high, because the site is very difficult for contractors. The only way in is a narrow, single-track lane with no parking, and access / turning room is very tight to the sides and rear.

Cornwall Council’s position

For reasons of regulatory requirements and budget restrictions, Cornwall Council are not in a position to refurbish the flats themselves. The result is that without another solution, there would eventually be a sale at auction on the open market, certainly leading to the buildings being lost as second homes. Instead, the Council gave us the opportunity to make our case, on the back of our existing success in Cawsand, and eventually an agreement was reached for us to purchase the building for the nominal sum of £1.

The Feasibilty Study

Click to open

The timetable from here

We have been working on this project since February 2023. Our best estimate on the timing from here:

  • July 2024. Full finance package agreed, purchase completed, contractors sought.
  • September 2024. Contractors commissioned, building work starts.
  • November 2024. Tenant selection process starts.
  • March 2025. Building work completes; tenants move in

Of course, all of these timings are just our estimate. We will update the community and our supporters as the plan progresses.

We are currently running our application for “Registered Provider” status with the Regulator of Social Housing. This certification is needed to unlock the grant approvals; we expect it to arrive in July this year, in good time to start the timetable above

The Looe Community Land Trust

A vital part of our work is to support local residents in Looe to become fully active in the project: we are serious about promoting community control and involvement to the greatest extend possible. We are very pleased that a strong group of local volunteers has come together in Looe town to create the “Looe Community Land Trust”. The new Trust is the local link with the project and will:

  • Ensure that the flats provide housing for local people
  • Ensure that as much of the work as possible goes to local contractors
  • Engage with local people and businesses
  • Be the local point of contact for the project
  • Have a voice on decisions on contractors and tenants
  • Look for more housing opportunities in the future

More information and membership details are at

Legal structure and registration details

Looe Community Land Trust is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority as a Community Benefit Society, no 9133.

The group is not a registered charity and therefore does not appear on the Charity Commission website. The organisational details can be found at the FCA Mutuals Register, where the annual reports will be published in due course:

Contact information

Website: Email:

Registered Office: Dolphin, Plaidy Park Rd, East Looe, Cornwall, PL13 1LG