Brand new homes are standing empty because of a stalemate between the developer and the council.

Nearly half of the homes at a site in Calstock were originally allocated as lower cost.

But the developers - Michael Wight and Adele Fulner of Construction Partners - say their budget was eroded by delays and legal disagreements with the council.

The couple first applied to build 33 new homes, including 15 affordables, at the former Bridge View Nurseries site in 2018.

They claim that from the very start, delays in the planning process added unneccessary and unforseen costs to the project.

By July of 2023, said Mr Wight, the company was paying £2,850 daily in interest.

“The years of delay have completely eroded the budget for affordable housing. We made the Council aware of this and still they procrastinated. Now it’s all crashed, and it’s all over.”

But in his ruling dismissing an appeal for costs submitted by Construction Partners in November 2022, planning inspector Nick Davies said that Cornwall Council had “not demonstrated unreasonable behaviour, resulting in unnecessary or wasted expense” to the company.

Adele Fulner disagrees: “We knew in 2021 that we were going to have issues with the viability of the site after the discharge of our pre-commencement conditions took two and a half years.

“We asked Cornwall Council to reduce the number of affordable houses from 15 to 10. Three years later they did agree, but in the meantime it had cost us millions of pounds, and we have lost our affordable operators as a result of the delays.

“We have had to refinance - we had facilities with our lenders and one of these expired in October.

“The site has now been forced to close, and to mothball is the only remaining option to us.”

Ms Fulner said that 10 homes currently stood complete and empty at the site and that these could not be occupied due to the planning condition on affordable housing.

“We have been unable to convince Cornwall Council to agree to update the agreement. Despite having numerous willing buyers waiting to move in for more than 18 months we have been blocked from selling any of the completed houses.

“We have had to take all of the homes off the market and return deposits. It’s damaging to us and to Calstock. It’s very sad.”

Ms Fulner said that the company had not gone bankrupt and that they were “working with funders but did not know what the outcome would be”.

Calstock Parish Councillor Alastair Tinto said: “It’s a very complicated site, it’s sloping and there were a lot of issues to contend with but the developers would have known that.

“I don’t accept their argument that it’s all Cornwall Council’s fault. The inspector was very clear. They (Construction Partners) have sailed close to the wind really. “It’s a very sorry state of affairs for people in Calstock, who six years ago thought that this would give us 15 affordable houses.”

Cornwall Council says that it is “actively working with stakeholders to deliver the site.”