CALLS have been made to toughen the rules on second homes after latest figures show a staggering 40 per cent of properties in some areas of Wadebridge and Padstow are owned by non-residents.
A motion will be put before Cornwall Council next week that will urge MPs to support national legislation which will make it compulsory to gain planning consent to convert a property into a second home. Local Liberal Democrat MP Dan Rogerson has now renewed his calls for local people to be given more powers over the number of second homes in their area after it was revealed that the Padstow, Port Isaac and Rock areas have the highest rate of second-home ownership in the county.
Figures from Cornwall Council Community Intelligence show that six of the top ten parishes with the highest percentage of second homes are in North Cornwall. St Minver Lowlands topped the league with 42.9 per cent of homes being second homes, with St Minver Highlands parish having slightly less at 37.9 per cent.
Padstow has a second home rate of 29.3 per cent while neighbouring St Merryn has 38.4 per cent and St Endellion, which includes Port Isaac, has 34.9 per cent.
Mr Rogerson said: "While it is important that we continue to promote our tourist industry, it cannot be right that areas like Padstow, Port Isaac and St Minver have such a high concentration of second homes.
"Such a high rate stops local people being able to afford to live in their own community, and has a massive impact on local services like schools, shops and bus routes.''
Cornwall councillors will discuss the problem next week, with some suggesting that people should need to get planning permission if they want to turn a property into a second home. Speaking about that plan to tackle the problem, Mr Rogerson said: "I would welcome the support of councillors for giving local people powers through the planning system to say no to more second homes if they feel that their area has reached saturation point.
"In March 2010 I tried to introduce a new law to give local councils the power to control the number of second homes in their area.
" I also tried to amend the Planning Act in 2008 to make sure that if somebody wanted to turn a permanent home into a second home they would have to get planning permission first. Unfortunately, on that occasion, the Labour Party voted against my proposals while the Conservatives sat idly by and didn't vote at all.
"I will continue to stand up for the communities that I represent and will be taking these new figures to the Government to argue for greater powers to be given to local people to control the number of second homes in their area.''