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Call to restrict numbers of second homes

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: January 11, 2013

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SOUTH EAST Cornwall has some of the highest numbers of second homes in the county, statistics released from Cornwall Council have shown.

The figures reveal that the parish of St John, near Torpoint, has the second highest number of second homes in the duchy, with 140 of its 342 dwellings not permanently occupied.

Maker with Rame has been identified as another second home hotspot with 34.3 per cent of its dwellings listed as second homes.

Cornwall Councillor for Looe West and Lansallos, Edwina Hannaford, said high numbers of second homes can have a significant impact on the community.

"In coastal areas there's a hidden poverty in amongst the beautiful countryside and smiley people on holiday," she said.

"People are priced out of the housing market without the jobs to afford those higher levels."

Looe, a popular holiday destination, has a total of 336 second homes in the town, which amounts to 11.2 per cent of all houses.

"When we know that we have got so many people on the housing register crying out for homes something needs to be done," Mrs Hannaford said.

"It's quite immoral that there are homes empty apart from two or three weeks of the year," she added.

Cornwall councillor Andrew Wallis is leading calls to make planning permission compulsory before a house is turned into a second home.

Mr Wallis said: "You have to have permission to turn a house into one of multiple occupation, so it makes sense to make people seek planning permission before it is turned into a second home."

Next week he will put a motion before a full meeting of Cornwall Council which urges MPs to support national legislation.

"I'm not against second homes, but there has to be balance," the Porthleven councillor said.

In Callington, Liskeard, Saltash and Torpoint less than 1 per cent of all dwellings are categorised as second homes.

The figures show that Botus Fleming, near Saltash, is the parish with the fewest second homes in Cornwall, with just 1 out of 338 dwellings.

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  • kimmyp  |  January 11 2013, 5:35PM

    by KernowGB I wasn't suggesting they should pay less, they should pay the full amount, discounts should only apply to those in genuine need. I just find these articles very misleading, many of these second homes are holiday homes and for good reason, they are not suitable for everyday living. I know this from experience. Even if you took all these homes back they would not resolve the housing shortage and lets face it just about every development is protested against. There is a constant call for affordable housing but only "not in my back yard." There is one on this site today, 82 homes, half to be affordable, but again the people that live there are protesting.

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  • KernowGB  |  January 11 2013, 4:40PM

    by kimmyp - Friday, January 11 2013, 2:45PM "Why should a second home owner pay more council tax, if these reports are true then they would be paying more for services they are not using." --------------------------------------------------------------- The services that the Council tax covers are provided irrespective of anyone using them. It is one of the arguments used when others argue that they should pay less, because they do not use certain services. They are 'available' for use, and it is individual's choice as to how much they use the services. Should they pay more? Insofar as a second home is not utilised 100% of the year (as with holiday homes) it has the longer-term effect of fragmenting, and ultimately destroying, the continuity and life of the any community, then yes.

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  • mygodlesslife  |  January 11 2013, 3:16PM

    Like Mr Wallis, I have no particular objection to second/holiday homes but feel that with the housing waiting list being at the level it is, there is a need to balance the books. Homes lying empty for the majority of the year - whilst not immoral by any means - is not conducive to a thriving community. By making second/holiday home owners apply for some sort of planning permission, the council has the opportunity to have some control over how housing needs are managed. Private homes that are occupied are not affected at all. If a second/holiday home is found to be empty for the greater part of the year, owners should - at least - be encouraged to rent it out on a more regular basis so that the communities in which these properties exist don't wither and die in the quieter times of the year. Perhaps the council could offer owners an incentive to rent out their properties for a 12 month period, so that in the short term, at least, people will have somewhere to call home. Housing is perhaps the biggest challenge facing Cornwall, and from where I sit it appears to be an almost insurmountable problem in the short-term. The council must outline a definitive, coherent, sustainable and environmentally-conscious plan for the next 20-30 years if the problem is to be faced at all.

  • kimmyp  |  January 11 2013, 2:45PM

    by cornishexile Why should a second home owner pay more council tax, if these reports are true then they would be paying more for services they are not using.

  • cornishexile  |  January 11 2013, 1:43PM

    I've said it before elsewhere and I'll say it again, the only way to reverse (not just slow down) the cancer of second homes in the region is to impose a crippling surtax, either through council tax or HMRC to disuade people from the practice.

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  • kimmyp  |  January 11 2013, 12:16PM

    This is the third item I have read about the same topic and to be honest I Can't quite work out if this is a diliberate attempt to wind people up or promote pure spin for a few councilors to gain votes. I would like to see these figures banded about broken down properly. My questions are: Who sold the properties in the first place? Why did they sell the property? Why are there "hotspots" (look at the types of property, access to these properties and cost of maintaining these properties) How can you dictate to people who they sell their property too and how can you dictate what someone buys? In some respects I hope Dan Rogerson and followers get exactly what they are asking for, how long will it be before people start complaining that they can't sell their houses or the value has crashed. Houses being boarded up or falling down because there is no work or can't afford the massive maintenance costs. (compare the cost of re-roofing a fishermans cottage in the heart of Mevagissey to say a cottage in Bodmin) As for independant shops i'm afraid that it's the same in every town accross the whole country, there are no second homes in our town but the independants are not surviving here either. That's down to a culture change and affordability, there is no garantee if all these houses were occupied all the year that those people would shop differently to anyone else.

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  • Phil_lip  |  January 11 2013, 11:22AM

    Looks like the naming and shaming of areas is going to be a thieves paradise, bit silly to have opened that can of worms Guardian.

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