Thursday, 2 October 2014

Second homes, the Tory view

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis (a Tory of course) has claimed to the Western Morning News that second homes have little impact on house prices. It is clear he doesn't understand either the impact of second homes on areas such as Cornwall or basic economics.

The impact of second homes, when there are large numbers of them as we have in many of the coastal villages of Cornwall, is to devastate local communities. Locals are driven out and shops, businesses and schools close. Prices rise to such an extent that no local family could afford to buy there.

That is why Liberal Democrats in Cornwall have joined with colleagues in Cumbria to ask for a separate planning use class for second homes. That would enable the council to require change of use planning permission  if a main family home is to be converted into a second home in areas where the scale of second home ownership is a problem.

Local Lib Dems are also asking the government for the power to vary council tax levels and impose a premium on second homes. So far, Conservative ministers have refused our proposals in both cases.

Tonight, Cornwall Council's budget consultation roadshow visits the Wadebridge community network area which includes the popular second home areas of Rock and Padstow and the second home that is visited each summer by Prime Minister David Cameron and owned by a chum of his. I wonder if local people there agree with the minister that second homes have little effect on prices?

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