The second home wars: ‘We are seeing the slow death of rural and coastal villages’

inews have published details regarding the effects of increasing second home ownership upon the rural communities where these homes are bought

There’s nothing like a sunny summer holiday to stoke dreams of owning a second home. Lazy weekends by the sea; somewhere to spend the school holidays; a different place to work from now that commuting is more flexible.

It is little wonder that second home sales have boomed since the pandemic, particularly in rural holiday hotspots.

But dreams end and so too, it seems, do fantasies of living in two places at once, not least because it’s not physically possible to inhabit two places 365 days a year.

This is why many councils are getting fed up with the number of properties that wind up empty for much of the time – unoccupied either by holiday visitors or the locals in need of housing.

In June 2022, residents in the Yorkshire town of Whitby voted for a limit on the sale of second homes – around 28 per cent of properties in Whitby are second homes. The ballot is not legally binding but organisers hope it will influence future planning decisions by the council.

In Cornwall, the towns of St Ives, Fowey and Mevagissey have also voted to limit sales of new builds to full-time residents.

Recent figures from the estate agent Hamptons showed just over one third of all second homes bought in 2021 and the first half of 2022 were in the South West.

Luke Pollard is a Labour MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport. Last December, he helped to launch a campaign called “First Homes not Second Homes”, a five-point plan to fix England’s broken housing market.

He states:

“Local people can’t afford to live where they work. There is a shortage of people to work in the health service, in schools, on farms. The problem is so much property is being used as second homes or for holiday lets” . 

Pollard wants the government to give councils in England the power to quadruple taxes on holiday lets and unused second homes. He would also like to see a community infrastructure levy, administered by local authorities, to support local shops, pharmacies, post offices and pubs as well as a licensing regime that would ensure a minimum of 51 per cent of homes in any community are reserved for local people.

“I don’t think any community should be majority owned by people who don’t live there. We are seeing the slow death of rural and coastal villages” says Pollard.

Full article:

inews - The second home wars: ‘We are seeing the slow death of rural and coastal villages’


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