A group set up to find ways to make sure people in rural areas can find an affordable place to live has recommended that a ban is placed on some newly built houses being sold as second homes.
The Rural Housing Policy Review is urging the next government to require a percentage of new homes granted planning permission in areas with high levels of second ownership like North Cornwall to come with a condition that they can only be used as principal residences and not as second or holiday homes. The Review suggests that this could be up to 100% in some circumstances.
It is part of a series of recommendations being put forward by the Rural Housing Policy Review who launched their report, Affordable Housing: A Fair Deal for Rural Communities this week.
As well as pressing for restrictions on the sale of new-build properties, the Review also recommends more government support for small-scale rural housing developments and for affordable rents to be set by local councils instead of nationally to make sure that homes are genuinely affordable in rural communities.
Liberal Democrat MP for North Cornwall and Government Minister for Rural Affairs, Dan Rogerson, was guest speaker at the report’s launch in Parliament and welcomed its recommendations on how housing in rural areas can be made genuinely affordable for local people.
Dan Rogerson said:
“It is right that this government is investing in building genuinely affordable housing, in the right places, for local people to rent and buy to help ease the crisis of Cornish families who can’t afford to live in their own communities. However, I have long argued that this needs to be matched with action on second homes which is a huge part of the housing crisis in some rural communities in North Cornwall.
“The Rural Housing Policy Review’s suggestion that up to 100% of homes on new developments in our towns and villages should only be sold as main residences could help tackle the problems caused by growing numbers of second homes in our area.
“I would also like people wanting to turn a home into a second home to have to gain planning permission first, so that rural communities can have a say – through the planning process – over the number of second homes in their area. Whilst this change has support from the Liberal Democrats, it is something that has been consistently blocked by the Conservatives in Coalition Government.”
Some parishes in North Cornwall have a second home rate of around 40%. Cornwall Council figures state that that St Minver Lowlands parish has 42.9% second homes and St Minver Highlands has 37.9%, with St Merryn on 38.4%, Padstow at 29.3%, with St Endellion parish, which includes Port Isaac, on 34.9%.