36,000 sign petition to stop second homes in coastal communities
A petition has been launched to lobby for action in Cornwall. It calls for a tax on second homes (to invest into local housing), and rent caps for locals to protect the communities. It’s already gathered 36,000 plus signatures as locals fight for affordable homes.
Coastal communities in Cornwall, Devon and West Wales are dying, says Carve. It is a sad but under reported fact that most small villages, and even towns are now unaffordable for the locals and those that have lived and breathed the very life into areas that as a result have become coveted in the second home property frenzy.
In most small Cornish towns these are the people that keep the coast clean, lifeguard, fish, and work in the area. Their community values and vigilance even keep crime rates lower than cities, keeping an eye on empty second homes out of season.
In 2021 these communities and families are being split, values eroded and local unrest is now almost palpable, especially in Cornwall. Even local businesses reliant on tourism are finding it really hard to employ staff because they can’t find accommodation. The rental market can’t cope with depleted supply and ever increasing rents.
Abigail Harding started the petition to Linda Taylor (the newly elected leader of Cornwall Council). Harding wants to cap local rents, raise the tax on second homes and save Cornwall’s precious coastal communities.
She says that Cornwall is dangerously on the brink of a homelessness crisis and Cornwall Council has to act now.
“We’ve had enough of second home ownership outpricing locals, leaving local homes empty and stripping communities of their heart and soul,” says Harding.
“The latest second homes property frenzy in the county is the last straw.
“It has seen an unprecedented 15% increase in local house prices since April last year, which as well as placing them well beyond the reach of local buyers, is now starting to severely affect the private rental market, leaving local families with simply nowhere to go.
“Cornwall currently has more than 10,290 active Airbnb listings, yet in comparison, the housing website Rightmove had only 62 properties available to rent privately across the whole county on Friday evening (The Guardian, 30th May 2021).
“So far this year, 44 percent of house buyers have come from outside Cornwall, the highest level since at least 2012.
“To add insult to injury, approximately £133m of Cornwall’s covid aid has now been given out to second home/holiday let owners since the first lockdown with around a half of the people who have received this money registered with addresses outside of Cornwall. This is wholly unacceptable,” says Harding.