Call for action to curb second homes

One of Helston's Cornwall councillors is calling for changes to the planning system to curb the rise in second homes.

Andrew Wallis will next week urge Cornwall Council to support his stance, as he pushes for an Act of Parliament to make planning permission compulsory for any new properties that are set to become second homes.

He is making the call after obtaining research highlighting the county's second home hotspots.

“I have never been against second homes,” Mr Wallis said.

“They do contribute to the local economy. However, the point I have is there has to be a balance between real live in home, and those that are not.”

According to figures Mr Wallis extracted from Cornwall Council there are 151 second homes in Porthleven, or 8.9 per cent of total dwellings whereas Helston South has 155 second homes, or 7.2 per cent.

In Helston North meanwhile there are 216 second homes, or 8.6 per cent of the total number of houses, while Helston Central has just 23 second homes, or 1.3 per cent.

“As for the total number of second homes in Cornwall, there are 14,446,” Mr Wallis said.

“This is out of a housing stock of 260,077 - 5.5 per cent of all dwellings are classified as second homes.”

Mr Wallis believes an Act of Parliament “must be made” so that anyone wanting to turn a house into a second home or holiday let would require planning permission.

“That way they can be monitored, and with the right policy, stop these types of dwellings having a negative impact on local communities,” he added.

Comments (13)

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11:17am Fri 11 Jan 13

Gill Zella Martin 09 says...

I don't mind the concept of second homes if people are renting them out long term for people that cannot afford to buy their own home, however I think the rents should be regulated so that they have to be in line with council/housing association rents.
Not all second homes contribute to the local economy because there is one adjacent to where I live and it is now used less than two weeks a year, and if it were to be for sale would in fact be within first time buyers price range.
I don't mind the concept of second homes if people are renting them out long term for people that cannot afford to buy their own home, however I think the rents should be regulated so that they have to be in line with council/housing association rents. Not all second homes contribute to the local economy because there is one adjacent to where I live and it is now used less than two weeks a year, and if it were to be for sale would in fact be within first time buyers price range. Gill Zella Martin 09
  • Score: 0

2:03pm Fri 11 Jan 13

molesworth says...

Have I got this wrong? Is the argument that second home owners prevent locals from getting a home themselves?. Surely, it all comes down to money.
A fishing village is a very desirable place to live so the houses located within it are expensive to buy. Whether they are empty second homes or not they'll never come down in price so cash-poor locals will never be able to afford them. Fact of life. I can't affod to live on the Helford so I don't.
However, if the argument is not to have empty houses everywhere about the place because they destroy the soul of communities, I can fully understand that. I think it'd be a good idea to make it law that homes need to be fully occupied for, say, 10 months of the year. And it shouldn't matter where the occupiers were born because that's the road to racism.
In the mean time it looks like we might need to build some cheap housing for poor folk. Didn't we invent council houses to fulfil this need? Do they exist anymore or did Thatcher give them away?
Have I got this wrong? Is the argument that second home owners prevent locals from getting a home themselves?. Surely, it all comes down to money. A fishing village is a very desirable place to live so the houses located within it are expensive to buy. Whether they are empty second homes or not they'll never come down in price so cash-poor locals will never be able to afford them. Fact of life. I can't affod to live on the Helford so I don't. However, if the argument is not to have empty houses everywhere about the place because they destroy the soul of communities, I can fully understand that. I think it'd be a good idea to make it law that homes need to be fully occupied for, say, 10 months of the year. And it shouldn't matter where the occupiers were born because that's the road to racism. In the mean time it looks like we might need to build some cheap housing for poor folk. Didn't we invent council houses to fulfil this need? Do they exist anymore or did Thatcher give them away? molesworth
  • Score: 0

2:56pm Fri 11 Jan 13

Gill Zella Martin 09 says...

There are some council houses but a lot of local councils transferred their housing stock over to non profit making housing associations. The original plan with some councils was to build more council houses with money gained and additionally with the money gained by the selling of council houses under the right to buy act, unfortunately this never materialised thus leaving many local councils with a shortage if housing stock. the waiting list for social housing far excels the availability of homes.

I think the council should invent a system whereby they take over the repairs of ones home if that person legally leaves their home to the council when they die. I would be first in the queue, that way I get a maintenance free home for life and the council gets a property to rent out when I die.
There are some council houses but a lot of local councils transferred their housing stock over to non profit making housing associations. The original plan with some councils was to build more council houses with money gained and additionally with the money gained by the selling of council houses under the right to buy act, unfortunately this never materialised thus leaving many local councils with a shortage if housing stock. the waiting list for social housing far excels the availability of homes. I think the council should invent a system whereby they take over the repairs of ones home if that person legally leaves their home to the council when they die. I would be first in the queue, that way I get a maintenance free home for life and the council gets a property to rent out when I die. Gill Zella Martin 09
  • Score: 0

3:09pm Fri 11 Jan 13

Gill Zella Martin 09 says...

I agree that with a lot of second homes if they were on the market then first time buyers would not be able to afford them anyway, having said that, with some areas the house prices were only pushed up so high because of the demand by second home owners. Unless a second home is rented out full time or let out as a holiday let for a reasonable amount of weeks a year then it does not contribute anything to the local economy.
I agree that with a lot of second homes if they were on the market then first time buyers would not be able to afford them anyway, having said that, with some areas the house prices were only pushed up so high because of the demand by second home owners. Unless a second home is rented out full time or let out as a holiday let for a reasonable amount of weeks a year then it does not contribute anything to the local economy. Gill Zella Martin 09
  • Score: 0

2:28pm Sat 12 Jan 13

David Pascoe says...

Comrade Colonel Councillor Wallace telling us how we should live our lives again.

Welcome to the peoples republic of Porthleven.

No doubt we will be told next you will have to apply to one of his committees to live in Porthleven.
Comrade Colonel Councillor Wallace telling us how we should live our lives again. Welcome to the peoples republic of Porthleven. No doubt we will be told next you will have to apply to one of his committees to live in Porthleven. David Pascoe
  • Score: 0

8:46pm Tue 15 Jan 13

telstar1962 says...

It's about time local councillors helped tenants of an independent,cash-str
apped,not-for-profit housing association that owns about 4000 homes in Cornwall.

Better still,the Council should buy out the organization and provide cheaper but better social housing for the elderly and infirm,and stop worrying about the more affluent members of society who are capable of looking after themselves,and contribute to the local economy as they do.
It's about time local councillors helped tenants of an independent,cash-str apped,not-for-profit housing association that owns about 4000 homes in Cornwall. Better still,the Council should buy out the organization and provide cheaper but better social housing for the elderly and infirm,and stop worrying about the more affluent members of society who are capable of looking after themselves,and contribute to the local economy as they do. telstar1962
  • Score: 0

8:51pm Tue 15 Jan 13

Gill Zella Martin 09 says...

Councillor Andrew Wallis does have a point, you need planning permission for just about everything else within property changes. Question is, will it make any difference to whether permission is granted or not. Hypothetically, if someone wanted to build a house and wanted it purely to let out for a holiday let at an extortionate price and they applied for planning permission for it as a second home/holiday let what would happen if they got permission? ok so it may mean a register would be kept of second homes/holiday lets for statistical purposes but it would not actually address the issue of limiting the second home numbers. What actual criteria would be used to establish whether or not they get permission? Would it be based on second home numbers for a particular area or just based on something like their surname or how much money they have. Just a thought.
Councillor Andrew Wallis does have a point, you need planning permission for just about everything else within property changes. Question is, will it make any difference to whether permission is granted or not. Hypothetically, if someone wanted to build a house and wanted it purely to let out for a holiday let at an extortionate price and they applied for planning permission for it as a second home/holiday let what would happen if they got permission? ok so it may mean a register would be kept of second homes/holiday lets for statistical purposes but it would not actually address the issue of limiting the second home numbers. What actual criteria would be used to establish whether or not they get permission? Would it be based on second home numbers for a particular area or just based on something like their surname or how much money they have. Just a thought. Gill Zella Martin 09
  • Score: 0

6:36am Wed 16 Jan 13

Gill Zella Martin 09 says...

I know someone that wanted to buy what used to be a small shop situated within a residential street, it had been empty and unused as a shop for years so therefore the community would not be losing anything if the shop was converted, they applied for planning permission for residential status to convert it back to a dwelling for full time occupancy which it was originally, but the local council took so long processing the application that the person gave up and pulled out of the sale. Why do things like that take so long and yet permisson to build a property that many people object to appears to be granted relatively quickly and easily and then the new build/s very often remain unsold for long periods of time. I think the whole planning system needs re vamping. I believe that any new second home/holiday lets should require a minimum occupation clause on them, if they are not going to be occupied for at least 9 months of the year then they should not be given permission as they will do little to contribute to the community. If a home owner leaves their permanent residential dwelling unoccupied for more than three months they are supposed to notify any insurance companies they may be using and Council tax benefit claimants additionally are supposed to notify the council, therefore presumably three months of a property being unoccupied is classed as not being used as a permanent residence. I think all properties should be charged the full council tax, it seems immoral that second home owners get a discount whilst the council are contemplating charging those that cannot afford to pay council tax due to financial restraints.
I know someone that wanted to buy what used to be a small shop situated within a residential street, it had been empty and unused as a shop for years so therefore the community would not be losing anything if the shop was converted, they applied for planning permission for residential status to convert it back to a dwelling for full time occupancy which it was originally, but the local council took so long processing the application that the person gave up and pulled out of the sale. Why do things like that take so long and yet permisson to build a property that many people object to appears to be granted relatively quickly and easily and then the new build/s very often remain unsold for long periods of time. I think the whole planning system needs re vamping. I believe that any new second home/holiday lets should require a minimum occupation clause on them, if they are not going to be occupied for at least 9 months of the year then they should not be given permission as they will do little to contribute to the community. If a home owner leaves their permanent residential dwelling unoccupied for more than three months they are supposed to notify any insurance companies they may be using and Council tax benefit claimants additionally are supposed to notify the council, therefore presumably three months of a property being unoccupied is classed as not being used as a permanent residence. I think all properties should be charged the full council tax, it seems immoral that second home owners get a discount whilst the council are contemplating charging those that cannot afford to pay council tax due to financial restraints. Gill Zella Martin 09
  • Score: 0

8:15am Wed 16 Jan 13

ucsweb says...

Wow, good rant Zella.
I think what we need here is a properly thought out planning policy by Cornwall Council for the use of existing properties and new builds.
Not the miss-match of town and county planning we have now.
The problem is that there is no grand plan of how we want Cornwall to look in several years time. Makes you wonder what the planning dept. has been doing all this time!
Wow, good rant Zella. I think what we need here is a properly thought out planning policy by Cornwall Council for the use of existing properties and new builds. Not the miss-match of town and county planning we have now. The problem is that there is no grand plan of how we want Cornwall to look in several years time. Makes you wonder what the planning dept. has been doing all this time! ucsweb
  • Score: 0

8:45am Wed 16 Jan 13

Gill Zella Martin 09 says...

Lol, yes and at half past six in the morning, no wonder I am tired before I even leave home.

You are right ucsweb there needs to a some proper plan, and some consistency.
Lol, yes and at half past six in the morning, no wonder I am tired before I even leave home. You are right ucsweb there needs to a some proper plan, and some consistency. Gill Zella Martin 09
  • Score: 0

10:10am Wed 16 Jan 13

ucsweb says...

There is a new house in a front garden in our road, two years old. Everyone in the road objected. One of the reasons for approval was that the area needs new homes. It is not on the rental market and has been occupied less than five weeks in two years!
Just another empty home that contributes nothing.
There is a new house in a front garden in our road, two years old. Everyone in the road objected. One of the reasons for approval was that the area needs new homes. It is not on the rental market and has been occupied less than five weeks in two years! Just another empty home that contributes nothing. ucsweb
  • Score: 0

12:09pm Wed 16 Jan 13

Gill Zella Martin 09 says...

Another two houses going to be squeezed into a plot that currently has only one bungalow on it in a road of only bungalows, singe track unmade unadopted road in Mullion, just being built for profit. Only three Parish Councillors voted against it, Cornwall Council gave permission.
Another two houses going to be squeezed into a plot that currently has only one bungalow on it in a road of only bungalows, singe track unmade unadopted road in Mullion, just being built for profit. Only three Parish Councillors voted against it, Cornwall Council gave permission. Gill Zella Martin 09
  • Score: 0

2:12pm Wed 16 Jan 13

Gill Zella Martin 09 says...

I think any new build property just built for profit should have a clause whereby if it remains unsold or not rented out within a year of building then the developer should have to pay a penalty fee and the money invested into the local community. Better still, the Councillors that granted permission should be obliged to visit the local residents and explain to them exactly what their reasoning was behind granting the planning permission, or perhaps the council should be obliged to purchase the properties and rent them out at a regulated rent to local needs people.
I think any new build property just built for profit should have a clause whereby if it remains unsold or not rented out within a year of building then the developer should have to pay a penalty fee and the money invested into the local community. Better still, the Councillors that granted permission should be obliged to visit the local residents and explain to them exactly what their reasoning was behind granting the planning permission, or perhaps the council should be obliged to purchase the properties and rent them out at a regulated rent to local needs people. Gill Zella Martin 09
  • Score: 0

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