Local support grows for policy to control second home ownership

Posted on: 1st April 2014

West Cornwall MP, Andrew George, has declared himself pleased with the strong support he has received from local parish and town councils for his proposal to introduce new regulations to control the proliferation of second home ownership.

Mr George wrote to parish and town councils on 10th January this year inviting comments on his proposal to introduce a new planning regulation which would require those who wished to use a home as a “non permanent residence” (second home) to apply for planning permission to “change the use” of that property.

Mr George has long argued for this regulation but has been thwarted by Housing and Planning Ministers of the previous Labour Government and Conservative Ministers in the Department for Communities and Local Government in the present Coalition Government.

He explained in his letter to parish and town councils that “the new Use Class Order…would give the planning authority the opportunity to manage the numbers and proportions of second and holiday homes. Where permissions are granted it is intended that these would apply for the lifetime of that occupancy and would revert to permanent residence on resale/reoccupation unless a fresh planning application/renewal of the entitlement was made and was successful. I appreciate that such a power may not necessarily be appropriate in all areas, but where this has the strong support of parish and town councils and could be adopted to be used within the locality, this may be a useful additional tool to help the local community”.

Mr George said this week, “If I continue to receive strong support for this proposal I will seek support from other parts of the country and use the powers contained in the Sustainable Communities Act to present a proposal to Government with strong grass roots backing.

“The Sustainable Communities Act puts parish and town councils in the driving seat to tell Governments what they must do. The Government has a duty to ‘try to reach agreement’ with local councils where there is a strong and well articulated desire to achieve this objective. It is my intention to make sure that we have gathered support for this policy so that it is presented powerfully to the next incoming Government. The gathering of support from local Parish and Town Councils is a great step on the way.

“Some recent surveys of estate agents in this constituency have shown that five times more properties have been sold to second home buyers than first time buyers! In one locality in one year over 60% of all properties were sold to second home purchasers and not a single one was sold to a local first time buyer!

“The situation is desperate for local families and it is important that we seek to find reasonable tools to give local families a decent chance in the housing market.

“I look forward to receiving further comments and support from local parish and town councils.”

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