New holiday let rules? – Late, pale, but welcome

Posted on: 13th April 2023


“This is a welcome move in the right direction. But it’s still a long way short of what’s needed.

“The Conservatives were finally shamed into promising they’d do something about the appalling housing injustice created by the proliferation of second homes and holiday lets way back in 2018. Though they keep promising, nothing happens. They keep announcing they’ll do something about it in the lead-up to important elections where the detrimental impact of second and holiday homes is an issue. That’s what’s happening again now.

“The further proliferation of second homes and holiday lets has been fuelled by their own policies, including industrial-scale tax incentives and grants which have funnelled nearly £400 million into holiday lets in the last decade in Cornwall alone.

“Conservative Ministers flatly refused to consider such changes when I asked them 13 years ago. These proposals are a pale impression of what is needed. It would only apply to some – not all – holiday lets, but would not have any impact on the massive growth of second homes. I and the Liberal democrats have been calling for a change in the planning use class system to ensure that ALL properties – not just some holiday lets – which are not used for ‘permanent occupancy’ would need planning permission, and that permission could be refused if an objectively set quota had been reached in that community.

“The Conservatives don’t really understand what they’re doing, nor why they’re doing it. They just want to regurgitate fine-sounding announcements.

“There’s an oven-ready policy they could implement now, if they really mean what they profess.”