Government offers money to ‘mitigate’ against second-homes
Just before Christmas the Government made an announcement that it had created a fund to help those areas will a high number of second-homes. The funding is allocated between local authorities proportionate to the number of holiday homes in the local area and taking account of the affordability of housing to local people.The amount of money available nationally is £60m. From this pot, Cornwall Council will receive £5,117,980.
Whilst I welcome this money, it is not really going to deal with the issue of second-homes. I long campaigned for any second-home or holiday-let to require planning permission before it could change from full-time occupation. In this campaign, I submitted a Motion to Cornwall Council which was fully supported to ask the Government to change the planning rules. Details of that Motion can be found HERE. Yet the Government dismissed the Council’s Motion and letter (blogs on second-homes HERE).
How can the £5m allocated to Cornwall Council be spent? In essence, the fund will enable local community groups deliver affordable housing units of mixed tenure on sites which are likely to be of little interest to mainstream house-builders. Being honest, getting developers to build is not a problem, the problem is what happens to those open market dwellings after they are built.
Furthermore, in the Governments own words, this funding will “contribute to the overall national effort to boost housing supply.”
From the Government’s message, it seems to tackle second-homes is to build more housing. This will not solve the problem. The problem can be mitigated against if there was a change to planning legislation. For instance, you cannot change a business unit into a home without planning permission. The same rule should apply for both second-homes and holiday-lets.