Today the South West is seen as a hotspot or retreat for all age groups. Its beautiful landscapes and popular coastline mean that many people are regularly visiting Cornwall, leading into them buying second homes. However these outsiders are pushing locals away and this is why I propose councils enforce a limit on the sale of second home properties in popular areas.
With so many people interested in second homes the property market is booming and prices are continuing to increase, between 2001 and 2004 in the town of Padstow property prices rose by 144% (from Halifax survey). With this in mind locals are trying to invest in property before it becomes too expensive, yet so are outsiders who are willing and more able to pay more as they still have 10% discount on council tax. Second home owners used to only have to pay 50% of council tax yet this was then raised to 90% in order to help support local projects.
This situation is having a terrible effect on local people. Higher prices and higher taxes have to be paid which some cannot afford, resulting in people having to move away from their local area in order to stay financially stable. This then leaves another home on the market that is more likely to become a second home.
In the small fishing village of Port Isaac, now well known as the setting for television show Doc Martin, ITV, staggeringly 75% of the properties are second homes. This causes a number of seasonal problems.
During the summer roads become busy and dangerous, beaches full, environment damaged…what can only be described as a mere hell for locals. “I had to pay ï¿½4 to park in Polzeath” complained a local surfer. Also during the evenings tourist children have been a persistent problem in Polzeath. Students coming down for the summer to stay in their family or friends second homes are found congregated on the road and beach drinking, shouting and vandalising property, and this is on a nightly basis. To solve the problem nine police officers were stationed at Polzeath to patrol the evenings yet this was a waste of money and very annoying for local youths “When we wanted to hang out we would have to stand in a spotlighted area that the police had allocated, just because others were causing trouble” said a teenager from Polzeath. However when winter settles in they all return north leaving towns like Port Isaac and Polzeath to appear as ‘ghost towns’. This then leaves local businesses with no option but to close up for the winter which also leaves locals unemployed and it can be very hard to find a job for the winter.
As soon as winter comes the local teens are left with the town to themselves and not much to do. Most travel to Wadebridge, which is about fifteen minutes away, to work and to meet up with friends in town. Recently “Tube Station” was built in Polzeath, a half pipe for skaters of Polzeath and the surrounding area to use and also for other teens to just hang out.
This is why I think a limit on the sale of second homes in popular areas should be enforced. It would help by; firstly less second homes means more local homes at affordable prices, also larger population numbers would be maintained throughout the year and furthermore businesses would be able to have a longer season and provide jobs through the winter…
And with all this gained we still don’t loose our biggest input from tourism that helps keep our economy going. I’m not saying we stop the sale of second homes as we then would have a major fall in our economy but if we limit the number of second homes available locals will have a better lifestyle which they are entitled to and outsiders will still have the option to move here. Limiting second homes in popular areas also gives the chance to then develop housing in small areas for permanent residents but also second home owners and overall improve the economy of the South West.