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MP wants fair deal for young home-buyers

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: October 25, 2012

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NEWS that Cornwall is officially the second home capital of the UK has led St Ives MP Andrew George to call for a change in the law.

Data from the 2011 Census shows 23,000 people nationwide registered a second address in Cornwall.

The MP says as a result, young people in west Cornwall find it very hard to buy a home where they live.

He wants planning law changes to protect "local people".

He said: "This is about dealing with the consequences of unequal housing opportunities. People have the right to buy a second home.

"It's not surprising that many come to Cornwall, one of the most beautiful parts of the country but it's also undeniable that such a high prevalence of second homes does have an impact on the opportunities for locals, especially young people trying to get onto the housing ladder."

The data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows the number of people with second addresses they use when working away from home, holidaying or during university holidays.

It doesn't include buy-to-let properties never occupied by their owners.

Mr George, who successfully campaigned for the end of the 50 per cent discount on council tax previously enjoyed by Cornwall's second home owners, said a recent survey of estate agents in the area showed that for each home sold to a first time buyer, four houses were sold as second homes "which won't be lived in for most of the year".

He said: "When it has an impact on the housing chances of local families, local authorities need the power to curb the sheer volume of property being transferred from family homes to holiday homes."

Mr George wants a new class of 'non-permanent occupancy' for homes.

He said: "Just as someone wanting to turn a residential property into a shop or café would need to apply for permission for change of use, people wanting to buy a home for part-time residency should have to apply for permission to do so."

West Cornwall estate agent Chris Wood of PDQ Property said: "As someone who has children who are of house-buying age living in Cornwall it is something that I worry about. But the majority of our homes are sold to local people and the majority of the property that is sold as second homes are, in fact, sold to local people.

"It is those local people that are spending the money that they earn from letting them out in the local economy. So the issue is not as clear cut as people think.

"I am in favour of more housing being available to local people but how do you regulate it?

"I think what we need is more social housing for all who genuinely need it.

"What we need are more homes to rent for perfectly decent people who have found themselves on benefits."

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  • PaddyTrembath  |  October 26 2012, 11:59PM

    H_Trevorrow wrote:- "mr george and paddy and a host of manipulative political types are obviously confusing the issue. The message from the estate agent clearly shows thier deception." "Mr" Trevorrow, the "message" from the Estate Agent, clearly shows that he is either unaware of the definition that Office of National Statistics uses for second "homes", or is being deliberately misleading in his "message". It is clear from your comments, that either you have failed to actually read the article, or are yourself a member of that "host of manipulative political types" that you claim to be "confusing the issue". The figures produced by the Office of National Statistics clearly show who is guilty of deception here.

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  • Kernowprotect  |  October 26 2012, 2:17PM

    I am a second home owner in Cornwall - so obviously an 'undesirable'. My other home is near London which is the REAL second home capital of the UK - and North Norfolk and South Hams are above Cornwall in the somwhat dubious league table. My main home is about 20 miles from the Thames side second home of Andrew George MP. I wish I could afford such a location. But there again I have paid with my hard earned money for my second home. Mr George's second home was at the time of the MPs' expenses scandal paid for by the taxpayer . According to 'No Expenses Spared' the DT book on the scandal (p213/214) the main resident there was his daughter. The cheap solution for MPs ( and we taxpayers) would be to build a big Travelodge type hotel and let them stay there. But of course they are too grand for that even though it would free up probably 400 or so flats in London. As for Cornwall many of us who grew up here did not sit and winge about not having a home. We got on the train, got educated, got a job and paid our way unsubsidised so that we could own a couple of homes. That is the solution for Cornwall - go and find a job elsewhere as did the Cornish miners when the tin mines closed. Those of us in Cornwall's diaspora are scattered everywhere and most of us have done OK ! I realise that with Council elections in 2013 'second home owners' are a convenient target - especially from some Councillors who have achieved very little in life - although they are quite happy to vote themselves a massive pay increase. The extra nmoney they voted themselves this week ciould build several affordable homes ! My advice to politicians who exploit housing issues is, be careful - I wager they would not be so disaparaging if we second home owners were of an ethnic or religious minority. But the law applies to all minority groups equally.

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  • H_Trevorrow  |  October 26 2012, 1:38PM

    George and the other usual suspects have mis diagnosed the problem. Mis leading the ones they claim to be trying to help.....sinfull.

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  • Slimslad  |  October 26 2012, 1:13PM

    "I am amused to see a dramatic reduction in postings on this thread." "Amused", Craig? Perhaps people are tired of the same posters, (different names), who preach the same extreme views about the same subjects?

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  • Truro_Kernow  |  October 26 2012, 1:07PM

    Second home ownership along with tourism are a scourge on our Country. Overrated, undertaxed and overdue for legislation. I am amused to see a dramatic reduction in postings on this thread. Kernow kensa. Kernow bys vyken!

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  • youngcornwall  |  October 26 2012, 12:42PM

    "What we need are more homes to rent for perfectly decent people who have found themselves on benefits." Without making it too comfortable for them "on benefits" that they lose the incentive to stand on their own two feet.

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  • H_Trevorrow  |  October 26 2012, 11:57AM

    mr george and paddy and a host of manipulative political types are obviously confusing the issue. The message from the estate agent clearly shows thier deception.

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  • Big_Ger  |  October 26 2012, 11:14AM

    Andrew George pontificating on the evils of second home ownership? How odd... "Andrew George, the MP for St Ives, claims £847 a month from taxpayers on mortgage interest payments for the riverside flat. But the home insurance policy included on his expenses file is in the name of his 21-year-old daughter, Morvah George, a student who has worked as a professional model and as an intern for her father in Parliament." http://tinyurl.com/r27zec

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  • PaddyTrembath  |  October 26 2012, 9:44AM

    "The data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows the number of people with second addresses they use when working away from home, holidaying or during university holidays. It doesn't include buy-to-let properties never occupied by their owners." That bears reiterating, The houses that are counted as "Second Homes" are for individual use by the owner when working away from home, holidaying or fur use during university holidays. Not counted as "Second Homes" are houses that are brought as "But-to-Let". But an Estate Agent claims:- "But the majority of our homes are sold to local people and the majority of the property that is sold as second homes are, in fact, sold to local people. "It is those local people that are spending the money that they earn from letting them out in the local economy. So the issue is not as clear cut as people think." Clearly, no issue will ever be "clear cut" when you are talking about 2 totally different issues. So called "Second Homes" should be legislated against, not just made subject to planning laws, but banned completely. Not just in Cornwall, but throughout the UK, throughout the EU, in fact throughout the whole planet.

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  • H_Trevorrow  |  October 26 2012, 1:27AM

    lets get this staight...andrew george {lib dem or mk lite} believes every young person has the RIGHT to BUY thier own home.....no wonder no social housing gets built!!!!

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