South Hams to get £1.8million to help with the effects of second homes

By Sam Acourt in Politics

SOUTH Hams District Council will receive £1.8million from the Community Housing Fund to support communities affected by second homes.

South Hams District Councillors and Dr Sarah Wollaston MP have successfully lobbied parliament for funding for communities affected by second home ownership.

Today, January 11, South Hams District Council is delighted that their efforts have been recognised and the district will receive a £1.8 million boost for affected communities.

In the 2016 Budget, the Government announced it would provide funding for communities affected by second homeownership, however by November, having heard no further update, Members requested the support of Dr Sarah Wollaston MP.

A spokesman for South Hams Council said: ‘The council provided a very robust case requesting a good proportion of the identified funds and Dr Wollaston tabled a Parliamentary question on the matter.

‘Now the Government has identified a £60 million nationwide Community Housing Fund to support community-led housing developments in areas where the impact of second homes is particularly acute.’

Cllr Simon Wright explained: ‘We have been pressing for a share of the fund from central government for some time now due to the high numbers of second homes in the South Hams, working closely with Dr Wollaston on earmarking a proportion of the fund for the district.

‘We are therefore thrilled with this outcome and the support it will bring to local communities across the district. The fund will really help boost affordable housing provision for communities affected by second home ownership, this really is brilliant news for the South Hams.’

Dr Sarah Wollaston MP added: ‘I am really encouraged that South Hams has been successful and will be receiving £1.8 million from the Community Housing Fund. The issue of affordable housing is clearly a priority for residents in the South Hams.’

Often, second homes stand empty for a large proportion of the time which can affect communities, the demographics of an area and distort local housing markets. The South Hams has just under 4,000 second homes which makes up over 9 per cent of the total households, therefore the impact of second homes is acute in the area.

Cllr Hilary Bastone said: ‘We are very pleased with this outcome. The impact of second homes on rural communities has been acknowledged and we are delighted that the fund has been set up to help communities affected by second homeownership.

‘The South Hams has some of the highest levels of second homeownership in the country and this is reflected in our allocation of funds. The amount is second to that allotted for the whole of Cornwall, which has well over six times our population.

‘Local residents find it increasingly difficult to get on the housing ladder due to a number of issues, which can include a high proportion of second homes in the area. This money will help us to support local, community led housing initiatives.’

Once full details of the scheme have been released, the council will be in a position to plan for the next steps.

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