Last week saw another really positive development in my campaign towards addressing the impact of holiday lets on communities in Truro and Falmouth, when the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Communities and Local Government, Michael Gove, visited St Agnes to announce a major new Government policy.
One of the biggest issues that I am often contacted about
locally is the lack of affordable accommodation for local people, particularly
in our rural and coastal communities.
This was really brought home to me following the pandemic
when in one of my first constituency advice surgeries since restrictions
lifted, held in St Agnes, within two hours, I had had 15 constituents and
families through the doors, and every single one was either being evicted or
their rent was going up so much that they could not stay. Pretty much all those
properties were going to be flipped into Airbnbs.
Since then, along with Cornish MP colleagues, we have been
lobbying the Government to make changes in this area to ensure that we do not
let this continue to happen.
A lot of these changes to better restrict the holiday let
industry and correct the imbalance of these properties towards those occupied
by local people all year round have been made possible through the Government’s
landmark Levelling Up Act, which came into law last year.
The Levelling Up Act has already given local authorities
like Cornwall Council the power to double council tax on existing second homes,
something I know that Cornwall Council have welcomed and will be bringing into
practice from April 2025, the earliest that they are able to.
But the Government has gone further and last year consulted
on giving additional powers to local authorities via the Levelling Up Act to
hold mandatory registers of all holiday lets, and also to allow local
authorities to make people who want to turn existing residential properties
into holiday lets to have to do so via making a planning application for change
of use, therefore giving the local authority the ultimate decision as to
whether to allow holiday lets into communities or not. These powers will give
local authorities the tools to be able to see the scope of the problem and
identify where there are large numbers of holiday lets overwhelming
communities, and then give them the power to do something about it, by giving
them a say via a planning application.
I very much welcomed the consultation by the Government
last year, and was delighted to see Michael Gove, speaking to myself and
residents of St Agnes last week, commit the Government to adopting these
proposals in full. This will give local authorities like Cornwall Council more
powers to do something about holiday lets in communities that are adversely
affected by them, and in doing so, will also encourage landlords to keep their
properties in the open market, and sell or rent to local people who will occupy
them all year round. A really good step forward, and I will continue to work to
get the best deal for Truro and Falmouth, and Cornwall, now and in the future.
As always, I am fully focused on the job at hand and if
there is ever anything at all I can do to help, then please do not hesitate to
contact me. Please get in touch with me by email at
Cherilyn.email@example.com , or by telephone on 01872 229698. My
regular constituency advice surgeries are held in a covid-safe environment at
my office, so please do get in touch should you wish to meet me about any
matters that I can be of assistance with.