Second homes and holiday lets – extra council tax or more stringent action?

Although there is greater recognition of the problems caused the presence of second homes, action to resolve this is limited. Cornwall Council decided last week that holiday lets and second homes should pay increased bills.

But what would this mean?

If all second homes paid twice the council tax they are currently deemed to pay, this would raise a total of £20.2 million.

If all of that was spent on new housing that would be the equivalent of 97 new homes in a year.

With 14,189 properties registered as second homes, 97 to offset the loss of 14,189 is not a lot.

Time to turn second homes into homes for permanent use perhaps?

The call for homes registered as small businesses to face council tax bills, and the call for holiday lets and second homes to face increased bills were both supported by the chamber.


Newquay – 455 houses for locals, the other 3,500 houses for whom?

So the Council wants to build another 455 houses at Newquay ‘for locals’. So who are the other planned 3,500 houses going to?

Bernard Deacon@bernarddeacon

A plot of land in Newquay has been bought by Cornwall Council – and will be used to provide up to 455 “quality homes for local people”.

The land has been bought as part of the Council’s Housing Development Programme (HDP) which will see the local authority investing up to £200 million in directly building and providing 1,000 new homes by 2022 on sites across Cornwall – all for local households.

The site at Trevithick Farm, Trevemper, Newquay, already has planning permission for up to 455 homes. The council intends to build around 150 homes through its Housing Development Programme with the intention of starting on site in about two years’ time.

It is envisaged that the remainder of the site will be developed by a housebuilder or registered provider, or provide an opportunity for the council to build additional affordable, supported or extra care housing.

You have been warned – more dangerous weather on the way!

Never mind, just carry on over consuming, driving your car, flying off to sunny climes!

Climate change has significantly boosted the chances of having summer heatwaves in the UK.

A Met Office study says that the record-breaking heat seen in 2018 was made about 30 times more likely because of emissions from human activity. Without warming the odds of a UK heatwave in any given year were less than half a percent. But a changing climate means this has risen to 12%, or about once every eight years.

The blazing summer of 2018 was the joint warmest for the UK, It tied with 1976, 2003 and 2006 for being the highest since records began in 1910.
The steep temperatures that sustained across most parts of the UK, peaked on July 27 when 35.6C was recorded at Felsham in Suffolk. Now researchers have analysed the observed data using climate models that can simulate the world with or without the impact of fossil fuel emissions. Announcing their findings at global climate talks in Katowice, Poland, UK Met Office researchers said that the impact of global warming on the hot summer were significant. “Climate change has made the heatwave we had this summer much more likely, about 30 times more likely than it would have been had we not changed our climate through our emissions of greenhouse gases,” said Prof Peter Stott, from the Met Office who carried out the analysis. “If we look back over many centuries, we can see that the summer like 2018 was a very rare event before the industrial revolution when we started pumping out greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.”

New housing in 2017-17 – where do they come from?

There was a total 3,427 net additional dwellings added to the housing stock in 2017-18.

So where do they come from?

New builds = 2,712
Conversions = 42
Change of use = 620
Other gains and losses = 54

Net change of use contributed 18.1% of the total which was above the England average of 13.4%.

What do Conversions consist of?
Changes from houses converted into flats.

What does Change of use consist of?
Basically changes from – Agricultural, Office, Storage, Light industrial and Other to residential use. Unfortunately there is no breakdown of the figures for Cornwall.

Data sourced from – Table 123 Housing supply; net additional dwellings, component flows of, by local authority district, England, 2017-18, MHCLG.

Affordable housing data

Over the period 14-15 to 17-18, 3,003 affordable houses were completed in Cornwall.

Of these:
110 (3.7%) were social rent dwellings;
821 (27.3%) were affordable rent dwellings;
2,072 (69%) were intermediate affordable dwellings.

[MHCLG, Affordable housing supply statistics (AHS) 2017-18, Live tables – 1006C,1006S, 1006aC,1006aS, 1007C,1007S, 1008C,1008S, 1009]

Social and affordable housing
Affordable housing is social rented, affordable rented and intermediate housing, provided to eligible households whose needs are not met by the market. Affordable housing should include provisions to remain at an affordable price for future eligible households or for the subsidy to be recycled for alternative affordable housing provision.

Social rented housing is owned by local authorities and private registered providers (as defined in section 80 of the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008), for which guideline target rents are determined through the national rent regime. It may also be owned by other persons and provided under equivalent rental arrangements to the above, as agreed with the local authority or with the Homes and Communities Agency.

Affordable rented housing is let by local authorities or private registered providers of social housing to households who are eligible for social rented housing. Affordable Rent is subject to rent controls that require a rent of no more than 80 per cent of the local market rent (including service charges, where applicable).

Intermediate housing is homes for sale and rent provided at a cost above social rent, but below market levels subject to the criteria in the Affordable Housing definition above. These can include shared equity (shared ownership and equity loans), other low cost homes for sale and intermediate rent, but not affordable rented housing. Homes that do not meet the above definition of affordable housing, such as ‘low cost market’ housing, may not be considered as affordable housing for planning purposes.

Cornwall – more housing for what though?

According to the latest figures from MHCLG, in 2017-18 there were 3,427 net additional dwellings in Cornwall. This is up by 353 (about 10%), from 3,074 in 2016-17.

Overall, in England and Cornwall, the number of net additional dwellings rose by 4,849, which is an increase of 2.2%.

So why does Cornwall warrant a rise of 10%, five times the rate for England?

With local housing demand limited, any increase in the housing stock will encourage more people to move to Cornwall. Anyone who thinks otherwise is presumably unaware of the pull factors which encourage movement to Cornwall – including the role of tourism and estate agents and developers creating demand.

[Net additions measure the absolute increase in stock between one year and the next, including other losses and gains (such as conversions, changes of use and demolitions)].

Alternatives to business rates?

The proposed alternative to business rates put forward by the Liberal Democrats is itself fundamentally flawed but it also ignores the need for environmental taxes which would encourage a more sustainable economy.

So what sort of taxes could be introduced to replace business rates?

Some options
Car and air Fuel taxes – we need to cut greenhouse gas emissions if we are to limit climate breakdown
Introduce workplace car parking charges
Introduce car parking charges for retail stores
Link charges for services – police and fire to insurance charges
Introduce general charges linked to ability to pay