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28 October 2014

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Holiday homes causing resentment
The picture postcard image of Devon - such as Holbeton in the South Hams - has attracted holiday home owners to the county
The growth of second homes is becoming a big issue in parts of Devon. In some areas, there's anger that so many homes are lying empty for much of the year, while local people struggle to find affordable housing.
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It may be a bit drastic, but a suggestion that second homes in one Devon village should be marked with a black spot at least reveals the extent of local resentment.

The suggestion was made by a resident in Appledore, where more than four in 10 houses are now second homes.

Appledore, which is in Torridge District Council, has been dubbed the second home capital of Devon.

Terry Bailey is a member of the charity, Appledore Pirates, and says the number of holiday homes is killing the village and driving out local young people.

It's also helping to push house prices out of reach of local people.

Appledore, dubbed the second home capital of Devon
Local police immediately condemned the black spot idea.

And some businesses say that the second home owners spend money in the village and help to keep it alive.

In November 2003 South Hams became the first council in the country to cut discounts on council tax for second homes.

The authority increased the council tax levels from 50% to 90% for second homes.

Already, Plymouth City Council, East Devon, North Devon and Teignbridge district councils have followed the South Hams in increasing council tax for second homes to 90%.

If copied right across Devon, the move would raise £7m a year.

West Devon Borough Council followed suit by announcing it was to charge second home owners for 90% of council tax from 1st April 2004 - for one year initially.

The borough has some 320 second homes, and the move will raise £139,000 in 2004-5.

Newton Ferrers
Newton Ferrers in the South Hams. The district has a high number of holiday homes
More than 11% of homes in the South Hams are holiday homes, and some places are like ghost towns during winter months.

By comparison, private rented accommodation amounts to 9%, while social housing is just 7%.

The figures were released by South Hams District Council, when it released its strategy to tackle homelessness.

Some homeless families are having to be be put up in bed and breakfast accommodation because of the shortage of housing.

The council has warned the situation will get even worse, because the disparity between second homes and social housing numbers is likely to grow.

Article first published: 29th October 2003
Updated: 23rd December 2003

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