SLDC and National Park seek planning powers to restrict holiday and second homes

The Lake District and South Lakeland is a popular place to retire to

The Lake District and South Lakeland is a popular place to retire to

First published in News The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

SOUTH Lakeland District Council is making a bid to be given new powers to try and limit the number of second and holiday homes in the area.

Members of the Lib Dem run Cabinet have today (April 9) agreed a 'draft submission' to be sent to government asking for greater planning powers to control second homes and holiday lets in ‘fragile’ areas.

The idea, says the council, is in response to concerns that in some parts of South Lakeland more than 30 per cent of properties are now classed as ‘second homes', which the authority says can undermine the long-term viability of those communities.

A report to the Cabinet, which met in Sedbergh today, stated that such high levels of second homes can have several impacts - most notably driving up house prices leading to a greater demand for affordable homes.

The submission document to the Government shows that in some parts of Cumbria the average house price is now £317,458 – 10 times greater than the average £31,207 household income in those areas - often forcing young families to leave in search of more affordable accommodation.

The council said this causes major demographic shifts with younger people leaving and an increasingly ageing population being left.

The impact is more demand on care and health services and what the council says is an 'increasing lack of social cohesion' as the volunteer base for local organisations and activities grows older.

The submission adds: “The importance of tourism to the South Lakeland District cannot be underestimated, and the provision of holiday accommodation…plays an important role in sustaining the local economy.

“However, there is a need to ensure that the development of facilities targeted on tourists does not undermine the very communities that sustain the local environment.’’ The submission has been drawn up by SLDC working together with the Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA).

It calls for government to introduce an additional planning use class for ‘holiday houses’, to be used in areas where this type of property use is ‘damaging community sustainability.’ Using the new class would allow local authorities to restrict the change of permanently-occupied housing to use as a holiday house in fragile areas identified as having too many holiday houses.

An SLDC spokesman said the next stage, now that the submission has won the backing of Cabinet, will be to seek further support for the bid from other councils which share similar issues.

It is expected that the final submission under the government’s Sustainable Communities Act will be made during June 2014.

The spokesman continued: “The submission is made directly to government. Although not prescribed it is understood a response should be received within six months – around December 2014.

“If the council is not happy with the government response on the proposal the council can refer it to the Local Government Association, which is the recognised body for seeking a negotiated agreement on proposals not initially accepted. There is no prescribed timeframe for that.

“If the proposal is accepted and government agree to take the issue further, we do not yet have a likely timetable by which a mechanism may be put in place, but it will require further development as a mechanism, periods of public consultation and then the government decision-making process.

“It is anticipated that this may take a good number of months and likely a couple of years.’’

South Lakeland District Councillor, Jonathan Brook, Portfolio Holder for Strategic Growth, said: “This is about ensuring a sustainable future for our rural communities and taking a balanced approach.

“This would not be a blunt instrument and would not be applied retrospectively. It would be for individual parishes to come forward to ‘opt-in’ to the process if there was a particular problem identified in their area."

“It is very specific, and isn’t an attack on the holiday homes industry.’’

Comments (12)

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9:01pm Wed 9 Apr 14

Milkbutnosugarplease says...

It's too late to do this now because you can't back-date a change in planning law nor ban holiday letting in houses which were legally bought or adapted for that purpose. If you go to Elterwater, you might say that 30% is too low a figure for the proportion of holiday lets in the housing stock. Chapel Stile is not far behind. These properties pay business rates rather than council tax, so perhaps the way to discourage them is to levy a higher charge and thereby reduce the owners' profits. As to second homes, our shameful MPs have taught people cunning ways to hide what is and what is not a second home. Is the council sharp enough to deal with this and all the expensive appeals which are sure to follow?
It's too late to do this now because you can't back-date a change in planning law nor ban holiday letting in houses which were legally bought or adapted for that purpose. If you go to Elterwater, you might say that 30% is too low a figure for the proportion of holiday lets in the housing stock. Chapel Stile is not far behind. These properties pay business rates rather than council tax, so perhaps the way to discourage them is to levy a higher charge and thereby reduce the owners' profits. As to second homes, our shameful MPs have taught people cunning ways to hide what is and what is not a second home. Is the council sharp enough to deal with this and all the expensive appeals which are sure to follow? Milkbutnosugarplease
  • Score: 10

9:53pm Wed 9 Apr 14

JoshTheDog says...

This scheme should ring alarm bells with every home owner in South Lakeland as it would interfere with all property values in the area, force home owners into negative equity, influence mortgage lenders and discourage investment in the area.

If, for example, as a local resident I was to purchase a property, in a local village, with no restrictions on its use, with an 85% mortgage and then the local parish council decided that there was sufficient holiday cottages in that village and that future purchasers in the village would have to apply for planning permission for any newly purchased property to be used as a holiday home and this may not be granted, potential holiday home purchasers would look elsewhere and property prices in the village may drop by 25% leaving me in negative equity!

Once mortgage lenders were made aware that this could happen would they be prepared to extend a mortgage to other properties in the Lake District - I am sure they would not (it is already hard enough to get a mortgage on a property with a local occupancy clase on it as it is). How would this help local families if mortgages are not available?

If mortgage lenders stop lending against property in the area, investment in the economy and jobs is discouraged from the area.

The one thing that would happen is a drop in property prices as local residents try to off load their property prior to such a drastic scheme being introduced, leading to an even greater exodus of hard working families from the area.
This scheme should ring alarm bells with every home owner in South Lakeland as it would interfere with all property values in the area, force home owners into negative equity, influence mortgage lenders and discourage investment in the area. If, for example, as a local resident I was to purchase a property, in a local village, with no restrictions on its use, with an 85% mortgage and then the local parish council decided that there was sufficient holiday cottages in that village and that future purchasers in the village would have to apply for planning permission for any newly purchased property to be used as a holiday home and this may not be granted, potential holiday home purchasers would look elsewhere and property prices in the village may drop by 25% leaving me in negative equity! Once mortgage lenders were made aware that this could happen would they be prepared to extend a mortgage to other properties in the Lake District - I am sure they would not (it is already hard enough to get a mortgage on a property with a local occupancy clase on it as it is). How would this help local families if mortgages are not available? If mortgage lenders stop lending against property in the area, investment in the economy and jobs is discouraged from the area. The one thing that would happen is a drop in property prices as local residents try to off load their property prior to such a drastic scheme being introduced, leading to an even greater exodus of hard working families from the area. JoshTheDog
  • Score: 0

6:34am Thu 10 Apr 14

hogheaven says...

Last paragraph says "It is very specific, and isn’t an attack on the holiday homes industry.’’ so what is it then?Once again they start meddling in something which cannot be changed now, its too LATE.
Last paragraph says "It is very specific, and isn’t an attack on the holiday homes industry.’’ so what is it then?Once again they start meddling in something which cannot be changed now, its too LATE. hogheaven
  • Score: 2

11:30am Thu 10 Apr 14

doggiepaddle says...

This is an old idea and, as joshthedog has commented will hit existing permanent residents hard. Previous estimates by local chartered surveyors put the fall in value of local homes at 50% or more as reported in the Westmorland Gazette dated of 31st October 2008.

The surveyors also stated that Banks and Building Societies would view affected properties as high risk, which will limit mortgages and increase deposits substantially. I note the comments made in the article that this would not be a blunt instrument and would not be applied retrospectively. It would be for individual parishes to come forward to ‘opt-in’ to the process if there was a particular problem identified in their area." “It is very specific ……’’

Of course it has retrospective effect on all existing permanent homes by placing a new restriction on who we can sell our homes to. The measure cannot be specific to an individual parish since banks and building societies will have to restrict their lending across the whole of the National Park as soon as any new regulation appears. At any time over the 25 year duration of their loan the value of their security could be halved by any parish deciding to opt in to the scheme.

The largest group of stakeholders in the National Park are permanent homeowners – over two thirds of properties throughout the Park are owner occupied – yet no one is considering the impact on us.

The planning restriction proposed is unnecessary in any event. Anyone who supports a restriction can arrange for a legally binding occupancy covenant to be added to the title deeds of their own homes right now. Why isn’t the National Park supporting and developing a scheme for individual homeowners to make their own choice on this?
This is an old idea and, as joshthedog has commented will hit existing permanent residents hard. Previous estimates by local chartered surveyors put the fall in value of local homes at 50% or more as reported in the Westmorland Gazette dated of 31st October 2008. The surveyors also stated that Banks and Building Societies would view affected properties as high risk, which will limit mortgages and increase deposits substantially. I note the comments made in the article that this would not be a blunt instrument and would not be applied retrospectively. It would be for individual parishes to come forward to ‘opt-in’ to the process if there was a particular problem identified in their area." “It is very specific ……’’ Of course it has retrospective effect on all existing permanent homes by placing a new restriction on who we can sell our homes to. The measure cannot be specific to an individual parish since banks and building societies will have to restrict their lending across the whole of the National Park as soon as any new regulation appears. At any time over the 25 year duration of their loan the value of their security could be halved by any parish deciding to opt in to the scheme. The largest group of stakeholders in the National Park are permanent homeowners – over two thirds of properties throughout the Park are owner occupied – yet no one is considering the impact on us. The planning restriction proposed is unnecessary in any event. Anyone who supports a restriction can arrange for a legally binding occupancy covenant to be added to the title deeds of their own homes right now. Why isn’t the National Park supporting and developing a scheme for individual homeowners to make their own choice on this? doggiepaddle
  • Score: 1

11:31am Thu 10 Apr 14

doggiepaddle says...

This is an old idea and, as joshthedog has commented will hit existing permanent residents hard. Previous estimates by local chartered surveyors put the fall in value of local homes at 50% or more as reported in the Westmorland Gazette of 31st October 2008.

The surveyors also stated that Banks and Building Societies would view affected properties as high risk, which will limit mortgages and increase deposits substantially. I note the comments made in the article that this would not be a blunt instrument and would not be applied retrospectively. It would be for individual parishes to come forward to ‘opt-in’ to the process if there was a particular problem identified in their area." “It is very specific ……’’

Of course it has retrospective effect on all existing permanent homes by placing a new restriction on who we can sell our homes to. The measure cannot be specific to an individual parish since banks and building societies will have to restrict their lending across the whole of the National Park as soon as any new regulation appears. At any time over the 25 year duration of their loan the value of their security could be halved by any parish deciding to opt in to the scheme.

The largest group of stakeholders in the National Park are permanent homeowners – over two thirds of properties throughout the Park are owner occupied – yet no one is considering the impact on us.

The planning restriction proposed is unnecessary in any event. Anyone who supports a restriction can arrange for a legally binding occupancy covenant to be added to the title deeds of their own homes right now. Why isn’t the National Park supporting and developing a scheme for individual homeowners to make their own choice on this?
This is an old idea and, as joshthedog has commented will hit existing permanent residents hard. Previous estimates by local chartered surveyors put the fall in value of local homes at 50% or more as reported in the Westmorland Gazette of 31st October 2008. The surveyors also stated that Banks and Building Societies would view affected properties as high risk, which will limit mortgages and increase deposits substantially. I note the comments made in the article that this would not be a blunt instrument and would not be applied retrospectively. It would be for individual parishes to come forward to ‘opt-in’ to the process if there was a particular problem identified in their area." “It is very specific ……’’ Of course it has retrospective effect on all existing permanent homes by placing a new restriction on who we can sell our homes to. The measure cannot be specific to an individual parish since banks and building societies will have to restrict their lending across the whole of the National Park as soon as any new regulation appears. At any time over the 25 year duration of their loan the value of their security could be halved by any parish deciding to opt in to the scheme. The largest group of stakeholders in the National Park are permanent homeowners – over two thirds of properties throughout the Park are owner occupied – yet no one is considering the impact on us. The planning restriction proposed is unnecessary in any event. Anyone who supports a restriction can arrange for a legally binding occupancy covenant to be added to the title deeds of their own homes right now. Why isn’t the National Park supporting and developing a scheme for individual homeowners to make their own choice on this? doggiepaddle
  • Score: -1

11:55am Thu 10 Apr 14

amerindo says...

This is good news too many locals are being priced out.
This is good news too many locals are being priced out. amerindo
  • Score: 0

3:07pm Thu 10 Apr 14

shirtbox says...

Another Lib Dem pie in the sky dream.We live in a free country and can buy as many houses as we want as long as we pay all relevant taxes,I high tax regimes were in place by council tax and capital gains and rental incomes on the second homes then this would be a way forward.The real answer is to build more cheaper houses for locals and do it quick not keep talking.if sldc gave the land then excellent houses could be built for less than £60,000.
Another Lib Dem pie in the sky dream.We live in a free country and can buy as many houses as we want as long as we pay all relevant taxes,I high tax regimes were in place by council tax and capital gains and rental incomes on the second homes then this would be a way forward.The real answer is to build more cheaper houses for locals and do it quick not keep talking.if sldc gave the land then excellent houses could be built for less than £60,000. shirtbox
  • Score: -4

3:23pm Thu 10 Apr 14

amerindo says...

There needs to be more building of homes for the poorer people, too many Cumbrians are priced out.
There needs to be more building of homes for the poorer people, too many Cumbrians are priced out. amerindo
  • Score: 3

1:59pm Fri 11 Apr 14

ImFromAmbleside says...

This is a case of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted, the hay blown away, and the tools and equipment looted.

On the terrace where I rent my home, there are no other residents. Every other house is a second home, and it took years for them to have to pay full council tax on those properties. So, for years, these 'one week a year residents' got to enjoy their bolt-hole in the Lakes without really putting ANYTHING into the local community.

The system is now so skewed against local residents who want to work and live in the Lake District that even radical ideas like these will be ineffective and, as mentioned before, probably unworkable.

I have lived and worked in the Lake District all my life and would love to buy a home in the village I grew up, but it is unlikely to happen unless vast numbers of new homes are built.

The problem with building new houses is that those 'one week a year residents' who already own their properties do everything they can to prevent it.
Fisherbeck is a perfect, and disgraceful, example; a group of well off (and mainly) second home owners all chipped in to buy a plot of land that was ear-marked for more social housing, specifically to prevent it being developed - developed for local people and families who would love to stay in the village.

Villages like Ambleside are fast becoming exclusive holiday resorts where the well off 'one week a year residents' rent their properties to holiday maker for huge sums of money, while the residents have to pay 80 pounds, or more, per week for a single room!

This situation is compounded by reckless decisions, like the proposal to build a 64 bedroom hotel instead of affordable housing on land adjacent to a council estate.

Something needs to be done, I'm just not sure what can be.
This is a case of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted, the hay blown away, and the tools and equipment looted. On the terrace where I rent my home, there are no other residents. Every other house is a second home, and it took years for them to have to pay full council tax on those properties. So, for years, these 'one week a year residents' got to enjoy their bolt-hole in the Lakes without really putting ANYTHING into the local community. The system is now so skewed against local residents who want to work and live in the Lake District that even radical ideas like these will be ineffective and, as mentioned before, probably unworkable. I have lived and worked in the Lake District all my life and would love to buy a home in the village I grew up, but it is unlikely to happen unless vast numbers of new homes are built. The problem with building new houses is that those 'one week a year residents' who already own their properties do everything they can to prevent it. Fisherbeck is a perfect, and disgraceful, example; a group of well off (and mainly) second home owners all chipped in to buy a plot of land that was ear-marked for more social housing, specifically to prevent it being developed - developed for local people and families who would love to stay in the village. Villages like Ambleside are fast becoming exclusive holiday resorts where the well off 'one week a year residents' rent their properties to holiday maker for huge sums of money, while the residents have to pay 80 pounds, or more, per week for a single room! This situation is compounded by reckless decisions, like the proposal to build a 64 bedroom hotel instead of affordable housing on land adjacent to a council estate. Something needs to be done, I'm just not sure what can be. ImFromAmbleside
  • Score: 10

11:49am Sat 12 Apr 14

JBean2 says...

Please just let the developers get on and build more houses including affordable houses for people working in the area. We need more houses so that supply and demand will slowly bring down the cost of housing which is ridiculous. Please people stop objecting to every new development and remember that wherever your house is built, it was once undeveloped land.
Please just let the developers get on and build more houses including affordable houses for people working in the area. We need more houses so that supply and demand will slowly bring down the cost of housing which is ridiculous. Please people stop objecting to every new development and remember that wherever your house is built, it was once undeveloped land. JBean2
  • Score: 5

10:48am Mon 14 Apr 14

Evan Owen says...

This is why localism will never work, it is also a wake up call for the government with regard to the concept of protected landscapes that strangle the last gasp out of the communities who created them in the first place.

The National Parks Reforms Group is about to be brought back into play for English National Parks after lobbying the Welsh Government for change.
This is why localism will never work, it is also a wake up call for the government with regard to the concept of protected landscapes that strangle the last gasp out of the communities who created them in the first place. The National Parks Reforms Group is about to be brought back into play for English National Parks after lobbying the Welsh Government for change. Evan Owen
  • Score: -1

11:30am Mon 14 Apr 14

Evan Owen says...

JBean2 wrote:
Please just let the developers get on and build more houses including affordable houses for people working in the area. We need more houses so that supply and demand will slowly bring down the cost of housing which is ridiculous. Please people stop objecting to every new development and remember that wherever your house is built, it was once undeveloped land.
The fundamental problem is the conflict of interest in English and Welsh national park legislation. The SoS sent me an email saying 40% of England is a protected landscape, this is ridiculous and has become an open chequebook for those who run the show without any accountability to the residents of the area.
[quote][p][bold]JBean2[/bold] wrote: Please just let the developers get on and build more houses including affordable houses for people working in the area. We need more houses so that supply and demand will slowly bring down the cost of housing which is ridiculous. Please people stop objecting to every new development and remember that wherever your house is built, it was once undeveloped land.[/p][/quote]The fundamental problem is the conflict of interest in English and Welsh national park legislation. The SoS sent me an email saying 40% of England is a protected landscape, this is ridiculous and has become an open chequebook for those who run the show without any accountability to the residents of the area. Evan Owen
  • Score: 0

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