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New houses won't change parts that the visitors love

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 18, 2012

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Reading the Western Morning News letter of October 8 from Mrs Arnold of Bude objecting to Cornwall Council's Core Strategy to build 48,000 new homes up to 2030, and heaping the blame for Cornwall's housing shortage on rich English second home buyers, I'm just mighty grateful I'm not young, Cornish and trying to buy my first home in the Bude area.

In 2006 the overall percentage of Cornish second homes was only 5.6% but it was concentrated in picturesque and fashionable coastal hot spots where demand has inflated prices.

However, hardly any second home demand touched the main Cornish towns and in those locations it is a combination of scarcity and public sector earnings that has driven house prices up.

On March 15 this year you published an interesting letter by Kate Tregunna, a young Liberal Democrat housing campaigner, who pointed out the percentage increase in Truro house prices was the highest in the country when Cornwall is its poorest county.

A couple of weeks later a WMN report quoted a Truro estate agent who said higher paid public sector workers outbid the locals, who are moving to cheaper St. Austell and Redruth.

This Truro price hike wasn't due to English second homers, it's because of a concentration of relatively well-paid public sector professional and administrative employment in Truro. The recent outline approval of 1,500 new dwellings near Truro's Treliske hospital at Threemilestone begins to correct the imbalance between supply and demand but there must be similar schemes approved across Cornwall to extinguish the cruel legacy of Nimbyism.

When you bear in mind the former South West Regional Assembly Spacial Strategy proposed 70,000 new dwellings over the same period, the 48,000 now being proposed appears to be reasonable and intelligent people will hopefully disregard childish scaremongering about second homes and Cornwall being concreted over.

The 2011 Census revealed there are 230,400 households in Cornwall, an increase of 7% over 2001 and at that rate of growth we will need another 48,000 dwellings without even allowing for replacement of obsolete homes or changes in demography as the Cornish live longer. Spread across Cornwall, most of them on the outskirts of main towns and well away from coastal Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, 48,000 new houses won't change the part of Cornwall that visitors love. Councillor Mark Kaczmarek is the council's Executive Cabinet member for both planning and housing and I believe he is entitled to our support because if we fail to give it to him, Whitehall is likely to impose an even higher figure. Incidentally only 20 individuals or organisations could be bothered to respond to Cornwall Council's Core Strategy public consultation for the Bude area.

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