Derek Thomas delivered a vigorous speech in Parliament on Monday night during an opposition debate on the nation-wide housing crisis and the White Paper on Planning. He spoke about the damage owning a second home can cause to local communities and said local people would support building houses if they knew the houses would be inhabited by local families.
St Austell and Newquay MP Steve Double backed him by calling on the government to change the legislation so that you need a building permit for a house to become a second home.
WATCH Steve Double also posed a question to the Prime Minister’s questions today on the housing crisis in Cornwall:
Derek Thomas told the Commons on Monday: âWe need the White Paper on Planning to provide the right housing in the right places for the right people, and we cannot come close to implementing the upgrade program. government unless you get the right housing.
He continued: âThis debate is about local involvement in planning, and local priorities are at the heart of it. I know my local community in West Cornwall and Scilly would come together to build homes if my constituents knew that local families would get homes they can afford and call their own.
âI ask the Secretary of State to take a close look at the situation in Cornwall, where locals are struggling to access the housing ladder.
âThe demand to live in a place as beautiful as ours has created big problems for the people who already live there. With the new Conservative-led Cornwall Council administration and government incentives to help first-time buyers, I have no doubts that we can solve this problem. With the white paper on planning, this is even more certain.
“Declare a Housing Emergency” in Cornwall
âThe Planning White Paper should and can sweep through three areas of opportunity, all of which are consistent with the government’s level-to-the-top agenda, and they all depend on a strong local plan. The first is that of houses built for people who need them. In places such as Cornwall and other areas discussed this afternoon, we need to carefully consider how housing policy can ensure that homes under construction are available to locals.
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Steve Double then made an intervention. He asked
âDoes my hon. Does a friend share my view that part of the housing crisis in Cornwall is largely down to second and vacation ownership? So does he agree that it is time for the government to seriously consider requiring a building permit for a house that will not be a primary residence? “
Derek thomas responded
âI welcome my honorable friend. Intervention of a friend because I was about to broach this subject and attribute this very idea to him. This is absolutely the case that we live in a beautiful part of the world; Mr. Vice-President, come and visit us, but please don’t buy a house there, not until we sort it out.
My Honorable Friend is correct that people want homes in our area â they want to have their breeches there â but it has caused huge problems for communities like Mousehole, St Ives and Porthleven in my riding. We don’t want to interfere in the market, but the current idea is that we have some kind of planning condition for properties that will not be a primary residence.
This white paper is to sweep through stronger local communities, where family homes contribute to the viability of the pub, local post office and local school. I have a situation right now at Coverack; her fantastic community school has years of history, but there are simply not enough children in the area to support it. We have a plan, but for the plan to survive it needs housing built for local families over the next three years.
MP for St Ives commented after the debate
âI am happy to have been able to intervene in this debate on this crucial issue. I would be absolutely wrong not to stand up for my constituents and those in the rest of Cornwall who are struggling today to be able to live in what they call home.