What second homes do to a community …

I’ve been wondering where I’d like to live (given a choice) especially as, ten years down the line, I continue to miss the arts, culture, easy transport links, and indeed access to higher education (and jobs), though I love the views/scenery/sea and friendliness of Bude.

Would it be Bude, or somewhere else? Well, I’ve visited many a place, and it is interesting to see what is available locally, what closes down for winter, and where is really busy with tourists in the summer, as it strikes me that a home in a vibrant community with things happening all year round is important. Yet, recently, I stayed in the centre of Frome with life on the doorstep. It was also very light, and very noisy – I struggled to sleep! So would the centre of a town be right for me? Some places seem amazing when you visit but for much of the year, they are over-full, while at other times they are deserted.

Such pondering left me investigating second home-ownership because when houses are left empty for much of the year, it damages communities – shops close, and educational and health infrastructure cease to exist at a reasonable level. It also raises the cost of housing, often making it unaffordable for local people. Weekend visitors often bring their food and necessities with them rather than buy locally. The list could go on.

Cornwall Council says:

The 2011 Census recorded 11% of households in Cornwall as holiday homes or second homes, with no resident living there full time on the day of the Census (27 March 2011). Second homes no longer receive any council tax discount. This means that they are not recorded in the Council Tax database, making it harder to get an accurate number of second homes.

At 31 March 2018, the Council tax register estimated that around 13,500 (5%) of homes in Cornwall are second homes. Bude-Stratton figures are around 5%, lower than I expected, which maybe explains why Bude is a good community in which to live. According to Cornwall Council’s info, the north Cornwall second-home hotspots are:

St Minver lowlands 42% (Rock and area) St Minver highlands 36%, St Merryn 35%, St Endellion 30%, Padstow 28%, but closer to home we have Kilkhampton on 13% (presumably skewed by Penstowe) while Launceston has a mere 1%.

In Devon’s South Hams area which I rather like, 1  in 11 homes is said to be a second home, while in west Dorset, the figure is 1 in 4. More than 20% of properties in Lyme Regis are reported to be second homes.

We all visit some lovely towns and think it might be wonderful to live there but would it? What are your views? What brought you to Bude – and kept you here?






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