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MPs float change of use for holiday lets and a cap on new-build sales for second homes

  • 13/08/2021
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MPs float change of use for holiday lets and a cap on new-build sales for second homes
The MP for North Devon Selaine Saxby has raised the potential for a change of use application to be required for holiday lets.


The Conservative MP and others representing constituents in popular locations spoke with secretary of state for housing Robert Jenrick last week about possible inclusions to the upcoming Planning Bill.

A second proposal being discussed is a cap on the number of new-builds that can be sold for use other than as a primary residence.

Saxby, speaking on BBC Radio 4’s World at One today, said: “We want to focus on building homes to ensure local people can work in the area, including in the tourist sector, and to find a better way to manage the holiday let market, so that we know how many properties are being rented out.”

Holiday lets have grown rapidly in popularity during the past year, as tax benefits and the staycation boom have encouraged investors to act.

Jenrick has been holding video calls with MPs to hear feedback on the Bill over the summer parliamentary recess, including from members of a 100-strong WhatsApp group of MPs called Planning Concern. The legislation is expected to go before parliament this year.

Saxby said the balance had tilted so that properties in coastal villages like Croyde, North Devon were now more than 60 per cent owned as second homes. 

However, she and others were mindful of the experience in Cornwall, where an attempt to use the planning process to curb sales of new-builds not for primary residence had backfired, with builders simply moving projects elsewhere.

“This is why nobody is rushing forward saying ‘this is the solution’,” Saxby said.

“We are well aware of what happened in Cornwall. These things need to be done on a more national basis, or perhaps along the full coast. Obviously, you can move building along the coast if it’s only one place doing something different,” she said.

Saxby added that her immediate challenge was in the private rental sector where evictions had left some people unable to find a new private rental because the market was bare. 

“They have, over the summer, eight or so weeks left, to find accommodation. These are people who work here in our community,” she said.

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