Friday, 14 Jun 2024

The pretty seaside village where locals ‘can’t stand’ blatant second-home owners

A stunning seaside village beloved by second home seekers could become a place where “there’s no life” because young locals can’t afford to buy a property. 

St Mawes, on the Roseland Peninusla, near Falmouth, Cornwall, has a beautiful walled harbour lined with quaint gift shops, bars and guesthouses that make it a very attractive location to stay in the summer months.

But the village has just 585 people listed on the electoral register, and that number of locals has dwindled down 35 percent in the last 20 years. 

And some residents now openly fear their home could become a ghost town because of second home ownership driving up the property market. 

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Working in the post office is Lauren Ferris, whose family and friends have been affected by the rise in house prices, told CornwallLive: “It’s awful here now. I’m one of the last of my age group to be able to buy somewhere here as it stated in the deeds it should not be rented out.

“That was four years ago and no one of my age has bought since. There’s been nothing to buy since that’s been a reasonable price.

“With the growth in holiday homes, the quieter it gets in the winter here. In years to come there won’t be anything here at all. Who’s going to work in the doctor’s surgery, for the fire brigade or for the parish council? Things like the carnival and panto will get smaller and smaller because there’s no one here to do them.”

Another local Andy Fordham told the newspaper: “It’s very difficult for people born in the village to afford to stay here. There could come a point when there’s no life here, when locals’ children and grandchildren can’t afford to live and work here.”

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Speaking to local councillor Richard Bayliss said how second home owners needed to contribute to “the life and benefit of the village”.

He said: “At this rate the village will be empty before the end of the century. There are no fewer houses – in fact between the years there were 20 social houses built adding 34 to the register. The character of the village is being very much changed.

“There is all the difference in the world between those owned and used exclusively by upcountry folk and those which are rented out and occupied for much of the year.

“The growth of the former should, but I don’t know how, somehow be limited. They do not contribute to the life and benefit of the village.

“The latter, however, are entirely different. If the owners are not too greedy with rental charges they should have no trouble in achieving a high occupancy rate.

“The temporary residents bring benefits to the village by shopping, eating and drinking locally. In addition, properties suffer usage problems and have to be constantly maintained by local builders, carpenters, plumbers and electricians.”

Rebecca Tidy, 35, from London, said after she invested in a holiday home near picturesque St Mawes, locals began to complain about her driving prices up.

She told Fabulous: “Second home ownership is a really controversial topic in Cornwall. I have been stunned by just how many local residents hate Londoners for buying holiday lets in the county.”

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