The former leader of the Liberal Democrats is calling for a ban on family homes being used for holiday lets and short-letting via Airbnb and similar platforms.
Tim Farron, MP for South Lakeland in Cumbria, has started a petition calling for planning law to be changed to stop family homes being turned into second homes and holiday lets.
The petition is not on one of the conventional petition websites, nor the gov.uk site, but is on a Lib Dem party website.
Farron says that in the South Lakeland area there has been a 32 per cent increase in the number of holiday lets over the past year alone.
And he claims that the stamp duty holiday has helped to lead to what he describes as “a sharp anecdotal rise in the number of second homes being bought in Cumbria.”
Farron says a recent meeting of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority revealed that 3,100 of the national park’s 12,000 properties were now holiday lets and second homes.
“In rural places across the United Kingdom from Cumbria to Cornwall, and Wales to Northumberland, the explosion in the number of family homes being turned into second homes and holiday lets is turning our beautiful vibrant communities into ghost towns” claims the Liberal Democrat MP.
“Holiday lets provide great economic benefit to the local area and of course people are entitled to buy a second home, but the need for families to have a home of their own must come first.
“I want to see holiday lets and second homes become different categories of planning use so that local councils have the power and resources to say when enough is enough.
“This should have happened years ago but the extreme circumstances brought about by the pandemic and the stamp duty holiday mean that now surely is the time for radical action.”
You can see the petition here.
Earlier this week a Conservative MP said he would declare a “state of housing emergency” in his constituency because of the loss of stock away from long-term renting towards Airbnb-style short lets.
Anthony Mangnall, the Tory member for Totnes in Devon, told The Times: “There are just 19 properties you can rent long-term in the whole of South Hams on Rightmove, yet there are 300 advertised on Airbnb in Salcombe, another 300 in Kingsbridge, a similar number in Totnes.
“Yet we have hospital staff who can’t find anywhere to live, RNLI crew that can’t live in the town they serve. This is starting to become dangerous.”