Fresh plan to limit new second homes in Devon beauty spot

GV of Salcombe from PA
Salcombe could create a ban on new houses becoming second homes. (Pictured: general view of Salcombe). Credit: PA

Newly-built homes in Salcombe will not be allowed to be bought as second homes after councillors unanimously agreed to change an existing neighbourhood plan for the town.

The number of people buying second homes in the picturesque Devon town has increased, seeing it described as "Chelsea's playground".

But now there is set restrictions for how how houses can be used will be tightened after a South Hams District Council made the unanimous decision when it met last week.

Around 57 per cent of homes in Salcombe are already classed as ‘second homes’.

The existing neighbourhood plan already had a condition that anyone buying a newly-built home in the area had to have a local connection to the town.

But councillors were told this condition can get lost or are overlooked when a house is resold, allowing them to quickly become second homes.

An amendment to the plan to strengthen the condition has been proposed and backed by councillors to introduce a legal condition on all new housing in the parish.

New open market housing will only be supported where there is a Section 106 agreement to ensure its occupancy as a principal residence, and the occupancy restriction will need the imposition of a legal agreement.

The plan says: “The consequence of the high value placed on market housing which attracts primarily second home owners is the lack of supply of properties for younger working people and families. These families move away from the parish.

New build houses Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire/PA Images

“If not checked, the demand for high value housing places unsustainable pressure on the AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and countryside surrounding the town.”

The plan adds: “You should not be misled to think the plan is anti-second home owners, it is not. Those who have second homes in the parish play an essential role supporting the social fabric of the town and the local economy and we hope this will continue unchanged.

“Second home ownership makes a valuable contribution to the local economy and social fabric of the town whilst acknowledging the sustainability of Salcombe Parish is being compromised through the amount of properties that are not occupied on a permanent basis.

“But this policy will support the housing needs of local people, and bring greater balance and mixture to the local housing market and create new opportunities for people to live and work here, and strengthen the community and local economy.”