Crowds in Truro protest against Cornwall's 'perfect storm' housing crisis

  • Watch Charlotte Gay's report

Around 150 people from across Cornwall protested in the rain this afternoon to call for the Duchy's politicians to do more to stop the housing crisis.

Demonstrators called for more immediate action against second homes, high rents, holiday lets, and a lack of social housing.

It has been organised by 21-year-old Bella Smith, from Newquay, who said she was moved to action to let people share their stories of woe regarding the housing crisis, and to highlight the issue more broadly.

She says Cornwall needs to demand "that our MPs take real and immediate action that actually addresses the root of the crisis rather than the symptoms".

More than 45,000 people have signed a petition calling for a cap on local rents and a tax on second home owners.

Today's demonstrators said there was "real anger" in Cornwall right now for the lack of affordable housing. Some blamed tv programmes "selling a lifestyle in Cornwall that does not exist" leading to a boom in second home owners and people relocating into the South West.

Cornwall's MPs and Councillors were invited to come along to the protest but most did not attend.

Deputy leader for Mebyon Kernow, Cllr Loveday Jenkins spoke to the crowd and told ITV West Country it seemed like they were going back to the '1970s' with fewer young people finding jobs and places to live in Cornwall.

Calls from protesters to put caps on second homes and Airbnb in Cornwall Credit: ITV News

On Friday (20 August) Cornwall Council leaders restated their commitment to helping people affected by the unprecedented pressure on housing in Cornwall. 

Council Leader Linda Taylor called it "the top priority for this new administration" but admitted "things won’t get better overnight."

The action plan set out by Cornwall Council includes providing more cabin and modular homes as temporary and emergency accommodation, buying existing homes to use as social housing and enabling communities to stop new builds being snapped up by would be second homeowners. 

The councillor in charge of housing and planning, Cllr Olly Monk says they are doing "everything in their power" to tackle the "lack of decent affordable housing that residents are experiencing all over Cornwall."

The council has also pledged to work with Cornwall’s MPs to push for a change in legislation to stop people exploiting loopholes to avoid paying council tax.