'It's amazing' Cornwall cottages close to becoming holiday lets saved for locals

  • Watch Jacquie Bird's report

Three cottages which were in danger of being sold off as holiday homes have been saved so young Cornish people can live in them.

Around 50% of the properties in Cawsand in Cornwall are second homes - meaning the village's population goes from around 3,500 in the summer to just 900 in the winter months.

But now the Peninsula Trust is trying to breathe new life into the village and ensure locals can keep living there.

The group has bought a row of cottages in Cawsand from Cornwall Council which were only available for local people to rent.

New parents Levi Voyzey and Rosie Tait were among the first tenants to move in.

Levi's family have lived in the area for years, but without this initiative the family of three would not have been able to continue their life there.

The area is a popular tourist spot during the summer months which can leave locals without accommodation because of holiday letting. Credit: ITV News

"Financially, it's very stable because it's social housing. We know we're going to be looked after," Levi said.

Rosie added: "We're really lucky because it's not much more than our one-bed flat. So it's really good.

"It's amazing; the baby has got his own room. This is kind of why we were looking for a two bed just because we needed the bedroom for him." 

More than 40 people applied to rent the properties. All of whom were finding it difficult to find suitable housing in a place where half of the year homes in the village stand empty.

One of those people was Chloe Taylor. She was renting a tiny flat that she had to move out of for the whole of August to allow it to be used as a holiday let.

"I'm really, really grateful we've got this place and we've been able to stay," she told ITV News.

"My partner is a fisherman with the local fisherman here in Cawsand as well. He's one of the last fishermen down here.

"And without having him on the boat, he'd probably have to stop doing what he does as well because he's getting on and it's hard work for an old boy isn't it? So we're incredibly grateful we've got this place."

The Peninsula's trust's latest project is to build four flats at the Ship Inn. Credit: ITV News

The trust's latest project is The Ship Inn. The group is rebuilding it after it was destroyed by fire with a community cafe just reopening following the easing of Covid restrictions.

There are plans to turn the upstairs space into four more flats for more locals to rent.

Chair of the Peninsula Trust, Debbie Patterson, added: "You walk through a village like this in the winter and at least half the properties are empty because they are second homes.

"It's inevitable, isn't it really, somewhere lovely like this, people want to come. We're lucky to live here all the time but it means young people are forced out of the village.

"They have to leave to find work, they have to leave to find somewhere to live and the villages die because the local businesses aren't supported, the cafes close, the shop struggles to open, so it's very much a rolling process isn't it? If there's no housing, everything else follows."