Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall believes that individuals and families have a fundamental right to good quality and affordable housing. We also hold the view that local people should be able to purchase homes in their own communities. But such rights are being denied to a whole generation of young people because of a housing market that is out of control and the inadequate provision of affordable housing.
Families in Cornwall have the lowest incomes in Britain while house prices are rocketing due to market forces, leaving a clear mismatch between local wages and house prices. When Labour came to power the average cost of a house in Cornwall was less then £65,000. In the final quarter of 2004, that cost was approximately £200,000.
There is no lack of housing in Cornwall, but young people have been excluded from the housing market and many coastal villages have become little more than havens for holiday makers.
· Set up a Cornish Housing Board, democratically accountable to the people of Cornwall, which would devise the strategy for housing provision in Cornwall.
· Only allow housing developments which could demonstrate a local need through an ‘assessment of community need and acceptability.’
· Increase the number of affordable homes for local people, through strict new planning regulations and greatly increased financial support for Housing Associations, other social landlords and councils to rebuild a public rented sector and invest in more partial ownership schemes.
· Increase loans to first-time buyers through a greatly enhanced HomeBuy scheme.
· Introduce planning restrictions to stop and then reverse the spread of second ‘homes.’ Planning permission would be needed to turn a family home into a second ‘home’ and if more than 5% of the housing stock in a particular settlement and/or parish were second ‘homes,’ no more would be allowed.
· Introduce new planning rules to restrict such developments of ‘holiday home’ resorts such as that proposed at Carlyon Bay.
· Institute a charter of ethical behaviour for estate agents, which includes restricting advertisements to the local area for the first three months.
· Greater support for housing co-operatives and community land trusts.