Yesterday in the House of Commons a series of conversations took place in the department of “Levelling Up, Housing and Communities” and one of them was in Local Infrastructure. One of the people that took part was Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale. The person who responded to his call was Stuart Andrew who is a Minister and also the Conservative MP of Pudsey in West Yorkshire. Here is the question and answer and let us hope that Stuart Andrew will be publicising the roundtable discussions he is organising and indeed that communities which are finding the second home situation is causing enormous challenges for them, would be able to call for a discussion with him.
Tim Farron: It is vital that infrastructure is provided before development is allowed. It is also vital that houses that are given planning permission are then used for the purposes agreed on when the permission was granted. I am talking about second home ownership. Homes that are built for local families become second homes, and that leads to communities being hollowed out. Will the Minister look again at bringing in new change of use rules through the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill, so that second homes and holiday lets fall under a separate category of planning use, and homes in Cumbria can remain for local families, and do not become part of ghost towns?
Stuart Andrew: I seem to be dealing with the issue of second homes daily; colleagues from around the country are raising it with me and highlighting their concerns for their communities. The Bill allows local councils to increase council tax on second homes, but there is more that we need to explore. That is why I am holding a series of roundtables across the country. Perhaps I could come up to the Lake district and hold one there.