Second homes are the true cause of crisis
10:57am Wednesday 29th August 2012 in Letters
I read with interest your headline article (Wednesday 15th August "Homes crisis:facts revealed") in last week's Falmouth Packet.
It was noteworthy by virtue of its implied anti-student attitude: i.e. that the rise in occupancy of housing by students is regarded as an imposition to those living in Falmouth and Penryn.
I believe that we are privileged by the influx of students to this area, which had become in recent years filled by an ageing population and a house price speculation zone.
Students bring with them not only money but also creativity, zest and refreshing alternative viewpoints; these characteristics should be admired and incorporated into our local society if Falmouth is not to become a place of retirement and the bigoted attitudes that often go with that.
I see that the article did not address the real cause of housing problems in the area, which is the creation of houses bought by people from richer areas of the UK that are then left unoccupied for months at a time.
These so-called 'second homes' are a misnomer and a profound interference with our communities.
No one person can own two homes: two houses maybe, but the effect of a home is to add to the community for 12 months a year, not just one.
No house that is largely empty can benefit our community: indeed I would go so far as to say that they detract from it. People using their holiday homes are there for the fun that can be had over a short period.
Building a community is a much slower and more profound process than can be achieved in that time. Students bring so much to our lives here, second house owners so little.
If Diana Merrett and the planning department at County Hall want to address housing issues let them look no further than the high percentage of houses left vacant for the ten month 'off' season.
This is a matter well worthy of address, but I somehow doubt that anyone from that department has an appetite for this true and just fight.