CALLS have been made for Cornwall Council to try to secure new powers from the Government to stop the increase of second homes.

A motion is set to go to Tuesday’s full council meeting with cross-party support for new controls to restrict second and holiday homes.

It is being led by Labour councillor Cornelius Olivier who has been a long-standing campaigner against the rise in second homes in Cornwall.

In his motion the Penzance councillor says County Hall bosses should discuss the proposals with the Government as part of its devolution deal which aims to bring powers down to local level from Westminster.

One suggestion is aiming to close the loophole which has allowed some holiday home owners to avoid paying either council tax or business rates on their properties.

By registering their property as a business and then claiming that it is below the rateable value they have been able to avoid any charges.

Cllr Olivier has suggested that any holiday homes benefiting from small business exemption from business rates should be charged council tax.

The motion also calls for new powers which would allow parish and town councils to include additional restrictions on second and holiday homes in their neighbourhood plans.

Some areas – including St Ives, Mevagissey and Fowey – have done this by having a policy where no new homes can be used as second or holiday homes.

But Cllr Olivier’s plans go further in enabling neighbourhood plans to stop existing “primary residences” being turned into second or holiday homes.

Lastly the motion is calling on the Government to allow local councils to make an additional council tax charge on second and holiday homes which would then be used to fund affordable housing.

Cllr Olivier said: “It already has signatories and support from all the political groups at County Hall, so I am hopeful that it will be agreed.

“I have put the motion in because there has never been greater public concern about this issue in Cornwall. Devolution discussions are ongoing between the council and Government, I want both the council leadership and Cornwall’s MPs, to have a clear message about want Cornwall wants from this process.”

Cornwall Council is set to meet and discuss the motion on Tuesday, December 4.