CALSTOCK Parish Council has resolved to take a stand on holiday lets and second homes in the village and surrounding area after concerns were raised on social media.

There was an outcry on the Calstock Community Facebook Forum at the beginning of January in which the owners of a newly converted Airbnb house in the centre of Calstock posted a video of their refurbishments.

There were 243 comments mostly expressing concern about the number of properties in the village that have become holiday lets or second homes. There were worries about the lack of rental accommodation and fears that the character of the village could be damaged. There were, though, people who pointed to the benefits of tourism to the local economy.

Calstock Ward councillor Alastair Tinto tabled a discussion at the meeting of Calstock Parish Council on Tuesday, February 8, and asked locals to send in their views. There were a dozen responses and three members of the public came to the meeting and contributed.

In the lively debate which followed, the councillors were concerned about the lack of rental housing in Calstock, although they also saw the benefits of tourism to the local economy. Several people referred to the shortage of socially rented affordable housing.

In response Cornwall Councillor Dorothy Kirk said: “The underlying problem was low incomes and high house prices here and throughout Cornwall so that local people are unable to afford to buy their own homes.”

Councillor Tinto said that in the last five years, eight out of the 22 properties (36%) in Providence Place in the centre of Calstock have become either second homes or holiday lets. There are 19 Airbnb properties in Calstock. On the other hand, there are 136 Airbnbs Entire Rental in the Parish - less than 5% of the housing stock which compares with 33% in Maker and 41% in St Johns. “We aren’t at that stage yet,” he said.

However, he pointed that there no long term rentals in Calstock on Rightmove and no rooms shares on Spareroom. He said that the Council had been told of at least three people who desperately need to rent in Calstock. “Clearly there is a problem,” he said.

At the end of the debate, he proposed a motion which Councillor Kirk seconded. It was passed unanimously by the Council.

The motion stated that the Parish Council understands the importance of tourism but is concerned at the lack of long-term lets for residential use. The Council wants to see dwellings being made subject to a change of use when they are being converted for holiday or tourism purposes.

They would like Councils to be able to cap the number of second homes and holiday lets in their area and called for them to be licensed by Cornwall Council.

They supported Cornwall Council’s recent decision to ask for a change in the law to allow council tax to be increased by up to four times on holiday lets or properties left empty for significant periods of time.

However, Councillor Tinto added: “It won’t change anything yet because it needs Government legislation but it’s another voice.”