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Fund launched to tackle second home ownership problem

Words: Laura Edgar

The government has launched a £60 million annual fund that aims to help almost 150 councils tackle the high levels of second home ownership in their communities.

The Community Housing Fund is intended to help local groups deliver affordable housing aimed at first-time buyers. This is in response to the problem that second home can cause in reducing the supply of housing.

Funding allocation:

• South-West – £19,125,110

• South-East – £11,336,157

• East of England – £8,950,048

• Yorkshire and Humberside – £6,419,494

• North-West – £5,945,896

• East Midlands – £2,691,608

• London – £2,306,589

• West Midlands – £1,910,498

• North-East – £1,314,600

Nearly £20 million of the funding has been allocated to local authorities in the South-West of England because, the government said, this is the most popular region for second homes in England, with 21 per cent of all second home ownership accounted for here.

In May 2016, The Planner reported that residents in St Ives, Cornwall, voted to support a proposal in its neighbourhood plan that bans the building of second homes in the town.

Following a legal challenge, the High Court ruled that the policy was lawful.

Housing minister Gavin Barwell said the high number of second homes can be a “frustration” for many who struggle to find an affordable home in their community.

“This new fund will help tackle that by boosting supply and make sure community groups are at the heart of delivering new homes so that this is a country that works for everyone.”

The funding will be targeted at the community-led housing sector and distributed to groups though local councils, according to the government.

The government said the first year of funding will be used to build capacity within local groups, such as improving technical skills and providing staff to review local housing need.

A list of the local authorities that will receive the funding can be found here (pdf).

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