Londoner says Devon being ‘eaten up by huge caravan parks’

“The countryside and coastline is being eaten up by huge caravan parks. And there’s a chronic housing shortage, partly because homeowners are renting their properties to the lucrative holiday let market, rather than local people.”

Maisie Lillywhite www.devonlive.com

A Londoner who swapped the Big Smoke for the Devon countryside has explained the way in which holidaymakers are ‘eating up’ the county. At one point, many people would simply drive through Devon as they made their way to our neighbouring county of Cornwall, but our beautiful part of the UK has become a holiday destination within its own right, although it is still less popular that its next door neighbour.

Journalist Suzy Bennett wrote in the Telegraph that she moved to our neck of the woods 14 years ago, ditching London’s towering skyscrapers for Devon’s ‘raw, wild countryside‘. But Bennett now claims that the Devon she moved for has been lost as the county has become more popular with tourists.

She wrote: “No longer is it a place you pass through on the way to Cornwall, but a destination in its own right. Single-track roads are clogged with cars and tourist coaches.

“The countryside and coastline is being eaten up by huge caravan parks. And there’s a chronic housing shortage, partly because homeowners are renting their properties to the lucrative holiday let market, rather than local people.”

When new properties are put up for sale in Devon, Bennett notes, there is fierce competition, with the journalist claiming that a whopping total of 70 prospective buyers viewed a cottage that was put on the market. Following the pandemic, the popularity of ‘staycations’ has skyrocketed, leading to overtourism in some parts of the UK, which occurs when there are too many visitors to a particular destination.

In many honeypot British holiday destinations, housing proves to be a big problem, with local residents often having to up sticks and move away. Those who own homes in ‘staycation’ hotspots often earn much more money renting their properties out to holidaymakers than they would local people.

Visit Cornwall has decided that it will start asking holiday home owners to register their property with the county. After registering their property, homeowners would have to meet certain guidelines on health and safety to keep the property registered; it is believed that this would prevent unscrupulous owners from registering properties in the county, whilst protecting the safety of tourists visiting Cornwall.

The Express reported that Cllr Karen Kennedy, who is the Torbay Council councillor for Churston with Galmpton recently said: “We have to say this loud and clear, we are in a housing crisis. We have got to do much more than the basic minimum to alleviate the current problem.”

Kennedy claimed that some businesses are struggling to recruit workers for blue collar jobs because it is now so expensive to live in the English Riviera.

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