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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 February 2008, 22:22 GMT
Homes rising up from land scheme
St Minver Community Land scheme
Mr Hibbert's two-bedroom bungalow is costing 80,000
A popular seaside community is fighting back to deal with the problem of second home ownership.

The demand for holiday homes in the north Cornish coast of Rock has resulted in local people being priced out of the housing market.

To afford an average house, prospective homebuyers need to earn about 16 times the average local income.

But now the St Minver Community Land Trust is using increased council taxes on second homes to help residents.

The trust is helping 12 local people build their own homes and buy them at a fraction of the market price.

It's nice to feel we can actually settle here now
Charlie Hibbert

Rock is popular with wealthy holidaymakers and the demand for property as second homes has meant house prices are now some of the highest anywhere in the country.

The innovative land scheme is believed to be the first of its kind in the country.

Under the terms of the trust's scheme, each member has to put in 20 hours of labour a week, although friends and family can help meet that commitment.

Charlie Hibbert is building a two-bedroom bungalow for himself and his partner. It is costing 80,000 - about one third of the cost of similar homes in the area.

Mr Hibbert, who earns 15,000 a year selling surfboards, said he could never have been able to buy without the trust's help.

Interest-free loan

"It's where I want to be and it's nice to feel we can actually settle here now," Mr Hibbert told BBC News.

The land was sold for 120,000 by retired farmer David Wills, who is now the chairman of the trust.

North Cornwall District Council granted planning permission, together with a 540,000 interest free loan generated from increased council tax charges from second home owners.

An important condition of the St Minver scheme is that the trust can buy the houses back, thus ensuring they remain affordable in perpetuity.



SEE ALSO
Second home tax used for scheme
08 Oct 07 |  Cornwall
Grant to fill affordable home gap
24 Sep 07 |  Cornwall
Increase in low-cost homes built
07 Jun 07 |  Cornwall

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