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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 October 2007, 14:19 GMT 15:19 UK
Homes trust gives hope to village
East Portlemouth
Picturesque East Portlemouth is a magnet for second home buyers
A Devon woman is being credited with single-handedly saving village life where she lives in the South Hams.

With more than 70% of the houses in East Portlemouth belonging to second home owners, locals fear their community could die.

Now Isobel Waterhouse has offered four houses worth 2m for rent at under the market value to local people.

A trust will keep the homes, bought by her grandparents after World War I, for local people.

Ms Waterhouse, who was born and bred in East Portlemouth, said: "I should hate to see this village die.

"And if we are not careful and we don't do something, I believe it will die."

She said that every time a village house came on the market it was bought as a second home.

Isobel Waterhouse
I'm doing it... for young families to grow up in this magical place
Isobel Waterhouse

"Local people cannot afford to buy in the village," she said.

"So we lose our local people and we lose our young families growing up."

She said that she hoped to be able to add to the number of houses for rent in the future.

"I'm doing it because I hope that other people will enjoy the places that I have and for young families to grow up in this magical place."

The four houses she is letting out would be worth about 500,000 on the open market in the village where some homes have sold for 4-5m.

One of the first to be helped by the scheme is boat builder Tris Stone.

He said: "At those prices there is no way I could afford to rent or buy somewhere in East Portlemouth."

Parish council chairman Lindsey Lindley said: "Isobel is single-handedly saving our community and the future of the village.

"We have an ageing population and it is very difficult for people to buy homes they can afford and to work in the village.

"If it carries on we will not have much of a village life left.

"Her generosity in setting up this trust fund is just what we need for the future."

Plight of 'ghost village'
22 Jan 04 |  Devon
Tax rise for second homes
06 Nov 03 |  Devon
Anger grows over second homes
27 Oct 03 |  Cornwall

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