North Devon: the second home ghost-coast nightmare

North Devon – once a thriving district comprising over sixty civil parishes – includes Barnstaple, Ilfracombe, Instow, South Molton, Lynton and Lynmouth. And it’s full of trophy homes.

How would you like to live in a community where half of local domestic properties are empty second homes, or holiday lets? Where people are being evicted five households at a time. Where thousands of people are statutorily homeless.

Where local communities survive on seasonal work and low wages, zero hours contracts and no job security. Where locals have no chance of buying a home and can’t afford the extortionate rents.

How grim is your Postcode?

Thanks to lax government and selfish individuals with more money than sense, village shops have gone bankrupt and branches have been closed under “restructuring”. Half of the village is empty for most of the year.

Second-homes and investment partnerships have all but destroyed North Devon’s local communities, and caused a housing crisis. The unrelenting impact of second homes and holiday lets on rural communities has been disastrous.

The situation has gone beyond repair. In the press and in parliament, campaign groups and MPs have called the number of second homes in the region “unsustainable”, saying North Devon would “become a complete ghost-coast” if a solution was not found.

Well, for half the year that’s exactly what North Devon is: a ghost coast. Still, enjoy your second home on your holidays and be proud you’ve got that trophy home in the middle of a local housing crisis.