Normally I wouldn't be writing in support of second homes; when when you are aware of some towns and villages around the coast of Devon and Cornwall having 50% plus second homes you have to say "this is just too much". Yes I can understand the well heeled wanting a second home in Devon or Cornwall but there are good reasons to limit their numbers which I'll blog about another time.
However here is a little story that shows it's not all bad regarding second homes... I should explain that our village is well away from the coast of Cornwall (as much as anywhere in Cornwall can be far from the coast) and that the number of second homes here is minimal. In late November we had some localised flooding in the village caused by an evening of torrential rain. Fortunately our little terrace of cottages escaped unscathed. A few days later I was in the main street and crossed the road to speak to a lady aquaintance who I knew lived in a slightly vulnerable location "out in the sticks". Pleased to say that Jane was ok although some of her neighbours had suffered water ingress. However Jane informed me that another woman, not one of her neighbours but a lady from another part of the village, had had several feet of floodwater in her home and was looking for temporary accommodation whilst things dried out and the electrics etc could be sorted, perhaps 2 or 3 months. She has a couple of children of school age and naturally didn't want their education disrupted so Jane asked me if I knew anywhere locally for this family.
Three houses along from me there is a second home owned by a couple rom the southeast who occasionally visit but also let out the cottage as self catering holiday accommodation. I was able to email the husband to explain the family's predicament and asking if they could help which they could. Then it was just a matter of a phone call or two to get the wheels rolling. As luck would have it the couple from the SE were comoing down that weekend anyway so the two parties were able to meet each other. In this instance a second home came to the rescue! A happy outcome.
There are, for me, some issues which I see in black and white but there are many others where you have to be somewhat pragmatic. Perhaps the thorny issue of second homes in Devon and Cornwall is one of the latter!