“Ironically one key cause of the problem is also what brings most into the local economy – tourism.” [BBC series “Rental Health”]
In Sidmouth, there are 5 properties to rent on Rightmove… and 317 properties to rent on AirBnB
People are finding it ever-more difficult if not impossible to find somewhere to live in the West Country – including the Sid Valley.
Back in November 2021, there were 11 properties to rent on Rightmove… and 221 properties to rent on AirBnB: Sidmouth, housing to rent and AirBnB – Vision Group for Sidmouth
Today, it’s half that amount on Rightmove: Properties To Rent in Sidmouth | Rightmove … and 317 on AirBnB: Airbnb | Sidmouth – Holiday Rentals & Places to Stay – England – Airbnb
Sky News has featured the recently published research into rural homelessness, commissioned by a group of key rural organisations including the Rural Services Network, and including cases from the West Country: ‘It broke my heart’: Why rural homelessness is getting worse in England | UK News | Sky News
There’s a lot of concern about the reduction of provision in Devon: Councillors’ concerns about planned cuts to Devon homeless prevention | Midweek Herald and Serious concerns raised over homelessness prevention cuts | Sidmouth Herald
We know what sort of factors are causing homelessness on such a scale: AirBnb and homelessness in the South-West – Vision Group for Sidmouth and Overtourism in the West Country – Vision Group for Sidmouth and Rural cost-of-living emergency: latest – Vision Group for Sidmouth
And there are all sorts of ‘solutions’ out there being tried: A solution to our rural housing crisis: community-led housing – Vision Group for Sidmouth and “The return of PRE-FAB homes” – Vision Group for Sidmouth and Should we build affordable housing above car parks? – Vision Group for Sidmouth and Modular housing to help young homeless people into independent living – Vision Group for Sidmouth
Across Radio 4 this week, the state of the rental market is being looked at in a series of programmes: BBC Radio 4 – Rental Health
Including looking at rural Scotland – which sounds very familiar in Devon:
According to the Convenor of the Highland Council, Bill Lobban, “the species most under threat in the Cairngorms National Park isn’t the Capercaillie but the young family trying to find a home”. Ironically one key cause of the problem is also what brings most into the local economy – tourism. Across the region the growth of the tourism and hospitality industry is driving the demand for 2nd homes and many houses are now used for short-term holiday lets, with the result that very little accommodation remains for locals searching for somewhere to live, what does remain is usually unaffordable or unsuitable. The knock-on effect is that businesses across the Highlands are struggling to find staff and even when they manage to find them, they often lose them because there’s no rental accommodation locally. A sector which has been particularly hard hit is hospitality where low wages exacerbate the issue with the result that hotels and restaurants find themselves in the unenviable position of having plenty of customers but not enough staff to serve them. Rental Health – All Work and No Homes – BBC Sounds
The series also looks at some innovative ‘solutions’ – including houseboats and cross-generational flat sharing: Rental Health – Rental Health: Solutions – London – BBC Sounds and Rental Health – Rental Health: Solutions – Communal Living – BBC Sounds and BBC Radio 4 – Rental Health, Rental Health: Solutions, Vienna
What are the solutions for Sidmouth and East Devon?