Second-home owners should make properties available to frontline workers says Police and Crime Commissioner

Saturday 4th April 2020 10:19 am

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SECOND-home owners and tourists should ’stay away this Easter’ – and consider making their properties available for NHS staff or other key workers.

The call has come from Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez.

Devon and Cornwall is not only a region with more domestic visitors than any other in the UK, it is also home to a high proportion of vulnerable elderly people.While the majority of holiday parks, hotels, bed and breakfasts and other accommodation providers have shut, concerns have been voiced that holiday makers will still be drawn to the South West for the long Easter holiday weekend.

Cornwall Council has written a letter to holiday let owners, online booking platforms and letting agencies asking them to comply with the emergency coronavirus laws and close up.

This follows complaints to the local authority that a number of operators and owners continue to flout the law.

PCC Alison Hernandez has added her voice to those calling for tourists and second home owners to stay in their primary residences until restrictions are lifted.

"In Devon and Cornwall our economy absolutely depends on tourism, and this time of year usually marks the start of a period that sees us hosting more domestic visitors than any other area,” she said.

"This year, unfortunately, the message is that coming here now will just put strain on essential services at a time when we least need it.

"I am concerned by reports that people are seeing Devon and Cornwall as good locations to see out the lockdown. That is not the case, people are safer in their primary residences, where they are registered with medical practices and have support networks. The 1.7m residents of Devon and Cornwall will also be safer if people stay away.

"I am asking accommodation providers or those who have second homes to consider letting key workers such as NHS staff or police officers to stay in their properties,’ she continued.

"NHS or police workers are being moved around as part of the response to this crisis so they could make good use of any empty holiday properties."

Second homes or holiday cottages could also potentially be used temporarily during the lockdown by people experiencing domestic violence, Ms Hernandez suggested.


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