Ryanair flights to Cornwall will trigger second home surge, residents fear

Newquay - Chris Saville Photography
Newquay - Chris Saville Photography

For most tourist destinations, the arrival of budget airline flights heralds a welcome economic boost as hordes of cash rich holidaymakers descend on the region.

But Ryanair’s announcement that it is to start cheap flights to Cornwall has been met with dismay by those who fear it will deepen the county’s housing crisis by fuelling demand for second homes.

The Irish airline will fly from London Stansted to Newquay three times a week for as little as £29.99 starting from March 26.

The one hour 15 minute flight could mean as many as 600 passengers arrive each week in the south west of the country.

However, many Cornish people fear the service will make the coastal region within commutable reach for wealthy people from the south east eager to work from a home within the county’s picturesque seaside villages.

Cath Navin, co-founder of First Not Second Homes, said the cheap and quick Ryanair flights would encourage people to “pop” to Cornwall, fueling demand for second homes.

“The introduction of budget flights to Cornwall is bound to increase demand for second homes,” the campaigner from St Erth said.

“People from London and the south east, who will almost certainly command a far greater wage than most people in Cornwall, will now be able to commute here cheaply and quickly.

“So, they will be in a good position to buy a second home, fuelling an increase in house prices, with housing stock yet again being removed from the reach of local people.

“People will be able to work in London or the south east for a few days before popping over on Ryanair to their second home in Cornwall.”

Second home tax bills to rise

Earlier this month, Cornwall Council approved plans to impose a premium on council tax bills for second home owners to try to stem the sale of homes to people from outside the county.

The extra charge is expected to be introduced in April next year and will raise about £25 million for the council.

However, Cllr David Harris, who introduced the plans, warned that second home owners “will be trying to find ways to dodge this extra charge” so the council has assigned officers to “look at every possible dodge” and ways to “block” such tactics.

It recently emerged that some NHS staff were struggling to find accommodation in the county, in part due to landlords selling their rental properties because prices have soared so high.

Ms Navin was eager to stress that campaigners do not necessarily have a problem with people from outside the area moving permanently to Cornwall to become part of the community.

“The recent rise of working from home also enables individuals to set up offices in their primary and secondary home with little effort,” she continued.

“There is a shortage of homes nationwide, as well as soaring rents and the gap between what people earn and the cost of property whether owned or rented is only getting wider. Add to this the cost-of-living crisis and you have a disastrous situation for locals trying to find somewhere to live.”

A Ryanair spokesman insisted that the flights will bring a welcome influx of cash to the region.

“Ryanair is driving Cornwall’s economic recovery through our delivery of year-round tourism, regional investment and support of 90 local jobs,” he said.

“It will also provide the people of Cornwall with an unbeatable choice at the lowest fares when planning their summer holidays.”