Villagers' second home owners fears
By Richard SmithWORRIED residents fear their picturesque village is about to be overrun by people buying second homes.There are already 38 holiday homes in Bawdsey among the housing stock of 125 - but another 22 are due to be built, meaning 40% of the total number of houses being owned by people who do not live in the village.
By Richard Smith
WORRIED residents fear their picturesque village is about to be overrun by people buying second homes.
There are already 38 holiday homes in Bawdsey among the housing stock of 125 - but another 22 are due to be built, meaning 40% of the total number of houses being owned by people who do not live in the village.
Now residents have warned that Bawdsey has become a “honeyspot” and house prices were spiralling out of reach of people born in the village.
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They feared if villagers were unable to buy property, that could lead to numbers falling at Bawdsey's primary school, and claimed second homeowners did not contribute to community life.
Work has started on a holiday home complex on the edge of the village at Manor Farm, where Jonathon Simper and his father Robert are converting redundant farm buildings and building new accommodation for 22 properties.
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They used to grow mushrooms, but this was stopped two years ago when they were undercut by imports from Poland.
Jonathon Simper, vice-chairman of the school governors, said yesterday: “The second homes, which are not homes because for six weeks from January 12 they cannot be occupied, are alternatives to someone from London buying a real residential house in the village and using it as a second home.”
He added they would create seven direct jobs and indirectly they would safeguard other jobs. The houses, mainly three-bedroom, could sell for up to £210,000 and the scheme provided an alternative option for newcomers wanting to have a house in Bawdsey.
There are 2,499 second homes in the Suffolk Coastal district and the county council is assessing the social and economic problems caused by so many holiday homes.
Bawdsey county councillor, Peter Monk, who lives in the village, said: “They can have a positive effect as well as in some cases a perceived negative effect and many of those who I have known as second home people are now living there on a permanent basis.”
Mr Monk added they could play an important part in keeping village facilities going, although that view was challenged by some residents.
But Lydia Calvesbert, parish council chairman and a churchwarden, said: “The people with second homes contribute nothing to the church.
“They do not come to the church, bazaars or fetes, which is disappointing as we are a very community-minded village. If we get all this dead wood coming into the village, there is no perpetuation.”
Annemarie Lennard was born in Bawdsey and she and her husband Peter have two daughters Nicky, 13, and Claire, 15, who attend Farlingaye High School in Woodbridge.
Mrs Lennard, of Fern Terrace, Bawdsey, said: “I was lucky enough to buy a one-bedroom house 18 years ago, which we have built on to.
“There is no way we could afford to move to a bigger house and there is no hope of the children buying a house in Bawdsey because they will never be able to afford it. I feel so sad really that this is happening.”
Catherine Carr has seen her three-bedroom terraced house in Fern Terrace jump in value from £65,000 in 1988 to £199,000, but three properties close to her are second homes.
“I live in a terrace and you would expect to see neighbours, but now it is dead. I have a daughter aged 13 at Farlingaye - she went to Bawdsey school - and I cannot see her being able to live here when she is older,” said Mrs Carr.
Julie Capel, a teacher, lives with her mother in Bawdsey. She grew up in the village and her son Jack, six, goes to the village school.
Mrs Capel said: “I would like to buy my own house and live in the local community, but unfortunately I am priced out.
'”At present I am looking for a house in the Bawdsey school catchment area so that I can guarantee that my children can go to the same school as me, but all I can afford is a flat on the Chantry estate.”