The Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Philip Mounstephen described as “devastating”, the number of second homes in Cornwall.

Speaking in a housing debate at the General Synod, the parliament of the Church of England, Bishop Philip outlined “an unregulated market”, caused substantially by the massive sale of second homes.

He recognised that second home owners contribute a lot. But said that the sale of homes to people living outside the county was “hollowing out town and village centres, pushing local people to the edge of town.”

There are now around 20,000 second homes in Cornwall, constituting about 15 percent of all housing stock. “It’s denying homes to local people, massively ramping up prices and producing a crisis in the rental sector.”

Bishop Philip told the national meeting, chaired from Church House, Westminster, that there were now 16,000 people looking for council housing, around 3 percent of the population but that there were only 43 properties available. “A housing emergency is very likely to be declared by the County Council”.

“As a church we have a voice and we have assets and we need to use both to address this very serious crisis, he said.

You can watch Bishop Philip’s contribution here. Move to 4:50:19