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March 29, 2018 5:24 PM

All but two Conservative councillors in South Lakeland tonight walked out of a council meeting before a key vote on tackling the growing number of second homes locally - which passed 19 votes to zero.

South Lakeland has one the highest number of second homes in England, leaving local families who grew up here struggling to afford an adequate home.

Liberal Democrats on South Lakeland District Council have reduced the discount on second homes council tax to zero, and changed planning rules so that at least a third of new developments are affordable.

Now, the Liberal Democrats want to press Government for a change in legislation to charge second homes extra council tax in areas with an acute shortage of homes for local families, and require planning permission for a change of use when a house becomes a second home.

Windermere councillor Andrew Jarvis, who proposed the motion, said, "Many local families face a stark reality that they can't afford to bring their family up in the village they grew up in. We all know of families that have moved to Lancaster or further afield to be able to afford an adequate home.

"In the meantime, we get ghost villages where schools and shops close because there aren't any year-round residents left.

"We don't want to punish second home owners - tourism plays a vital role in our local economy - but we do want to be able to better control the number of second homes so local families aren't forced to move away.

"I'm frankly shocked that so many Conservatives walked out of tonight's meeting, and refused to discuss such a huge issue to local people."