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The effect of second homes on North Devon is being researched.
North Devon Council is part-funding the study, which is being carried out by a postgraduate student at the University of Exeter. As well as targeting second homeowners, it will also include residents, businesses and service providers in North Devon.
To begin with, questionnaires are being delivered to more than 2,500 homes, including those in Brendon and Countisbury, Georgeham and Instow parishes. The responses will help to identify the positive and negative effects of second homes in those areas. There'll be questions covering the environmental, economic and social impact.
Councillor Mike Edmunds, Executive Member for Strategic Planning, says: "We often hear opinions about the impact of second homes. However, there is little documented evidence that looks at this in detail. Therefore we hope this research will confirm or counteract perceptions so that we can see how we may address certain issues."
University of Exeter student Jenny Barnett is behind the project and will be considering all the findings. She says: "The project is part of a three-year study, which I am carrying out for my postgraduate degree. The questionnaire only takes about 15 minutes to complete, but I hope the information gathered will help guide policy in the future, by giving a true picture of the impact of second homes in the district and how it can be addressed."
It's hoped the initial findings from the responses will be available later this year. These will be shared with other interested authorities and will be used to help inform future planning policy by considering the issues raised.