Letter: Second homes

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The Independent Culture
Sir: No one group forces another out of a community in this country, rather what we see in the countryside is merely an extension of the mobility that started several hundred years ago.

From the countryside to industrial areas, pursuing prosperity to the cities, the population has shifted. When the cities became full and transport links allowed, the suburbs grew; and subsequently some city workers felt that the time spent commuting was well spent in order to move back to the countryside.

The experiences of Mr Collins in the Lake District (letter, 6 June) should be treated seriously, but not by punitive taxation of second homes, which would adversely affect those, like me, who do not drive Mercedes to "chocolate box" suburban houses, but have decided to remove their vehicles from the commuter routes and live close to a place of work during the week, whilst maintaining family homes and links with the community elsewhere.

This is not a cheap option, but beneficial to the environment and to productive and healthy use of time, and paying only one-and-a-half times the council tax of others seems a reasonable compromise, but hardly generous.

The imposition of 200 per cent taxation will not dissuade the "chocolate box" hunters and provide houses for "the locals" - only employment prospects will do that. Rather, increased costs may persuade me, and many others, to add vehicles to the already congested and polluted commuter routes.

RICHARD J CROWE

London W3

and Thame, Oxfordshire

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