Social housing? Not in my backyard, says TV star

Steve Rider opposes plan to provide affordable homes for locals in Devon hamlet

To millions of armchair sports fans, Steve Rider is the unflappable television frontman whose sunny demeanour permeates coverage of golf and grand prix. But when it comes to his holiday cottage in a quiet Devon hamlet, the broadcaster seems to have found himself in the middle of a row after opposing plans to build affordable housing.

The 58-year-old ITV presenter has pitted himself against a septuagenarian landowner who has put forward a proposal for six cottages in East Portlemouth on the Salcombe Estuary, which has become the summer retreat of choice in recent years for second home-owning celebrities, including Damon Albarn, Kate Bush and Rik Mayall. Such is the desirability of housing in East Portlemouth that the average price of a detached house is now more than £2m.

Plans to be considered today by a planning committee at South Hams District Council show that the six affordable homes would be rented to local families unable to buy a property in the area or offered with a joint equity scheme in which the new residents could own up to 49 per cent. The West Country is one of the regions of Britain most dramatically hit by an influx of arrivals willing to pay increased property prices for the quality of life offered in the villages of counties such as Devon and Cornwall. Between 1996 and 2006, 1.1 million left the region and were replaced by 1.4 million incomers, many of them second home-owners. Campaigners have warned the result is "ghost villages" where half the homes are unoccupied for 80 per cent of the year. Mr Rider, who said he and his wife Jane had been residents of East Portlemouth for six years, insisted he was not trying to drive out locals and criticised animosity towards holiday-home owners, saying they were "vital to the local economy".

In a letter to the council setting out his objections, the broadcaster said there were no jobs, amenities or public transport in the village for the residents of proposed affordable homes. He said: "The actual character of East Portlemouth is one of a unique peace and solitude. If this is threatened, then it could be lost for ever."

The debate has split residents of the village, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with some second-home owners threatening to take their business elsewhere; others support the scheme, describing it as "vital for the long-term viability" of the community.

The project was put forward by Isobel Waterhouse, 72, who was praised last year for resisting the urge to cash in when she turned over four properties for social housing rather than sell them.

Lindsey Lindley, chairman of the parish council, said yesterday: "Isobel is single-handedly saving our community and the future of the village. We have an ageing population and it is difficult for people to buy homes they can afford and to work in the village."

However, an official report on the scheme has recommended it be refused because it does not "strictly" meet the definition of affordable housing.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments