THE MEDIATOR GETS UP TO SPEED
You meet informally with the Lady Mayoress [LM]. You played together in the lacrosse team at school + have kept an association down the years. You explain that in your work as a mediator you have been exposed to the Second Home Issue + seek a briefing – the arguments For and Against.
The LM is helpful + discreet. She explains that lines are being drawn + people are becoming either Locals or Townies with the former asserting the rights of local people to maintain the atmosphere of village life + the latter enjoying ‘playing at being Locals’ on Saturdays + Sundays.
There have been some specific issues – small disputes about inches of contested boundaries have become points of principle as planning applications to add an outhouse + build a subterranean cinema have been set in motion. Another Townie has bought some shop freeholds + is raising rents with the apparent intention of moving the existing tenants on + bringing in some well-known High St chains.
And an article has been published in the local paper highlighting subsidies + tax breaks available on Second Homes. Council tax, in particular, can be much reduced if the Second Home is rented out as a “furnished holiday let” for as few as 105 days.
The LM is worried about the future. The Warring Factions need to sink their differences + come together for the sake of the Village. Easier said than done + there are no signs of a re-think or a coming-together. The Mediator listens intently. She is not encouraged when she reads in the National Press that a survey in Devon found villages where between 66% + 95% of the properties are second homes. She is feeling gloomy but her mind is working. Can she go against the tide + bring the Barratts/Canons together or will the Mediation fail?
EPISODE 5 – THE MEDIATOR THINKS CREATIVELY