Group made up of more than 500 village residents write to Prime Minister demanding that villagers receive their £100m share of the funding
Cornish villagers are threatening to sue town councils across Cornwall for failure to deliver on generous grants made to homeowners to boost the tourism industry.
Hundreds of furious community leaders have written to the Prime Minister demanding that they are repaid £100m of funding granted to Highland properties by the local authority as an alternative to a controversial mansion tax.
They are furious that the authority’s decision has left the villagers short-changed on promises which were key to the foundation and pledge to challenge local councils in high court action.
Coastal towns and villages across Cornwall rely on the 300 annual grants as a vital source of funding, used to cover budget deficits and to supplement council grants.
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Hundreds of furious community leaders have written to the Prime Minister demanding that they are repaid £100m of funding granted to Highland properties by the local authority
But locals say the Highlands funding, a legacy of the increasingly popular but expensive tourist resort of the Outer Hebrides, is no longer fit for purpose.
They were alarmed to find that visitors at one of the Isle of Skye’s high-end lodges, known as ‘James Bond Houses’ are now paying around £5,000 a year for more affordable homes elsewhere in the region.
Ian McCallister, a 32-year-old caterer and community leader, from Cheslyn Hay, says that the former Chancellor Gordon Brown, who made a major push for cultural tourism in the islands, promised the aid for housing.
The cash would have provided affordable council housing in communities near Highland landmarks such as the Saughton Forge centre of learning and Bishop Cabot Abbey, and more modest housing closer to key towns such as St Austell.
North Devon also received £30m in grants, much of which has been earmarked for development in the Moat Valley, Chudleigh and Liskeard.
The introduction of the mansion tax in 2009 in return for the grant payments, which ran to a huge £175m a year, was seen as a quid pro quo by locals.
Mr McCallister, whose grandparents bought their farmhouse near Harquail in 1948, said: ‘Brown promised that the money would go back into the local economy, and these councils have badly let down their constituents.
‘Part of the money from the grant money has been wasted, and the south-east of Cornwall will not get its share until 2033 at the earliest.
‘It’s only fair that people who have spent their hard-earned money to buy houses in towns such as Bodmin and St Austell get their share of the money being spent to repair the Titanic-sized hole in local economy.’
A spokeswoman for the Highlands and Islands Development Agency refused to comment.