Cornish villagers threaten to sue local councils over mansion tax The hundreds of angry ‘James Bond Houses’ in Highland are paying £5,000-a-year for homes where the owners have been offered £3,000. Police have not raided any houses but are keeping an eye on them. Cornwall Council agreed to give properties in the Highlands, most of which have been home to British royalty, £3,000, a figure which was doubled to £5,000 for North Devon and more than doubled to £7,000 for the Tamar Valley. Criminal gangs in nearby Newquay have targeted ‘upmarket’ homes at exorbitant prices. Last year, 10 complaints of bogus property checks were made against top homes in Cornwall by just one professional burglary officer. ‘This sums up the pathetic state of Cornwall Police,’ said a source. Among the £100m of loans is a £50m fund to help build affordable homes elsewhere, but opponents claim the money has been spent in luxury development schemes not linked to tourism. Tours of the north and west Highlands started in 2004, heralding a boom in tourists. Revenue from one route passed the local council at £200,000-a-day. But homeowners were simply asked to sign their land over to the council as a loan. When the money ran out, officials insisted they would not lose the money. ‘We have wanted to build up more accommodation for low-income families and high-earners, but no bank will finance development in the far-flung north and west of Scotland without security,’ said Tory MP Andrew Rosindell. The Scottish Government has agreed to honour the mortgage interest and sale proceeds on the Highland properties, which could mean £35m for residents in the next year.

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…

Cornish villagers threaten to sue local councils over mansion tax The hundreds of angry 'James Bond Houses' in Highland are paying £5,000-a-year for homes where the owners have been offered £3,000. Police have not raided any houses but are keeping an eye on them. Cornwall Council agreed to give properties in the Highlands, most of which have been home to British royalty, £3,000, a figure which was doubled to £5,000 for North Devon and more than doubled to £7,000 for the Tamar Valley. Criminal gangs in nearby Newquay have targeted 'upmarket' homes at exorbitant prices. Last year, 10 complaints of bogus property checks were made against top homes in Cornwall by just one professional burglary officer. 'This sums up the pathetic state of Cornwall Police,' said a source. Among the £100m of loans is a £50m fund to help build affordable homes elsewhere, but opponents claim the money has been spent in luxury development schemes not linked to tourism. Tours of the north and west Highlands started in 2004, heralding a boom in tourists. Revenue from one route passed the local council at £200,000-a-day. But homeowners were simply asked to sign their land over to the council as a loan. When the money ran out, officials insisted they would not lose the money. 'We have wanted to build up more accommodation for low-income families and high-earners, but no bank will finance development in the far-flung north and west of Scotland without security,' said Tory MP Andrew Rosindell. The Scottish Government has agreed to honour the mortgage interest and sale proceeds on the Highland properties, which could mean £35m for residents in the next year.

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.

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