Dear editor,
As it was confirmed that the Conservative Government missed its housing target (yet again) in 2022/23 the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) published a report detailing a crisis in rural housing.
In its report the CPRE concluded the proliferation of second homes and properties converted into short-term lets is having a devastating impact on life in the countryside. Many people are forced to leave the communities they love and call home. This in turn impacts economic activity and undermines the provision of vital public services.
The South West, of the English regions, has the highest number of people on social housing waiting lists, nearly 70,000 - an increase of 44% since 2000. In Devon, short-term lets (Airbnb) appear to be worsening an existing housing crisis, with 11,000 added to short-term listings since 2016.
The disastrous Truss mini-budget which set mortgages soaring has also impacted the rental market. Many landlords are selling up or opting to change to the (perceived) more profitable short-term let.
It is clear that the housing crisis is particularly impacting rural communities. If we are not to become a glorified bolt-hole for the wealthy of the South-East to weekend and holiday in, there needs to be more action than setting building targets.
We need urgent reform of regulations so as to allow local councils to build and, most importantly, retain social housing for rent, and to impose more stringent conditions on property developers to provide genuinely affordable homes. Councils also need more power to limit conversion of property to short-term let usage.
Local Liberal Democrat councils are committed to building more social housing, but currently to do so they have to navigate a wealth of unhelpful legislation. If rural communities are to thrive we urgently need reform of housing legislation. 
Yours sincerely,

Mark Wooding
Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate Central Devon