Good season in prospect

NORTH Devon is proving to be a holiday hotspot despite the recession, with one accommodation provider reporting record levels of bookings and an increased number of bed spaces. Braunton-based Marsdens Cottage Holidays has more than 250 holiday cottages on

NORTH Devon is proving to be a holiday hotspot despite the recession, with one accommodation provider reporting record levels of bookings and an increased number of bed spaces.

Braunton-based Marsdens Cottage Holidays has more than 250 holiday cottages on its books throughout North Devon and North Cornwall.

All of them are inspected annually and Visit-Britain graded.

General manager Martin Wickham said business was buoyant and new properties in the firm's portfolio suggested that home owners were undeterred by cuts to the tax allowances previous given to self-castering businesses.


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The announcement of the tax change sparked fears of business closures and a shortage of accommodation in the region.

But Mr Wickham told the Gazette: "It's testament to the popularity of the South West that no such thing seems to be happening.

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"At Marsdens we've experienced a 10 per cent increase in the number properties we represent this year already and bookings are up by 15 per cent - and that's despite three years of atrocious weather and the worst recession for decades.

"It all confirms that this part of the West Country continues to be a real favourite for UK holidays and that people recognise the fantastic value, flexibility and quality of our holiday cottages.

"For home owners, holiday lettings continue to produce good levels of income. Buying a cottage for holiday use is still a great idea for those who want a good level of return on their investment.

"It means there's a property available for family and friends to use all year round and there's lots of fun to be had in and providing the best possible holiday experience for visitors."

Mr Wickham said, however, that bookings could be affected by the General Election and the World Cup later in the year.

"When England are in the World Cup, people tend not to take holidays, but stay at home and watch the games on television. It's the same at General Election time.

"We always breathe a sigh of relief when England are knocked out!"

n In the past, owners of furnished holiday lets have been able to offset some costs against their annual tax bills.

In a change designed to stop second-home owners gaining tax benefits by letting their properties for only a short period, the Furnished Holiday Lettings rules are to be repealed.

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