Bag yourself a well-situated retreat and make cash along the way

In these socially conscious times, holiday home buyers are faced with a moral dilemma. A delightful cottage in an idyllic rural hamlet or scenic fishing village might seem an ideal investment, but what if it helps push prices up so high that locals can't buy a home in the place they'e always lived.

It has long been a point of irritation, and even conflict, in attractive areas such as the Lake District or Cornwall and many parts of rural Scotland. Longtime residents say community spirit is destroyed and the future of such villages is at risk as local young people are forced to move away when they can't afford to buy a home.

Sam Weller, sales director of the Cornwall Hotel and Spa, is aware of the issue: "I may not be originally from Cornwall but I've lived here for 40 years and my children are from here. My brother has a house in a lovely place but in winter he looked around and realised there was not a single light on in any of the houses. They were all empty as they are used as holiday homes in the summer."

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Weller believes the Cornwall Estate, in Tregorrick, near the bustling market town of St Austell on the gentler south coast of this glorious county, offers one solution, as its homes are used year round and the local economy, as well as the owners, benefit from the level of management it offers

Developers Rudrum have built 22 Scandinavian-style holiday homes starting at 297,500, with a choice of two or three bedrooms in a prime location. Each has a minimalist feel but is heavy on the touches holiday-makers, demand such as wi-fi access, flat-screen TVs and fully equipped kitchens. Weller says the location of the estate is a key benefit. "We are just minutes away from some of Cornwall's biggest attractions – thebeaches, the Eden project and the Lost Gardens of Heligan," he says, "As well as the charming fishing village of Mevagissy." Tall ships moor at Charlestown harbour nearby and the busy town of Fowey is a short drive away. Plus, there are six golf courses within 13 miles of the site.

It is also handy for Newquay's airport, which might be on the opposite coast, but is just 40 minutes away by car.

The Cornwall Hotel and Spa was originally the family home of a wealthy St Austell banker but by the time the current owners bought it in 2003, it was neglected, with boarded-up windows. Fortunately the glass was intact underneath the boards, and the "White House" has since been converted into a luxury hotel. There are 60 rooms, with a few in the main building having a traditional feel, but a large extension at the back offers the majority of the modern accommodation, with the design reflecting the woodland location.

As the main building is listed the developers went to great lengths to be sympathetic to its 18th-century architecture, while creating the number of rooms needed to sustain the enterprise.

Behind the main building are seven smaller, balcony-fronted blocks with wooden exteriors which form an arc. They are connected with corridors, to prevent the main building being overpowered by one much larger edifice.

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The holiday homes to one side of the estate have been built in a very modern, Scandinavian-style, with bedrooms and bathrooms on the ground floor and an open-plan living area upstairs.

Large kitchens are designed for families who want to self-cater, with dishwashers, microwaves and plenty of cupboard space. Each has a dining area with table and chairs, desk area and lounge area with a flat-screen television and a sofa bed for extra guests.

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This bright airy space has windows on all sides and a high ceiling. This living area flows onto a large balcony offering relaxed outdoor dining overlooking the lawns to the front of the estate.

The roofs are natural slate with walls made of part slate hanging and part cedar board cladding. A ten-year guarantee is provided by Zurich Building Guarantee on the buildings themselves.

Four have already sold and the aim is ultimately to build 60 homes across the 43-acre site, Weller says the speed at which the homes sell will dictate how fast the development is created. Building in phases will ensure building works don't encroach on the quiet ambience crucial to the ethos of the estate.

In balance with the modern interiors, the development incorporates historical features. A meat store at the hotel's reception – which is cunningly located at the side of the building to avoid encroaching on the front aspect – has been decorated with flowers and has a seating area to welcome guests.

The former stable block and walled garden have been converted into a gym and spa. The latter has an infinity pool with retractable glass doors opening onto a walled garden with beds for relaxing in the sun, where you can enjoy lunch or a drink from the juice bar upstairs. And of course, there's a sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi, beauty treatments and massages. There are also tennis courts, and bicycle hire can be arranged for keen cyclists.

In the main building there's a fine dining restaurant boasting an impressive wine list. Upstairs, there is a bistro for everyday dining and breakfast.

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The developers are CMR (Leisure), a subsidiary of the Rudrum Group which started life in 1949 as a coal distributing firm in Bristol. The family firm have since branched out into development, creating industrial and commercial parks, as well as more recently moving into residential and leisure.

At the Cornwall there are three letting options for freehold owners of the woodland homes: silver, gold and platinum, with each package including marketing of the home, introduction of guests, their check-in and check-out and collecting the rent.

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Above this, the platinum offers a guaranteed minimum income for two years, net of costs, with six weeks for you to stay there and the rest to be rented out. The gold package lasts just a year, but allows you to stay in your home as much or as little as you like. And the silver package is for those who want to take care of most of the management of the property – this is mostly aimed at people who stay locally, but can be upgraded with three months notice.

An alternative option is "buy to stay", for those who want access to their holiday home all year round.

Who do Cornwall see as their potential buyers here, when alluring country cottages and quaint fishermen's homes with sea views are vying for the attentions of buyers?

Weller replies that owning a holiday home can be time-consuming and burdensome, because maintenance, and finding tenants can be stressful.

But management means that, for example, if there is news about flooding or storms in Cornwall, owners have peace of mind.

"We are here all year round," he says: "So we can offer reassurance to people. Our buyers and our holiday-makers are able to relax, we see people arriving and before the car engine has even cooled they are already in the pool.

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"They don't have anything to worry about, they can just arrive and immediately start relaxing."

• The houses cost from 297,500 for a two-bedroom property, rising to 347,500 for the three-bedroom.

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• There is also a service charge of around 3,000 a year, depending on the size of house; this covers gym and spa membership, maintenance of grounds and the exterior, as well as buildings insurance.

• Additional costs include council tax, contents insurance and internal maintenance.

• The company takes 20-25 per cent of rental income for fees and guest occupancy charges. For the first five years you have to use the internal letting service but after that owners can choose an alternative letting agent or handle rentals themselves.

• Rents vary from 99 a night at low peak for a two-bedroom house, up to 325 a night at high summer for a three-bed villa sleeping eight.

• For more information, 01726 874545,