Our posh seaside town is being ruined by tourists and holiday homes – we want them gone NOW | The Sun
A POSH seaside town has been ravaged by second-home buyers and holiday home lets, say furious locals.
Those living in picturesque Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk, want second-home buyers to leave.
Second home owners are "killing the area" because people who have lived there their whole lives can't find anywhere to live, locals claim.
And the government wants to make it more difficult to turn a home into a short-term lets.
Homeowners could now need planning permission to convert properties into holiday homes, according to government plans.
It comes after the number of holiday lets rose by 40 per cent in just three years between 2018 and 2021.
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North Norfolk has the second highest number of second homes in England, with 7,169 as of April 1 last year.
It's a highly desirable area featuring a grand Cathedral and the oldest surviving residential street in Europe, Vicars' Close.
Brits often flock there to enjoy retirement.
Others are making the most of business' work from home policies since the Covid-19 pandemic.
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Homes for Wells is a housing cooperative with 31 affordable homes available.
It has 38 families on its waiting list.
Lynne Burdon, its chairman, said second homes were "killing the area".
She told the Eastern Daily Press: "Families who have lived and worked in Wells for generations all have a tale of someone who has moved inland because they can’t afford to live here.”
Duncan Baker, North Norfolk MP, agreed communities have been "hollowed out" by the vast number of holiday lets.
He added: "The number of second homes makes it virtually impossible for local people to buy homes in the towns they have grown up in."
Tourism brought £529million to the north Norfolk economy in 2019, providing jobs for 11,898 people.
Yet, the number of holiday homes mean those workers struggle to find anywhere close by to live.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities' is behind the measures which could make it more difficult to own second homes in the area.
But Roger Arguille, chair of the working group behind the plans, has claimed it won't solve the problem because planning permission can still be granted.
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Councillor Wendy Fredericks, portfolio holder for housing and benefits at North Norfolk District Council, said online platforms such as Airbnb hid the extent of the problem.
She added: "Local people can't live where they need to work."
Converting homes into short-term holiday lets
HOMEOWNERS can currently convert their properties into short-term holiday lets without planning permission but this is set to change.
Second home owners wanting to let their properties out to holidaymakers in the UK do have to abide by certain rules.
In North Norfolk specifically they have to keep the property for the sole use of tourists and cannot live there themselves at any time.
They have to keep it available to holidaymakers for at least 140 days a year and no single let can be longer than 31 days.
And they need to keep a register of all guests and how they're advertising the holiday home.
The rules differ across the UK.
Owners also have to make sure they've switched over to pay council business rates rather than council tax.
They then have to arrange their own bin collections.
What are the proposed new rules?
Homeowners will have to go to the local council for planning permission before converting their properties into short term lets in tourist hotspots, according to proposed plans.
The Government wants to make it harder for second-home owners to dominate England's most-loved holiday destinations.
There could be exemptions based on how often a home is available to tourists.
Housing Secretary Michael Gove said too many people have been "pushed out of cherished towns, cities and villages".
Destinations believed to be involved include Cornwall, the Lake District and Norfolk.
The measures won't affect hotels, hostels or B&Bs.
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