Songwriter rails at second homes crisis devastating Welsh communities
Can you imagine living in a community where 39.8% of all homes were second homes?
This is the situation currently in Llanengan on the Llyn Peninsula.
This is also the community where musician Al Lewis spent his childhood.
“During the last few years I’ve had the opportunity to witness the painful transformation occurring in the area in which I was brought up,” he said.
“Local people wanting to raise their families in their local communities are now being forced out due to sky-high valuations exacerbated by the pandemic.
“This is also eroding the Welsh language at the same time by diluting the very areas in which the language was the primary language of daily life.”
Growing up as a native Welsh speaker – this silent but escalating transformation of the place which Al called home – has been laid bare in his new single ‘The Farmhouse’.
“The lyrics focus on how the local people within so many of Wales’ rural communities are being priced out by wealthier individuals looking to purchase second homes,” he added
“This is also affecting the cultural make-up of these communities as we witness a growing number of examples of long-standing Welsh names being wiped off the map and replaced with generic English names which hold no significance to the area where they find themselves in.”
In response to the ongoing second homes crisis, a series of measures has been set out in a Co-operation Agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru which will see the maximum tax hike on second homes set to be raised to a whopping 300%.
The move is to tackle the negative impact vacant houses, holiday lets and soaring property prices are having on local communities.
Councils across Wales will be able set the premium at any level up to the maximum, from April 2023.
The maximum premium councils can charge at the moment is 100%, which means the new measure could lead to a possible tax rise of 200%.
It will be possible to apply different rates for second homes and long-term empty dwellings.
‘The Farmhouse’ is released on April 8.
Al Lewis will play the following dates in April / May.
Sat 30th April – The Gate, Cardiff
Fri 6th May – Mwldan Theatre, Cardigan
Sat 7th May – Aberystwyth Arts Centre
Fri 13th May – Galeri, Caernarfon
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